The Bridge grant application process is currently open.
What are Bridge Grants?
Bridge grants are VELA’s largest investments, up to $250,000, designated to bridge scalable learning models and ecosystem builders to wider adoption. In fall 2023, VELA will make a select number of investments (ten to twelve) to organizations that are meaningfully contributing to the growth of the dynamic and community-driven out-of-system education marketplace.
VELA’s focus is on supporting:
- Sustainable Alternative Learning Environments: We prioritize investments in the growth of sustainable alternative learning environments that respond to the values and priorities of families.
- Ecosystem Builders: We support service providers that enable an ecosystem where alternative learning environments can grow and thrive. These service providers must tailor their products and services specifically for the out-of-system space.
Who is eligible?
Bridge grants are available to 501c3 nonprofit organizations. However, VELA is also open to considering mission related investments (MRIs) in for-profit organizations or LLCs. MRIs include microloans and SAFE investments.
Organizations seeking support must demonstrate a clear vision of success and show clear progress toward their goals. VELA will also consider early pilots or initiatives from established organizations adapting their services for use within the out-of-system space.
VELA does not make investments in organizations that rely strictly on philanthropy. Selected recipients should have financial viability now or in the near future. Learning environments aiming to scale should reimagine traditional resource allocation, such as space, labor, and time, in innovative or creative ways.
Examples of past Bridge grant recipients include:
- Mastery Transcript Consortium received funding to optimize their digital competency-based credentials for use in non-traditional education settings, piloting their use and promoting their adoption in partnership with the VELA community.
- Prenda received funding to expand from Arizona to a second state, providing new learners in rural and underserved communities with access to their microschool model.
- Great Hearts Nova received funding to develop asynchronous courses that can be delivered directly to homeschool families, microschool operators, private school operators, and other out-of-system operators, giving more families freedom and flexibility to access courses.
VELA will not provide Bridge grants to the following:
- Small learning environments seeking capital investments or financial support for their current locations.
- Programs that are delivered alongside primary education experiences in traditional public, private, or charter schools.
- Programs that provide supplemental, enrichment, or after-school activities.
Please see our FAQ for additional information.
What is the application process and timeline?
VELA’s Bridge grant application includes multiple steps, including submitting an interest form to determine alignment. Interest forms will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis and select organizations will be invited to complete a full application.
Interest forms will be accepted until 5pm EST on Friday, October 27.
Review the FAQ or e-mail us at email@example.com.