Social Emotional Learning Innovation Fund – Copy of 2017 Page


2017 applications are closed for submissions. Winners will be announced and all applicants will be informed of their status in June. Due to the high volume of applications, we will be unable to provide feedback on individual applications.


NoVo Foundation, in partnership with Education First and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, aims to seed teacher-led projects and district-wide projects that foster social-emotional skills in students in grades PK-12. Whether you have an idea for a new initiative or want to expand or continue an existing project, we want to hear from you.

We are offering up to $5,000 grant awards for teacher-led projects for the 2017-18 school year. We are also offering up to $25,000 grant awards for district projects that span multiple schools in the 2017-18 school year. All recipients will have the opportunity to present your work to and connect with a group of national SEL practitioners, experts and advocates at a convening in October 2017.

We are looking for proposals from individual educators, teams of educators, and district leaders seeking to improve systems that foster social and emotional skills in fresh, inventive or innovative ways. Examples can include novel interventions or instructional practices focused on improving competencies such as resilience, learning mindsets, compassion, self-management, sense of belonging, etc.

We seek applications that will create places, environments and practices that value belonging, well-being, tolerance, compassion, listening, non-violence, inclusiveness, working productively together and looking out for one another. NoVo seeks a change from a world based on domination towards collaboration and partnership, and understands that this has to be valued, taught and modeled to and with children in order to make this shift a possibility.

Though all proposals are welcome, we are also seeking proposals that specifically support one or more of the following student populations:

  • Students from indigenous communities
  • New arrivals (such as refugees) or immigrants
  • English learners
  • Students with significant adverse childhood experiences
  • Single-sex environments


A complete list of eligibility requirements and selection criteria for the teacher-led awards are available here. FAQs can be found here.

Online application for teacher-led awards

A complete list of eligibility requirements and selection criteria for the district awards are available here. FAQs can be found here.

Online application for district-wide awards


No applications will be accepted after 11:59pm Pacific time on April 28, 2017. Please contact Erin Popelka with any questions about the RFP or application process.

2016 Summary: In our first year, we received a total of 430 teacher applications from 164 districts in 34 states. In August 2016, Education First announced 25 innovation awards to individual teachers and teams of teachers in 14 states. The file below includes the list of winners and a description of their innovations.

For more information about Education First’s support of SEL, see our publication Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts are Doing About It and our blog post Social and Emotional Learning in Action.