Program Details

Fund Status
2014 Grant Process Timeline
Current Fund Focus
Applicant Eligibility
Applicant Categories
Funding Criteria
Grant Review and Selection Process

Fund Status

The 2014 CEPF LOI deadline has passed.  Select organizations have been invited to submit full proposals.  Awardees will be announced in early August.   

To date, CEPF has funded three cohorts of grantees bringing the total number of CEPF grantees to 21 and the total amount of CEPF grants to over $9 million. To learn about all three cohorts of grantees, please visit the Current Grantees page.

2014 Grant Process Timeline


Process Step

Wednesday, May 14, 3pm PT 

Informational webinar for those interested in submitting an LOI

Friday, May 23, 5pm PT

Deadline for LOI submission

Tuesday, June 10

Organizations notified of whether or not  they are invited to submit full applications

Tuesday, July 8, 5pm PT

Deadline for application submissions

Week of August 4

Applicants are notified of whether or not they received grant awards


Current Fund Focus

Based on recent advances in statewide education policy, in 2014, CEPF expects to broaden its focus to more heavily emphasize local policy implementation, especially as it advances Deeper Learning. The Common Core State Standards—adopted by California and 44 states and the District of Columbia—and the aligned assessments produced by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) provide a strong foundation for coordination of California’s K-12 system with Deeper Learning goals. Along with the adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula, associated accountability systems and new supports to educators, these reforms can begin to strengthen the college- and career-readiness of California students.

Further, California has joined the national Innovation Lab Network (ILN). Hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the ILN began in 2010 with an ambitious mission: each student in the U.S. will be ready for college and career upon graduation from high school. Today, nine member states, with more than 20 million total students, are pursuing policy and practice reforms that advance Deeper Learning through reform in state goals, assessments, accountability systems and more.

Historically CEPF has supported organizations focused on: (1) advancing policy and practice reform to promote Deeper Learning in schools to prepare students for college and career and (2) supporting a broad, balanced ecosystem of nonprofit organizations working to improve the conditions for education policymaking in the state of California.  CEPF grantees have contributed greatly to many of the exciting statewide policy changes now impacting the education system.  

Deeper Learning
In almost every aspect of their lives, California’s young people today are being asked to learn more, process more, and produce more. Deeper Learning refers to the set of competencies that students need to succeed in college, career and civic life. These higher-order skills include:

While they have long been essential for educational and career success, today these skills are even more necessary with the rising demands of global commerce, politics, and technology. Moreover, the opportunity to advance Deeper Learning has never been greater than with the advent of the new Common Core State Standards which call for this set of higher order thinking skills and knowledge.

For more information on Deeper Learning, click here.

Applicant Eligibility

CEPF applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Applicant(s) must be defined as nonprofit Section 501(c)(3) public charities or tax-exempt academic institutions. Non-501(c)(3) organizations conducting charitable work may be considered on an exceptional basis.
  • Organizations must be focused on K-12 education policy issues and/or K-12/community college education alignment issues that support Deeper Learning.
  • Applicants must have one or more of the following attributes:
    • A total or substantial focus on California education policy implementation and/or policy reform
    • Expertise in California education policy implementation and/or policy reform
    • A significant track record of substantial impact on education policy implementation and/or policy reform
    • Well-developed plans to reform statewide education policies or support implementation of education policies
  • Organizations must be experienced in one or more of the following areas related to education: advocacy, research, policy implementation, local governance, community organizing, regulatory rulemaking, communications, litigation, or data/policy analysis.
  • Applicants are expected to apply independently. However, grantees will be expected to collaborate on shared project goals where possible.

If selected, grantees must be able to provide annual reporting.  Grantees will also be required to send a leadership team member to participate in three one-day grantee meetings, a multi-day site visit, an annual Deeper Learning national convening as well as participating in CEPF evaluation efforts.

Applicant Categories

Applicants must fall into one of the below categories:

  • Organizations that are not currently CEPF grantees may apply for up to $200,000 per year, for up to three years. 
  • Cohort 1 CEPF grantees (originally funded in 2011) that received their final grant payments in 2013 may apply for up to $200,000 per year, for up to three years.
  • Cohort 2 CEPF grantees (originally funded in 2012) that have not received supplemental funding may apply for up to $50,000 as an addition to their final year of current funding. In addition, they can also apply for up to $200,000 per year for up to two additional years.

Funding Criteria

Organizations will be reviewed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the applicant organization has the potential to address and impact Deeper Learning education reform policy implementation and/or policy reform at the local and state levels in California.
  • Grantees should advance one or more of five key policy goals:
    • Defining and systematizing college and career readiness and the Deeper Learning skills required, as the state’s K-12 education system goal;
    • Promoting educational equity to ensure Deeper Learning for all students;
    • Establishing comprehensive assessment systems to measure college and career readiness, including Deeper Learning education outcomes and implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests;
    • Anchoring the multiple state accountability systems with college and career readiness indicators; and,
    • Developing seamless pathways between K-12 and postsecondary systems around implementation of the Common Core and aligned assessments (SBAC).
  • The approach employed by the organization and how it fits with best practices for stated needs and outcomes.
  • The extent to which the organization has a history of collaboration and is willing to work with other CEPF grantee organizations, schools, districts and community groups to advance policy and policy implementation that supports Deeper Learning strategies.
  • The extent to which the organization has expertise in advocacy, including grassroots organizing, communications, and providing technical feedback; or policy implementation, including regulatory rule-making, developing strategic plans for school sites or districts, coalition building, and translating state policy into operational guidelines for local entities.
  • A strong strategic plan for future work, supported by a well-reasoned, evidence-based theory of change and clear measurable indicators of progress.
  • The extent to which the proposed work takes advantage of current federal, state, and local policy and legislative conditions and the state of public will.
  • The extent to which collaboration with, or accessing other, community resources and stakeholders has been incorporated into the organization’s plans to enhance internal skills, knowledge, reach or impact.
  • Evidence that the applicant organization is well managed, fiscally responsible, and able to comply with all grant and ethical requirements.

Grant Review & Selection Process

RPA, in partnership with Capitol Impact, reviews all LOIs. Organizations that submit the most compelling statements are invited to submit full applications. All organizations that submit proposals are notified of whether or not they are awarded CEPF funds.

Full proposals are subject to a transparent, objective review based on the merits of the organization and the quality of its application by an independent Grant Award Advisory Committee. The Grant Award Advisory Committee consists of well-respected individuals with deep knowledge and experience in California education policy issues and the deeper learning landscape. The Grant Award Advisory Committee makes recommendations for funding to RPA, who is responsible for all final grant funding decisions as the fiscal sponsor of CEPF.