The U.S. Department of Education has announced that all forty-nine Investing in Innovation (i3) winners have secured the required 20 percent private-sector match and will receive their funding by the end of September.
Selected from a pool of nearly 1,700 applicants, the winners of the $650 million i3 program represent a cross-section of school districts and nonprofit education organizations, including institutions of higher education. Almost all the winning applicants secured their matches from multiple private-sector partners, including local, community, corporate, and national foundations; individuals; and a range of businesses and service providers. Meanwhile, more than half the winners received support from at least one member of the Foundation Registry i3, an Internet portal that enabled i3 organizations to apply for matching funds from more than fifty donors in a single step.
Part of the $10 billion in support for school reform included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, i3 supports organizations with demonstrated success in closing achievement gaps, improving student progress toward multi-subject proficiency, increasing graduation rates, and/or recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers and principals. The Obama administration has requested an additional $500 million in funding for the program in the coming fiscal year to give groups that were not selected or did not participate in this year's competition an opportunity to strengthen their programs and practices and build their evidence bases.
Commenting on the news, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "We couldn't have been more impressed by the way innovative programs and private sector partners came together to support the ideas and best practices that will help us take leaps forward in education."