Obtaining funding for new initiatives, even one as important as RULER, can be daunting. The good news is that education funders (private foundations, community foundations, public charities, and individuals) report being increasingly committed to investing in SEL approaches and programming. The challenge is knowing where to look and how to apply for those funds. To help, we’ve put together some recommendations on various funding sources and how to secure their support.

Schools across the nation have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage federal funding to improve the health and well-being of their students. The purpose of this section is to offer information about these funds and suggest ways you might be able to access them to support RULER implementation at your school.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) has allocated $123 billion to states, 90% of which will be distributed directly to local school districts. (Here’s a state-by-state allocation and breakdown of how funds are to be used.) Moreover, under ARPA provisions, these are new dollars (an average of roughly $2,500 per student) and not simply a replacement for existing state and local funds.

Two-thirds of funds were allocated in March. The remaining third will be distributed upon completion and approval of each state’s ARPA plan. Here’s a table with links to the PDFs of plans that have been submitted. Many if not most or all of the plans include investment in programs, approaches, or initiatives that support support school communities in efforts to rebuild socially and emotionally from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re a teacher or staff member and you’re interested in RULER, please share this information with your principal. If you’re a principal, please share this with colleagues and the superintendent’s office. Please note that schools have an obligation to use the ARPA funds by September 30, 2024.

Investing in RULER

Schools are eligible to use their ARPA funding for RULER training and subscription packages. The RULER Training and Implementation Support Package ($6K-$8K depending on the number of people from your school who attend training) is a two-year package that includes training and everything preK-12 schools need to begin RULER implementation with fidelity. After your school’s RULER Training and Implementation Support Package expires, your school can continue your access to implementation supports with the annual RULER subscription ($1K each subsequent year after the 2-year training package).

If you have additional questions about RULER and leveraging federal funding, please email rulertraining@yale.edu.

Helpful Resources

  • The Three Highest Priority Investments to Make in SEL with American Rescue Plan Dollars (CASEL)
  • An Unparalleled Investment in U.S. Public Education: Analysis of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (The Learning Policy Institute)
  • Most opportunities for funding are local. For local funders, an initiative that supports positive school climate and promotes child wellbeing, like RULER, may be an attractive proposition. When exploring local opportunities, we recommend the following:
    • Search online for preK-12 education funders in your state or region.
    • Look for local or regional funder councils.
    • Explore community foundations. These sometimes house separate funds, which may have guidelines expansive enough to include SEL.
    • Consider local businesses. They may have general giving programs or might be willing to give specifically to school and youth programs.
    Once you have your list, review any online information including members of the organization, the issues they focus on, and any reports. After you have a list of names and contact information, reach out and start a conversation about RULER and your school.
    The best place to start looking into private external sources and public charities is with subscription databases like Candid. Nearby universities or other affiliated organizations can help you gain access if accessing these databases is cost prohibitive. When searching databases:
    • Use different subject and geographic search filters to narrow down the list of possible grantmakers.
    • Review their history of grants (pulled from their tax filings).
    • Check out their websites for more recent information
    • Find out who their board members and program officers are.
    • Identify similar or nearby education organizations and run a search for grants supporting them.
    • Look for school- or district-affiliated education foundations that can channel support.
    Crowdfunding is an innovative way to secure the funding needed to bring RULER to your school. DonorsChoose is a great option for teachers to secure the funding needed to get started with RULER. To learn more about DonorsChoose click here and to start a funding campaign click here.
    National funding opportunities are not as prevalent as local ones, but there are options. Notably, the NoVo Foundation has been issuing annual RFPs for a number of years for teachers/classrooms ($5,000) and schools/districts (up to $25,000) to support the acquisition of, and innovation in SEL training (https://novofoundation.org/advancing-social-and-emotional-learning/).

    Reach Out to RULER

    For more information, please email James Hagen or call 203-432-6802. We want to help!