What’s the Change You Want to See?

MSEA’s Innovative Engagement and Organizing Grants help make it happen

IEO grants are all about encouraging distributive leadership — the opposite of the top-down style of management and leadership most of us have come to know. Distributive leadership builds from the base and helps generate activity and activism that’s relevant, efficient, and accessible to everyone involved.

Creative, innovative organizing

That’s what MSEA’s Innovative Engagement and Organizing (IEO) Grants are all about — empowering members at the grassroots level to work on the issues and policies that affect their jobs and professions, students and schools. We believe that when educators have the power and resources to lead on issues that matter to them and their students, public education wins. IEO grants are designed to help educators be innovative and creative about how we expand our association goals, the partners we enlist to help, and how members can engage and have a strong voice on the issues and policies that matter to them.

We want to build a laboratory for experimentation

What’s the change you want to see? These grants are opportunities for all members to develop innovative ideas and use the grant resources to put them into action.

“We received an IEO grant the last two years,” says Heather Goodhart, a member of the Carroll County Education Association. “The grant offered us opportunities to try new activities to engage members and non-members. Our focus in 2015–16 was to interview non-members to find their perspectives about unions. “This year we met with members who identified themselves as ready to become politically active,” Goodhart added. “We encouraged them to specify and commit to an activity and ‘Do 1 Thing.’”

Thanks to the grant, members like Goodhart were able to create new opportunities and platforms for members to share their voice, get involved, and lead on issues important to them.

“The funding and support from the IEO grants were indispensable,” says Carlos Mellott, a UniServ director for the Washington County Teachers Association. “The impact on our organization was seen immediately as we’ve been able to develop more leaders, engage more members, and get to more buildings to build relationships and the capacity of our local. We expect to see the results from our work for years to come. As a UniServ, I urge locals to apply and organize, organize, organize.”