Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge

"Seeding the field of early education with new ideas, fresh thinking, and strategic approaches that have the potential for widespread and sustainable impact for children.


Why an innovation challenge now?

We are at a pivotal moment for early education: there is tremendous interest and excitement along with expansion in access in many cities and towns across the nation. Today, only two in ten children are exposed to a high-quality early education experience, despite decades of research demonstrating that it is high-quality experiences that drive sustainable outcomes for children and families. Now is the time for creative, collaborative solutions that will increase early education opportunities and positive outcomes for all children.

What is the Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge?

The Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge will provide funding to recognize promising new ideas that have the potential to transform early education. We are seeking ideas and approaches that promote positive outcomes at multiple levels of the early education system, including the home, classroom, program and networks, and/or policy.

To support innovation of all kinds, there are three tracks:

The Idea Track

If you have a new idea or concept in mind, but have not yet put it into action or raised funding for it, the Idea Track is for you.

The Pilot Track

If you have developed or released your proposed idea or approach as a prototype, the Pilot Track is for you. Please note that no applicant or team should have raised more than $50,000 in funding for their approach.

The Scaling Track

If you have a product or service that has been launched, and are at a point where further sharpening and refining is needed to support scaling, the Scaling Track is for you. 

3 Track Icons Cropped

What do Challenge finalists receive?

Challenge finalists will receive feedback on their proposal. A small group of finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). After final pitches, our judges will select from each track 1st place, 2nd place, and Audience Choice to receive Challenge funding.
Funding recipients will receive:
  • Idea Track: $10,000 for 1st Place; $5,000 for 2nd Place; $1,000 for Audience Choice
  • Pilot Track: $15,000 for 1st Place; $10,000 for 2nd Place; $5,000 for Audience Choice
  • Scaling Track: $15,000 for 1st Place; $10,000 for 2nd Place; $5,000 for Audience Choice

For details on the Challenge, visit the following pages.

Stay Tuned

We are no longer accepting applications for the Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge.

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