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Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Engage Disengaged Youth in Connecticut Public Schools, with Support from the Dalio Foundation

Update 1/30/18: All funds for this opportunity have been applied to eligible projects and no new donations will be matched. We will update this page if more funding becomes available. 


The Connecticut Opportunity Project is a collaborative endeavor to unleash the tremendous untapped potential of young people who are disengaged from high school in Connecticut.  According to the 2016 report Untapped Potential: Engaging all Connecticut Youth, at least 25,000 high school-aged young people in Connecticut are disengaged from school.  In other words, more than 1 in 5 students are enrolled in school but show one or more of the following signs of not being effectively connected to their education:

  1. attending less than 85% of calendared school days (missing a day every week, on average);
  2. experiencing 2 or more suspensions, expulsions, or incarcerations; and/or
  3. failing two or more courses.

The Dalio Foundation believes that the needs of Connecticut’s young people require everyone in the state to work together to support teachers and schools in engaging every student.  Middle and high school teachers are uniquely poised to cultivate students’ passions and potential.  Through the Opportunity Project, the Dalio Foundation aims to support hundreds of public school teachers across Connecticut with a generous funding opportunity to make a meaningful difference for disengaged students.  To learn more about the Opportunity Project, please visit www.ctopportunityproject.org.  The following instructions are designed to help you become part of the Opportunity Project by creating and launching a project through DonorsChoose.org.

Here’s how to qualify

  • This opportunity is open to public school teachers who work with students in middle school, high school, or alternative school settings in Connecticut, while funds last.
  • If you teach Grades 6-12 in a public school in Connecticut:

1. Pre Program Survey | Complete this 5-minute pre-program sign-up survey.  As a thank you for sharing your insights and expertise with us, we’ll email 1 $50 DonorsChoose.org gift card to the first 450 teachers who complete the survey, within 2 weeks.

2. Create a DonorsChoose.org Account | If you're new to our site, create an account so that you can complete the next steps below, use the DonorsChoose.org gift card, and create a project.

3. Webinar | Watch this 30-minute recorded webinar on effective strategies for engaging students and sparking the incredible untapped potential of disengaged youth in Connecticut.  We also encourage you to take advantage of the following resources:

4. Post-Webinar Survey | Complete this post-webinar feedback form.  It should take you about 15 minutes, and you’re welcome to use the resources above in developing your answers.  The first 350 teachers who attend or watch the webinar and fill out this feedback form will be eligible to receive a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift code by email within 2 weeks.

5. Create Your Project | Use this special link or the button below to create a DonorsChoose.org project for this opportunity.  To qualify for generous matching funds provided by the Dalio Foundation:

  • Enter the campaign code DFCONNECTICUT when you start your project by clicking "Got a campaign code?"
  • Without naming any individual students (of course!), clearly explain how you know that a portion of your students are disengaged.  Are they consistently attending fewer than 85% of school days?  Have they previously failed multiple courses, or have they experienced 2 or more suspensions, expulsions, or incarcerations?
  • Describe how the materials you’re requesting will positively impact your students who are disengaged, sparking their passions and unlocking their incredible potential.
  • Keep your total project goal under $2,000.

6. Get Funded | If the DonorsChoose.org team determines that your project qualifies, you’ll see the Dalio Foundation match offer logo on your project page.  Follow these instructions to apply your $150 in gift codes from the pre-survey and webinar experience to your project—turning that funding instantly into $300 thanks to the Dalio Foundation match offer!  Note: if your project ends up qualifying for a different match offer, please let us know.

Every week, while funds last, the Dalio Foundation will fully fund projects that meet the criteria above and fall into one of the following categories (one project per teacher may qualify for full funding):

  • Student-led projects -- when your students create a DonorsChoose.org project under your supervision to engage their disengaged peers in grades 8, 9, or 10
  • Collaborative projects -- when 3+ teachers at your school create 3+ projects that similarly support students who are showing signs of disengagement
  • Transfer student projects -- when the project essay clearly explains how the project will serve disengaged youth who have recently transferred between schools
  • Student life essentials projects -- when you are requesting the healthy food, clean clothes, hygiene products or other warmth, care, and hunger resources your disengaged students need to succeed as passionate and healthy learners

7. Report back | At the end of the 2017-18 school year, we’ll send teachers who completed the steps above a post-project survey to share the results of your project.  Filling out this survey will unlock another $50 DonorsChoose.org gift code for your classroom, while funds last.

8. Awards | Also, at the end of the 2017-18 school year, the Connecticut Opportunity Project will award $10,000 in DonorsChoose.org funding credits to the five public school teachers in Connecticut with the most impactful projects, thanks to generous funding provided by the Dalio Foundation.  Stay tuned for more details!

We’ll update this page if funds for any portion of the program are ever running low.