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

HEAL Together announces new grants for local and statewide alliances who stand up to harmful bills, books bans and anti-equity candidates. The more than a dozen grants bookend HEAL’s expansion into more than 20 states, leveraging public school families’ majority support. The sophistication and reach of these community organizing groups as well as this political moment create a timely opportunity to advance public education and multi-racial democracy for the long term.

HEAL Together partners Schott Foundation, Race Forward and NYU Metro Center provide financial and technical assistance to the HEAL organizations. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Raikes Foundation, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies are also key fund investors among others.

Today’s grants resource statewide movements in North Carolina and Michigan; support #PublicSchoolStrong campaigns in North Carolina, Florida,Tennessee Georgia, Ohio as well as alliances in Iowa, Virginia, Kentucky and Wisconsin. 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.”

Recent Successes and Victories: Strengthening the Organizing Infrastructure

“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. Last Fall’s school board elections demonstrated the results of their work – and the broad public support for their platforms.

This grantmaking supports the HEAL groups achieving results from these collective efforts.

North CarolinaHEAL Together North Carolina’s #PublicSchoolStrong campaign has trained over 500 activists to turn out to local school board meetings in nearly three quarters of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Earlier in the Fall, Down Home North Carolina organized its first-ever convention, “Roots of Power,” bringing together over 150 folks from small towns across North Carolina.

Iowa – Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement’s showed up at their state capitol for a lobby day where members met with legislators and presented distributed books. Thanks to pressure from Iowa CCI members and allies, the governor is walking back an initial proposal that would largely dismantle regional education agencies. 

Michigan – The Michigan Education Justice Coalition (MEJC) made headlines in many major state outlets with their “Billion Dollar Bake Sale” campaign calling attention to the huge public education funding gap in their state. 

Georgia – Migrant Equity Southeast (MESE) and allies mobilized Latino students and families to secure a nearly million commitment for English Language Learners from Savannah-Chatham district. MESE’s sophisticated policy analysis and report was also a key catalyst for the change. 

Investment is focused on statewide alliances as well as emerging movements grounded in deeply-rooted community organizations

new GRANTS to A growing infrastructure that supports youth, parents and community Organizing

Statewide grants deepen support through grassroots base building, communications strategies and coalition convening.
North Carolina: Education Justice Alliance

The Education Justice Alliance (EJA-NC) is made up of parents, students and community-based organizations in Wake County, North Carolina. EJA works for an educational system that is effective, equitable, and inclusive. They promote racial, socio-economic, and gender equity. They seek to decrease unfair suspensions, expulsions, arrest, court referrals and to improve positive approaches to discipline that meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students.

North Carolina: Down Home NC

Down Home NC 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.”

Michigan: Michigan Education Justice Coalition (MEJC)

The Michigan Education Justice Coalition is a statewide network committed to advocating for equitable public education policies and funding to create safe and healthy learning environments. 

MEJC envisions a Michigan where public schools get the support they need, strengthening communities and making them better places to live for all of us.


Georgia: Georgia Youth Justice Coalition (GYJC)

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.


Local grants strengthen strategic campaigns and base-building in areas of growing support.
Tennessee: Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment Resource Project (SOCM)
SOCM Members

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.

Ohio: Honesty for Ohio Education

Honesty for Ohio Education is a nonpartisan, statewide coalition that champions honest education, the affirmation of all identities, cultures, and lived experiences, and the rights and safety of all students, families, and educators. We serve as a centralized network for education, advocacy, and community-building to protect honest education in the Ohio Statehouse, State Board of Education, and local school districts.

Born from a grassroots effort of committed Ohioans, Honesty for Ohio Education proudly represents more than 50 organizational partners and thousands of students, families, educators, and Buckeyes across the state.

Florida: P.S. 305

Migrant Equity SouthEast is a Latinx and immigrant-led 501(c)(3) organization based in South Georgia. We’re here to advocate for immigrant rights and work directly with the migrant and refugee communities of South Georgia to bring them equitable access to resources available to citizens: health resources, educational resources, political resources as well as financial aid and food assistance.

North Carolina: CREED NC

Ensuring equitable education opportunities means shifting the policy atmosphere and advocating for changes that are generational in their impact. CREED prioritizes expert, race-conscious research on North Carolina-specific education issues. It raises the collective awareness of the general public while inspiring and elevating the work of educators who are ready to alter practices and protocols to become more equitable. CREED will continue to execute a rigorous research agenda that informs the call for transformation at the structural level for students in Pre-K, K-12, and post-secondary.

