Responding to Crisis Investing in Change

During COVID-19 and school closures, the Schools Fund will review submissions for Strategic Impact grants on a monthly basis. Applications will be due on the 1st of each month. We are seeking to fund projects that respond to the COVID-19 crisis and address racial disparities that have worsened due to the crisis. In order to focus resources on the broadest impact and highest need, Classroom Grants are suspended for this year. Details on grant requests for this year can be found on the Strategic Impact Grant page.

Classroom Grants

Classroom Grants have been suspended for the 2020-21 school year in order to focus resources on the broadest impact and highest needs during the COVID-19 crisis. Please contact if you have any questions.



Teacher Summer Fellowships

2020 Summer Fellowships Application period has now closed.

About Schools Fund Summer Fellowships

Inspired by the accomplishments of Berkeley High graduate and award-winning Bay Area journalist Belva Davis, and with the support of the Herb Singer Fund, the Schools Fund created a summer fellowship program in 2012 to encourage BUSD teachers to aspire to the highest levels of professionalism and creativity in their field. These grants serve to broaden teacher personal and professional experiences with professional development opportunities beyond those that normal budgets and time may allow. The Fellowship may cover course fees, transportation and living expenses, professional materials, and project documentation costs. 2018 Summer Fellows and their projects are listed here, and 2017 Summer Fellows and their projects are listed here.

fellowshipbwSummer Fellow applicants must have completed three years of teaching in BUSD. Summer Fellows who do not return to BUSD in the fall after their fellowship will be required to return the grant money awarded. Typical grant amounts for individual Summer Fellowships do not exceed $2500.

2019 Fellows: If you have not completed your Follow-Up form, please do so as soon as possible. If you have already completed your Follow-Up, please let us know how your fellowship influenced your classroom this year by filling out your Year Later Follow-Up form by end of the school year.

Strategic Impact Grants


A Shift in Grantmaking Priorities

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund is investing the lion’s share of our grantmaking resources during this year’s COVID crisis into Strategic Impact grants. 

Our goals are two-fold: 

  • to support students, families and the district with emergency needs related to the shift to distance learning; and 
  • to fund projects that explicitly aim to ‘level the playing field’ in ensuring equitable outcomes for African American and Latin/x students.

Updated Grantmaking Categories

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund will fund proposals in the following two categories: 

Emergency Response to COVID-19, including:

  • Remote Learning Support
  • Emotional Health & Wellness

With priority to district-wide proposals

Disrupting Systemic Racial Disparities, including:

  • Family Engagement
  • Positive Identity Development
  • Digital Divide (access, education, engagement)
  • Literacy & Math Support
  • Art & STEM Enrichment

With priority to district-wide and multi-school proposals 

Evaluation Criteria for Category II: Disrupting Systemic Racial Disparities

I. Focal Areas & Audience To what extent does the proposal support Schools Fund’s stated focal areas/sub-categories?  To what degree does it support African American and Latin/x students and/or their families? 

Does the proposal:

  • Clearly fall within one or more of the Schools Fund’s stated focal areas and sub-categories?
  • Describe the racial/ethnic make-up of its focal audience?
  • Make a compelling case for filling a real need of this audience?
II. Equity-Explicit To what extent is racial equity an explicit part of the project/proposal?

Does the proposal:

  • Articulate how the project is culturally relevant and responsive, and linguistically accessible to students and families?
  • Address the degree to which the “program” (if pre-established), has been found to be specifically effective with the focal audience?
  • Describe how the project explicitly disrupts patterns of inequity in BUSD?
III. Systems Change To what degree does the proposal drive strategic change across the system/district?

Does the proposal:

  • Drive equity-focused change across the system/district (rather than exist in isolation)?
  • Include program-related collaboration and/or partnership within and across the district?
  • Include a plan for spreading the learning beyond project players to a larger systems-wide audience?
IV. Implementation Success To what degree do the project players, timeline, and budget suggest a strong likelihood of success?

  • Are the project leaders professionally qualified and representative of the focal audience?
  • Do the month-by-month activities support project goals in a way that is likely to lead to project success?
  • Does the budget appropriately reflect the work that needs to get done?
V. Project Learning To what degree does the proposal demonstrate best practices in using data to drive smarter and more equitable results? Does it:

  • List 2-4 central project goals that are both achievable and the appropriate grain-size?
  • Articulate a detailed plan for how success will be measured, which is likely to result in meaningful, project-end learning?
  • Describe a plan for sharing the learning across the district?

Proposal Review – Timing & Dialogue 

Timing: For the 2020-21 school year, the Schools Fund will review Strategic Impact proposals on a monthly basis for the fall, with proposals due on the 1st of each month. The first deadline will be September 1. Proposals will continue to be accepted through the winter on a bimonthly basis, starting in January.

Dialogue: The Schools Fund is increasingly interested in engaging applicants in conversation around proposals in advance of funding determinations.  In addition, the Schools Fund may also seek out associated students and/or district partners to learn more about landscape of the project/proposal.


Budget Considerations

Strategic Impact Grant funds cannot be used to create, expand, or partially fund District positions on a temporary or permanent basis.

If your proposal is going to include hourly pay to BUSD staff and/or subs, please determine the following information and contact Fiscal Services to develop an accurate cost estimate.

  • Number of certificated teachers to be paid
  • Number of classified staff to be paid, and names if you know them
  • What the time will be used for (e.g. training, curriculum development, participation in other activities, etc)
  • Frequency and timing of activities (e.g. “teachers will meet monthly for 2 hours per month from January through May”, or “participation in 2-day workshop on 1/10-1/11”)
  • How many subs will be needed, and when.

Click HERE for the application

Please contact us with questions at 510.644.6244 or

For Grantees Only:

Once a grant has been approved, payments can be requested by completing a Strategic Impact Grant Check Request form.

Please complete Strategic Impact Follow-Up Reports by the end of the school year or contact the Schools Fund to make other arrangements.