CZI Supports Racial Diversity in Education to Improve Outcomes for All Students

2021 | Photograph by pixelfit via Getty Images

Bolstered by continued research showing the positive impact of a racially and culturally diverse educator workforce on student learning, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative today announced another series of grants to expand the pipeline of diverse teachers, administrators, and education leaders nationwide. Totaling more than $9 million, these grants support organizations with bold initiatives to ensure that educators at all levels reflect the communities they serve.

“A diverse teacher workforce not only fosters affirming spaces for students of color, but helps prepare all students to thrive in an exponentially multicultural world,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “We can–and must–do more to ensure our classrooms reflect the world around us.”

growing body of research demonstrates that access to teachers and leaders of color benefits students from all backgrounds, with particular impact on students of color. For Black students, having a Black teacher is associated with a number of positive short- and long-term outcomes, including higher achievement, a greater chance of graduating from higher school, and higher college aspirations.

“Over the past two decades, the K-12 student population has become much more racially diverse, but that same trend in diversity is not reflected in teachers and school leaders,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, president and CEO of the Hunt Institute. “We are pleased to be a part of the innovative coalition that CZI is supporting to disrupt the inequity of underrepresentation in our schools,” continued Dr. Siddiqi. “Together, we can achieve our goal of increasing the number of teachers of color by one million by 2030.”

“Minority-serving institutions confer more than one-third of all undergraduate education degrees received by Black, Asian American, and American Indian/Alaskan Native students—and more than half of the education degrees received by Hispanic students,” said  Dr. Cassandra Herring, founder, president, and CEO of Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity. “This grant from CZI will help us build on this track record of excellence to ensure that more teachers of color reach the classroom prepared to help all students succeed.”

The grants announced today will support a variety of strategies to reduce barriers for historically excluded populations interested in the education workforce—from pre-service teacher education, to leadership development for education administrators and entrepreneurs, to training for school board members.

  • Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity will receive $2M to provide coaching and technical assistance to teacher education programs at minority-serving institutions that are training the next generation of teachers of color.
  • Equity Institute will receive $800K to work with schools, districts, and education organizations to design more diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environments.
  • The Highland Project will receive $900K to provide training and support for future leadership cohorts. The Highland Project is cultivating a pipeline of talented, skilled, and brilliant Black women who are leading the way in addressing the racial wealth gap and creating multi-generational change.
  • The Hunt Institute will receive $1.25M to support a campaign to add one million new teachers of color and increase the number of school leaders of color by 30,000 by 2030. The Hunt Institute will work with a broad coalition—including TNTP, The Education Trust, Men of Color in Education Leadership, New Leaders, and Teach Plus—to support policy change at the federal, state, and community level.
  • Innovation for Equity will receive $800K to support networking and collaboration between an accomplished group of  education leaders working to increase Black leadership across the education ecosystem and improve outcomes for Black learners of all ages.
  • The Liber Institute will receive $800K to support its mission to embolden and equip Indigenous young people, educators, and families to transform schools and the communities they serve.
  • Black Voices for Black Justice Fund will receive $175K to invest in Black leaders and Black-led organizations working to address structural and systemic racism in America.
  • California Teacher Residency Lab will receive $250K to support a community of practice composed of teacher residency programs dedicated to ensuring the success of preservice educators.
  • Digital Promise will receive $700K to develop teacher diversity recruitment and retention pilot programs in five regions using an Inclusive Innovation model, which draws on the expertise of community stakeholders, developers, and researchers to co-design solutions.
  • School Board Partners will receive $1.5M to connect, inspire, and support school board members and help them champion educational equity in their districts. SBP’s goal is to train 2,500 school board members across the U.S. over the next decade.

The grants build on CZI’s previous commitments to expand educator diversity, including $5.8 million to advance Black and Latino leadership in education in 2020 and nearly $7 million to improve equity in education in 2019.

CZI’s education work is focused on ensuring that every student can get an education that’s tailored to their individual needs and supports every aspect of their development. CZI envisions a country where racial and economic demographics are not predictive of student outcomes and every child enters adulthood with the knowledge, skills, habits and agency they need to realize their full potential. For more information about how CZI and our grant partners are supporting student well-being, visit


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit