Education Initiative

Make Education More Relevant for All Students

For every student in the region to succeed we need an education system that works for all students. This requires a more personal, more relevant approach to education.

The guiding goal for our Education initiative is to make our region the national leader in providing individualized education that meets the needs and ambitions of all students. To that end, we make investments in a handful of efforts to make education more relevant for all students in terms of: 

How they learn. 

Adopt new techniques and technologies for instruction that help students learn in a manner and at a pace that meets their individual needs. 

Who they are. 

Create learning environments that welcome and support students from all cultures and backgrounds. 

What they aspire to do.

Help students imagine a career and provide tailored supports to get them where they want to go. 

We also offer Ecosystem grants which provide general operating support to organizations that help create an environment for our efforts to be successful.

Information Session

Watch a recorded info session from March 27, 2017 to learn about our work to make education more relevant for all students. 

About Our Investments

We work year-round—in consultation with community stakeholders, issue experts, our Board of Directors and others—to identify and develop promising investment opportunities.

After an extensive due diligence process, we make direct investments to support efforts that are best positioned to help accomplish our goals. These are typically significant, multi-year commitments to develop a promising idea or fund an existing program.

We do not accept unsolicited proposals for funding through our strategic initiatives. There will be occasions when we issue a call for proposals, however. The best way to learn about these opportunities is to sign up to receive Foundation news updates or follow us on us on FacebookTwitterInstagram or LinkedIn.

Organizations can apply for our Ecosystem grants, which help sustain organizations that create unique and significant value for our grantees, Fellows, Rebuilders and others. These grants provide as much as $200,000 over two years in general operating support for organizations that:

  • Provide critical data and analysis 
  • Spread great ideas and build capacity 
  • Advance public awareness and policy
  • Build and support leadership networks

Learn more about Ecosystem grants.

Recent Investments

Black Hills Special Services Cooperative

To spread customized learning models across all South Dakota schools and equip districts with the tools to implement customized learning.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

To create a year-long language institution that prepares Native and non-Native teachers to effectively incorporate language and culture into K-12 learning and instruction across all content areas. 

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

To pilot a career network in the Winona area that connects local industry/employers with schools to create meaningful career pathways for students in the area.

Other Opportunities


An education design experience that will inspire, equip and connect educators who want to reimagine the purpose and structure of school. Accepting applications for Individualized Learning School Design Grants via 2Revolutions.

Learn more


This event brought together educators and others in the region who are striving to create relevant educational experiences for students and who are committed to answering the question, “How Do We Move Forward?” 

Learn more


Watch a recorded information session from March 27, 2017, to learn about our work to make education more relevant for all students. Our staff shared details about our work and highlighted upcoming opportunities for educators who want to reimagine the purpose and structure of school.

Many education leaders and organizations explore funding through our grant and fellowship programs:

Community Innovation Program

Leadership Program