The Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation is delighted to announce the 11 teams of California teachers who are recipients of the 2021 Leveraging Innovation by Growing and Honoring Teachers (LIGHT) Awards. Launched in 2014, the LIGHT Awards recognize creative and passionate teachers seeking to pursue high quality professional learning opportunities. 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, which is particularly critical now as educators tap into their resilience and flexibility through the pandemic.

The LIGHT Awards provide a unique opportunity for teachers to design the professional learning which is most relevant to their classrooms, schools and communities. Intrepid believes that teachers will gain more from professional opportunities which excite, engage and inspire them. The awarded teams each receive up to $30,000 over two years to fund a chosen learning journey. The goal of the two year initiative is to allow teachers to enhance their skills and passion as a team of professionals, as well as renew their commitment to the career of teaching.

The Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation Board and Advisors worked together thoughtfully to select projects with an emphasis on teacher-focused learning. The 58 teachers who comprise the newest cohort will become a part of the 400+ LIGHT Awards teacher network in the Greater Bay Area.

Karen Leshner, Founder of the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation, shared “The entire Intrepid team and I were so inspired to read about the meaningful and innovative projects which were proposed in this year’s applications. I’m particularly impressed that the educators took time to imagine new growth opportunities for themselves in the midst of the multitude of challenges posed over the last year. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the members of our eighth cohort of LIGHT Awardees, and look forward to working with you in the months ahead.”

Projects selected for the 2021-2023 cohort include:

  • A team of music educators from Oakland will collaborate with culture-bearers in the community to help develop curriculum and pedagogy to center students in their musical heritages.
  • A group of elementary educators will team with a local university to design interdisciplinary, multicultural history lessons that will spark students’ curiosity to become active global citizens, who respect human dignity and differences.
  • An interdisciplinary high school team of educators will work with consultants to learn how to teach through a social justice lens, with a goal of designing racially conscious community-based climate equity projects.

The 2021-2023 LIGHT Awards teams consist of teachers from the following 16 schools:

  • Acorn Woodland Elementary School, Oakland
  • Burbank Elementary School, Hayward
  • East Palo Alto Charter School, East Palo Alto
  • KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory, San Francisco
  • Longwood Elementary School, Hayward
  • Madera Elementary School, El Cerrito
  • Marin School of Environmental Leadership, San Rafael
  • North Davis Elementary School, Davis
  • North Oakland Community Charter School, Oakland
  • Nystrom Elementary School, Richmond
  • Patwin Elementary School, Davis
  • Renaissance Academy at Fischer, San Jose
  • Renaissance Academy at Mathson, San Jose
  • Schafer Park Elementary School, Hayward
  • Sherman Elementary School, San Francisco
  • West Oakland Middle School, Oakland
For more information about the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation, please visit