|Friday, April 1, 2011|
Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the launch of Georgia’s Innovation Fund, a $19.4 million competitive grant program created through Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) plan.
Through the Innovation Fund, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget will award grants to partnerships between local education authorities or charter schools, institutions of higher education, businesses and nonprofit organizations that develop or implement innovative and high-impact programs aimed at producing positive outcomes for students.
“Georgia’s Race to the Top Innovation Fund will unleash some our state’s greatest attributes: our entrepreneurial and creative spirits,” said Deal. “In any year, this grant provides a great opportunity to pursue new ideas for improving education, but in tough budget times such as these, this grant is truly extraordinary. Georgia will continue to show the nation that we’re deserving of Race to the Top; I’m excited to see proposals come in from all over the state.”
The Innovation Fund will provide competitive grants for proposals that creatively leverage members’ financial, human and intellectual resources to address one or more of the four following priorities:
Georgia was awarded $400 million to implement its RT3 reform plan in August 2010. The state’s application was prepared with extensive input from education stakeholders and members of the business and philanthropic communities, who helped develop the idea to include the Innovation Fund in the state’s application. As interest in the Innovation Fund grows, the state will seek contributions from philanthropic organizations, nonprofits and businesses as a continuing source of start-up capital for promising innovations.
Deal has also reserved money to support equipment and facility costs for charter schools focused on the delivery of STEM education.
“We applaud Governor Deal’s commitment to ensuring that the children of Georgia have more opportunities for a quality education through Georgia’s RT3 plan,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association CEO Tony Roberts. “We are especially gratified that the Governor is investing in charter schools with a STEM focus across the state. Even in such tough economic times, this initiative underscores our Governor’s commitment to raise the bar for student achievement in Georgia.”
The state will use the Innovation Fund to determine best practices in innovative programming related to STEM education, applied learning and teacher and leader recruitment and development to influence future education policy efforts. At the core of the Innovation Fund is the following theory: IF, public and private organizations are encouraged by financial resources, policy environments and supportive operating conditions, THEN, the State of Georgia will be benefit from a stronger commitment from diverse stakeholders to support and advance K-12 public education, the ability to replicate innovative practices with a demonstrated record of success, and ultimately, improved outcomes for students.
The Innovation Fund Request for Proposal may be accessed on the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget website. http://opb.georgia.gov/00/channel_title/0,2094,161890977_161981058,00.html