2024-2025 Partnership Funding Opportunity

Applications are now open to Sonoma County schools and districts. Deadline to submit is October 10th, 2023

Aligning Industry and Education Through Partnership Funding Opportunities

For over 10 years, CTE Foundation has been partnering with local schools to build and enhance innovative career technical education programs that support the diverse needs of students in becoming college- and career-ready.

CTE Foundation’s Partnership Funding Opportunity (PFO) is a grant program that allows schools and districts to use awarded funds to experiment with new and innovative education strategies that provide authentic learning opportunities and connect students to meaningful careers in Sonoma County through high-quality pathways. The following information is designed to provide applicants with a clear understanding of the Partnership Funding Opportunity priorities, structure and timeline, to ensure a simple and transparent process.

Sonoma County schools and districts that are interested in requesting funding for the 2024-2025 school year are encouraged to read through this webpage to ensure alignment with CTE Foundation funding priorities before applying through the online application portal.

Courses, Programs & Pathways

CTE Foundation supports the start-up or expansion of career technical education and training programs, courses and pathways in grades 6-12. This includes funds for staffing, supplies, professional development and instructional materials.

Innovative Ideas

Whether you have a creative idea to increase student engagement, create a new internship program, or need funding for staff to plan and build something amazing, CTE Foundation is interested in supporting the start-up or expansion of innovative special initiatives designed to address the needs of your students. 

Supplies, Materials & Equipment

Hands-on career-connected learning can often require a lot of supplies, materials and equipment, such as a new 3D printer for a maker class, upgraded kitchen equipment for a culinary pathway or new tools for the shop. Replenishing supplies and using safe and effective equipment is important and CTE Foundation may be able to help.

Partnership Funding Opportunity

CTE Foundation has adopted a trust-based philanthropy model recognizing that our work is grounded in relationships with people and organizations who ultimately want the same thing we do – successful, happy, prepared young people who will have a positive impact on the community. This simplified approach focuses on building and strengthening relationships with our school partners that is rooted in open, honest, and transparent communication, trust and mutual accountability. Our aim is to make the application for funds and, if awarded, the reporting process simpler and more accessible to all schools and districts across Sonoma County.

With that goal in mind, please read through all of the information provided below as it will help you better understand CTE Foundation’s funding priorities and processes.

Optional Applicant Workshops

Before you apply, learn how to maximize this funding opportunity by attending a CTE Foundation PFO Workshops. Workshops are optional and are offered virtually and in person.

  1. Wednesday, Sept. 6, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM
  2. Thursday, Sept. 7, 4:00 PM–5:00 PM
    • Location: 1030 Apollo Way. Santa Rosa. Suite 200
  3. Wednesday, Sept. 13, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
    • Location: 1030 Apollo Way. Santa Rosa. Suite 200
  4. Thursday, Sept. 14, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Belonging & Antiracism

CTE Foundation is grounded in our vision that all students have rewarding careers that strengthen their lives, our community and the economy. We believe this is only realized by ensuring equitable access to education and career pathways regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or ability.


We acknowledge the difficult truth underlying the systemic racism that contributes to inequities impacting a young person’s ability to realize their full potential.


We invite and embrace the many identities of the communities we serve regardless of race or ethnicity, language spoken, family makeup, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, immigration status, economic status, educational attainment, neighborhood in which one lives or any other defining characteristic.


Therefore, we pledge to work to dismantle racism in our own organization through our hiring, promotion, and retention practices; our board governance, representation, and policies; and in our community through our grant-making, program development, student and teacher engagement and community partnerships.

Eligibility to Receive Funding

Public schools/districts serving Sonoma County students in grades 6-12; and, private or charter schools serving Sonoma County student populations considered high-risk, underserved or under-resourced, in grades 6-12.


Interested applicants must submit a Partnership Funding Opportunity application through CTE Foundation’s online portal within the open application period. Applications not completed by the final deadline will not be accepted. Applicants that move to the second phase are required to participate in a 45-minute virtual conversation with CTE Foundation.

CTE Foundation's Funding Priorities

CTE Foundation supports education programs and initiatives that are designed to innovate and enhance the education-to-career experience for Sonoma County students so that they have equitable opportunities to succeed. Our goal is not to replicate existing funding opportunities but to enhance successful programs, support fledgling programs or provide bridge funding that supports innovation or helps meet a school’s strategic vision around future readiness.


Just like the personalities and interests of our local students, their needs and challenges can be varied and wide-ranging. This means there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing student need. CTE Foundation’s “Trust-Based Philanthropy” approach is designed to ensure a simplified and flexible application and funding process, and we are willing to explore supporting a wide range of ideas and proposals.


Our funds are limited, so CTE Foundation has identified several priorities. Proposals that align with these priorities will increase the likelihood a proposal is selected to be funded.


