The Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation is delighted to recognize the 13 teams of California teachers who are recipients of the 2019 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 program is designed to honor the influential role that educators play in our society, and to provide the funding and resources to help teachers thrive as professionals.

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. The awarded teams each receive up to $30,000 over two years to fund a chosen path of career growth. It allows teachers to enhance their skills and passion as professionals and renew their commitment to the career of teaching.

The Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation Board and advisors worked hard to select projects with an emphasis on teacher-focused learning. The 70 teachers who comprise the newest cohort will become a part of the 300-teacher LIGHT Awards network in the Greater Bay Area.

Karen Leshner, Founder of the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation, shared “I’m thrilled to welcome the 2019 awardees to the LIGHT Awards community! I can’t wait to see how these ambitious projects unfold over the next two years.”

Projects selected in 2019 include:

  • Elementary school teachers spanning three Bay Area districts will investigate how to best use technology to support reading, science, math, and social science instruction
  • High school teachers will study and share their current college math support program with local and national educators, with the goal of creating systems for college math success for students
  • Two different projects will support teachers in newly established Dual Immersion schools to develop best practices and skills to feel confident in preparing students for biliteracy

The 2019-2021 LIGHT Awards cohort consists of teachers from the following 24 schools:

  • Audubon Elementary School, San Mateo
  • Belle Air Elementary School, San Mateo
  • Daves Avenue Elementary School, Los Gatos
  • East Union High School, Manteca
  • George & Evelyn Stein High School, Tracy
  • Greenleaf Elementary School, Oakland
  • Independence High School, San Jose
  • Isaac Newton Graham Middle School, Mountain View
  • Katherine R. Smith Elementary School, San Jose
  • Lathrop High School, Lathrop
  • Manteca High School, Manteca
  • Oak Grove High School, San Jose
  • Oakland International High School, Oakland
  • Piedmont Hills High School, San Jose
  • San Lorenzo High School, San Lorenzo
  • Sanchez Elementary School, San Francisco
  • Scott Lane Elementary School, Santa Clara
  • Sierra High School, Manteca
  • Skyline Elementary School, South San Francisco
  • Silver Creek High School, San Jose
  • Tenderloin Community School, San Francisco
  • Thurgood Marshall Academic High School, San Francisco
  • Weston Ranch High School, Stockton
  • Winters Elementary School, Winters

The application for the 2020 LIGHT Awards grant cycle will be available in the fall of 2019.  

For more information about the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation, please visit

Important Dates

Oct 6—Nov 14, 2022,10am PST LOIs Accepted for 2023 Grant Cycle (rolling submissions)
By mid-Dec 2022 Invitations to Apply Extended to Selected LOI Submissions
Spring 2023 LIGHT Awards Grants Made

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