Local grants support statewide and regional efforts: these emerging allied organizations and coalitions leverage local support.
Iowa: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Iowa CCI members create change through grassroots organizing, educating, and mobilizing on issues that impact our communities the most. Together, we work to put people and planet first by stopping factory farms, ending racist policing and anti-immigrant legislation, and winning bold action on climate change, healthcare, and clean water for everyone.

No matter where we come from, where we live, or what we look like, we need policies and an economy that serve the public good, not corporations and the wealthy few who rig the rules in their favor.

Virginia: New Virginia Majority Education Fund (NVM)

New Virginia Majority started twelve years ago with the audacious goal of building a bloc of conscious, consistent voters to advance a new politics that is democratic, sustainable and just. We envision a Virginia that centers the needs and struggles of working class people, people of color, immigrants, women, and young people to build a real democracy rooted in racial and economic justice.

We believe that all Virginia students should have access to a high-quality education, regardless of their zip code, race, immigration status, or country of origin. This includes having fully funded schools, affordable higher education and workforce training, and safe and supportive learning environments.

South Carolina: Low Country Black Parents Association

The Low Country Black Parents Association informs, educates, and empowers black parents and guardians to successfully advocate for black student’s academic achievement.

Their vision is that education communities where black parents and guardians are actively engaged in closing the academic achievement gap for black students.

Kentucky: Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC)

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is a statewide organization working for a new balance of power and a just society. As we work together we build our strength, individually and as a group, and we find solutions to real life problems. We use direct action to challenge – and change – unfair political, economic and social systems. Our membership is open to all people who are committed to equality, democracy and non-violent change.

Arkansas: Arkansas Public Policy Panel

Arkansas Public Policy Panel is a statewide organization dedicated to achieving social and economic justice by organizing citizen groups around the state, educating and supporting them to be more effective and powerful, and linking them with one another in coalitions and networks. The Panel seeks to bring balance to the public policy process in Arkansas.

Indiana: Hoosier Action Resource Center, Inc.

Hoosier Action is a homegrown, independent community organization dedicated to building power and improving the lives of everyday Hoosiers. Our members live across the state, but our deepest roots are in small town Southern Indiana, where our chapters lead the organization. We believe that by acting together, we can create an Indiana where all Hoosiers, Black, white, and brown, are able to shape the decisions that affect our lives.

Wisconsin: Kenosha Education Justice Coalition

The Kenosha coalition of parents, educators, students, and community and labor organizations works to protect and improve public education for all students so they thrive in the classroom and in their communities. They unite parents, students, educators, and community members to drive the transformation of public education, shift the public debate, and build a local movement for equity and opportunity for all.

California: Dolores Huerta Foundation

The Dolores Huerta Foundation’s Education Policy team is dedicated to empowering youth, parents, and communities in the pursuit of equitable education through grassroots organizing, training, and advocacy for fair school district budgets. In our commitment to restorative justice, aimed at improving school climates and reducing suspension and expulsion rates, particularly for at-risk students (including those who are low-income, English learners, and students with disabilities), we have taken a leadership role within the Kern Justice Education Collaborative (KEJC). 

Florida: Families for Strong Public Schools

Families for Strong Public Schools believes that our children’s educational success requires listening, collaboration, and understanding at all levels. By working together as parents, teachers, families, and within government, we can create educational spaces that truly serve their primary goal: supporting and educating our children.

Florida: Central Florida Jobs with Justice

Central Florida Jobs with Justice believes that all workers should have collective bargaining rights, employment security, and a decent standard of living within an economy that works for everyone. To fight for justice, we form long-term relationships and formal partnerships between labor unions, people of faith, community organizations, and student activists based on shared values.

We bring this diverse group of people together for one simple reason: the only way we can make change is if we stand united. These lasting relationships help build the power we need to win real changes in the lives of working families and our communities. Together, we are more powerful than we could ever be alone.

Florida: Common Purpose

Common Purpose in Palm Beach County is a part of a coalition of many community groups that includes those working around education justice. We are forming an education committee of educators, families and students to engage key stakeholders in organizing around the school district campaign. We are focusing on equity issues, doing legislative organizing – creating awareness of LGBTQI attacks in legislation, historical accuracy of marginalized communities in schools and gun violence in schools.