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Communities In Schools, Council of Chief State School Officers Among Top 100 Proposals for MacArthur $100 Million Grant

Feb. 19, 2020

A joint proposal from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Communities In Schools® (CIS) is a top 100 finalist for a single $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition, which seeks to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

The multi-year proposal, “Improving Conditions for Learning: Student Success in Every Community,” would make sure all students have the resources they need to succeed in school and graduate. Currently one in six students drops out of high school, with students of color and students facing poverty dropping out at higher rates. The plan would help rapidly expand CIS’s proven model of integrated student supports which brings together trained staffers, volunteers, partners and the local community to surround students with academic, behavioral and other supports with the aim of keeping them in school. CCSSO, which has decades of experience convening education leaders and moving the needle on K-12 issues, will be a critical partner in amplifying this work and ensuring its sustainability.

CCSSO and CIS will bring states and communities together to change practice and unlock additional public funding.

“State school leaders recognize that for students to be successful we must set the best conditions for all student to learn and grow inside and outside of the classroom. As the top K-12 officials in their states, chiefs are uniquely positioned to analyze gaps and marshal resources to ensure that all children have what they need to succeed,” said Carissa Moffat Miller, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “We’re grateful for this recognition, and proud to partner with Communities in Schools on this important work to ensure equitable education opportunities for every student.”

“Our aim is to ensure that one day, every student in America has access to a community of support inside and outside the classroom,” said Communities In Schools President and CEO Dale Erquiaga. “The MacArthur Foundation’s critical endorsement of our proposal with the nation’s education chiefs reaffirms our belief that our model is regarded by funders and philanthropists as a proven method to boost student success, improve conditions for learning and enhance learning outcomes for our nation’s children.”   

 MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change. “Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”

Since the inaugural competition, other funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $419 million to date to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants. Building on the success of 100&Change, MacArthur created Lever for Change to unlock significant philanthropic capital by helping donors find and fund vetted, high-impact opportunities through the design and management of customized competitions. In addition to 100&Change, Lever for Change is managing the Chicago Prize, the Economic Opportunity Challenge and the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award.

More About 100&Change

The top 100 finalists represent the top 21 percent of competition submissions. The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review, a Peer-to-Peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project.

Each proposal was evaluated using four criteria: impactful, evidence-based, feasible and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposals this spring.

In the inaugural round of 100&Change, Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee were awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Syrian response region and to challenge the global system of humanitarian aid to focus more on building a foundation for future success for millions of young children. 

100&Change is a distinctive competition that is open to organizations and collaborations working in any field, anywhere in the world. Proposals must identify a problem and offer a solution that promises significant and durable change.

The second round of the competition had a promising start: 3,690 competition registrants submitted 755 proposals. Of those, 475 passed an initial administrative review. 100&Change was designed to be fair, open, and transparent. The identity of the judges and the methodology used to assess initial proposals are public. Applicants received comments and feedback from the peers, judges, and technical reviewers. Key issues in the competition are discussed in a blog on MacArthur's website.

Bold Solutions Network Launches

The Bold Solutions Network also launched today, featuring CCSSO and CIS as one of the Top 100 from 100&Change. The searchable online collection of submissions contains a project overview, 90-second video, and two-page factsheet for each proposal.

The Bold Solutions Network will showcase the highest-rated proposals that emerge from the competitions Lever for Change manages. Proposals in the Bold Solutions Network undergo extensive evaluation and due diligence to ensure each solution promises real and measurable progress to accelerate social change.  

The Bold Solutions Network was designed to provide an innovative approach to identifying the most effective, enduring solutions aligned with donors’ philanthropic goals and to help top applicants gain visibility and funding from a wide array of funders. Organizations that are part of the network will have continued access to a variety of technical support and learning opportunities focused on strengthening their proposals and increasing the impact of their work. 





The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

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