August 2015

We’re Moving Forward: Transformational Grant for Edcamp

It’s not often that you get a single email that you think will change the course of an entire organization – and it’s even less often that you get one that actually does. In December of 2014, while on a business trip to California, Edcamp was contacted by Carina Wong, Deputy Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s College Ready initiative. She said that she leads a team that is focused on supporting teacher practice networks and that she had been following Edcamp and its growth. She was amazed at the work that we, the founders, – and the thousands of organizers – had done over the past 5 years, and she wanted to know more.

That was the beginning of the journey down a path of helping grow Edcamp from the grassroots volunteer organization that it has been since 2010, to the successful “start up” organization that is working with teachers in 25 countries to help design and grow participant-driven professional learning for educators.

Today we are thrilled to announce that the Edcamp Foundation has received a $2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the growth of our programs and to expand our reach.

With the help of this grant, Edcamp is now able to operate and scale as an organization, thereby providing the home-office support for more than 1000 organizers in the field. We are also now able to:
Establish the Edcamp Discovery Grant program with 115 grants to be given over the next year to teachers to implement new ideas in their classrooms.
Hold regional summits for Edcamp organizers to share best practices.
Provide funding for the Edcamp-in-a-Box program.

This grant, and what it will enable us to do, is a testament to the work of our organizers who have volunteered their time for years to enable us to come this far. It is also a testament to our participants who continue to inspire us with their questions and their conversations, session after session. Edcamp would not be who we are–and who we are going to be–without you.

Edcamp Around the World – Ukraine

On June 23-24, 2015, there will be the first ever Edcamp in Ukraine. Passionate educators who “care about the future of our children,” as Oleksandr Elkin, a lead organizer put it, have worked tirelessly to bring the Edcamp model of professional learning to their country. The goal is to “make the voice of every teacher heard,” (Maryna Pashchenko, lead organizer) all 150 of the educators who are coming from all around the country, including those who live in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea and Donbass region, to participate in these days of learning. They are coming from large cities and from small towns, with a wide range of educational experience to share with one another. The two days will include some more standard professional development, but then will host an Edcamp to provide a space for collaboration and learning together.

The initial idea for holding an Edcamp in Ukraine came from Oleksandr Elkin and Maryna Pashchenko of the Educational Producers. They reached out to the Edcamp Foundation and were given support as they developed their plans for the Edcamp portion of the day. They then successfully found support from a wide variety of sources, including Maryna Poroshenko, the First Lady of Ukraine. They also received a letter of support the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, signed by the deputy minister responsible for school education. They also gained support from the Embassy of the United States in Ukraine, from the Global Shapers Community, which is an initiative of the World Economic Forum, as well as from Microsoft, Google and Intel in Ukraine.

Listen to the goals of some of the organizers in Ukraine:

  • Olena Malakhova, Сoordination of volunteers, “We understand that stay put is a step backward”.
  • Kateryna Roshchyna, Fundraising genius, “We want to restore the prestige of the teacher profession.”
  • Alina Opanasenko, Powerful PR and promotion, “We are convinced that the teachers are the best agents to promote changes in schools”.
  • Good luck in hosting an incredible Edcamp! We look forward to following this new Edcamp, as it brings new empowerment and community to the teachers in Ukraine.