AFT Innovation Fund: Return, Recover and Reimagine

During the last school year, you and your members have risen to the call, supporting our students and educators in uncharted territory, simultaneously navigating in-person and remote learning along with meeting the needs of your members. Thank you! 
To support you as you maneuver through the 2021-22 school year, the AFT Innovation Fund is excited to announce another round of funding through our Return, Recover and Reimagine grants. These grants will support efforts to safely reopen schools in ways that make all students and educators feel welcome and supported as they grapple with the changing virus. Ensuring that the school is a haven is a vital step in helping our nation recover from the lingering and on-going effects of the pandemic. 
These short-term grants, ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 (based on affiliate size) will serve as complementary to the Innovation Fund’s longer-term goals: supporting the whole child, through community schools; investing in career and technical education; and using civics education to prepare and empower young people to participate in their communities and beyond. 
We invite local and state K-12 teacher and PSRP affiliate leaders to submit proposals, laying out projects to support educators, students, families and communities as they begin the new school year. The fund will prioritize locals that did not receive a grant in the 2020-21 school year.

Proposals can include projects focused on (but are not limited to):

  • safe and welcoming environment for students and educators;
  • culturally responsive pedagogy;
  • strategies to boost literacy;
  • social and emotional learning strategies;
  • trauma-informed curriculum, interventions and/or trainings;
  • strategies for students with special needs and English learners;
  • educator-created performance evaluations adapting to new expectations for traditional, distance and asynchronous teaching and learning; and
  • while we believe hybrid instruction should not continue, projects can focus on instructional models, including virtual, hybrid or other methods supporting high-quality teaching to fit the circumstances facing teachers and students.

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to assist you in your efforts to support your members, as they too begin to return, recover and reimagine how to ensure a safe and welcoming school community.

Applications deadline: Oct. 3, 11:59 p.m. EDT.


  • The AFT Innovation Fund is working with a limited budget; therefore, not all applications will receive a grant award.
  • Grant monies cannot be used to fund positions or staffing.
  • To support more affiliates, awarded grants may not match the requested amount. If this is the case, AFT staff will work with the awardee to revise the budget to fit the grant amount.

Fiscal Agent:

  • For the applications that are selected to receive grants, funds will be distributed to the local (or state) union affiliate who approved the submitted application. This entity must be the fiscal agent.


  • If your application is selected for a grant, the union affiliate must submit a W9, as they will be the fiscal agent of the grant.


  • We encourage applicants to include partners in their efforts (e.g. not-for-profits, health-care providers and related organizations, institutes of higher education, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, wellness organizations, etc.)
  • Applications should include ways your project can be disseminated and shared so that others can learn from your work. Any products produced by this grant may be branded and shared widely with AFT members and the general public.


Grant Schedule



Grant Period

Accepting Applications

Application Deadline



November 1, 2021 – October 31, 2022

August 23, 2021

October 3, 2021

Week of October 25, 2021