Recently, the VELA Education Fund announced a $750,000 fund in partnership with the Daniels Fund to provide support for education entrepreneurs in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

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Up to $10,000 are provided in microgrants, and in Wyoming, VELA has provided around $160,000 to three organizations, including the Teton Science School and Impact Wyoming, since they began giving out grants in 2020.

Elissa Ruckle, the Executive Director of Impact Wyoming, said they used the microgrant to be able to launch Impact Wyoming virtually, due to COVID-19, and were able to help five students launch businesses.

Ruckle said the grant from VELA has helped a lot of organizations across the country get started, and was helpful in getting their program off the ground.

"When I learned about VELA and the VELA education fund, they are doing incredible work across the United States, and they're really looking for those innovative programs that are reaching youth, engaging them in ways that are very different from the status quo," Ruckle said. "So it's looking at the current system and saying what's missing, how do we reach them more effectively, how do we work with them more effectively, and how do we meet them where they are? So VELA looks for those opportunities and provides the funding, a lot of the time it's just program funding."

The microgrants will be accepted until the end of October, and organizations like Impact Wyoming, because they have already received a grant, are not eligible for the new round of funding.

Shaina Belton, Director of Strategic Partnerships at VELA Education Fund, said that VELA helps groups in those four states to set up different kinds of teaching programs.

"We're hoping with this partnership with the Daniels Fund, we can bolster the number of grant recipients in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico," Belton said. "Build these ecosystems in each of those states so those folks can meet in person, share resources, talk to one another and we're hoping to help facilitate that along the way...we fund a number of things, they can be anything from a homeschool co-op to a micro-school to a private school to a number of different ideas. We also fund content and learning materials. It kind of runs the gamut."

Belton said there are some groups in Wyoming that are doing some type of schooling that they support and that they have received two applications in Wyoming this year.

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