AFT Powerful Partnerships Institute

The AFT’s Powerful Partnerships Institute offers vital assistance to AFT affiliates, parent groups and community organizations engaged in grassroots work within local communities. The primary focus is on seeding, scaling and sustaining real solutions for kids and communities (to learn more about the AFT’s Real Solutions for Kids and Communities campaign, see

This marks the second year of the Powerful Partnerships Institute funding initiative, which reaffirms the AFT’s commitment to collaborative efforts between parents and educators. Recognizing the positive impact of family involvement in children’s education, attendance, well-being and academic achievements, this program directs funding to urban, suburban and rural areas. It supports the crucial on-the-ground work of affiliates and organizations to strengthen and formalize relationships essential for student success.

This initiative provides educators, parents and the wider school community with increased opportunities to address the various needs of children, whether related to schoolwork, emotional support or broader services like career development and nutrition assistance. It is a step forward in enhancing the prospects of our students and communities.

The Powerful Partnerships Institute:

  1. Builds capacity by equipping AFT affiliates and their community partners with the skills and resources they need to advance campaigns for real solutions for education justice, including literacy, community schools and experiential learning. 
  2. Provides training and coaching, in person and virtually, for leaders—union members, parents, students and community activists—on organizing techniques, communication tools and public advocacy so they can create real solutions that have a positive and measurable impact on their schools and communities.
  3. Increases collaboration among AFT affiliates, local community organizations and national networks, so leaders can share best practices, offer support, maintain momentum and create significant, concrete real solutions together. 
  4. Creates effective and intersectional campaigns that address racial and gender equity, advance economic justice, celebrate and protect LGBTQIA+ communities and further climate justice. These campaigns will create real solutions that improve the lives of everyone in our communities: union members, students, parents and neighbors.

Powerful Partnership Institute funding

38 PPI funds were awarded to AFT state and local affiliates this year, for a total of $1 million.

AFT Affiliate

Community Partners

Snapshot of Initiative

AFT Michigan

Center for Change and Michigan Education Justice Coalition (a statewide network of dozens of organizations)

AFT Michigan will organize a coalition of partners in Northern Michigan to increase civic engagement around school boards, both proactively and in response to attacks that are likely to intensify in a presidential election year.

Peoria Federation of Teachers, Local 780

Peoria People’s Project (a grassroots parent-community coalition)

PFT will build on parent leadership development to push for equitable school funding, more social-emotional supports in classrooms (especially to address the trauma of gun violence), increased resources for community schools, and more support for career and technical education.

Detroit Federation of Teachers, Local 231


DFT and partners will work together to expand funding, support and resources for community schools in Detroit and surrounding districts.

Great Lakes FAST Funds – AFT Local 212 at Milwaukee Area Technical College

Believe in Students (a nationwide organization that supports the distribution of Faculty and Students Together (FAST) emergency aid funds for college students)

Milwaukee and other Midwest cities will use faculty-run emergency aid funds to build relationships with students, educators and community members; train them on organizing skills; and build local campaigns for collectively identified campus issues.

Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Local 59

Tending the Soil (a multi-issue coalition of labor and community groups)

MFT will develop educator-parent tables at the school and district levels, expand and retain the number of educators of color, and increase community voices in debates on student enrollment and school closures.

Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and many other environmental, parent and labor organizations

CTU and partners will expand the number of sustainable community schools and parent leadership within them and strengthen the partnerships with environmental justice organizations to increase parents’ and union members’ involvement in the green schools campaign.

Saint Paul Federation of Educators, Local 28


SPFE and partners will organize to expand the number and resources for full-service community schools, school safety, mental health supports for students and climate justice.

Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, Local 1520

Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition (a coalition of Cincinnati NAACP, Action Tank, Cincinnati Interfaith Committee, Cincinnati Labor Council and more)

CFT and partners will work to expand and improve career and technical education in the district, especially at Woodward Career Technical High School.

New Haven Federation of Teachers, Local 933

Recovery for All Connecticut (the largest community-union table in the state) and Students for Educational Justice

NHFT will engage educators, families and students to advocate for increased state revenue and equitable school funding to address the teacher shortage and expand supports for community schools.

Boston Teachers Union, Local 66

Boston Education Justice Alliance (a powerful education justice alliance of parent and youth organizations and the Boston Teachers Union) and St. Stephen’s Youth Programs, which has a large, mobilized, multilingual parent group

BTU and partners will protect the wraparound services and programs that have been created by 610 school staff now in danger of being cut. Additional proactive organizing will work to expand hub community schools and increase student and parent voice at school board meetings and in district decision making.

Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, Local 2334

CUNY Rising Alliance (CUNY Student Senate, NYPIRG, New York Communities for Change, North Star Foundation, Hispanic Federation, Young Invincibles and more)

The Professional Staff Congress at the City University of New York will advance the priorities of a New Deal for CUNY, including making CUNY tuition-free, improving the ratio of faculty to students, increasing compensation for adjunct professors and expanding mental health support for all CUNY community members.

Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, AFT Local 2026

Philadelphia Revenue Project

FSFCCP will organize with partners to win more funding for public services like K-12 schools, libraries and recreation centers, as well as for mental health first responders as part of a vision for violence prevention and restorative justice.

AFT Massachusetts

Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance (a well-established statewide alliance of eight local union-community networks, outside of Boston)

AFT MA will expand partnerships in districts under state takeover or threatened by state takeover, where community engagement is essential for shaping the policies and systems that reflect the needs of our students and communities.

