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American Rescue Plan: Organizing for Equity

American Rescue Plan: Organizing for Equity

The scale of the broad federal funding in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) presents an opportunity for transformative change – but only if funds are invested to address systemic racism and advance equity. This requires sustained organizing to ensure accountability and community participation to direct investments – and ongoing, transparent structures to incorporate community input.

This page offers resources to support that organizing, some Schott has developed, and many more gathered from partners. It’s information to understand components of ARP, and to provide insights into how communities across the country are mobilizing.

We encourage you to add to this collaborative hub—email materials and links to

How much money will go to my state and district?

Over the past year, Congress has allocated billions to states and districts in three major acts: June 2020’s CARES Act, December 2020’s CRRSA, and March 2021’s American Rescue Plan (ARP). While those bills funded many things, the education portion of those bills are considered “ESSER” funds. So CARES education money is “ESSER I”, CRRSA’s is “ESSER II”, and ARP’s is “ESSER III”.

What can the money be spent on?

Key to the American Rescue Plan is the bill’s emphasis that funds be used to fund evidence-based practices and that they be used in an equitable manner. Learn more with the resources below:

How can I influence how the money is spent?

The U.S. Department of Education has specified that states and districts must seek input from students, educators and community groups in developing those plans. That’s where you come in! Meet with potential allies, build a coalition, and work through these three steps:

1. Educate and learn from your community

2. Coordinate and organize with other groups

3. Inform and make demands on policymakers

For more insights, watch the presentations from our recent National Opportunity to Learn Network convening on both the policy details of the American Rescue Plan and how to organize to ensure those funds promote equity and justice:

Video link: Grassroots Strategies to Ensure Recovery Money Goes to Racial Equity and Justice

ARP Videos

Don’t take our word for it! Hear from leaders and experts on the importance of Rescue Plan funds:

Carolina Espinal, Schott Foundation Board Chair

Decolonizing Wealth’s Edgar Villanueva

Student Voice’s Taylor Kahn-Perry

University of Kentucky Dean and Schott Board member Dr. Julian Vasquez-Heilig

Alliance for Quality Education’s Jasmine Gripper