New Causeway Challenge Invites Parents To Help Transform Public Education

4th Causeway Challenge Offers $30,000 To Support For Parent-Driven Education Initiatives

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Causeway will accept applications from parents with ideas for programs and initiatives designed to help improve education locally from March 1-April 1. 

There will be $30,000 awarded in grants of $3,000 each for up to 10 winning proposals. Challenge winners will be announced on May 5. 

Causeway’s mission is to inspire and equip members of the Chattanooga community with ideas for smarter solutions to the city’s toughest challenges, according to Executive Director Abby Garrison. “Since our expansion two years ago, Causeway has become an open door for individuals with a desire to get involved in their community. We serve as a think space and a source of expertise and support for people with ideas for driving social innovation and positive change in Chattanooga, but who may need help maximizing their idea.

“Causeway Challenges take this role one step further by framing a specific question around a critical community issue, then inviting community members to respond directly to those questions with constructive ideas for making a difference." 

According to Causeway Director of Creative Engagement Chelsea Conrad, the community’s growing focus on education and the recent launch of Chattanooga 2.0, make this the ideal time to focus the organization’s fourth and latest Challenge exclusively on education. 

“As we look at areas of critical concern for the Chattanooga community, education consistently rises to the top and as a result, it has become one of Causeway’s key areas of focus,” Ms. Conrad explained. “The number of education-related responses we received in response to our first three Challenges [focused on community connectivity, diversity, and play] just confirmed for us that there are people in every corner of our community giving thought to the ways we can collectively transform education.” 

Several previous Challenge winners, including the Rivermont Fan Club, Power Lunch, and a Book Fiesta in East Lake represent some of the many ways community members are already identifying opportunities to get involved with education. The new Challenge seeks to inspire even more creative ideas and galvanize further action around this issue, according to Ms. Conrad. 

“Parents in particular have a unique and critical perspective on education and often have great ideas for community or grassroots initiatives that could help enhance or improve some aspect of the learning experience – from student engagement to teacher support, to connecting parents with information and resources,” added Ms. Garrison.  “We want this new Challenge to empower those parents, giving them the opportunity to gain access to funds, guidance and resources that can help them turn an idea into reality.” 

To help spark ideas, inspire parents and other interested community members, and fuel conversation around ways parents can get involved in public education, Causeway will also host a “Show and Tell” speaker event mid-way through the challenge application period. Scheduled for March 15 at the Center for Creative Arts, the event will feature parents from Stanford (CA), Cleveland (OH), Charlotte (NC) and Memphis who have each started successful grassroots programs to help transform education in their own communities.

For complete Challenge guidelines or to submit an application, visit


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