Private Donors Commit $18 Million in Innovation (i3) Funding

Donors from the private sector have committed $18 million to the 23 highest-rated projects in the 2011 Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund competition, the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced.

This extra funding is now set to ensure that each project has met the i3 matching requirement, qualifying them to receive $150 million from the i3 program.

“Strong public-private partnerships like these are essential to the success of reform. I want to salute the foundations, philanthropists, corporations, and individuals for supporting these innovative ideas that will dramatically enhance learning and accelerate student achievement,” Duncan said.

“These projects have the potential to create solutions that will serve thousands of teachers and millions of students.”

The 23 projects, consisting of school districts, groups of districts, and nonprofits in partnership with districts or a consortium of schools, were named as finalists in the fall. They were the highest-rated among nearly 600 applicants, however they only had around one month to secure matching funds through financial support or in-kind donations.

But now, with the private support in place, the i3 winners can begin implementing their projects and put students on track to succeed in college and careers.

To support their innovative ideas to accelerate student achievement and ensure students are on track for success in college and their careers, the projects will receive “scale-up” grants of up to $25 million; “Validation” grants of up to $15 million which merits more rigorous investigation; and “Development” grants of up to $3 million to support promising projects with high potential for positive impact.

In fiscal 2011, i3 will make one “Scale-up” grant, five “Validation” grants, and 17 “Development” grants.

49 projects were supported in the first round of i3 grants, with $650 million appropriated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grants completed this week come from the fiscal 2011 appropriations bill.

Congress recently passed an omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2012 that ensures another $150 million for the i3 program.

A complete list of the 2011 grantees and more information about their projects can be seen here.