Twenty winners are slated to share $150 million in prize money from the third round of the federal Investing in Innovation competition, the U.S. Department of Education announced last week.
Eight won “validation” awards of up to $15 million each, and the remaining 12 won “development” awards of up to $3 million.
The department chose not to award any grants in the largest “scale up” category, where the grants were each worth up to $25 million. Department officials said in a frequently-asked-questions document about the awards that they wanted a larger portfolio of grantees, and awarding a large $25 million grant would have eaten up a big portion of the award money.
The i3 contest, which was born out of the 2009 economic-stimulus package passed by Congress, aims to find innovative ideas and bring them to scale. School districts, groups of schools, and their nonprofit partners competed in the three categories, which varied based on how much evidence of past success an idea had. The scale-up category requires the strongest track record of success; the development category requires less evidence but a lot of promise.
Now the only thing standing between the winners and their money is securing matching funds from the private sector. Development award winners must secure a 15 percent match, and validation winners a 20 percent match. In the past, securing matching grants—and keeping that money—has proved quite challenging for some i3 winners.
Applicants have until Dec. 7 to secure their matching funds.
The validation winners are: Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, Jobs for the Future, LEED Sacramento, National Writing Project, New Leaders Inc., New Teacher Center, Texas A&M University, and WestEd.
WestEd also won a development grant, along with AVID Center, California Association for Bilingual Education, California League of Middle Schools, Central Falls (R.I.) School District, Citizen Schools Inc., Clark County (Nev.) School District, Columbia College Chicago, Intercultural Development Research Association, International Network for Public Schools, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and Virginia Advanced Study Strategies Inc.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2012 edition of Education Week as Latest ‘i3' Winners Split $150 Million