Welcome to the Improvement Challenge 2024! 

Join us on a journey of improvement and innovation to create transformative outcomes in schools and communities. 


What Is The Improvement Challenge Opportunity?


For the second time, we’re hosting an Improvement Challenge, an opportunity for three organizations to receive $10,000 to $20,000 worth of consulting services generously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the help of a provider, you will be able to implement improvement practices to solve top-of-mind challenges and achieve better outcomes over time. Improvement practice is a strategic approach that involves identifying challenges, setting clear and measurable goals, and testing small and large-scale changes.


At Catalyst:Ed, we believe in the power of continuous improvement (CI) to create lasting change in your organization. Whether you're focused on academics, social-emotional learning, family and community engagement, or strengthening student agency practices, CI provides the rigor and structure needed for innovative thinking. It also creates a safe space to test new ideas, use data to guide the next steps, and openly discuss what's working and what's not. Check out these examples of organizations like yours working with providers to embed CI practices into their work. 

How the Improvement Challenge Works

  1. Explore the Learning Lab: Dive into the Learning Lab to discover resources, insights, and ideas that center improvement and will inspire your project.
  2. Complete the project listing form (below) by February 29: Share your vision and project details with us. This is your opportunity to showcase the innovative work you're doing or planning to do. 
  3. Look for an email by March 15: Keep an eye on your inbox! Three organizations will be invited to meet with Catalyst:Ed to kickstart the scoping and matching process.
  4. Catalyst:Ed announces grant winners in mid-April 2024: Learn how grant winners plan on using their $10,000 to $20,000 in consulting services with a provider from the Catalyst:Ed network. 


If you’re ready to apply, click here to go directly to the application! Be sure to check out our FAQs as you complete the application.

2022 Improvement Challenge Winners

Breakthrough Collaborative | Awarded $20,000

Breakthrough Collaborative selected a provider from the Catalyst:Ed network to develop a framework for their national program team to implement and facilitate continuous improvement strategies with 24 affiliates. The provider also developed a network initiation playbook outlining best practices as they launched communities of practice with their affiliates.


C.B. Community Schools | Awarded $16,500

C.B. Community Schools selected a provider from Catalyst:Ed’s vetted network to build a customized database that fit the needs of their students and staff on a daily basis. The result was an updated CB-Cares platform that now maintains SEL and academic data sets for teachers and leaders to access as they cultivate a data-driven, decision-making culture.


Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) | Awarded $16,500

GIPS worked with a provider from the Catalyst:Ed network to continue revamping their middle school approach. This included refining the purpose and commitments they make to their students, reshaping what students can expect out of their middle school experience, and creating a two-year plan to strengthen their course schedule and offerings. 


Who's Eligible


Education-focused nonprofits as well as publicly-funded schools and districts are eligible to participate. We prioritize those whose populations are greater than 50% Black, Latino, Indigenous, or other students of color, and/or greater than 50% economically disadvantaged. 


Organizations awarded the Networks for School Improvement (NSI) and Model Design and Initiation (MDI) grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation between 2018-2021, as well as those who received the Improvement Challenge 2022 consulting services are not eligible to participate in this opportunity.


Click here to check out our frequently asked questions or email us at [email protected], and we will get back to you within two business days.

Have more questions?

Check out our frequently asked questions or email us at [email protected]


*Only exceptions are organizations that have been awarded the Networks for School Improvement (NSI) and Model Design and Initiation (MDI) grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation between 2018-2021.