VELA Closes Out 2022 with $4.48 Million in Funding for Education Entrepreneurs

Grant Recipients Are Transforming Education Through Permissionless Innovation and Expanding Their Programs To Support More Learners and Families

January 25, 2023 – An inspiring group of 62 grant recipients are starting the new year with $4.48 million in funding from VELA Education Fund. Education entrepreneurs from 27 states will be able to reach an additional 2.5 million learners and families with VELA’s Next Step and Bridge grant funding. 

VELA’s Next Step grants provide up to $50,000 in funding to members of VELA’s community whose community-centered innovations are expanding to meet the growing demand from learners and families. In November 2022, VELA awarded 53 Next Step grants totaling $2.48 million, reinvesting in VELA entrepreneurs who are ready to expand local programming to meet the needs of learners and families or who are collaborating with other VELA grant recipients to maximize their reach and impact. Next Step grant recipients include:

  • Black Homeschoolers of Birmingham which will use funding to replicate their model to create Black Homeschoolers of Montgomery and organize a homeschool summit to support families in Alabama.
  • Burbrella Learning Academy which will use funding to expand their virtual homeschool model to include an in-person museum school that will allow them to triple the number of learners served. 
  • Bridges to Science which will use funding to collaborate with other VELA grant recipients to train STEM youth coaches in technology and maker activities and to support homeschooling mothers with the confidence and skills to teach math through high school.
  • Rock Tree Sky which will use funding to ensure equitable access to high-quality homeschooling and unschooling support for families who otherwise could not afford it.

VELA’s Bridge grants provide up to $250,000 in funding to entrepreneurs who have achieved proof of concept, are prepared to bridge to wider adoption, and are ready to collectively build cultural awareness and acceptance of innovative and permissionless learning options. In December 2022, VELA awarded nine Bridge grants, totaling $2 million to the following organizations:

  • Canary Academy which will use funding to promote education equity by expanding their reach to engage more homeschoolers through virtual learning, empower more parents through professional development, and create collaborative, inclusive digital learning spaces.
  • Colossal Academy which will use funding to continue to grow in Fort Lauderdale while also creating the blueprint, accreditation, teacher training, and step-by-step playbook for educators to launch their own microschools.
  • Great Hearts Nova which will use funding to develop asynchronous courses that can be delivered directly to homeschool families, microschool operators, private school operators, and other out-of-system operators while launching a more asynchronous school model that gives families added freedom and flexibility.
  • Mastery Transcript Consortium which will use 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.
  • Microschool Builders which will use funding to build a technical support system and community to address the ongoing needs of bespoke independent microschools.
  • Modulo which will use funding to expand access to homeschooling and microschools by creating and disseminating exceptional, evidence-based content about homeschooling and modular learning. 
  • Rock by Rock which will use funding to create a network of local community hubs to fuel a movement around deeper learning and provide free access to their projects and community.
  • Soaring Education Services which will use funding to create the national infrastructure to launch and support a network of Christian microschools.
  • Surf Skate Science which will use funding to package their full curriculum to enable schools, learning pods, and homeschoolers to run Surf Skate Science programs in their communities.

“We are inspired by the innovation we are seeing across the country and the entrepreneurs who are bravely and creatively expanding access to nontraditional education opportunities,” said Meredith Olson, President of VELA. “Our Next Step and Bridge grant recipients are not only growing to meet the demand from families nationwide, they are also building the resources and tools that will continue to support an ecosystem of innovation.”

VELA plans to announce new funding opportunities in 2023, including the reopening of their Micro grant application. To stay up to date on new opportunities, sign up for their newsletter.


About VELA Education Fund

VELA is a national nonprofit fund that was established in 2019. VELA invests in everyday entrepreneurs – students, parents, educators, and community leaders – who are envisioning new approaches that meet learners’ and families’ needs. VELA does not dictate solutions to its grantees. Instead, VELA trusts grantees to identify what their communities need and how they can best meet those needs. To date, VELA has awarded more than 2,000 grants totaling over $24.2 million to support non-traditional education models. Recipients reside in all 50 states and three U.S. territories. Visit to learn more.

Meredith Olson, President of VELA Education Fund, is available for interviews. If interested in pursuing a story, please contact Lisa Cohen at