Teacher Innovation Fund

Teacher Innovation Fund

Innovation Center

The CMS Foundation established the Teacher Innovation Fund in 2014. Through the fund, we awarded grants to school-based educators to support the implementation of innovative strategies in their classrooms.

We're excited to expand our work through the launch of the CMS Foundation Innovation Center. The goal of the Innovation Center is to seed and support innovative school-based ideas to help students realize their full potential and prepare them to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives. We'll help participating school teams bring their ideas to life by providing coaching and planning support, organizing innovation-centered learning experiences, and helping fund implementation.


Application Open for the 2024-25 Cohort
We're now accepting applications for the second Innovation Center cohort of schools.  CMS school teams of 4-8 people are invited to share their ideas to address a challenge or opportunity that will enhance the learning experience for their students. A school may have more than 1 team submit an application.
As part of this experience, selected teams will participate in innovation-centered learning experiences and work with our dedicated program team to refine ideas and develop implementation plans during the spring 2024 semester and implement their projects during the 2024-25 school year.
Applications must be submitted by December 31, 2023. 
Teacher Innovation Grants

Previous Grants in Action

Browse the videos below to see some examples of past grant funding recipients and join us on the journey to elevating teacher voices and encouraging innovation in education.

Previous Grants


Albemarle Innovation Grants

The Albemarle Innovation Grant program was designed to “Grow the Good” by empowering educators to implement innovative programs and strategies that enhance the learning experience of their students and build the skills needed to be college- and career-ready in the 21st century. This not only encompasses mastery of content in core subject areas, but also includes creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.

This grant program was made possible by support from the Albemarle Foundation, a philanthropic affiliate of Albemarle Corporation.

Social & Emotional Learning Grants

The Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Teacher Innovation Grant Program sought to spark and spread innovative SEL practices in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. As defined by CASEL, social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. The core competencies of social and emotional learning include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

The CMS Foundation awarded grants up to $2,500 to help CMS educators implement school-based initiatives that support students’ social and emotional learning.

Hornets Teacher Innovation Grants

The Hornets Teacher Innovation Grant Program was the first grant program established through the Teacher Innovation Fund through a $250,000 donation by the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, Lowe’s and Fox Sports Southeast. A total of 55 grants were awarded to nearly 70 teachers, impacting 45 schools throughout Mecklenburg County.

Learn about the impact of these grants in the Impact Summary Reports:


preparing every student for graduation and careers

about the cms foundation

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With the help of our dedicated board, talented team, and the local philanthropic community, including generous donors and supportive advocates like you, we develop initiatives and programs that support educators as they foster the potential of nearly 150,000 students in CMS schools.

Board of Directors

Meet our dedicated Board of Directors, making a difference in public education in our community.

Meet Our Team

The CMS Foundation staff team helps ensure that your private investments have a meaningful, sustainable impact.

Fundraising Priorities

As the official nonprofit partner for CMS schools, we raise money to support the district’s highest strategic priorities.

Our Programs

We seed innovative ideas and help expand existing programs to accelerate system-wide transformation.