The city of Chandler, Arizona is offering grants of up to $1,000 each for anyone that can offer diversity education in its K-12 schools. A total of $10,000 may be disbursed for this initiative. Eligible applicants for this annual grant range from individual teachers to schools, nonprofit organizations, and community groups.

According to the city guidelines, proposals from diversity education projects or programs in K-12 schools will receive first priority. The proposals must include one or more elements of diversity the city listed: age, socio-economic status, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Last year, the city announced its offer of diversity education grants with a press release describing a global multicultural festival made possible by a grant award. The recipient, Chandler Traditional Academy’s Humphrey Campus, used the funds to host a week-long celebration focused on diversity and inclusion.

In 2019, the city preceded the announcement of its diversity education grants with a press release celebrating the Chinese New Year. The city highlighted the Mandarin Dual Language Immersion program at Tarwater Elementary School – a program run by what was previously known as the Confucius Classrooms, now the Chinese Language Partner Network under the Asia Society, which has ties to the Confucius Institutes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The city highlighted this program in association with this year’s diversity education grants because previous diversity education grants had gone toward that program’s Chinese New Year Celebration. According to the press release, the grant allowed the school to expand the celebration from a small, classroom-based experience to a large event with hundreds of people entertained by Chinese heritage groups and performers.

Those brought to attend included Chinese singers, professional lion dancers, and Asian-fusion food trucks.

The principal of the school, Diana Hale, recounted how one of the native Chinese teachers complimented the event.

“The event was busy and crowded, and cleaning up was dirty. One of the teachers made a comment about it, and I apologized,” said Hale. “He said, ‘No, no, I loved it – it felt like being back home.’ That comment was very meaningful coming from someone who was from the country we were celebrating. We worked really hard to replicate the feeling of celebrating the Chinese New Year with family.”

Hale called the celebration an authentic cultural experience.

According to the city’s Human Relations Commission, these grants assist the overall goal of “elimination of prejudice and discrimination; and to promote amicable relations among all racial, cultural, religious, age, gender, disabled, socio-economic and national groups within the community.”

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinnejournalist@gmail.com.