NAES Announces Matching Grant

Edward E. Ford Foundation to award $35,000 in matching funds towards the creation of a professional network of diversity practitioners in Episcopal schools.

The National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is pleased to announce a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation. This grant of up to $35,000 will facilitate the creation of a new professional network of diversity practitioners in Episcopal Schools. NAES will raise the matching $35,000 between July 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018.

Among independent secondary schools, Episcopal schools can play a unique role in the areas of diversity and inclusion. “Our schools are remarkably well-positioned to draw on rich theological and ethical traditions” says the Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, NAES executive director. “Core values of equity and social justice are consistently right at the heart of the identity of our schools.

“However, some in our community might not immediately see the natural connection between a rich Episcopal tradition and inclusivity initiatives. We believe that there is a real need to support our diversity practitioners – dedicated professionals who can lead our school communities to draw the lines from Episcopal identity to a diverse educational culture.”

Over past months, NAES staff have met with a variety of diversity practitioners to obtain a broad perspective on the unique role Episcopal schools can play in furthering inclusive education, and to determine by what means NAES can best support their initiatives. These practitioners have expressed a desire to come together to discuss common challenges, share resources, and, working particularly with Episcopal school chaplains, equip themselves with effective language that will help them understand and communicate the natural connection between Episcopal identity and inclusivity and diversity.

Through funds from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, and matching funds raised by NAES, the association will create this network. NAES’ planned programming for this network will consist of the following, over a three-year span:

  • Bringing together diversity practitioners and school chaplains for two-day workshops to explore the natural link between Episcopal identity and diversity/inclusivity.
  • Appointing a working team to develop a statement on diversity and inclusion particular to Episcopal schools.
  • Producing a tool kit for Episcopal schools at all stages of diversity and inclusivity efforts, which would include best practices, available resources, suggestions for interacting with a variety of school constituents (parents, faculty, students, and trustees), and benchmarks for measuring progress in this initiative.
  • Developing an online network for diversity practitioners where resources, practices, and problems can be shared and discussed.
  • Creating a track within the NAES Biennial Conference for diversity and inclusion, specifically tailored to practitioners and chaplains engaging in this work.
  • Promoting the broad impact of the above initiatives, by identifying and training regional representatives for programs that bridge inclusion and Episcopal identity in key areas of NAES membership.

NAES is distinctively positioned to be of help to a varied and large pool of schools. This new initiative will have a substantial impact on schools pursuing a commitment to diversity and inclusivity. NAES is grateful to the Edward E. Ford Foundation for this generous grant opportunity, which will contribute significantly to the association’s efforts in this vital work. NAES looks forward to the process of raising the matching funds that will equal or exceed the funds provided by the foundation.

For more information, contact Sarah E. Tielemans, Advancement Manager for NAES at (212) 716-6135 or