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St. David’s Foundation Awards AISD $1 Million Grant to Expand Social and Emotional Learning

Funds allow AISD to expand initiative to more schools

AUSTIN, Texas—Today, St. David’s Foundation awarded a $1.06 million grant to the Austin Public Education Foundation to expand Austin ISD’s Social and Emotional Learning initiative.

SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle challenging situations constructively.

“We are grateful to St. David’s Foundationfor their generous contribution. This grant will assist us in our goal to integrate social and emotional learning into our curriculum districtwide,” Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said. “There is mounting research to support the idea that educating the heart, through social and emotional learning, is as important as educating the brain.”

AISD began SEL in 2011 with 27 schools and has expanded the program to 73 schools this year. The district’s goal is to have SEL in all schools at every grade level in two years. 

“SEL has proven to be a valuable and effective approach that enhances the learning experience for AISD students. With these additional funds from St. David’s Foundation and other generous supporters, AISD will be able to expand the SEL program across the district,” Earl Maxwell, CEO of St. David’s Foundation. said.  “We are inspired by the results attained thus far and are looking forward to hearing of successful outcomes from every campus across the district.” 

Last year, Jeanne and Michael Klein, Betsy and Hughes Abell from the Buena Vista Foundation and Carmel and Thomas Borders from the Tapestry Foundation issued a $1 million challenge grant to SEL, which allowed AISD to begin expanding the initiative through instructional coaching, parent and classified personnel training, curriculum materials, campus facilitator stipends and professional development.

With these two $1 million grants, as well as a recent grant of $300,000 from RGK Foundation and contributions from the Austin Community, AISD is well on its way to integrating SEL into all of its schools. However, AISD is still looking for funding sources to ensure the program is expanded across the district.

For more information, contact the Department of Communications and Community Engagement at

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Austin Public Education Foundation

The Austin Public Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization governed by an independent Board of Directors made up of business, community and education leaders. Its mission is to serve as a catalyst for generating and distributing external resources for the support of excellence in the Austin Independent School District. APEF’s vision is to support programs and initiatives that help students excel in the classroom, embrace innovative approaches, expand learning capacity in the classroom and encourage community support and maintains strategic alliance with AISD.

St. David’s Foundation

As a joint owner of St. David’s Healthcare, St. David’s Foundation invests its proceeds from the hospitals directly back into the community to improve health and healthcare for all Central Texans. In 2013, the Foundation is projected to invest $46 million in the community through grants to mental health agencies, safety net clinics, agencies serving older adults, support for healthy living initiatives, the St. David’s Dental Program, scholarships for students pursuing a healthcare career, and to fund healthcare education and research. For more information about St. David’s Foundation, visit