Salesforce Awards Grants for SEL and Teacher Retention, in Latest Corporate Push on K-12 Staffing

Staff Writer

A new, multimillion dollar round of grants will include funding efforts to expand social-emotional learning in K-12 schools and improve teacher recruitment, retention, and diversity at a time when districts are struggling to fill open positions.

Salesforce, the customer relationship management software giant, is giving $25 million in new grants to school districts and education nonprofits with the aim of improving student and teacher wellbeing.

Among the myriad programs the money will support, the grants will help fund educator retention at the Oakland Unified Schools in California, principal pipeline efforts in the Chicago Public Schools, teacher professional development provided by the New York City Department of Education, and social-emotional professional development for the Indianapolis Public Schools.

“We are working to advance, scale, and sustain racial equity initiatives across the district, and to continue to increase social and emotional resources for students and staff most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson in a statement.

Salesforce’s effort is the latest in a series by corporations that have sought to help alleviate the national staffing crisis that is affecting everything from class sizes to scheduling to the availability of professional development in different districts.

Last month the Biden administration announced it will partner with recruitment firms ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Handshake to combat teacher shortages. The companies are launching a new K-12 online job portal, facilitating virtual hiring fairs, and hosting a free virtual event for undergraduates, respectively.

And earlier this year, the nonprofit venture philanthropy NewSchools Venture Fund distributed $2.5 million to 15 organizations to enhance teacher diversity.

“There is an emergency,” Katiusca Moreno, senior partner at the venture fund, told EdWeek Market Brief at the time, pointing to the fact that about 80 percent of the teacher workforce is white. “We all know what the pandemic has done, not just to our schools and communities, but to teachers and the ensuing shortage.”

Saleforce’s efforts to financially support education date back a decade, and have come in the form of grants that have topped $165 million, the company reports.

The company also launched a $100 million education investment fund in the fall of 2020, months after launching a K-12 contact tracing and wellness data service. 

The 11 school districts and nonprofits that Salesforce announced will receive the new student and teacher wellbeing grants are:

  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • New York City Department of Education
  • Institute for Educational Leadership
  • The Partnership for LA Schools
  • Ed Trust
  • New Leaders
  • TNTP
  • Chiefs for Change

Image by Getty

Follow EdWeek Market Brief on Twitter @EdMarketBrief or connect with us on LinkedIn.

See also: