Teacher Morale and Retention Grants

NoVo Foundation is committed to supporting high quality social and emotional learning (SEL) practices in schools and districts nationwide. Since 2016, NoVo has awarded over $12 million to school districts, educators, and charter management organizations and other local education agencies (LEAs) through the SEL in Action Fund. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to place stress on public school teachers. Many districts are retaining teachers at decreasing rates, and rolling quarantines are compounding these shortages, often requiring teachers, school leaders and, in some cases, district staff to substitute teach for colleagues who are out of school. While the causes of teacher stress seem universally exacerbated by the pandemic, it’s less clear what potential solution(s) might be or whether a one-size-fits-all approach would work. 

NoVo and Education First, with support from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, have designed the SEL in Action: Equitable Decisionmaking for Teacher Morale and Retention (Morale and Retention) grants to support school and district leaders in their efforts to:

  • Develop a deep and nuanced understanding of the experiences and challenges of classroom educators related to the social and emotional dimensions of learning, wellbeing and relationships arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Collaborate with educators and school leaders to co-design solutions that will address the root causes of decreased teacher morale and retention in their schools

Morale and Retention grantees can receive up to $50,000 to support their efforts and planning, along with technical assistance from Education First in equitable design methodologies to help study gaps and inequities, engage diverse voices in problem solving and co-design solutions to improve teacher morale in the 2022–23 and 2023–24 school years. We expect that grantees will find that they can apply equitable design tools and methods to a variety of challenges they experience, beyond teacher morale and retention. We do not anticipate these grant funds will be sufficient to carry out all elements of these teacher support solutions and expect selected applicants to commit to dedicating additional funds to teacher support.

This is an open request for proposals. Click here to view the RFP.

How to apply

To be eligible to apply for a Morale and Retention grant, an applicant must be either:

  • A public school district;
  • A charter management organization; or
  • Any other cluster of at least two schools in the same district and/or feeder pattern.

The full application process has two steps: 

Step 1: By Friday, November 4, 2022, at 5:00pm (PT), submit a grant proposal (see detailed requirements at the end of this document). No applications will be accepted after 5:00pm PT on Friday, November 4, 2022.

  • Submission Instructions: Please submit all required information, including district contact and demographic information, budget summary and narrative responses as a PDF or Word document uploaded to Google Forms at this link

Education First will inform all applicants of their finalist status by Monday, November 21.

Step 2: Between November 28 and December 2, 2022, finalist districts will participate in a virtual interview with Education First as needed.

Education First will inform all finalists of their grant status by Friday, December 16.

For more information

Webinar (optional): We held an informational webinar for this grant opportunity on Wednesday, September 28. The recording from that webinar can be found here and the slides can be found here.

Applicants can also reach out to Emily Brookhart for more information. We will provide ongoing updates to this FAQ document as we receive questions during the application window (September 19–November 4, 2022).