The Learning Innovation Fund is the grantmaking arm of Getting Smart Collective that makes innovation investments to ensure equity and access for every learner. 

The Fund’s first grant program, A Big Push for Small Schools, is a multi-year initiative aimed at catalyzing innovation and growth in microschool models. These small schools, rooted in a historical tradition of cooperative and small-scale learning, are envisioned to become diverse, sustainable, and impactful alternatives within the educational landscape. The grant program focuses on promoting quality, equity, and accessibility by fostering a network of microschool leaders, providing technical assistance, and offering grants to propel the development of these innovative learning environments. Funding is provided by the Walton Family Foundation.

Seeking Evaluation Partner

We are currently seeking skilled and passionate evaluators to collaborate with us on an exciting initiative aimed at redefining education for the better. If you’re enthusiastic about shaping the future of learning and have a proven track record in evaluation, we invite you to join us on this journey.

View RFP

Grant Opportunity

The program investments will feature up to 20 grants ranging from $75,000 to $250,000 with the aim to accelerate the impact and scalability of select microschool models. The program will feature national models across the K-12 spectrum that showcase various funding methods such as private, public, and ESA funded models. The Fund is seeking geographic diversity with urban, suburban and rural representation. Models must educate historically under-served populations.

The ideal grant candidate will provide a model that includes: 

  • Evidence of a high-engagement learning model
  • Innovation in teaching and learning and promotes learner agency and inclusion
  • Proof of viability, scalability and sustainability of the proposed model 
  • Objectives and strategies that include long-term outcomes extending into adulthood
  • Methods by which to measure successful achievement of gains in literacy, numeracy, agency, social and emotional wellness indicators, and other features of the model
  • Data collection and analysis techniques for quantitative and qualitative data

Upcoming Deadline!

If interested in applying for this round of grants, please review the survey of intent and submit by September 29, 2023.

View Survey

Selection Process

Survey of Intent Submission

Survey of basic details of microschool proposal to ensure the model meets funding criteria. Approved submissions will be invited to submit a full application.

Submission & Review

Detailed application will be reviewed by evaluators and fund stakeholders. 

Cohort 1 Awards

Successful applicants will be notified and funds will be dispersed.

Cohort 2 Awards

Will follow the same process in the Spring of 2024.


The current fund program will include two funding cohorts: 

  • Cohort 1: December 2023-May 2024
  • Cohort 2: June 2024-May 2025

The following is a high level timeline of events for Cohort 1 launch: 

  • September 1-29, 2023: grant surveys of intent accepted
  • October 2023: applications offered to successful survey applicants
  • November 1, 2023: applications due 
  • December 1, 2023: grant awardees announced
  • Spring 2024: Cohort 2 grant process begins (providing funds for 2024-25 school year)

Grantee Requirements

Fund grantees will be required to:

  • Commit to collaborating with the evaluation partner 
  • Provide both narrative and financial reporting 
  • Formally engage in a grant agreement 
  • Work with a technical assistance provider 

Recipient Benefits

As a grantee of this fund you’ll receive:

  • Comprehensive coaching from a team of educational experts
  • Targeted technical assistance 
  • Access to microschool grantee network and an engaged community of practice/action
  • Ongoing grantee meetings and opportunities for collaboration
  • Potential eligibility for reapplication to Cohort 2 of the grant program

Apply Now!

We look forward to receiving your comprehensive proposal and working together to ensure the success and impact of our fund. Thank you for your crucial role in shaping the future of education through innovative and sustainable models! Still have questions? Check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions. 

Survey of Intent

If interested in applying, please review the survey of intent and submit by September 29, 2023.

View Criteria

Review the evaluation criteria rubric and learn more about if this opportunity is right for you.

Reach Out

For any questions regarding the fund reach out to [email protected] or book time at the link below.

More Details

In addition to grantmaking, this project will also include knowledge creation, research, and community engagement. Through compelling storytelling, case studies, and community conversations, the campaign aims to amplify awareness of microschools’ potential, while also developing practical tools and resources for prospective school developers. A dedicated Community of Practice will also provide a platform for microschool leaders to collaborate, problem-solve and share insights. For more information on microschools, visit the Getting Smart microschool series page.

Designing Microschools: Why Launching Small Learning Environments Is a Big Idea

This resource from Getting Smart provides examples of microschools and addresses why you’d want to start a microschool, how to start a microschool and how to know if it is working.