Communities Organizing for Racial Equity in Education (CORE) Collective
Request for Applications to Join Ed Trust–West’s CORE Collective

What is the Communities Organizing for Racial Equity in Education (CORE) Collective?

Since 2016, The Education Trust—West has channeled over $1,000,000 to and partnered with 15 non-profit organizations in working toward education equity and achieved wins helping to increase outcomes for students of color. In 2023, we plan to re-launch this program with a renewed focus on racial equity, collaborative capacity-building, educational advocacy, resource sharing, and power-building.

The Education Trust—West is seeking applications from organizations that are interested in participating in a two-year subgrant program designed for grassroots organizations that serve and empower students, parents, families, and communities most affected by racialized opportunity and investment gaps in California’s education systems, spanning early learning and care, K-12 education, and higher education.

We have four goals for the CORE Collective Program:

  1. Strengthen and improve CA’s educational equity ecosystem
  2. Support power- and capacity-building activities and collaboration
  3. Direct resources to emergent BIPOC-led & -serving grassroots CBOs
  4. Advocate to achieve racially equitable systems change at state and local levels

If you are a leader at an interested organization, please submit an eligibility quiz, which will lead you to the application documents. Please also review our Frequently Asked Questions section.

We are looking for partnerships among organizations that:

Are emergent: We seek applications from small to moderate scale organizations that are in the process of coming into being or becoming prominent in their respective communities on issues of racial equity in education. We also view emergent in alignment with adrienne marie brown’s definition of Emergent Strategy, “how we intentionally change in ways that grow our capacity to embody the just and liberated worlds we long for.” We seek shared values of collaboration, embracing change, and willingness to let go of the status quo in pursuit of racial equity in education.

Are BIPOC-led: Ed Trust—West’s commitment to racial equity means we focus on addressing issues that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in California’s education systems. We seek to fund organizations where at least 50% of leadership (including the board of directors and executive team) and staff identify as BIPOC. 

Are BIPOC-serving: We seek to fund organizations with a mission statement and programming that prioritize and primarily serve BIPOC communities. 

Are non-profit organizations: Eligible organizations may be an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We encourage organizations of all sizes to apply. However, organizations must already be in place and not be created for the purpose of applying for this grant opportunity.

Work at the local level (i.e., neighborhood, town, or county) in California: We are particularly interested in organizations that work in the cities around our three California offices (our home office of Oakland, Los Angeles, and Sacramento). In addition, we are eager to review applications from organizations that work in the service of BIPOC students and communities across the state. 

Are racial equity-focused educational advocates: We seek applications from organizations that have demonstrated interest in racial equity and advocacy in education. 

This two-year, subgrant program is intended to provide a network for racial equity champions in education from around the state to come together, share resources, build power, and expand their systems and policy change work. In addition, we aim to build a reciprocal relationship with CORE Collective members, and hope that our partners will influence and contribute to the development of Ed Trust—West’s state-wide research, policy, and advocacy agenda.

We are looking to fund and support organizations developing or engaging in campaigns that meaningfully advance racial equity in educational opportunities, resources, experiences, and outcomes for BIPOC students. We are particularly interested in collaborating with organizations that are interested in developing or have already developed an advocacy campaign that intersects with our organizational policy agenda, Moving Forward Together: A Policy Agenda for Racial Equity in California Education Systems in 2023.

For example, this could include an organization that has launched an effort to increase funding for preschool educators, one that wants to promote more inclusive ways to teach math and science, or a group that is interested in ensuring that BIPOC students have equitable access to dual enrollment (community college) courses while in high school.

Participants will come together on a regular basis to share and grow their learnings, further their networks, seek support and thought partnership from other members of the CORE Collective, and will have direct access to Ed Trust—West staff through research and policy consulting / support.

We ask grantees to commit to:

• Two years of participation, from Spring 2023 to Spring 2025, by a team that includes at least one consistent decision-making representative from each organization

• Attend an in-person Orientation (likely in Oakland)

• Attend at least one in-person convening with both active members of the CORE Collective and CORE Alumni (partner orgs. from the past Community Partners Program)

• Collaborate regularly with other members of the CORE Collective via virtual convenings, shared projects, and other types of engagement

• Propose one emergent educational equity campaign to work on through the CORE Collective (or one that you’re actively working on and plan to grow)

• Engage with Ed Trust—West staff on collaborative research, policy, and/or advocacy projects

• Host the Ed Trust—West Partnerships and Engagement Team staff for at least one site visit (ideally in-person but virtual is also welcome)

If you are interested in applying for the CORE Collective, please submit the eligibility quiz below. Upon submission, eligible organizations will receive a link to copy and download a fillable application template in Word document format and a budget proposal template in Excel format. The completed application and budget proposal template are due by February 3, 2023.

If you find it helpful, we encourage you to review the recording of a virtual information session for applicants here. Please click the time that you are available to register. The information session will be recorded and available to view at a later date.


Each organization selected to participate will receive between $35,000 – $45,000 per year for up to two years (a total of $70,000-$90,000 per organization) to support the launch or execution of a campaign.

Grantees may use these funds to support endeavors such as:

• Power-building strategies and alliance / coalition-building;

• Community organizing, movement building, and narrative change;

• Efforts to strengthen existing or launch new advocacy campaigns;

• Program planning or implementation;

• Community, youth, and educator / admin engagement;

• Data-mapping, research, and policy analysis support;

• Professional and leadership development.

The CORE Collective application comprises five sections and a separate budget proposal. The sections of the application include 1) Instructions, 2) Basic Information, 3) Who You Serve / Are the Beneficiaries of Your Organization’s Work, 4) Who Leads Your Organization, and 5) Application Questions and Responses. To preview the application, please CLICK HERE. 

As part of the application, we request a project budget outlining, at a general level, how your organization will allocate the funds available for participation in the CORE Collective (a range of $35K- $45K for up to two years) and how your organization will use these funds to fuel your organization’s proposed educational equity campaign. This budget should be in Excel format. You may use an existing template or use the included CORE Budget Template. (Note: when you click this link, it creates an Excel spreadsheet copy in your personal Google Drive account). Detailed line-item instructions are included in the template beginning at row 33 of the spreadsheet. If you are using an existing template, please make it clear how subgrant funds from the Education Trust–West will be used.

Please follow the instructions below to submit the CORE Collective Application and Budget Proposal.

Application Submission Instructions

1. Download a copy of the CORE Collective Application Template using this link.
2. Follow the instructions on the document to complete the application.
3. Save your completed CORE Collective Application as a Word document.

Budget Proposal Submission Instructions

1. Download a copy of the CORE Budget Template using this link.
2. Follow the instructions to complete the budget proposal.
3. Save your completed CORE Budget Template as an Excel document.

Submit both documents as attachments to the submission portal by February 3, 2023.

Please review this list of Frequently Asked Questions about applying for the program. Please note that the deadline for completed applications has been extended to February 3, 2023, from the original deadline of January 27, 2023.

Contact/More Information

For more information, please contact Lange Luntao, Director of External Relations, on the Partnerships and Engagement team at The Education Trust—West.