A $200,000 grant to LEANLAB Education from Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic arm will mark the Facebook founder’s first investment in the Kansas City education scene.
“We are committed to growing partnerships throughout the country,” said Katie Boody, LEANLAB CEO. “And with the support of [The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative] we aspire to write the playbook for how proven education innovations can most effectively and efficiently get into market and grow their impact.”
Click here to learn more about LEANLAB.
LEANLAB is expected to partner with CZI to research the complex processes that schools undertake to acquire new curriculum and technology tools, according to the Kansas City-based organization. Research on procurement practices will support LEANLAB’s efforts to create a network of schools that can to collaborate on smarter purchases; and in turn, create the conditions for effective education innovations to spread quickly to schools throughout the region and positively impact more students, Boody’s team said in a press release.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative previously awarded a $1 million grant to Onward, a Washington DC-based member of Fountain City FinTech’s inaugural cohort at nbkc bank. Click here to read more.
“We’re excited to support LEANLAB’s efforts to partner with local communities and entrepreneurs to co-create solutions that are based on evidence and address local challenges and needs,” said Katrina Stevens, director of Learning Science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
A portion of the grant will support a study led by the Tri-State Research & Evaluation Services and Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium (KCAERC) to more deeply understand local district purchasing practices, and to help schools work together to design a more efficient and collaborative procurement process, according to LEANLAB.
“We want to understand the barriers that prevent evidence-based solutions from reaching more students and we’ve learned that Kansas City is the ideal place for this kind research,” said Boody. “The sheer amount of school options, between districts and charters, creates a lot of structural obstacles for new products and technology-based solutions to scale. If we’re successful, this research could lead to significant cost-efficiencies for schools and can be used as a model throughout the country.”
Boody, a former teacher, started LEANLAB as way to bring innovative technologies and services to classrooms in Kansas City and do it in a way that empowered teachers, students, and parents to fully engage in the process — from identifying the problems to co-designing the solutions with researchers and education entrepreneurs.
Click here to read about LEANLAB’s most recent Launch[ED] program.
In its first five years, LEANLAB has focused on elevating community voice in the design process and providing entrepreneurs a way to validate and get feedback on their innovations in classrooms across Kansas City. The entrepreneurs in their fellowship have impacted more than 3.3 million students across the United States since 2013 and 19,786 students in Kansas City last year alone, according to the organization.
“We’re excited that funders on a national level are starting to take notice of both LEANLAB and the great work being done here in Kansas City,” said Boody. “We’re ready to challenge ourselves to have an unprecedented next five years.”