30+ Funding Resources to Implement SEL

Newly Added Sources of Funding for Schools and Classrooms (*revised April 2021)

Kate Pereira
Classroom Champions


Why social and emotional wellness should continue be a focus this upcoming school year

Each year, 46 million children are exposed to violence, crime, abuse, homelessness or food insecurity (Jan 2020, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning)

In April of 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate hit the highest rate since the Great Depression with jobs vanishing due the worldwide pandemic. With an increased rate of stress, comes an increased rate of violence, crime and abuse. Now, a year later, there’s been a heavier focus put on social and emotional learning for students as they begin to return to schools. While school scenarios look different across the continent, it’s clear that students and educators are still breaking down the trauma walls that have been built up over the past year.

The effects of trauma can be mitigated when students learn in a positive school climate that offers long-term, secure relationships and that supports academic, physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.

- Jan 2020, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning

We know that teaching cannot happen without connection, and the pathway to that connection is implementing an SEL curriculum that takes into account relationships and the importance of them.

However, only 22% of educators feel they are very prepared to teach social and emotional learning in the classroom (Jan 2020 CASEL), which means more than ever, a focus on an SEL curriculum that involves training for staff is also essential.

A review from Columbia University in 2015 found that SEL programs have a 11:1 return investment. For every dollar spent on building social and emotional learning skills in youth, there is an $11 return.

So how can you ensure both your staff and your students are reaping the benefits of a dedicated SEL Curriculum? Here is a list of funding and resources that can help you moving forward:

Coronovirus Specific Funds dedicated to delivering social and emotional wellness:

  • American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) provides the largest amount of COVID-19 relief funding for education at $123 billion. The monies will flow through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. Districts must set aside 20% of these funds must be used to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ academic, social and emotional needs. Classroom Champions offers the SEL Foundations Curriculum and Mentorship+ which is a tailored way to address the needs of your students. Learn more here. You can also see the impact of our programming here.
  • Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CCRSA): The second round of COVID-19 relief funding that was passed at the end of 2020. ESSER II funds received $54.3 billion while GEER II funds received $4.1 billion. ESSER II funds can be used with authorized activities under ESEA, IDEA, AEFLA, Perkins and can be used to provide mental health services and supports. GEERS II funds can be used to entities that the Governor deems essential for providing social and emotional support.
  • CARES Act: This was the first round of COVID-19 relief funding that included funds for education. Learn how the CARES Act can work for your school. This includes the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) in which several states have already committed to using these funds to implement social and emotional programs. Find out more how the the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds which are directed to state education agencies can also help. Classroom Champions offers a free version of our social and emotional resources. You can check out more here.

Student Demographic Specific Funds:

  • McKinney-Vento Act EHCY Program- This program is for schools or districts to use these dollars to support mental health services, trauma informed practices with an SEL Focus. To learn more about how Classroom Champions worked with a homeless organization to implement SEL, reach out to us here.
  • IDEA Part B- Funds for supporting children with disabilities. Classroom Champions offers differentiation in all of their lesson plans.To try a unit for free, check us out here.

Federal Funding

The new package of funding was passed at the end of 2020 and it’s important to note that many of these received an increase in funding over the previous fiscal year.

  • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): For an even closer look at how ESSA covers SEL programs specifically, click here.
  • Title I: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged- These funds provide three opportunities to incorporate SEL into schools: through schoolwide assistance programs, targeted assistance programs and school support and improvement activities. These funds also include Part A- parent engagement activities. You can check out how Classroom Champions engages families here.
  • Title II: Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, or Other School Leaders- You may consider utilizing Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction which has funds to support their educators by building their capacity to provide instruction that promotes students’ social and emotional competencies. These funds can also be used for adult SEL to support educators own mental health and behavior management. Classroom Champions has a nine session professional growth series dedicated to improving SEL skills within educators.
  • Title IV-A- Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: These funds help students develop a well rounded education, safe and healthy students and technology. Through building social and emotional skills, you’re ensuring a safe and healthy environment for your students. Classroom Champions has eight units dedicated to building these skills. Check out the scope and sequence here.
  • Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTE): Supports employability skills which social and emotional skills are proven to foster. Classroom Champions has a whole unit dedicated to leadership. You can find out more about that unit and what it offers here.

There are also several different helpful documents out there that will help you to guide federal education funds.

Classroom Champions Nationwide Scholarships

Federal Funding- Competitive Discretionary Grants

  • Education Innovation and Research program: Schools are able to apply for a grant within the EIR program and within the program there is $190M set aside for evidence-based innovations that address student social, emotional and cognitive needs. Classroom Champions has a large focus on measurable impact. You can check out our impact report here.
  • School Safety National Activities: Allows schools to directly increase the number of mental health and child development experts in schools to improve overall conditions for learning.
  • Full Service Community Schools: Monies are granted to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families and communities.

Opportunities outside of Education

You may look into community funding sources such as the following:

  • Governors’ special council funds for child abuse prevention
  • County government discretionary funds
  • Local chambers of commerce: Classroom Champions helps to build employability skills which will resonate with local business leaders.
  • Mental health monies or grants
  • School enhancement monies
  • Police departments or crime prevention organizations
  • Libraries
  • Community Foundations
  • Parent-teacher organizations or associations
  • Private foundations (especially with a geographic focus)
  • Service organizations: These include national service clubs like Rotary International or United Way.
  • Corporations or businesses
  • Businesses generally have different ways to share funds with community. They include: Money donated by the company itself, marketing funds for sponsorship or a corporate foundation that contributes to local communities through grants. You can learn more about Classroom Champions Report to Communities here.

Individual teachers may also opt to use crowdfunding sites such as:

There are numerous grant and funding databases available that you could also keep your eye on such as:



Kate Pereira
Classroom Champions

Director of School Support at Classroom Champions. Mom of 2 boys. Fur baby mom. Teacher.