In Q2 2023, our foundation awarded 21 grants totaling over $9.4 million. Of these, six grants were new, eight were renewals, and seven were disbursements for ongoing pledges.

Our second quarter grantmaking focuses on identifying and fueling the scale of cost-effective programs and solutions that accelerate improvement in key academic and socioemotional outcomes for all children. As always, we place an emphasis on grantmaking and strategic support that unlock innovation, evidence, and growth for our grantees.

Below, we highlight just some of the direct impact and ecosystem organizations we’re proud to support this quarter. For highlights from last year, explore our 2022 Grantmaking & Impact Report.

From top left to right: Susanna Loeb, Brett Woudenberg, Deborah Leong, Matt Glickman, Bob Lenz, Ahu Yildirmaz, Brent Maddin, Shalinee Sharma, Stacey Alicea, Michael J. Oister, and Lauren Sanchez Gilbert

Unlocking Innovation and Growth (Direct Impact Grantees)


New to the Innovative Schools portfolio is a $200,000 pilot grant to PBL Works, which offers online and in-person project-based learning workshops for educators. This grant will support the development of “PBL Now,” PBL Works’ new line of tech-enabled, scalable project-based learning units and aligned professional learning. PBL Now aims to increase adoption of project-based learning by reducing the time and energy educators need to learn about, create, and use project-based learning. Over the course of its pilot year, PBL Works will develop project-based learning units for use in middle school math classrooms and will pilot the units with 30 teachers, ultimately hoping to improve student attitudes about math.


A grant of $2,000,000 over two years to the Next Education Workforce initiative at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. The initiative challenges the notion of the one-teacher, one-classroom staffing model by building teams of educators with distributed expertise, and empowering educators through new opportunities to specialize and advance in the profession. During its pilot year, Next Education Workforce increased its reach to educators by 80 percent, built products, services, and infrastructure to support model implementation, and generated early evidence that showed positive impact on students and teachers. This two-year grant will help Next Education Workforce strengthen its evidence base, improve the cost-effectiveness of its model, influence the scale of team-based staffing models, and serve at least 1,000 educators and 24,000 students by 2025.

A $1.5 million disbursement (year three of a three-year pledge) to Zearn, the creator of Zearn Math, a top-rated math platform used by one in four elementary school students and more than one million middle school students nationwide. Our funding will support the growth, improvement, and external evaluation of Zearn’s K-5 curriculum, with a particular emphasis on increasing student usage, ultimately reaching 8 million students by the end of 2024.

A $1.25 million disbursement (year three of a three-year pledge) to ST Math, a standards-aligned, research-based, supplemental K-8 digital math platform developed by MIND Research Inc. Our funding will increase the impact of ST Math by improving usage of its supplemental curriculum, growing its product portfolio, and continuing development of its core curriculum, “InsightMath,” so that MIND is reaching over 2.2 million students by 2024.

An $830,000 disbursement (year two of a two-year pledge) to Tools of the Mind, which includes a $180,000 supplement to the previously planned $650,000 disbursement. A grantee since 2021, Tools of the Mind provides high-quality teacher professional development and aligned curriculum to support the development of executive function skills for Pre-K and kindergarten children. Tools of the Mind will continue to use our funding to improve their capabilities for sales, marketing, and impact measurement. Over the past year, Tools of the Mind has grown reach by 23 percent, now serving almost 42,000 children.

A disbursement of $600,000 to the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) (year three of a three-year pledge) to help scale invention education programming (Camp Invention, Club Invention, and the Invention Project) to 309,000 K-6 students. NIHF’s programs offer high-quality out-of-school STEM learning designed to inspire young people to increase their interest in STEM and innovation. Over the past year, NIHF recovered its pre-pandemic reach and served 134,408 students, a 125 percent increase from 2020. While growing their reach, NIHF has also worked to maintain outcomes: their programming consistently shows evidence of inspiring stronger STEM interest, STEM attitudes, and social and emotional outcomes, and is beloved by educators, families, and students.

A $500,000 grant to BellXcel to support the expansion of BellXcel’s SaaS platform, Arly, increasing the capacity and quality of out-of-school programs. Arly aims to help small and mid-size programs scale more efficiently by centralizing and digitizing many of the time-intensive roles of a site director and staff member. Since funding BellXcel in 2020, BellXcel has grown their reach from 17,000 to 90,000 students and transitioned to a more sustainable business model. Given their track record of improving student outcomes, developing new research-based tools and products, and supporting small to mid-size community-based organizations to implement research-based practices, we are confident in BellXcel’s ability to build a stronger infrastructure of out-of-school organizations nationwide.

Unlocking Evidence: RESEARCH and FIELD BUILDING

Ecosystem grants are designed to clear the path to scale for our direct impact grantees and strategies.

A grant of $250,000 to Promise Venture Studio to support the innovation ecosystem in early childhood, including helping 80 ventures with the highest impact potential expand their impact. We expect this grant to result in 75 percent of those ventures growing their teams and/or budgets.

A $250,000 disbursement (year two of a three-year pledge) to support the Research Partnership for Professional Learning (RPPL) in developing R&D infrastructure that allows for five high-quality professional learning organizations to use a randomized controlled trial design to study the impact of curriculum-based professional learning in over 150 schools across a range of sites and models. RPPL was formed as a collaborative of professional learning organizations, researchers, and funders committed to advancing the collective understanding of how to support teacher professional learning that leads to equitable student outcomes for historically marginalized students.

$200,000 to Coleridge Initiative to support the Teacher Workforce Report, a multi-state partnership analyzing teacher staffing and recruitment trends and needs. Partners in New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island will pilot a replicable model for analyzing data about their current teacher workforces along with teacher pipelines. The analyses will guide state agency policies and strategies for teacher recruitment and retention, and be published in public-facing dashboards.

A $200,000 disbursement (year two of a two-year pledge) to the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University, an organization devoted to translating promising research about how tutoring can benefit students into action so that every K-12 student has access to effective tutoring. This funding will be used to evaluate and identify the impact of variations in tutor-to-student ratios, the impact of one-to-one coaching for tutors, and the overall effectiveness of OnYourMark Tutoring for participating Uplift students.