Below is a summary of the most frequently asked questions during the virtual information session on March 13, 2024. These FAQs and the session recording are intended for informational purposes only and all information presented here is superseded by the challenge rules, terms, and conditions.

For additional inquiries, please contact

Challenge focus

How is infrastructure defined for the challenge?

The challenge is employing a multidimensional approach to infrastructure. For the purposes of the challenge, infrastructure includes the physical, digital, and social tools, structures, resources, and systems needed to effectively connect learning experiences across in-school, digital, and community contexts. This definition is intentionally broad in order to seek a diverse range of approaches and ideas.

Visit the resources page to see an illustrative list of examples of physical, digital, and social infrastructure.

Do solutions have to include each type of infrastructure?

The challenge seeks to avoid the silos that often serve as barriers to change by identifying solutions that connect physical, social, and digital opportunities inside and outside of school. With this in mind, Phase 1 submissions should creatively and cohesively incorporate at least two dimensions of infrastructure (physical, digital, or social).

Please review the ingenuity of infrastructure solution criterion to see how this expectation will evolve across the phases of the challenge.

Is the challenge for only new solutions? Can I submit a concept that is already being implemented?

The challenge is designed to help teams further develop, refine, and test promising solutions. Solutions do not need to be entirely new but should not be fully developed or already implemented at scale.

Phases 2 and 3 will provide technical support to help teams develop their concepts into detailed proposals, then prototypes and implementation plans.


Are organizations outside the United States eligible?

Only organizations based in the United States are eligible as lead entrants. Organizations based outside of the United States are welcome to enter as a part of a team, provided the lead entrant is based in the United States. All solutions should be planned for implementation in the United States.

Are past or current grantees of sponsor organizations eligible?

Past or current grantees of Siegel Family Endowment, the Walton Family Foundation, or Education Reimagined are eligible to apply. All past or current grantees should describe this support as part of their Phase 1 submission. Current Siegel Family Endowment, the Walton Family Foundation, or Education Reimagined employees or contractors are not eligible.

Are schools or school districts eligible?

Schools and school districts are eligible to apply in Phase 1. However, like other entrants, they will need to either be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or partner with a 501(c)(3) to be eligible for Phases 2 and 3. The challenge will support teams to identify appropriate partners during Phase 2 as needed.

Are teams of multiple organizations eligible?

Entrants can apply to Phase 1 as individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, or coalitions of organizations. Any individual entrants will need to partner with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to be eligible for Phases 2 and 3. Partnerships between multiple organizations is encouraged, particularly in Phases 2 and 3, though not explicitly required.

Solution scope and scale

Do solutions have to cover the full breadth of K-12 education?

Solutions do not need to cover the full range of K-12 education. Entrants are welcome to focus on specific grades, ages ranges, or subpopulations.

Are solutions focused on out-of-school time or out-of-system learning eligible?

Solutions can focus on out-of-system learning or out-of-school time, however, they should ultimately seek to connect to other learning experiences. This connection can include:

  • Public funding streams for learning outside of the classroom or in non-traditional learning environments.
  • Provision of credentials that are recognized by public education institutions.
  • Interoperable data systems for tracking student performance and achievement.
  • Alignment with curriculum for additional enrichment.
  • Integrated governance and accountability systems.

Are early childhood or higher education in-scope for the challenge?

Early childhood and higher education are not in scope as the main focus for implementation. However, entrants are welcome to include linkages or partnerships with early childhood or higher education institutions in their solution.

Are solutions focused on research or policy change in scope?

Solutions should include plans for implementation of infrastructure for the improvement of learning outcomes. While efforts to create the enabling environment for innovative learning approaches through evidence generation and/or policy change can be included in a concept, these should be secondary priorities to infrastructure implementation.

How is scale defined for the challenge? Is a certain level of scale required?

A specific definition, pathway, or level of scale is not required. The challenge is seeking solutions that address a significant learning need for a community and can be generalizable in other contexts. This will vary depending on the solution, context, and theory of change. Entrants will be asked to define their anticipated scale of impact and appropriate metrics as part of the Phase 1 submission.

How are learning outcomes defined for the purposes of the challenge?

For the purposes of the challenge, learning outcomes are outcomes related to student academic or career success. Solutions do not have to be aimed directly at students, but entrants must demonstrate how their solutions would ultimately impact learning outcomes for K-12 students. As part of their theory of change, entrants will be expected to identify the learning outcomes that they are aiming to achieve and articulate how their proposed solution will improve these outcomes.

