Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


Do you have exciting ideas about early education that need funding?

If so, consider sending them to the inaugural Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge.

Sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Zaentz challenge is “calling for individuals or teams to submit new ideas, fresh thinking, and strategic approaches that drive lasting change in early education.”

Projects that are accepted will receive up to $15,000 in implementation funding.

Why now? Because “there is tremendous interest and excitement along with expansion in access in many cities and towns across the nation.”

“We are seeking ideas and approaches that promote positive outcomes at multiple levels of the early education system, including the home, classroom, program and networks, and/or policy.”

Areas of focus include:

• Classroom environment and materials

• Workforce development

• Planning and instruction

• Authentic assessment

• Trauma-informed practice

• Parent and family engagement

• Community engagement and wraparound services, and

• “Other: Think outside the box!”

Applicants can submit proposals in one of three tracks:

The Idea Track

“If you have a new idea or concept in mind, but have not yet put it into action or raised funding”

The Pilot Track

“If you have developed or released your proposed idea or approach as a prototype” (and you haven’t raised more than $50,000 for this idea), and

The Scaling Track

“If you have a product or service that has been launched, and are at a point where further sharpening and refining is needed to support scaling, the Scaling Track is for you.”

Zaentz Initiative staff will host a webinar explaining the challenge this Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM. You can register here.

Eligibility rules are posted here. And FAQs are posted here.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 23, 2018.

The Zaentz initiative will notify finalists in May 2018, and a final pitch event will take place this summer.

Good luck to everyone who applies.


To keep up with what’s going on, follow the Zaentz Early Education Initiative on Facebook and on Twitter @ZaentzHarvardEd.