In 2016, RISE invited educators in our partner schools to submit project proposals on DonorsChoose, and with generous support from Dalio Education, they became eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match to help their projects become funded more quickly. From this partnership, the RISE Educator Innovation Fund was created.
Prior to launching the Innovation Fund, DonorsChoose was relatively unknown among RISE high schools. In 2015-16, there were just four active projects on average per partner school. In 2021-22, that number reached an average of 50 projects per school.
Over the past six years, 984 unique teachers, counselors, and specialists in RISE’s core partner schools have launched and fully funded over 2,000 DonorsChoose projects through the Innovation Fund, raising nearly $1.5 million to support classroom projects, field trips, and professional development.
We have been inspired by the creativity of RISE educators to bring vital resources to their school communities. By creatively using other match-funding opportunities on the DonorsChoose platform, RISE educators have successfully launched and fully funded projects without the help of a RISE one-to-one match.
Our goal for the Innovation Fund was to scale the innovative spirit central to the RISE approach by empowering educators to submit their ideas for creative classroom lessons, school activities, professional development, and more. We also aspired to connect more educators with the RISE community.
In more ways than one, the Innovation Fund has accomplished its goals, and resources invested in the Fund could now be better applied to other areas. The ways in which RISE educators have engaged with DonorsChoose, coupled with evolutions in RISE’s strategy for supporting partners in a sustainable and impactful way, motivate us to wind down the Innovation Fund as we enter the 2022-23 school year. This strategic shift will allow RISE to direct more resources towards our core strategies, including providing a more streamlined focus on our RISE by 5 implementation.
RISE educators are encouraged to continue using the DonorsChoose platform to secure additional resources for their schools, and all educators may submit proposals and learn more about projects submitted by other educators by visiting DonorsChoose.org.