VELA Education Fund will support innovative, out-of-system, student-centric opportunities
Meet the Moment grant program provides fast grants in response to COVID learning disruptions

With millions of students facing school disruptions this fall, the newly launched VELA Education Fund announced a $1 million Meet the Moment grant program to support families, educators and innovators building and leading innovative initiatives to support continued student learning. The launch of the VELA Education Fund comes as polls show six in 10 parents with at least one child in K-12 are likely to pursue in at-home learning options instead of sending back their children this fall.

VELA Education Fund, a project supported by the Walton Family Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute, will support innovators and educators in their pursuit to reimagine and improve access to learning.

“Parents, educators and entrepreneurs are reinventing when, where and how learning happens,” said Marc Sternberg, K-12 Education Program director at the Walton Family Foundation. “At such a pivotal moment for America’s students, nothing feels more important than investing in the future of school and learning and in the future of our next generation.”

“VELA is committed to increasing the availability of access to new student-centric education models and experiences,” said Meredith Olson, board member of VELA Education Fund. “We’re excited to launch the Meet the Moment grant program as a demonstration of VELA’s commitment to powering local, individualized and innovative solutions that help every student rise and continue learning during this unprecedented moment in history.”

With the Meet the Moment grant program, VELA will fund efforts that yield something new or transform existing models, so long as they provide responsive and authentic learning experiences for young people.

In order to rapidly distribute funds, VELA is partnering with four partners responsible for distributing the grants to families, educators, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Four partners will lead grantmaking:

  • 4.0 Schools connects, coaches and invests in people to build schools, learning spaces, and tools with youth and families in their local communities. The organization will distribute resources to its alumni network of more than 1,000 education leaders who are reimagining education through innovative models, including micro-schools, homeschool co-ops, youth-led programs, and educational technology.
  • Camelback Ventures is an accelerator that identifies, develops, and promotes early-stage underrepresented entrepreneurs with the aim to increase individual and community education, and generational wealth. Meet the Moment resources will be distributed to organizations in and outside of the Camelback network and focus specifically on entrepreneurs and families of color who have the most need during this unprecedented moment.
  • The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is committed to supporting the nation’s homeschool community, HSLDA will provide micro-grants directly to homeschooling cooperatives.
  • The National Parents Union is an intersectional network of 200 parent-serving advocacy organizations across all 50 states. The organization will distribute grants between $5,000 and $25,000 to organizations and families supporting student learning.

VELA is partnering with Transcend to create a community of interaction, learning and growth to support the Meet the Moment grant program partners and families, as well as, gather and summarize learnings, insights and findings from the overall Meet the Moment grant program.

Out-of-system models and programs include learning pods, low-cost micro-schools, homeschool cooperatives, youth-led programming and learning, online content, and more. VELA Education Fund aims to support local, regional, and national education entrepreneurs bringing their bold ideas to life.

In addition to the Meet the Moment grant program, VELA announced three other inaugural partners that exemplify VELA’s approach.

  • Prenda, a launchpad, tech solution, and network for microschools. Prenda combines flexible learning environments, cutting-edge techniques, human-centered technology, and passionate people to help children develop creativity, problem-solving, and 21st-century skills.
  • 100 Roads, an incubator for co-learning communities and microschools, which provides workshops, resources, and a knowledge base for innovators starting their own educational models and spaces.
  • Hybrid homeschool research, which will study the hundreds of mixed options across the country where students attend formal classes in a brick-and-mortar school for part of the week and are homeschooled for the rest of the week. Researchers are exploring what it takes for hybrid homeschools to grow beyond early adopters and into the mainstream.

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VELA Education Fund is a national, nonprofit fund dedicated to accelerating education innovation and opportunity for every learner. The fund provides charitable grants driving early and accessible funding to everyday entrepreneurs – community members, families, and young people – developing authentic and responsive learning experiences outside of the traditional K-12 system. VELA Education Fund connects its grantees to a national network and provides them with a platform to elevate their work and learning.