Nielsen Foundation commits $375,000 to Teach For America to support the next generation of equity-oriented education leaders

The Nielsen Foundation will dedicate $375,000 over the next three years to advance the recruitment of equity-oriented, talented leaders from diverse backgrounds to teach in low-income public schools across the United States.  

Through Teach for America (TFA), grant funds will be used to identify diverse education leaders using a new teacher admissions model. TFA finds and nurtures leaders who commit to expanding opportunity for low-income students, beginning with at least two years teaching in a public school. TFA is one of the largest and most diverse sources of teacher recruitment in the United States— an urgent and important effort given the growing body of research showing that students, especially those of color, benefit from having teachers who share their identity.*

“Teach For America’s new admissions model was built with student impact, continuous learning, and equity as its foundations,” said Sean Waldheim, Senior Vice President of Admissions at Teach For America. “With the support of the Nielsen Foundation, we will be able to accelerate the process by which we iterate and improve the model, ensuring that we identify diverse, equity-oriented leaders who are committed to expanding opportunity for students from low-income communities.”

Over thirty years, TFA has identified the skills, experiences and values—beyond what is typically listed on a resume—that can lead a teacher to have a positive influence on students. To better account for these factors, TFA will launch, refine and assess the effectiveness of a more holistic teacher admissions model with support from the Nielsen Foundation.

“The power of truly great teachers on the lives of their students can be exponential,” said Andrea Bertels, President and Executive Director, Grantmaking, Nielsen Foundation. “The Nielsen Foundation is excited to support TFA’s critically important evolution to their admissions model, to maximize teachers’ chances to succeed and inspire their students to continue to pursue high-quality educational opportunities.”

The Nielsen Foundation envisions a more equitable world where everyone counts and everyone has opportunities to succeed. Its mission is to support organizations that give voice and opportunities to historically under-represented groups and communities. Grants from the Nielsen Foundation encourage educational access and persistence, promote economic mobility and well-being, and advance representation in media and technology.    

* For examples, refer to Brookings: “The importance of a diverse teaching force” and the Learning Policy Institute: “Diversifying the Teaching Profession: How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color”.