  • Expand meaningful opportunities for career-connected learning across diverse student populations that helps students explore and prepare for life after high school.
  • Investment in schools to build their capacity to innovate and enhance career-connected education.
  • Enhance or expand integrated pathways within a school or district that do one or more of the following: support rigorous academics paired with CTE and that are aligned to local workforce opportunities; offer meaningful early college credit courses; provide work-based learning supporting internships or equivalent opportunity.
  • Equitably lift and support diverse student populations who are high-risk, underserved, under-resourced or furthest from opportunity.
  • Increase impact by funding proposals that are connected to a larger or longer-term school or district strategy, including leveraging CTE Foundation funding to obtain additional funding.
  • Expand CTE Foundation’s impact by providing funding to schools and districts not previously funded by CTE Foundation grants.

August 21, 2023 – October 10, 2023          

PFO Application Phase 1: Accepting applications from schools and districts through the online portal


September 6, 2023 – September 14, 2023      

PFO Applicant Workshops (recommended, but not required)

  • Workshop #1: Virtual
    • Wednesday, September 6, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM
  • Workshop #2: In-Person
    • Thursday, September 7, 4:00 PM–5:00 PM
  • Workshop #3: In-person
    • Wednesday, September 13, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
  • Workshop #4: Virtual
    • Thursday, September 14, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM


November 13, 2023 – December 22, 2023

PFO Application Phase 2: Meetings with applicants (for proposals selected to move onto Phase 2)


February 26, 2024 – February 28, 2024

Awards Announced


March 4, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Draft and sign contracts with schools and districts


July 1, 2024 – September 30, 2024

PFO payments sent to schools and districts

How We Evaluate & Partner

CTE Foundation uses a committee of community individuals representing industry, nonprofits, education (educators and students) and parents that have helped build our Partnership Funding Opportunity process and structure. This diverse group, called the Program Committee, will also play an integral role in the funding selection process.


Applications submitted through CTE Foundation’s online grant portal within the open application period will be evaluated via a rubric (shown below) by Program Committee members. Those selected for the second round of the application process will be asked to meet for a 45-minute virtual meeting to discuss the proposal. This is a great opportunity for brainstorming, questions, and relationship building. The content of this discussion is also evaluated using the same rubric.


CTE Foundation is seeking Partnership Funding Opportunity requests that clearly demonstrate student need, preferably backed up by data or surveys, and outline a well-thought-out solution that addresses the need. Proposals should demonstrate an intent to serve a diverse student population and/or support individual student needs to ensure equitable student success. Proposals that focus on high-quality career-connected learning, articulate a connection to a larger or longer-term strategy (particularly strategies focused on building or enhancing CTE pathways) or schools that have not historically received much or any funding from CTE Foundation will generally be rated higher in the selection process and will have a better likelihood of being selected to receive funding.

Application Questions
  1. Student Need

Describe the needs or challenges your students are facing that will be addressed through this project/program. Our preference is that you center student needs in your statement. For example: In lieu of “We need a work-based learning coordinator,” we prefer a statement that is student-focused and data-centered: “Based on YouthTruth survey data, X% of our Latinx students report they are not feeling ready for college and career, and need the opportunity to gain relevant work-based learning experiences.”


  1. Target Population

Describe the target population of this proposal. If applicable, break down the population by gender, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, language and/or other identities and how this project will equitably assist the target population. Include appropriate statistical data and any concrete examples you may have.


  1. Proposed Solution

What are you proposing to address the need identified above? Clearly describe your program/project. 


  1. Estimated Number of Students Impacted

Please provide an estimate of the number of students that will be directly and indirectly impacted by this proposal. 


  1. Aligned with Larger Strategy

Is this solution in alignment with a larger or longer-term school/district strategy? Will this solution help to expand or enhance CTE pathway within a school or district? Can this funding be leveraged to obtain additional funding from other funders?


  1. Additional Information

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us about your proposed project? If you have not done so already, please consider addressing these topics: How you will measure the success of the project; How you will engage industry and community partners (if applicable); Other funding you plan to receive for this project.


  1. Upload or link additional documents

Please upload or include a link to any additional information relevant to this proposal, including budgets, expense breakdowns, videos, or materials to help make your case.


  1. Requested grant amount


How Applications Will Be Evaluated

All applications are evaluated by multiple evaluators using the following rubric. Each question is worth five points for a total of 50 points possible. All evaluations will be combined into an average total score for each application. 



  • Stated Need: The proposal uses data and/or stakeholder feedback (such as YouthTruth, surveys or focus groups) to identify the stated need.
  • Proposed Solution: The proposed solution clearly addresses the stated need and is likely to positively impact the target population as intended.
  • Student Impact: This proposal has the potential to serve a large student population and provide high-quality/in-depth support to a target student population.
  • Career-Connected Learning & Relevance: The proposal provides high-quality career-connected learning that helps students explore and prepare for life after high school. The proposal outlines plans to contact and regularly engage industry and community-based organizations to ensure alignment with local real-world opportunities.



