Sukal-Moulton - Seed Funding to Address the Research Agenda of the Chicago Public Schools

Project: Research project

Project Details


With $245,000 in initial seeding from the Spencer Foundation, the Crown Family Foundation, the
Steans Family Foundation, the Chicago Public Education Fund, and an anonymous donor, the School
of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University in partnership with Chicago Public
Schools (CPS), established the Rapid Impact Grant Program. The goal of this program is to facilitate
the acceleration of Northwestern researchers’ studying first-order CPS research questions, with
actionable results, that can be addressed with small grant funding and a 12 to 18-month timeline. The
Rapid Impact Grant program is a unique and unprecedented program: it seeks to align and match
school district and researcher objectives for mutualistic collaboration and provide the needed funding
to get a research-practice project off the ground.
To implement the program, SESP’s Office of Community Education Partnerships (OCEP) and CPS’s
Department of School Quality Measurement and Research (SQMR) developed a request for proposals
process that included establishing guidelines, timelines, review criteria, IRB steps, and other interinstitutional
processes, for selecting, funding and administering the Rapid Impact Grant Program. The
RFP for round one of the program was issued on August 18, 2018 and yielded four fully funded
projects. The RFP for round two was just launched on January 18 (see attached).
This proposal is a request for an additional $75,000 in seed funding from the Spencer Foundation to
partially support the Rapid Impact Grant Program’s next round. This funding will allow us to fund at
least two additional projects, depending on proposals received, project budgets, and feedback from
Budget Narrative
Because we do not know which small grants will be funded, we do not know exactly how the funds will
be spent. However, we expect that the budget will be expended in the following ways:
(1) Faculty salary and benefits: Faculty members may seek to buy out a portion of a class, or pay
for a portion of summer salary with these funds;
(2) Research assistance: Researchers may seek to hire graduate or undergraduate research
assistants, or programmers/coders, with these funds;
(3) Miscellaneous: Researchers may seek funds for study participant payments, travel, materials,
We will develop a more detailed budget once we know the specific research projects to be supported.
One hundred percent of the philanthropic funds raised for the Rapid Impact Grant program directly
support research. SESP pays all administrative, management, and data management expenses for the
program out of its own budget in order to maximize the impact of foundation support.
The overarching goal of the Rapid Impact Grant program is to connect CPS with as many
Northwestern scholars as possible, so that CPS and Northwestern scholars develop deep and
mutualistic partnerships that are highly valuable to and have positive impact on CPS priorities. Our
further aspiration is that this will be a model for other university-school district partnerships in Chicago
and around the country and provide additional strategies and promising practices for research-practice
Effective start/end date6/1/198/31/21


  • Spencer Foundation (202000023)


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