Joyce Foundation: Education & Economic Mobility Grants

Joyce Foundation

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Next deadline: Aug 2, 2023 (Full proposal)

Later deadlines: Dec 1, 2023 (Full proposal), Apr 5, 2024 (Full proposal)

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Economic Rights & Justice Teacher Development & Training Educational Access & Equity Education System Policy & Reform

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Project / Program

Location of project: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio Show all

Location of residency: United States

990 Snapshot



NOTE: The Joyce Foundation accepts grant inquiries online throughout the year. Proposals are considered at meetings of the Foundation’s Board of Directors in April, July, and December. Applicants are strongly encouraged to plan their application and proposal submission process for the April or July meetings, since most grant funds will be distributed at those times.


Through its grantmaking and other policy-focused efforts, the Foundation seeks to:

  • Racial Equity: Incorporate the voices of, and achieve more equitable outcomes for, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities in the Great Lakes region.
  • Economic Mobility: Improve the ability of individuals in the Great Lakes region to move up the economic ladder within a lifetime or from one generation to the next.
  • Next Generation: Incorporate the voices of, and improve outcomes for, the next generation of Great Lakes residents, defined as young people born after 2000.

Education & Economic Mobility Grants

The Education & Economic Mobility Program, through the focus areas below, works to increase the number of historically underserved young people who move up the economic ladder by ensuring equitable access to high-quality education and jobs. We invest in local, state and federal policies that ensure historically underserved young people have effective educators, graduate high school with academic and career momentum, and attain college credentials with economic value. We also support policies that help ensure low-wage workers achieve economic stability, dignity, and mobility. In the short term, we will invest in research, policy development, and advocacy to help the education systems recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective Educators

Advance federal, state and district policies to ensure historically underserved students in the Great Lakes region have highly effective, diverse teachers and principals. Efforts include research, policy development, advocacy, and technical assistance to reform teacher preparation, diversify the educator pipeline, build strong pathways from high school into teaching, and overhaul school staffing models to support principals and spread the reach of great teachers. Our investments here are focused on Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota and on national efforts.

College and Career Readiness

Support federal, state and school district policies that ensure historically underserved young people in the Great Lakes region graduate high school ready for college and career success. Efforts include research, policy development, and advocacy to reform dual-credit and remediation policies, expand access to quality work-based learning opportunities, and align K-12, post-secondary and workforce systems.

Post-Secondary Success

Support federal and state policies to close race- and family income-based gaps in college attainment. Efforts include scaling up proven student support models to improve community college outcomes; preserving access for students of color and rural students to affordable, high- quality public college options and to labor markets that require college degrees; seeking racial and family income representativeness at selective public universities; and supporting advocacy, litigation, and policy development to narrow gaps in post-graduate financial outcomes for students of color and low-income students.

Future of Work

Support state and federal policies to help low-wage workers achieve greater economic stability, dignity, and mobility, with a special focus on technology’s role in the workplace and labor market. Specifically, we will support state policy to ensure employees can access public benefits, refundable tax credit policies, and nascent policy development on issues of technology and the labor market.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • We generally make grants only to nonprofit organizations.
    • However, we occasionally fund government initiatives that promise to lead to school district/statewide system or policy changes.
  • The Foundation funds efforts to address state and local public policy in the Great Lakes region, which we define as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin; and national public policy designed to have impact on these Great Lakes states.
    • In the K-12 portfolio, we focus mainly on Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota at the state level.
    • At the district level, we focus on Chicago, Indianapolis and Minneapolis.
    • We also fund limited college and career readiness work in Ohio.
    • In the post-secondary success portfolio, we focus on Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan, but will consider select grants in Wisconsin.
  •  In general, our investments are focused along the Joyce grant making continuum, strongly emphasizing research, policy development, advocacy and policy implementation. 
    • The Foundation seeks through its grantmaking to improve public policy in, and for the benefit of residents in, the Great Lakes region. 
      • Those efforts include:
        • research and analysis;
        • policy development;
        • communications, media outreach and public engagement strategy;
        • policy advocacy;
        • coalition and constituency building and grass-roots organizing;
        • implementation and enforcement; and
        • evaluation.


  • We strongly encourage and prefer funding requests that articulate the advancement of one or more of the goals in the About section.


  • The Foundation does not fund:
    • Capital proposals
    • Endowment campaigns
    • Direct service programs
    • Commercial ventures
    • Religious activities
    • Scholarships.
  • Topics that fall outside our priorities include:
    • Pre-K programs aimed at children birth to five.
      • Our education grant making is focused on policies in the kindergarten through post-secondary space;
    • Scholarships, school voucher programs, and similar programs that primarily benefit individuals.
      • Our focus is on district, state, and federal policy and system change;
    • Capital campaigns directed at improving public schools; and
    • Job training programs.
      • We do not focus investments on efforts to promote employment without some connection to post-secondary education and training.
  • Federal tax law prohibits private foundations from funding lobbying activities.
    • As mentioned above, the Foundation may support organizations engaged in public policy advocacy by, for example, providing general operating support or funding educational advocacy such as nonpartisan research, technical assistance, or examinations of broad social issues.
    • To ensure compliance with federal tax laws, we encourage grant applicants to describe the nature of advocacy activities in their grant applications and reports.


This page was last reviewed May 28, 2023 and last updated February 08, 2023