A Bold Initiative to Develop Breakthrough Solutions in Executive Function and Math

In 2018, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) began jointly exploring whether breakthrough education solutions can be developed through an accelerated discovery and development effort. It began with a Request for Information.

We received 465 responses from 37 states as well as internationally. Twenty percent (20%) of the responses came from organizations that are owned or led by people of color. Concepts were bold, inspirational and inclusive.

For further background reading on this effort, please consult this detailed overview of the RFI, and this synthesis report sharing what we learned

These ideas prompted both philanthropies to imagine the potential of using an inclusive discovery and development approach that places educators at the center. What if educators, researchers and developers could co-design and then rapidly iterate on solutions together?

We then asked nearly 1,000 educators what they need to be successful. We heard that they are eager to play a role in designing solutions that work for students across many classroom contexts.   

The educators proposed working in teams that would produce models, practices, tools and other resources designed to achieve specific, measurable, and equitable improvements in student outcomes (both academic and non-academic) across a range of education contexts.

This work culminated in a total commitment of $50 million over five years, funded in equal parts by both philanthropies, to support the EF+Math Program. The EF+Math Program is a bold initiative to fund approaches through inclusive discovery and development that will dramatically increase positive math outcomes for students in grades 3-8, with a particular focus on students who have been traditionally underserved.

This program is equity-focused, research-informed and designed with educators at the center.