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Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide
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For Grant Seekers

Where We Work

We work in the United States, where we focus specifically on New York City, Newark, N.J., Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Denver. In these places, we invest in people and projects whose visions of just and fair schooling galvanize parents, students, teachers and community leaders, as well as scholars and policy experts.

What We Fund

Our support concentrates on bringing transformational educational improvement to students in communities of concentrated poverty through more and better learning time in secondary schools.

The following elements characterize schools that make more effective use of expanded learning time:

  • Including all students at the school
  • Providing dedicated time for teachers to collaborate and engage in data-driven inquiry that improves instructional effectiveness
  • Engaging strong partners, including teachers, parents and community-based organizations
  • Sharing student outcome goals and mutual accountability across partners
  • Supporting principals, leadership teams, teachers and school partners in acquiring new skills, knowledge and understanding
  • Using data to individualize support, track progress and assess effectiveness
  • Developing a culture of high expectations

To be considered for funding, projects should focus on the following strategies:

Carrying out research and communications that inform and build a strong case for the systematic and sustained expansion and redesign of learning time. This includes projects that engage scholars, school leaders and reform advocates in collaborative research designed to influence both local practice (down-stream) and national policies (upstream).

Advancing implementation of scalable, more and better learning time designs that:

  • Provide students a rich mix of focused academics, well-rounded educational opportunities, and personalized support
  • Give educators time to work together in ways that improves their practice and achievement in low-performing schools
  • Better meet the needs of working families

Such designs provide learning opportunities over longer days and years using a variety of strategies:

  • Overhauling Teacher Time: Whole school redesigns of teachers' professional workdays, including staggered schedules
  • Second-Shift Educators: Hybrid models incorporating an integrated "second shift" of "educators" drawn from partnerships with private and/or nonprofit organizations
  • Resource Collaboration: Schools linking college preparatory academics and career and technical education, using business and public sector partners
  • Wrap-around Services: Community-school models providing educational and social supports to families and children from birth to college

Building public and political will for more and better time, by engaging diverse advocates in a variety of community organizing, advocacy, public education and consensus-building strategies.

Enhancing the capacity of states, school systems and communities to implement and sustain more and better learning time, including reform-minded relationships among mayors, school districts, teachers unions and community partners.

To Apply for a Grant

Follow these steps:

  • Review the Initiatives most relevant to your work.
  • Read our Grant Application Guide, which describes our grant-making process.
  • If you determine that your work aligns with our priorities, submit a Grant Inquiry. (While we welcome submissions, please keep in mind that our funds are limited in relation to the large number of worthwhile inquiries we receive. In a typical year, less than 1 percent of unsolicited inquiries result in a grant.)

Please Note:

It is important that you use our grant inquiry form—and refrain from contacting program officers directly. Given the volume of inquiries we receive, this allows us to log, track and respond quickly to your application.

Fellowships

The vast majority of foundation grants go to organizations. We provide a very limited number of fellowship opportunities for individuals through the Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships Program, which aims to diversify the faculties of American colleges and universities.

The foundation does not have any other active fellowship opportunities at this time.

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