Grants enable 11 teams of California educators to engage in professional development programs that invigorate personal commitments to teaching

The Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation is pleased to announce that 11 teams of California teachers are recipients of the 2017 Leveraging Innovation by Growing and Honoring Teachers (LIGHT) Awards. Launched in 2014, the LIGHT Awards recognize creative, innovative and passionate teachers seeking to pursue high quality professional training. The awarded teams each receive up to $30,000 over two years for projects tailored to address their needs as educators. The grant program is designed to honor the significant and influential role that educators play in our society, and to provide the funding and resources to allow teachers to grow as professionals and renew their commitment to the career of teaching.

The LIGHT Awards provide a unique opportunity for teachers to choose and design the professional learning which is most appropriate for their classrooms, schools and communities. Intrepid believes that teachers will gain more from professional development which excites, engages and inspires them.

Following an open application process which produced more quality applicants than could be funded, the Intrepid Board, with input from advisors, selected teams whose projects focus on teacher-focused learning, innovation, and collaboration. With the addition of the 2017 teams, the LIGHT Awards community of current awardees and alumni consists of over 180 teachers in the Greater Bay Area.

Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation President Karen Leshner shared, “Congratulations to our 2017 LIGHT Awardees! I’m honored to welcome this new cohort of teachers to our community, and can’t wait to see how their ambitious projects unfold over the next two years.”


The 2017 award winning projects span a range of subjects and project scopes, including:

  • Creating a professional learning community of music educators in collaboration with a local university, with the goal of enhancing their knowledge of stringed instrument performance and pedagogy
  • Redesigning a high school math departments’ curricula to authentically connect math to career pathways
  • Training teachers at a Chinese newcomer elementary school to make English language learning more engaging and fun for newly-arrived immigrant students

Members of the 2017 LIGHT Awards teams teach at the following 15 schools:

  • Alvarado Elementary School, San Francisco
  • Cesar Chavez Academy, East Palo Alto
  • Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Davis
  • Chinese Education Center, San Francisco
  • Columbia Middle School, Sunnyvale
  • Community United Elementary School, Oakland
  • Cupertino Middle School, Sunnyvale
  • El Verano Elementary School, Sonoma
  • John O’Connell High School, San Francisco
  • Lathrop Elementary School, Lathrop
  • Lazear Charter Academy, Oakland
  • Lincoln High School, San Jose
  • Mountain View High School, Mountain View
  • Piedmont Middle School, San Jose
  • R.W. Emerson Junior High School, Davis

Learn more about each project  >

The application for the 2018 grant cycle will be available in the fall of 2017.

The LIGHT Awards is a program of Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation.