Empowering Teacher Innovation Through Grants


Educators truly are everyday heroes who make a difference in lives of their students, year after year. From the enormous responsibility of ensuring academic success in their classroom to continually developing ways to effectively teach and inspire, they deserve to be recognized and supported. To help ease the burden so that educators can focus on teaching and engaging with their students, the Cal Coast Cares Foundation has awarded its annual round of educator grants to fund innovative projects, which totaled $50,000 in 2022.


These educator grants provide teachers in K-12 public, private or charter schools, community colleges and universities in San Diego or Riverside Counties with monetary support for classroom projects that are categorized within the STREAM fields (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Projects funded produce enhanced learning outcomes and include a wide range of subjects such as robotics, chemistry, hydroponics, coding and visual arts.

An educator from the Chula Vista Elementary School District, Melissa Hughes, said “Receiving a grant from the Cal Coast Cares Foundation will positively impact students. Our makerspace teaches our 6th graders about the benefits of renewable energy, but now with this grant we can reach every student through after school events. The supplies this grant will provide will engage and inspire young children to be engineers in a green future.”

Several educators who have been awarded grants will be utilizing the funds to improve literacy and promote a love for reading. One teacher cited that the COVID-19 pandemic decelerated the progress that her students were making with reading and comprehension. She plans to apply her grant towards additional reading materials and classroom applications that encourage students to think critically about literature and build their phonemic awareness and fluency.

Another educator who teaches at a local high school plans to collaborate with a group of teachers to organize spelling bees, a book creation project, poetry and essay writing, debates and art activities in both English and Spanish to help students improve their school, community and home connections. In addition, this project will tie in non-profit organizations within the community as leaders will be invited to speak and share with students on the importance of science, technology and culture.

A middle school teacher who is excited to use grant funds to form a student science club will purchase equipment to build underwater robots. He shared that he is confident that the opportunity will promote teamwork, collaboration and leadership.

“Our commitment to supporting education throughout the region is at the heart of our ‘why’ at the Cal Coast Cares Foundation. The cost of project supplies and classroom materials are a constant concern for educators, and we want to make sure we do our part to support this need. Because of this, we are constantly developing new ways to increase our giving each year,” Cal Coast Cares Foundation Manager Nickie Behdin shared with GB Magazine.

Just last month, the Cal Coast Cares Foundation orchestrated a successful “12 Days of Giving” social media and online fundraiser in partnership with Mastercard. Nearly $40,000 was raised to support the academic dreams of students pursuing higher education degrees and innovative classroom learning facilitated by teachers.

To stay informed about the work of the Cal Coast Cares Foundation or if you have questions on how you can provide support, contact Nickie Behdin at nbehdin@calcoastcu.org.


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Kamran Saeed