Multi-partner Initiative Announces Latest HEAL Together Grants to Defend and Advance Public Education and Multiracial Democracy

Heal Together Grants March 2023

Contact: Melissa Daar Carvajal
For Immediate Release

Today – Responding to the continued attacks on public education, HEAL Together announces its new grantees. The grants fund grassroots organizations that mobilize their communities who value inclusion, equity and fairness in support of public education and our multi-racial democracy.

HEAL Together partners Schott Foundation, Race Forward and NYU Metro Center provide financial and technical assistance to community organizations across 19 states and dozens of school districts. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Raikes Foundation, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies are also key fund investors.

Today’s grantees expand this trajectory. See the full grantee list here.

“HEAL Together is a dynamic express of local communities organically expressing their aspirations,” said Michael Wotorson, Schott Foundation, National Opportunity to Learn Network Director. “They are creating a world that is radically just and more permanently grounded in equity.”

Victories in Florida and Beyond

“The vast majority of Americans want honest and accurate public education ” said Megan Hester, Metro Center Director. “We are supporting the students, parents, educators and school board members across the country who are coming together to defend our public schools and advance greater equity in, and funding for, our public school students.”

 “In the past funding and support have been limited for grassroots groups doing school district organizing to protect and transform public education, but people are waking up to just how important this fight is right now.” added James Haslam, HEAL Together Organizing Director. “Public education is incredibly fragile right now and we are working to help build infrastructure for the durable multiracial organizing and strategic communications capacity necessary to defend and support the strong public schools that every student deserves.”

While building this infrastructure, capacity and base, community groups have also run powerful campaigns, leading to larger local and statewide impact.

Invest Together supports the HEAL groups achieving results such as these below.

Colorado: Coalitions of parents, youth and educators successfully restored the inclusion of historically marginalized people to Colorado’s K-12 state social studies standards.

Florida: P.S. 305 worked with partners and organized parents in Miami-Dade County to overwhelmingly approve a $1 million referendum to increase teacher salaries.


    • Georgia Youth Justice Coalition (GYJC) was pivotal in ensuring that the most extreme anti-CRT and anti-LGBTQ bills were defeated, and the most punitive provisions stripped from the bills that passed.

    • MESE is shifting the conversation from parents rights and LGBTQ+ books to language access and transportation for immigrant and rural families.

Kentucky: A student leader of Kentucky Student Voice Team was named chair of Kentucky Department of Education’s United We Learn Council where they are positioned to influence statewide education policy.

Louisiana: Anti-equity bills in Louisiana failed to pass the legislature, in part due to advocacy and education from Step Up Louisiana and other community groups.

New Hampshire: In coalition with other partners, Rights and Democracy helped defeat an anti-trans bill and pro-equity candidates swept school board elections

New York

    • Teach the Truth Westchester conducted voter education, engagement and candidate forums that significantly increased voter turnout to defeat far-right and white supremacist school board candidates in Westchester County.

North Carolina: Education Justice Alliance is a key member of a statewide coalition that won a verdict in the Leandro case ordering North Carolina to fulfill the education funding obligations set forth in the state’s constitution.

South Carolina: Lowcountry Black Parents Association, Pro-Truth SC and their allies organized and successfully prevented the passage of five of the anti-truth/divisive bills for 2022.

Virginia: Hamkae Center is coordinating a statewide effort to push back and reverse Governor Youngkin’s revisions to the social studies standards

Wisconsin: The Kenosha Education Justice Coalition (KEJC) fought back against right wing extremist groups’ efforts to penalize the school districts for implementing a mask mandate, by taking over the district’s annual meeting and forcing cuts to the district budget. KEJC successfully organized to restore $3 million to the schools. KEJC also protested after an off-duty officer kneeled on a child’s neck at a middle school, and won de-escalation and conflict resolution training for school safety officers. “We are supporting students, parents, educators and school board members coming together to defend our public schools and advance greater equity in, and funding for, our public schools.” HEAL


New HEAL Together Grantees

Florida Student Power Network

Florida Student Power Network is a statewide youth network that educates, engages, and empowers members to catalyze, actualize, and solidify institutional change. The Network aims to harness the power of students and youth to create tangible change in their communities and our country. It conducts and supports issue-driven campaigns, organizes voters, and uses creative tactics to engage our generation and organize our collective power for justice. With a set of diverse, issue-based campaigns, the Network strives to ignite change in several arenas, including public education.

SOCM Members

Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment – Tennessee

SOCM is a 50-year-old, member-driven organization dedicated to empowering Tennesseeans in their efforts to have a greater voice in determining their own future. Throughout its history, members have taken on local, state and national campaigns to make lives better for everyday people. Their work requires long lasting groups that are rooted in relationship, and built on their own experiences.

SOCM believes that positive change happens when everyday people join together to tackle the critical issues that impact their lives. Structure, organization, relationships and leadership development, are key to the long-haul work of improving Tennessee communities. Through training, mentorship, and practice, SOCM members learn skills needed to build local groups, identify issues that are deeply felt in their community, understand dynamics of local and state power holders, and create campaigns to address issues together.

Hamkae Center – Virginia

Hamkae Center develops holistic programs and campaigns that are guided by community members and meet immediate needs, while building Asian American community power to make long-term systemic changes that address the root causes of these needs and center human connections. We believe that Asian Americans, low-income folks, working class people, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other targeted people must work together in order to have a more just and equitable Virginia for all.

Through community organizing, public policy advocacy, civic engagement, youth leadership development, service provision, and community education, Hamkae Center works to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change.

Johnston Parents

Johnston Parents for Equity and Anti-Racism – Iowa

This group of mothers, many of which have children in the Johnston Community School District, often take walks and spend time together since meeting online in summer of 2020. The women formed the circle to promote racial equity and support within the district.

Today, they are hosting events for students, parents and community members to be heard. “We need to make sure that families and students can tell their stories and say what’s happening, who can feel like there’s a community who doesn’t dismiss that, who doesn’t downplay it and who doesn’t ignore it,” said Shalome Musigñac-Jordán, a Johnston mother of three and member of JPEAR.

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition

The Georgia Youth Justice Coalition is a grassroots collective of Black, brown, LGBTQ+, working class and allied students advocating for youth power and justice in our state. Since January 2021, they’ve activated youth communities, shifted the political narrative, incubated movement leaders, built power, and won meaningful policy and electoral victories across their state.

Down Home NC Members

Down Home North Carolina

Down Home is community-led and community-focused. They organize in small towns and rural places on issues that impact poor and working class people. Because they live where they organize, they know what their communities need. 

Down Home intentionally organizes multiracial groups across race because to counter dog-whistles being used to divide us. It builds in communities through conversations with local residents and supports them to take leadership in addressing their community concerns, currently, rural housing, health justice and public schools. It’s a tall order, but Down Home is up to the challenge because “this is our home.”