The Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA) by InnovateEDU is excited to launch our 2023 New Champions Fund opportunity on April 3rd, 2023. 

Beginning in 2022, EALA has granted an annual unrestricted competitive sub-grant and year-long mentorship to support leaders of color, or allies of the equity in education movement, who are actively working to support students with disabilities, including students who are also marginalized, come from underserved communities, or experience poverty. Additionally, EALA has provided two additional $5,000 sub-grants to runners-up as determined by the panel of New Champions judges.

As a part of this process, funding applications are vetted by the EALA review team and reviewed by the diverse group of New Champions Fund Judges using this EALA New Champions Rubric.

Eligibility Criteria

Are you a leader of a community-based organization (CBO), school or district, non-profit, or for-profit organization (under $2 million in revenue)?

Are you a leader of color or ally of the equity in education movement?

Are you actively working to support students with disabilities, including students who are marginalized or come from underserved communities and those experiencing poverty?

Have Questions? Looking For Additional Support?

As we are actively looking for applicants who are not- yet-recognized for their exceptional work and who may be first time grant applicants or someone who is unsure about the grant-application process, we want to support you through this grant application process.

Open, drop-in office hours are available at the following dates and time. Please follow the links below to register:

Judging Rubric

Please keep in mind that we are looking to fund a new champion who is actively working to support students with disabilities, including students who are marginalized or come from underserved communities and those experiencing poverty. When writing your responses to the proposal questions, please keep in mind the focus on serving these communities of learners.

Additionally, before completing your submission, please review the EALA New Champions Rubric the judges will be using to determine the 2023 New Champion.

2023 New Champions Judges

The New Champions Judges are leaders in the cross-section of equity, innovation, and education.

Together, they represent a diverse collective of industry leaders in the non-profit, advocacy, digital literacy, K-12 education and edtech sectors, all committed to advancing equity and opportunity in the field.

Alin Bennett Headshot
Alin Bennett
Ash Kaluarachchi Headshot
Ash Kaluarachchi
Brent Maddin Headshot
Brent Maddin
Caroline Hill Headshot
Caroline Hill
Chloe Sanducci headshot
Chloe Sanducci
Christine Fox Headshot
Christine Fox
Crystal Eldridge headshot
Crystal Eldridge
Deborah Hanmer Headshot
Deborah Hanmer
Dewayne McClary Headshot
Dewayne McClary
Ed Dieterle headshot
Ed Dieterle
Ira Gluck headshot
Ira Gluck
Jamie Mascarenhas headshot
Jamie Mascarenhas
Jason B. Allen headshot
Jason B. Allen
Jennifer Dyck-Sprout headshot
Jennifer Dyck-Sprout
John Edison Cárdenas headshot
John Edison Cárdenas
Jonathan McIntosh Headshot
Jonathan McIntosh
Karen Drezner headshot
Karen Drezner
Laurie Wolfe Headshot
Laurie Wolfe
Loren Demeroutis headshot
Loren Demeroutis
Megan Ohlssen Headshot
Megan Ohlssen
Melanie Dukes Headshot
Melanie Dukes
Melissa Martin Headshot
Melissa Martin
Rachel Brody Headshot
Rachel Brody
Sara Peters headshot
Sara Peters
Sasha Simon Headshot
Sasha Simon
Shivohn Garcia headshot
Shivohn Garcia
Simmi Groomer Headshot
Simmi Goomer
Tal Havivi headshot
Tal Havivi
Whitney Noel headshot
Whitney (O’Connell) Noel


Kim Riley

Founded in 2019, The Transition Academy (TTA) is a nonprofit organization created to improve postsecondary outcomes for high school special education students in Kansas City Public Schools and charter schools. The Transition Academy supports young people with autism or developmental disabilities explore college or career options as they prepare to transition from school to life as an adult.

“We plan to use the EALA New Champions award to purchase career discovery assessments designed by special education teachers that have photos of work skills in action and require little, if any, reading skills. We will pay teachers, who designed the assessments, to train us and purchase their assessments. We will also use funding to pay stipends to black men who are recently or semi-retired to serve as program specialists. Black boys are overrepresented in special education, but rarely interact with black teachers. We want to fill this gap by connecting them with black men who will teach hands-on job skills and serve as mentors.”

-Kim Riley


Antoinette Banks

Expert IEP’s goal is to empower caregivers of youth who think and learn differently to participate as valued members of the IEP team. They work to leverage machine learning to elevate caregiver assets, help caregivers advocate for clear and appropriate IEP goals, and monitor service delivery as well as overall student progress. Expert IEP is the first IEP optimization app for families by families.

“With this funding, Expert IEP plans to produce marketing videos in English and Spanish, expanding our reach and promoting our mission to a wider audience. We also aim to onboard 1,300 families from our waiting list by hiring a part-time neurodivergent support technician. By doing so, we can provide personalized support, bridge the achievement gap, and promote equity in education for students with learning differences.”

-Antoinette Banks

Nekia Wright

Ujamaa LLC was created to solve problems in education and wellness that the larger public institutions have not been successful in addressing. The owner and founder, Nekia Wright, has been a special educator for 16 years and recently served as a contract teacher to support school districts in recovering from the disruption of the pandemic. Ujamaa LLC offers community wellness and sound meditation services to communities throughout the Bay Area, Mexico, Guatemala, and Zimbabwe.

“I am so incredibly grateful for this honor and privilege! I plan to use this funding to as partial scholarship funding for 10-15 marginalized families with students with disabilities to receive one year of advocacy, training, and guidance in engaging their children with disability at home through monthly coaching, IEP advocacy and support, developing a Home Engagement Plan (HEP), as well as our family engagement app.”

-Nekia Wright

Past Champions

Dena Simmons Ed.D
Dr. Charles Cole III
Dr. Leena Bakshi McLean

More Info

Explore the Request for Proposals document below. Make a copy and draft your responses before navigating to the submission portal.

Submission Portal

Thank you to everyone who has submitted an application to the 2023 New Champions Fund. The application window is now closed.