What type of outcome measurement is required?

Submissions are required to include plans for how entrants will measure their defined outcomes. Outcome measures should be student-focused, have demonstrated validity, and be linked through an evidence-based theory of change to the solution.


Will entrants receive support to identify partners, particularly related to the requirement that Phase 2 lead entrants be a 501(c)(3)?

During Phase 2, the challenge will provide support to help teams form partnerships with each other and external organizations. Phase 1 winners will form a cohort community with an opportunity to learn from one another and form potential partnerships.

Is there an opportunity for organizations to express interest in partnering on a submission rather than entering their own concept?

During Phase 1, organizations that are interested in partnering should contact

During Phase 2, the challenge will provide a platform for inbound partnership inquiries for the accelerator teams. We will provide more information on partnership opportunities after Phase 1 winners are selected. Sign up to the challenge newsletter to receive updates.


How is a challenge different from a grant?

Challenges are generally less prescriptive than grants, which can allow entrants to bring more of their own creativity to solutions. This can be particularly helpful to incentivize earlier stage concept generation and to encourage a diverse range of approaches.

Challenges are also unique in their flexibility regarding the prize funding. While a grant generally funds specific activities, outputs, and outcomes, challenges provide monetary prizes as an incentive for participation.

Challenges can also serve multiple goals beyond sourcing solutions to problems, including raising awareness of particular issues and encouraging broader buy-in. They also help connect individuals and organizations working towards the same goal to form networks for mutual support, learning, and sustained innovation.

Are there any restrictions on how prize funding can be used?

Prize competitions, by design, do not place any restrictions on how award funds are used. There are no formal follow-up financial reporting requirements through the challenge, though recipients are responsible for any applicable federal, state, and/or local taxes and reporting requirements related to their prize. Grant financial considerations such as indirect cost rates do not apply. The budget estimates provided in the submission are not intended to be an accounting for how you plan to spend prize funding.

Submissions and evaluation process

What is the submission format?

The submission format is a series of short answer questions via the Luminary Lightbox platform accessible on the submission page. Submissions will only be accepted via this form; please do not draft separate proposal documents. Please also note that there are word limits for each question.

How are you ensuring that there is a level playing field between smaller and larger organizations?

Part of the intention of setting up the submission in this way is to level the playing field for smaller organizations. By standardizing submissions in this format, we are not privileging organizations with greater grant writing capacity. Altogether, the text required for the Phase 1 submission is the equivalent of about 6-7 pages.

What is the submission evaluation process?

For Phase 1, each submission will be scored by three members of the judging panel. Judges will score submissions against the equally weighted evaluation criteria. Based on the evaluations from the judging panel, Siegel Family Endowment and the Walton Family Foundation will make the final winner determination. In Phase 2 we anticipate a Q&A as a part of judging and in Phase 3 there will be a Demo Day, which will include presentations and a Q&A with judges.

What is the composition of the judging panel?

The judging panel will consist of a diverse group of experts including leaders across education, edtech, infrastructure, and community design. More information on the Phase 1 judging panel will be shared via the challenge website shortly.

Future phases

What will Phase 2 consist of?

Phase 2 will be a fully virtual and self-paced accelerator over the summer with technical assistance webinars on various topics to support entrants further develop and refine their concepts. Teams should assume several hours a week to participate in periodic webinar sessions and work on their solutions.

Phase 2 submissions will consist of more detailed proposals and teams will be expected to demonstrate concrete progress towards developing the partnerships required for implementation. The submission will also include a prototyping plan for testing the solution during Phase 3.

What will Phase 3 consist of?

Phase 3 will be an incubator, providing a longer period of time to begin testing elements of the solution at a small scale. This prototyping phase will look different for each solution, but dedicated and tailored technical assistance will be provided to test elements of the solution and establish plans for funding, implementation, and sustainability of the solution beyond the scope of the challenge. The activities and time commitment needed to prototype solutions will vary across teams, but we anticipate more intensive engagement at some points, spread across a longer timeframe.

Phase 3 will also include two in-person events for the five participating teams: a bootcamp to kick off the incubator and a Demo Day featuring in-person Q&A and final presentations in front of a live audience and judges.

The submission period is now closed.