Education grants — sources of aid that support a specific need within a classroom or school district — provide vital financial and tangible resources to K-12 classrooms across the South, where “56 percent of all Black students in the United States” live, as of 2019. Grantmaking in education is an attempt to create equity in schools where racial discrimination, income inequality, and unjust practices have created gaps in life outcomes for students.
“School districts where the majority of students enrolled are students of color receive $23 billion less in education funding than predominantly white school districts, despite serving the same number of students – a dramatic discrepancy that underscores the depth of K-12 funding inequities,” U.S. News shares. This imbalance can be linked to the discrimination of Black and brown families. Practices like redlining and housing segregation directly impact property taxes, which, in turn, affect the amount of money school districts receive, creating inequity. Particularly for students of color or those living in under-resourced areas, grants help bridge those gaps that antiquated state funding and discriminatory public policy leave. “That is what equity is, that different needs require different funding amounts,” states Georgia Budget and Policy Institute education director Stephen Owens in GPB News.
Inequity in education is a pervasive problem, which deeply impacts students of color and children living in under-served areas. “The state’s population has roughly doubled, and costs for expenses like transportation, technology, and counselors have radically changed,” according to GPB News, and “Georgia is one of only six states that do not allocate extra money to students living in poverty.” This leads to a lower quality education for the students facing this reality.
Education grants in K-12 schools are especially important because they introduce money and supplies directly into a classroom and or a school district that needs it the most, which supports efforts in literacy, curriculum, equipment, materials or staffing to provide the best and most equitable academic experience possible for students.
redefinED atlanta’s mission is to transform Atlanta into a city where every student in every community receives a great K-12 public education, and we help Black and brown students and under-resourced schools through grantmaking to help combat the gross underfunding of these communities. Since the beginning, grants have been a fundamental part of how we engage community and advocate for equity, and almost $20 million in grants have been awarded since our launch in 2016, funding critical areas—equitable systems & schools, school-level talent, and parent or caregiver and community mobilization.
What Is an Education Grant, and What Are the Benefits?
Unlike loans, grants provide needs-based financial support that typically doesn’t have to be repaid. Grant funding can come from a variety of sources, including the federal government, state government, college or career school, private organization, or a nonprofit, like redefinED atlanta.
Education grants are often used to help students whose communities were historically oppressed or under-resourced. They directly supply funding to classrooms that would otherwise not have access to necessary academic support or materials for their students. For Black and Brown students, grants can help repair the funding gap, increasing their opportunities and improving their overall educational experiences. “Additional funding should help to attract highly qualified teachers, improve curriculum, and fund additional programs,” states CAP.
How We Make an Impact With Education Grants
We believe family and community involvement leads to a better education and a stronger Atlanta Public School system. redefinED atlanta invests in schools and communities through our Family and Community Engagement (F.A.C.E.) grants—designed to support schools, helping them establish and strengthen their community relationship building efforts throughout the school year.
We provide the technical support needed to grantees to help them plan and prepare to organize, mobilize, or educate families or community members on the issues the school, and therefore, their children, are facing. These efforts establish relationships and trust that brings more people together to tackle those challenges and create more equitable learning environments.
How Parents/Guardians and the Community Can Get Engaged
Active parent or caregiver and community engagement are essential to establish support for every K-12 student. You have more of an impact on your child’s education than you realize. Whether it’s signing up for coalition updates, attending an event, or advocating for change within the larger community and with the school board, your voice has power and you can use it to change the public school system for the better.
Join our growing collective of parents, educators, community leaders, and philanthropists dedicated to transforming Atlanta into a place where every student in every community has access to a great K-12 public education.