In April 2020, the Innovation Fund Foundation (IFF) and the Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GFPE) announced the COVID-19 Response Fund grant awards. The application window was 15 days long, and invited traditional public schools, charter schools, and school districts around Georgia to submit program ideas for funding of initiatives designed to mitigate the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The areas of funding priority included: distance/remote learning support, initiatives in support of at-risk student populations (including mental health), and initiatives to support supplemental learning.

Eight hundred and ninety grant applications were received, totaling approximately $8.6 million in necessary funds to implement these initiatives.

On May 18, 11 grant applications were approved totaling $100,000. Since that time, the IFF and the GFPE have been partnering with private foundations around the state to secure additional funding for some of the remaining unfunded applications.

The next round of funding in the amount of $131,940 is made possible by donations from the R. Howard Dobbs Foundation, NCR Foundation, Rotary Club of Brookhaven, and the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation. These donations will specifically enable additional school/district program initiatives designed to mitigate the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 800 grant application submissions are still unfunded. Companies, civic organizations or foundations interested in supporting this effort should contact Paige Pushkin, Executive Director of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education. (


COVID-19 Response Fund Grantors & Grant Winners (Second Funding Round)


R. Howard Dobbs Foundation – Cobb County School District
$50,000 for Mental Health Services/Professional Learning

Cobb County School District will offer training for Youth Mental Health First Aid across the district to mitigate stress and other mental health issues associated with the pandemic. The training with allow more faculty and staff to recognize the signs of mental health crises, as well as provide students and families with appropriate coping mechanisms.

R. Howard Dobbs Foundation – DeKalb County School District
$16,940.00 for Mental Health Services/Professional Learning

DeKalb County School District will use grant funds to provide teachers with virtual and, when possible, face-to-face professional learning in Trauma Informed Care, Restorative Practices, Behavior Management, and Discipline Procedures to address the long-term mental health impacts of the pandemic. Additionally, the district will purchase the data entry and tracking application, SWIS CICO, to monitor the progress of students identified in Tier 2 of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), allowing school staff to foster a compassionate, relationship-centered culture with positive behavioral expectations and supports.

NCR Foundation - Cascade Elementary School of Atlanta Public Schools
$10,000.00 for Supplemental Learning

Cascade Elementary School would like to maximize instructional time lost during the pandemic by offering extended day learning opportunities to ensure that students meet the expected requirements 
during the 2020-2021 academic school year. The school will use funds to provide stipends to teachers participating in the extended day learning. The school will partner with Atlanta Public Schools to provide additional services, such as extended day meals and transportation.

NCR Foundation – Heritage Academy Elementary School of Atlanta Public Schools:
$10,000.00 for At-Risk Student Populations

Special education progress monitoring – required by law to track student goals and outcomes – has become a challenge for teachers because of the pandemic. Heritage Academy Elementary School will 
use grant funds to purchase EasyCBM and MobyMax, online data-collection and progress-monitoring tools that standardize these processes for special education faculty. The school currently collects 
all data by hand, which is hard to do with distance learning. Because the school creates or finds its own paper probes to measure data from students in person, and data can be subjective or skewed 
due to a non-universal or standardized grading system. In addition, students need daily technology access to the curriculum, but do not always have laptops/I-Pads due to technology shortages.

NCR Foundation – Morehouse School of Medicine
$10,000.00 for Supplemental Learning/Distance Learning

For over 20 years, the Morehouse School of Medicine STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Academy has provided top-rated medical, biomedical science, and health care educational 
experiences for over 3,000 minority students interested in careers in the STEAM fields. To continue student participation in the STEAM Academy amid the pandemic, Morehouse School of Medicine will use 
grant funds to purchase distance/remote learning resources such as app development software, virtual field trips, online learning tools and technology.

NCR Foundation – West Bainbridge Elementary School of Decatur County Schools
$10,000.00 for Distance Learning

West Bainbridge Elementary, a rural school in southwest Georgia, will provide devices and connectivity to students to support distance learning. The district’s ultimate goal is to move toward a one device to one student model. Located in one of the hardest hit areas during the COVID-19 health crisis, the model would help curb the spread of the disease as the school year begins.

Rotary Club of Brookhaven – Cross Keys High School of DeKalb County School District
$10,000.00 for Mental Health Services/At-Risk Student Populations

Cross Keys High School (CKHS) will provide wraparound services to address the long-term mental health impacts of the pandemic. Specifically, CKHS will partner with CHRIS 180 and Georgia Hope to 
offer mental health and behavioral support services to students in ninth through twelfth grades in the 2020-2021 school year.

Jesse Parker Williams Foundation – Cobb County School District
$5,000.00 for Mental Health Services/Professional Learning

Cobb County School District will offer training for Youth Mental Health First Aid across the district to mitigate stress and other mental health issues associated with the pandemic. In addition, the district will purchase play and art therapy items to use during therapy sessions with kindergarten through twelfth grade students.

Jesse Parker Williams Foundation – Kingsley Elementary School (DeKalb County)
$10,000.00 for Mental Health

Kingsley Elementary School will use the grant fund to create a positive mental health-centered program. The school will partner with Crunch Fitness, R-Swag Fitness, and the Wellness Room to offer Wellness Wednesdays, social-emotional training to teachers and staff, mental health coaching, and a Wellness Space for staff and students to reflect. The program will serve all pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students, as well as all school faculty and staff.

May 18 – First Round Funding Awards Announcement


Meghan Frick
Georgia Department of Education (GFPE)

Malenka Warner
Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (IFF)