AFT invests additional $1 million in partnered community programs

The AFT has announced a second round of funding from its Powerful Partnerships Institute, signaling an even deeper commitment to helping Americans build the strong public schools and communities they deserve. The funding, totaling $1 million, will support projects designed by and for the community to seed, scale and sustain real solutions for public schools. “You’ve got to walk the walk; you can’t just talk the talk,” AFT President Randi Weingarten told participants at the union’s Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Conference Oct. 20, where the funding was announced. “It’s putting our values into action.”

Photo of some of the recipients of PPI funding announced at the AFT Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference Oct. 20.
Some of the recipients of PPI funding announced at the AFT Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference Oct. 20.

The PPI program will support work at 39 separate AFT affiliates and organizations working together, using transformative, integrated strategies like community schools, experiential learning and reading instruction that bring together parents and educators around a common goal: kids doing well.

This is the second year for the PPI funding; by the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, the AFT will have distributed $2.5 million for data-driven, evidence-based solutions.

The PPI funding is in addition to more than $500,000 in back-to-school aid for improving literacy, and addressing learning loss and loneliness; $90,000 in support of the Fast Fund to provide housing, food, healthcare and other immediate support to students on college campuses; and $700,000 through the AFT Innovation Fund to help schools fund wraparound services and hands-on learning, and address systemic challenges like teacher shortages.

PPI funding will create more opportunities to work together on the things kids need, whether that’s schoolwork, emotional support, career services, nutrition assistance or something broader. Recipients this year include the following unions, which will work with community partners on a range of projects:

  • The Detroit Federation of Teachers will use its funding and PPI support to train community school staff in providing wellness, language and career services for students.
  • The Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association in Florida will use its investment to help students and families access affordable housing.
  • The Jefferson Federation of Teachers in Louisiana will use its support to address food insecurity among students by providing meals.
  • AFT Arizona will use its funding to tackle climate readiness in school buildings so they’re safe for student learning.
  • The United Educators of San Francisco will use its resources to foster joyful, confident readers through book giveaways and support for reading teachers.

A full list of projects being funded—with further descriptions, interviews and other information—can be found here.

“We’re all about getting things done and working together with the people most invested in our kids being successful,” says Weingarten. “Building connections, deepening relationships and fostering conversations require sustained, direct support for everyone involved in education—whether that’s a parent who works two jobs and wants to help their kid develop a love of reading, an employer looking for interns to grow their workforce, a teacher who wants to expand their after-school tutoring program, or a campus administrator who wants to help students access mental health services.

“We’re excited to keep funding and sustaining this work, and we look forward to seeing the results of this latest round of funding.”

[Virginia Myers]