Schools Funds Grantmaking for Educational Equity

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund has been giving grants to educators for 40 years.

For many years, our grants invited educators to request funds to meet a broad range of needs. Over the last four years, the Schools Fund, in partnership with educators and community advisors, has shifted our grants to focus on equity to ensure that students furthest from opportunity can thrive in our schools. We believe that each and every student benefits from an equity-based approach.

Read more about our equity focus here.

All of the Schools Fund’s work, including our grantmaking, is guided by the three tenets of our Theory of Change: Basic Needs, Safety and Belonging, and Love of Learning.


For the 2023-2024 school year, the Schools Fund awarded 51 educator-led equity grants—including 25 continuation grants and the Schools Fund’s first multi-year grant, all totaling nearly $500,000 in grants for educators.

Driven by our mission to champion  equitable public education for students, families, and our community, the Schools Fund operates two grant programs: LEARNING for Equity and LEADING for Equity. Grants differ in size and scope, with a maximum of $25,000 awarded, and fall within six Priority Funding Areas, defined below.

For BUSD educators interested in applying for grants, go to our page: Schools Fund Grantmaking for Educators.


Digital Equity

Digital Equity means that all students can access the hardware, software, and tech training necessary to rigorously and safely engage in 21st century digital society.

Emotional Health & Wellness

Emotional Health & Wellness means promoting the health and well-being of BUSD students, and especially those experiencing health gaps.

Diversifying BUSD Educator Pathways

Diversifying BUSD Educator Pathways means building the capacity of Berkeley public schools to attract and retain a diverse faculty so that BUSD educators at all levels better reflect and connect with our diverse student body.

Theory of Change

Equitable Family Engagment

Equitable Family Engagement includes culturally responsive and asset-based activities that connect schools to families and families to schools in ways that explicitly support student learning and/or well-being. In BUSD, equitable family engagement includes a special focus on minority, immigrant, English learner, unhoused and refugee families.

Culturally Responsive Learning/Positive Racial Identity Development

Culturally Responsive Learning thoughtfully connects students’ own cultures, languages, and life experiences to what they learn in school and how they learn it.

Positive Racial/Ethnic Identity Development nurtures a student’s positive identity and relationship with their racial/ethnic group while fostering a positive evaluation of that group.

Focused Academic Intervention & Support

Focused Academic Support & Intervention means that additional or strategically embedded academic support is designed for and given to specific student sub-groups experiencing learning gaps. In BUSD, focal students might include English Learners, students from racial groups experiencing equity gaps, students with IEPs, etc. 


Berkeley Public Schools Fund grants fill a variety of equity gaps at specific BUSD schools as well as across the district. The map below shows the breadth and geographic range of just a handful of ’23-’24 grant projects.

Preschools: Dance and Embodied Teacher Training w/ Luna Dance

Malcolm X: Transforming Math Education

Ruth Acty: Afterschool Academic Support

Sylvia Mendez: Culturally Responsive Spanish Language Development for African American Students

Washington: Afterschool STEM Program for Girls

BAM: Arab American Student Affinity Group

King Middle School: Young Men of Color Advisory Group

Longfellow Middle School: STEM Afterschool Enrichment

Willard Middle School: Showcasing and Teaching Diverse Art Books

Berkeley High School: Enhancing mental health at BHS’ New Wellness Center

The Schools Fund is thankful for critical input on our grants programs from our BUSD Teaching & Learning Advisors (TLAs)

Community members interested in supporting our grantmaking can donate here or contact Executive Director, Erin Rhoades:

Educators with questions about a grant proposal can attend Schools Fund Grants Office Hours (during grants seasons) or contact Deputy Director, Duffy Ross: