Innovative Engagement and Organizing Grant

Do you have a great idea for how to get your colleagues excited about the issues that matter to you, your local association, and your profession? It’s time to make it happen with an MSEA Innovative Engagement and Organizing (IEO) Grant. An IEO Grant can fund the development of your great idea—grants range from $2,500 to $500—and help you put it into action.

“We’re looking for thoughtful, fun, exciting, and unique ideas that will get us all thinking about fresh ways of organizing and advocacy,” said MSEA President Betty Weller. “I’m excited to see your great ideas and how they can help move our association forward!” 

Things you need to know

1. Applications are encouraged from members within a local or across various locals. Including but not limited to: emerging leaders, SPARKS, retirees, ESP, local leaders, new teachers, administrators, etc.
2. Members can apply directly to MSEA.
3. Each grant is for one year with the option to re-apply for an additional year.
4. The total amount available for all grants is $20,000 with individual grants typically ranging between $2,500 to $500.
5. There will be a minimum of three meetings to share progress and have the opportunity to collaborate among the grantees.
6. There will be a summative report shared in the Spring.
7. Applicants should be able to describe the impact they expect to make and how they will know if their work has made a difference in engaging and organizing members.


July 6: Application deadline. Local presidents and UniServ will be notified of the received application.
August 1: Notification of grant awards
September 14: Disbursement of grant awards

To Apply

Tell the story of your project with innovative supplemental materials of your choice. The written narrative should be no more than 1,000 words (roughly 2-4 pages). Download, complete, and submit the grant application by clicking here.

Grants will be reviewed by MSEA’s Strategic Planning Task Force, a diverse group of members and staff working to bring relevant, member-focused innovation to MSEA’s organizing and advocacy goals.

IEO Grant Stories from 2015 and 2016

With new standards being implemented around the nation, including college degrees and/ or certification through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, a statewide group of educational sign language interpreters is using a $3,500 MSEA Innovative Engagement and Organizing (IEO) Grant to connect and mobilize their colleagues. Check out the April edition of Digital ActionLine to learn more.

Organizing a strong retired membership that can play an active role in the future of public education is the focus of new efforts by educators who have received MSEA’s Innovative Engagement and Organizing (IEO) Grants in Baltimore and Charles counties. Read more in the February 2016 edition of Digital ActionLine.

With the support of an MSEA Innovative Engagement and Organizing Grant, members have created a data-driven approach to building a stronger CCEA by targeting the county’s 10 school with the lowest share of CCEA members and finding out exactly what they think. Read the full story here in the December 2015 edition of Digital ActionLine.

Looking toward building member engagement in the 46 schools that are part of the county’s Downcounty Consortium (DCC), MCEA member, Laura Brown found help and funding through MSEA’s Innovative Engagement and Organizing Grant (IEO) program. Brown has another partner, Discovery Education, which is providing training support and resources. Her effort is called My Member’s Keeper (MMK). You can read more about it in the October 2015 edition of Digital ActionLine.

The Howard County Education Association (HCEA) is working with People Acting Together in Howard (PATH) because of their common interests in well-functioning public schools, affordable housing for county educators, and building power and influence for their organizations. PATH is a broad-based community action organization affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s largest and longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations. The partners are embarking on a nine–month House Meeting Organizing Project with help from MSEA’s IEO grant program. They’re organizing 200 house meetings to connect educators with their communities, find common ground, and use it to inform HCEA and PATH organizing goals. Learn more from the October 2015 edition of Digital ActionLine by clicking here.

2014 IEO Grant Stories

Make a Bigger Difference—Engaging, Organizing, and Mobilizing in Wicomico County      

Successful community and union organizers know that getting members excited and involved in the issues and causes that affect them is the key to a stronger and more influential organization. Read more.

Washington County Engages & Organizes 

In a new training program designed to increase membership and activism, five members of the Washington County Teachers Association are pivoting from answering that question themselves to asking that question to members in their building. Read more.

Frederick County Mobilizes For Member-To-Member Outreach 

Using MSEA’s Innovative Engagement and Organizing (IEO) Grant as a catalyst, Frederick County teachers have jump-started a member-to-member outreach program that pairs experienced activists with newly ignited members for school- based organizing and mobilizing. Read more.

Training For Power And Influence In Prince George’s County 

When legislation passed in the 2013 General Assembly that changed the way public schools operate in Prince George’s County, lots of people had lots to say about it. Read More.


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