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Innovation: The Essential Ingredient

  • Photo credit:
    US Department of Education (CC BY 2.0)
Venture Fund & Fellowship Applications Now Open

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” 
—Henry Ford

No one ever interrupted the status quo by doing things the same way they’ve always been done. 

You know from your time in the classroom (and likely outside of it as well) that the roots of many of the challenges we’re facing as a society—racism, poverty, gender inequality—are, in many ways, deeply ingrained in the institutions meant to serve us. Instead of lifting the most vulnerable up, their inability to adapt to the needs of the community more often lends to perpetuating the vicious cycle. 

Our schools, arguably the most fundamental of our public bodies, have not escaped these injustices. And our students, their families and the rest of the nation suffer because of it. 

It’s time to do things differently.

What we need is innovation: a potent cocktail of out-of-the-box thinking, if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed-try-try-again persistence, and not-going-to-sleep-until-the-job-is-done drive.

You’ve seen the gaps. You know what works and what doesn’t. You have big ideas about how to fix it.

And now you can have the tools to do something about it. 

The Venture Fund & Fellowship will provide LEE members who are planning or have already started civic ventures to further educational equity with the resources to make the biggest impact possible. 

Up to 15 LEE members will be selected for a year-long fellowship to grow their leadership and build the technical skills it takes to run a successful organization, and up to five ventures will be awarded an investment of up to $100,000 to bring their idea to life or take it to the next level.

Ready to get started? Visit the Venture Fund & Fellowship webpage for more information on eligibility requirements and the application process, and get answers to frequently asked questions. Submit your intent to apply today to get access to webinars, office hours and more to help you get your application in top shape.

Applications are due Friday, July 31 at 11:59 PM ET.

Let’s go shake things up.

Laurel Dumont (Newark ‘00) is the director of the New Ventures team at LEE. Her entrepreneurial spirit has led her to create resources and opportunities for people in places where the landscape was not designed with the community in mind. Previously, she helped start a school-based health center, a legal services program for ex-offenders, a restorative justice court program, and a non-profit called the Center for Collaborative Change. Laurel joined LEE in 2013.