  • CTE Pathway Enhancement: The proposal strategically invests in the school or district’s capacity to create or enhance one or more CTE pathways within a school or district, or as feeders into pathways between elementary, middle, secondary and post-secondary. The proposal includes considerations of scalability.
  • Connected to a larger strategy: The proposal is one piece of a larger or longer-term school/district strategy designed to ultimately provide a better student experience (such as promoting a school shift, providing professional development for teachers, actualizing a graduate profile, providing early college credit opportunities, altering a master schedule, or leveraging CTE Foundation funding to garner additional funds from other funders). This funding is critical for the success of the larger strategy.



  • Diversity and Inclusion: The requestor demonstrates experience and provides a plan to serve a diverse student/educator population among gender, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, language and/or other identities in a thoughtful and equitable manner.
  • Equity: The proposal is aimed at lifting and supporting students who are high-risk, underserved, under-resourced or furthest from opportunity and offers tailored support to students with the highest needs.
  • Engagement and Feedback of Those Served: The requestor has, or demonstrates a plan to, actively engage and obtain feedback from a diverse student or educator population, and use that feedback for continuous improvement.



  • The score is based on how recently CTE Foundation funded a program or initiative at this school. Higher scores are given to those that have not received funding from CTE Foundation within the past 5 years. Highest score to first-time applicants.
Available Funding

Total CTE Foundation Funds Potentially Available: $200,000

Recommended Funding Request Amount: $1,500-$25,000*

Implementation Time Frame: July 2024- June 2025


*Recommended funding request amount is based on past funding provided by CTE Foundation but is not constrained to this range. Grants under $1,500 or exceeding $25,000 will still be considered.

Apply for Funding
  1. CTE Foundation recommends that those interested in submitting a Partnership Funding Opportunity funding request attend one of the PFO Applicant Workshops in September or view a recording of a previous workshop from this CTE Foundation grants webpage.
  2. Applicants must be registered in the online grant portal. Schools and districts that have not previously registered will have to create an account.
  3. Once registered and logged in to our online grant portal, select Partnership Funding Opportunity 2024-2025 and complete the Application. The application allows you to either answer questions using short written statements or by linking to video or audio.
  4. If selected to move on to the second phase, CTE Foundation will contact you to schedule a 45-minute virtual meeting with staff and selection committee members.
  5. If needed, applicants may revise their application to ensure clarity for final consideration of funding.


We encourage teachers to apply but all submissions must have site and district leadership approval.

Examples of Proposed Programs and Activities

CTE Foundation staff met with educators to learn more about their student’s needs and the challenges and opportunities that schools have to provide relevant, career-connected learning so that young people are more prepared for their futures. Based on this, schools identified many different ways they could support students. Here are some examples of activities that may be funded, but this list is not exhaustive and it is likely that your school or district may have other project ideas to best fit the needs of your students. 

  • Work-based learning
    • Staff time to modify curriculum so that it incorporates work-based learning opportunities and activities (in CTE or general education courses)
    • Coaching or professional development to support teachers in providing quality work-based learning
    • Program supports such as transportation, supplies, software applications or curriculum fees to enhance work-based learning curricula or systems
  • Course/section support
    • Course sections that provide a “wheel model” or CTE pathway exploration for middle schoolers or first- or second-year high school students to explore/learn more about CTE pathways within the school (could also be a summer course for incoming freshman or sophomores)
    • Course sections that support CTE pathway completion (for example if a capstone course is needed to fulfill the 3-course CTE pathway)
    • Course sections at middle schools that support building out CTE exploration that leads into /connects with local high school(s)
    • Course sections in CTE that provide early college credit at a local junior/community college
  • Planning grants
    • Planning time for teachers, counselors or administrative staff to:
      • Develop plan/strategy to apply for funding through the Golden State Pathways opportunity
      • Explore bringing a Sonoma Corps program/course to the campus
      • Explore 7th period options and/or support in modifying the master schedule to support CTE pathway expansion or more quality WBL (such as internships)
      • Develop stronger bridges with the feeder middle/junior high schools to have more robust CTE opportunities that build through a young person’s school experience
      • Support middle schools in adopting a graduate profile that is tied to their high school
      • Develop stronger/ties relationships with local junior/community colleges to expand the number of early college credit opportunities in CTE at the high school site
    • Supply grants
      • For teachers to purchase supplies/equipment to enhance their CTE courses

For questions or technical support, contact Brandon Jewell, Director of Student Experience

Email:   |   Phone: 707-849-7741