PHOENIX (June 3, 2021) – In partnership with local and national philanthropy and community donors, A for Arizona announced a regional microgrant opportunity for Southern Arizona to meet PreK-12 students’ and families’ unique education needs. Over $600,000 in seed funding will be awarded through A for Arizona’s Expansion & Innovation Fund empowering innovative school and community leaders, teachers, and families to implement their bold ideas for reimagining learning models, creating and scaling more student-focused programs, and developing better teaching and learning educational approaches.

“For decades, leaders in Southern Arizona have led the way with first-of-its-kind community-driven concepts and disruptive student-focused models of learning,” said Emily Anne Gullickson, Founder and CEO of A for Arizona. “The educational landscape will not return to business-as-usual post-pandemic, so it is a no brainer to launch our first regional microgrant opportunity in the heart of Southern Arizona with its long-standing track record of excellence, innovation and bold visionaries, especially within the remote and rural communities along the border.”

This microgrant opportunity is funded by private philanthropic support in collaboration with the VELA Education Fund, Burton Family Foundation, Pima IDA and Community Investment Corporation, as well as generous individuals in the community.

“VELA is proud to partner with A for Arizona to advance the entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent in Southern Arizona,” said Meredith Olson, VELA’s President. “VELA supports families and communities to develop nontraditional educational models that meet students’ needs, and we are excited to learn from Southern Arizona grantees in the months and years ahead.”

A for Arizona will award Southern Arizona Microgrants up to $25,000 through seed funding through its Expansion & Innovation Fund for bold proposals that accelerate education innovation and opportunity for PreK-12 students in Southern Arizona. Teachers, public and private school and system leaders, families, and innovative community partnerships all play a critical role to meet the moment and accelerate learning for their students in Southern Arizona communities. Eligibility is limited to PreK-12 edupreneurs in Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz, and Yuma Counties.

“Our children will be better off if we choose to invest in those who are proving that despite the current challenges, schooling can be reinvented, and students can thrive,” said Angel Investor and Vetting Committee member Christy Burton of the Burton Family Foundation. “We have been an early believer in the power of the Expansion & Innovation Fund and know we must treat this moment with the urgency it deserves, and targeted investments will help deliver access and opportunity now, especially for our highest need students and families.”

Over the past two years, A for Arizona has awarded over $1.5 million in seed funding through the Expansion & Innovation Fund to develop, implement, or expand innovative models and better teaching and learning practices to best support Arizona’s most vulnerable student populations. A for Arizona is working with local partners to raise a total of $1 million for seed-funding ideas to thoughtfully reimagine PreK-12 learning models and nontraditional approaches in Southern Arizona.

“The Pima IDA is pleased to support A for Arizona’s Expansion & Innovation Fund in collaboration with the Community Investment Corporation as a tangible way to enhance bold solutions for reimagining education and to expand the scope of the Fund into southern Arizona with matching funds,” said Ken Silverman, President of the Pima IDA. “We look forward to seeing the amazing results of their innovation on PreK-12 education opportunities in our region.”

The application window is open for five weeks, with final submissions due by Thursday, July 8 at noon AZ. For more information about the Expansion & Innovation Fund, or to apply, visit the A for Arizona website.

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About A for Arizona
At A for Arizona, we firmly believe that expanding excellence is our best chance to ensure all K-12 students have access to, and benefit from, high-performing schools, learning communities, and opportunities. We imagine a day where excellence has spread, and failure has fallen away, leaving only the best learning options available for all students.