Gov. Polis Launches $32 Million RISE Education Fund

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DENVER- Governor Jared Polis launched the $32.7 million Response, Innovation, and Student Equity Education (RISE) fund today to support high-needs school districts, charter schools, and public institutions of higher education in creating sustainable innovations to improve student learning, close equity gaps, and enhance operational efficiency for pre-K-12 through higher education. 

“We must do more to expand opportunities for every student to receive an education that prepares them for a bright future. Which is why I’m thrilled to announce this transformative funding program that supports real innovation to close equity gaps in our communities, help our students rise, and share what works with others,” said Gov. Polis.

The RISE Education Fund utilizes federal funds from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, included as part of the CARES Act. The fund will support innovative, locally driven solutions, help to address broad structural challenges that have the potential to be replicated in the future, and advance equity by reaching those students most likely to have been affected by the economic, social, and health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Specific areas of focus include providing new student-focused models of learning, dramatically rethinking the student experience for higher education, strengthening and formalizing linkages between P-12, higher education, and industry, and catalyzing innovations that can drive long-term impact after the life of the grant. Priority will be given to proposals that serve rural areas, propose to serve schools or school districts in priority improvement or turnaround status, and those that address significant equity gaps. 

“The RISE Fund is a unique opportunity amid all the hardship and challenges schools, districts, students and families have been facing,” said Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “I appreciate the governor’s leadership in creating the RISE Fund and I encourage our districts to take advantage of this opportunity to use what we have learned so far in this pandemic to think creatively and innovatively about solutions to today’s challenges that could lead to lasting positive changes in our ability to support all students for years to come.”  

“This fund will help address the impact our colleges and universities face as a result of the pandemic and ask them to innovate and enhance efficiencies to improve higher education in the state,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.  “I challenge our institutions to rethink the student experience and keep equity in the forefront of their proposals. Thank you, Gov. Polis, for prioritizing the hearts and minds of our students through the P-20 Equity and Innovation Fund.”

The deadline for the first round of applications is October 17, 2020. Applicants can find more information about the grant here. Applications will be reviewed by a grant selection committee composed of parents, educators, students, education leaders, and other community members appointed by Governor Polis and chaired by Gary Community Investments President and CEO, Mike Johnston.

The RISE Fund is an incredible opportunity to support the students and communities who have been hit hardest by COVID," said Mike Johnston, chair of the grant selection committee and CEO of Gary Community Investments. "And while we want to help solve the inequalities that have been exacerbated through COVID, we really want to create the innovation that will directly address the underlying inequities that have always been present in underserved communities."

In addition to the RISE Fund, the Governor announced a public-private partnership with funders, including the Gates Family Foundation and Gary Community Investments, to provide resources and strategic design support for applicants to ensure the fund reaches a diversity of geographies across the state. Grants will be available to assist applicants who plan to apply for the second deadline of December 19, 2020 to ensure a robust community engagement and strategic design process for communities that need more time and resources to put forward quality applications. Applicants can find more information about this fund here.   

 

“We want to help the widest range of applicants score high on their proposals, by giving them more time, resources, and strategic design support to strengthen their applications,” said Mary Seawell, Senior Vice President for Education with Colorado’s Gates Family Foundation. “This support will help applicants ensure their initiatives are as strong as their commitment to students and educators.”

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