IEL Black History Month

We’re excited to be celebrating the legacy and achievements of Black history this February!

IEL cultivates racial healing, justice, & economic equity in over 200 communities. Let’s honor the past, inspire the future, and support systemic change for all children and families.

fists raised with book opening above

Embrace the Art of Resistance this Black History Month

On his two-year anniversary as our IEL President Eddie Koen writes about love in action, and how we as education leaders can practice the art of resistance to improve the lives of children and youth

#CSxFE24 is co-designed by the communities we work alongside in the greater Atlanta area and other Georgia partners, many of which are communities of color. This year’s conference will feature content and site visits from these local communities doing exemplary work. Don’t miss out on their shared best practices, impact stories, and first-hand look at what love in action looks like in Atlanta schools!

In addition to great Community Schools with strong Family Engagement, Atlanta has so much to offer when it comes to Black history and culture – with countless historic sites celebrating the Civil Rights Movement and Black heritage.

IEL’s custom Discover Atlanta page is your guide to all things fun during your stay, including ATL’s Black Travel Guide. Described as “the heartbeat of the Civil Rights Movement, the largest collection of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a number of historic churches, popular Black-owned restaurants, trendy lounges and legendary art galleries,” the city is perhaps the best spot in the country to learn about and celebrate Black history.

Leaders of Tomorrow

Leaders of Tomorrow (LoT) is a leadership program created by IEL with a curriculum co-designed by immigrant and refugee youth. The LoT program is designed to help immigrant and refugee youth develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to participate in decision-making processes and structures to improve their own lives, as well as the lives of others in their communities. Through the program, youth are equipped to become leaders and agents of change, while also promoting equity and social justice for all children, youth, adults, and families.     

The Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program

The Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) is a high-tech, career-focused mentoring program for youth involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system, geared toward youth with disabilities.

RAMP youth and adults pose in front of the MLK Memorial

Supporting Systems of Racial Equity in the South

Through our Coalition for Community Schools partnerships, including with the NEA Foundation’s Southern Regional Alliance for Community Schools, we are bringing communities together for educational opportunities in “the Deep South, and particularly to improve access and education justice for Black children.”

“Today, over one-third of all K-12 students and 56 percent of Black children reside in the South. Meanwhile, education spending per pupil, teacher salaries, college matriculation and completion rates, and math and reading scores are typically below national averages in most southern states. Despite all this being true, only 3 percent of philanthropic investment nation-wide is directed towards the South.”

Through the Southern Regional Alliance and other partnerships, we support education leaders working to address these educational conditions that persist throughout the Deep South through Community School strategies. 

IEL is also proud to support local communities in their efforts to be more collaborative and inclusive of youth voice! We currently support the Birmingham Youth Advisory Council, providing capacity building for leadership and more.

Racial equity and access is also paramount in higher education. IEL supports community and higher education leaders to develop core commitments to positively impact Black learner access and success. Last year, we co-hosted the Black Learner Success Summit in Atlanta with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

four Black youth sit on a couch, listening to a presenter
IEL President Eddie Koen stands with three other Black leaders supporting the Birmingham Youth Councill
group of attendess from the the Black Learners summit

the Education Policy Fellowship Program

EPFP is IEL’s long-standing nationally-recognized program, designed to activate leaders for equity, and develop a diverse and collaborative community of strategic leaders for effective public policy. With over 10,000 alumni from across the country, EPFP’s mission is to engage a diverse and collaborative community of strategic leaders to promote equitable education policy. Our alumni are leaders across PreK-higher education pathway and complementary sectors. Fellows engage in deep conversations, policy seminars, retreats, state policy forums (Hill or Statehouse Days), leadership development, policy projects, and site visits addressing important policy, education, and leadership topics.

Hear from some of our esteemed alumni, including our current Board Member Gislaine Ngounou (left) here.


Practicing what we preach

IEL President Eddie Koen leads the organization as our first Black President. Our team is also majority BIPOC staff (70%) and Board (90%), leaders dedicated to “develop and connect adults and youth leaders who strengthen communities and education systems in pursuit of equity.”