MDC and Oak Foundation seek NC groups working on equity and learning differences

MDC will accept letters of interest through Dec. 4, 2019, at 5 p.m. for organizations interested in participating in the grant-funded network. 

The Oak Foundation has engaged MDC to create a learning and action network of organizations in North Carolina that are working at the intersection of equity and learning differences.

The result is “Learning for Equity: A Network for Solutions” (LENS-NC), which was announced in November. MDC is now accepting “Letters of Interest” from organizations interested in participating, and selected organizations will receive funds to advance their work to reduce race and income disparities in educational outcomes among students with learning differences and create learning environments where marginalized students with learning differences will thrive. Directions for organizations interested in submitting a Letter of Interest and other information about the initiative are available here on the ”Learning for Equity: A Network for Solutions” page on the MDC website.

Selected organizations will regularly meet with other network members to learn, address common challenges, and explore opportunities to amplify effective strategies for change at classroom, school, community, district, and state levels. There is a 15-month commitment to the learning and action network.

Oak Foundation’s Learning Differences Programme strategically partners with and invests in organizations that improve education for students with learning differences. Learning differences are defined as diagnosed or undiagnosed specific learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia) as well as other related neurological processing challenges that can impact learning (such as attention deficits, sensory processing disorders, and executive function challenges).

The Learning Differences Programme is undertaking a state-specific strategy in North Carolina to explore new and emerging approaches to addressing educational equity among marginalized students with learning differences. Oak and MDC acknowledge the reality that students of color, as well as students from low-income families, have less access to learning environments that are able to meet their needs and support their achievement. When these students have learning differences—diagnosed or undiagnosed—the educational outcomes for these students are disproportionately poor. The Foundation is partnering with MDC to develop a North Carolina-based learning and action network focused on exploring, sharing, and amplifying approaches to address this systemic problem.

Oak Foundation and MDC recognize that there are likely few organizations working at the exact intersection of learning differences and equity. Given this, organizations that focus on educational equity that are paying attention to the experience of students with learning differences, and organizations that focus on learning differences and that also have a commitment to address equity, are both eligible to apply. Additionally, organizations working at many different entry points to this issue are welcome to apply, including grassroots community-based organizations, student or parent groups, nonprofits, schools, school districts, educational institutions, and policy and advocacy organizations.

Approximately eight organizations will be selected for participation in the network. Grant awards will depend on the scope of the project, the ratio of the project cost to the organization’s annual operating budget, the project-specific work being proposed, and the capacity and track record of the organization to implement the project. Grant awards are likely to range from $25,000-125,000. The 15-month grant period will be the same for all participants.

The deadline for submission of Letters of Interest is Dec. 4, 2019, at 5 p.m.

For more information, visit the Learning for Equity: A Network for Solutions webpage on MDC’s website or contact MDC at edequity@mdcinc.org.