Baltimore Teachers Union, Local 340

Baltimore AROS (a citywide alliance that includes Maryland Communities United, Organizing Black and others)

BTU and families will work together to create safer learning and working conditions, especially around gun violence to both prevent its frequency and offer coordinated wraparound services and mental health supports in the face of trauma.

Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, Local 400


PFT and partners will work together to increase the availability of affordable housing, to retain experienced educators and student families, and to expand community schools.

Rutgers AAUP-AFT

Cosecha New Jersey and New Labor

Rutgers AAUP-AFT and partners will organize together to increase affordable housing, which is a concern of K-12 families, college students and educators/faculty.

United Federation of Teachers, Local 2

NAACP, Labor-Religion Coalition, Alliance for Quality Education and other civil rights, interfaith and education justice organizations

UFT and partners will organize to expand project-based learning and reduce class sizes to ensure that students get the academic and social-emotional support they need.

Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association

Mi Familia Vota, St. Pete for Change, Acceso Latino, Hope Community Center and other partner groups

Pinellas PSRPs and their partners, students, parents and other stakeholders will keep building Pinellas for the Common Good, a countywide education justice platform.

Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, Local 7432


HCTA and partners will increase parent and student voice on the school board and work to increase revenue for fully funded schools.

Norfolk Federation of Teachers, Local 4261

New Virginia Majority (a strong statewide, multi-issue community group)

NFT and partners will organize to establish community schools and implement the support services that students need, as well as expand revenue to retain qualified and experienced educators.

Marion Education Support Professionals, Local 7443


Marion ESP will work with parents and partners to reduce gun violence, increase career and technical education options, and address needs for affordable housing.

Jefferson Federation of Teachers

Kiwanis Club, AFL-CIO, First Book and other community groups

JFT and community partners will work to increase literacy and improve nutrition through the distribution of free books and healthy food.

United Teachers of Dade

Florida Rising, Equality Florida, PS305, Power U and other groups

UTD will develop and expand teacher, parent and student leadership to advocate for equitable school funding, protections for LGBTQIA+ students and educators, and resistance to book-banning efforts.

Arizona Federation of Teachers


The Arizona Federation of Teachers will work with partners in immigrant and Latinx communities to increase culturally relevant books and curricula in classrooms. Together, they will push back against the privatization of public education through vouchers and charters schools.

Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers

Garcia Arts and Education Center, Texas Human Rights, Transgender Alliance, NAACP and other organizations

Corpus Christi AFT and local partners will work to protect the teaching of honest history and availability of all books and expand the programs available for migrant and bilingual students.

Houston Educational Support Personnel

Urban League, Legends and Legacies Houston, Sunnyside Housing Development Network and other community organizations

Houston paraprofessionals and allies will recruit, train and support new leaders to improve neighborhoods where public school staff and families live and work by expanding the availability of healthy food, increasing access to elected leaders, and boosting the voices of parents and grandparents on issues of concern.

Houston Federation of Teachers

Community Voices for Public Education (a grassroots group that has been building a strong in-person and online base of parents and community members)

Houston teachers, parents and community members will fight back against the current state takeover and organize on issues of common concern, including reducing reliance on standardized testing, supporting curricula that teaches honest history, and winning equitable school funding.

AFT Tulsa Local 6049


AFT Tulsa Local 6049 and its partners will organize to maintain local control over the district and to expand the teaching of honest history.

Socorro AFT, Local 6427


Socorro AFT will work with parents, students and member leaders in order to increase the availability of books, healthy food, and affordable and stable housing for public school families and staff.

Aldine AFT, Local 6345


Aldine AFT and partners will push for competitive wages to attract and retain employees. Together, they will also address the gap in literacy skills of students in coordinated and creative ways.

McAllen AFT, Local 6329

La Unión del Pueblo Entero, Boys & Girls Club and other local groups

McAllen AFT will expand its community-union table; engage students, parents and other stakeholders to identify issues of common concern; and build a citywide education justice platform.

San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, Local 67

Our Schools Coalition (including MOVE Texas, Esperanza Center, Texas AFL-CIO and other groups)

The San Antonio Alliance will grow the number and talent of educators, parents, students and community members who organize for education equity, in order to win full funding for schools and increase parent voice on key decision-making bodies.

Texas AFT


Statewide political work

AFT Washington

Alliance for a Just Society (anchor partner) and additional student, immigrant and labor organizations

AFT WA and coalition partners will organize for improved faculty pay equity, expanding financial aid for undocumented students, and access to affordable housing and child care for all students and faculty.

Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, Local 1936


PVFT and partners will organize to improve health equity and climate resilience for vulnerable populations, including thousands of Spanish- and Mixteco-speaking farmworkers and their families who remain most at risk of adverse health outcomes from climate impacts.

United Teachers Los Angeles, Local 1021

Reclaim Our Schools LA (anchor parent-community organization), Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Students Deserve and other groups

UTLA will strengthen relationships between parents and educators to implement its post-pandemic Beyond Recovery platform, including fully staffed classrooms, equitable access to technology and green, healthy, safe school facilities.

Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers, Local 1020


SVFT and partners will work to expand the teaching of honest history and supports offered to students of color and LGBTQIA+ students.

United Educators of San Francisco, Local 61

Close the Gap (a community coalition of strong parent-engagement groups like Coleman Advocates, Faith in Action, Chinese Progressive Association and more)

UESF will expand its base of parent, student and member leaders in order to increase the number and diversity of voices advocating and organizing for public education and common-good issues, such as affordable and stable housing for public school families and staff.