New Local Partnership Awards More Than $125,000 to Develop Nontraditional Education Opportunities for El Paso Students

July 12, 2022 — As the new school year approaches, CREEED and VELA Education Fund today announced 15 grant recipients who will receive a total of $127,500 to support nontraditional education programs that serve El Paso families.

The Micro grants of up to $10,000 each are being awarded to everyday entrepreneurs such as students, parents, educators, and community leaders who are leading innovative approaches to teaching and learning, such as microschools, homeschool support groups, and other nontraditional education applications.

These nontraditional models are offering innovative approaches to teaching and learning that are proving increasingly popular with families in El Paso.   For example, one grant recipient, Sun City Homeschool Co-op, led by Jessica Gomez, has expanded from 60 to 107 students since launching in January. 

“Families across El Paso and across the country are hungry for education programs that reflect their values, that are hands-on, engaging, and dynamic,” said Meredith Olson, VELA’s president. “We’re thrilled to see the demand in El Paso and are excited to be working with CREEED to support these local entrepreneurs.”

Across the country, VELA announced more than 300 grant recipients who are receiving more than $3 million in total. With this latest round of grants, VELA has now awarded more than $16.5 million in less than two years. Grant recipients live in all 50 states and three U.S. territories.  The funding for El Paso programs is earmarked through a new, local partnership between VELA and CREEED.

“We are seeking to support homegrown education innovations such as the recipients of these VELA grants that can help students thrive academically,” said Eddie Rodriguez, Executive Director for CREEED.  “The partnership with VELA is new for CREEED, and we took this step to explore the opportunities within the El Paso community for innovative applications for high-quality education within more flexible education models. We’re interested in seeing how this investment in entrepreneurial education can grow in impact for more El Paso families seeking this type of educational alternative.”

This initial round of awards means just under half of the $250,000 opportunity remains for other El Paso-area programs. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis through October at Interested applicants can sign up at to receive updates directly from VELA.

Eddie Rodriguez, Executive Director of CREEED and Meredith Olson, President of VELA Education Fund, are available for interviews. If interested in pursuing a story, please contact Lisa Cohen at and Chris Lechuga at



The Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) is a not-for-profit organization focused on increasing the number of high-performing seats in El Paso’s public education system. This is accomplished by investing in initiatives that are creating measurable outcomes to close the achievement gap for El Paso students. CREEED supports organizations, initiatives, and policies that prepare students to succeed in college and in our future workforce. CREEED’s efforts are focused on increasing the quality of education that students receive in El Paso. Our efforts fall into three categories: Increasing Student Attainment; Increasing Teacher Talent & Leadership Development; and Increasing Parent and Community Engagement.​ Each of which contributes to the formation and sustainability of a quality workforce with quality career paths and opportunities.

About VELA Education Fund:

VELA is a national nonprofit fund that launched in 2020. VELA invests in everyday entrepreneurs – students, parents, educators, and community leaders – who are envisioning new approaches that meet learners’ and families’ needs. These models include homeschool co-ops, microschools, after-school programs, and much, much more. VELA does not dictate solutions to its grantees. Instead, VELA trusts grantees to identify what their communities need and how they can best meet those needs. To date, VELA has awarded more than 1,600 grants totaling over $16.5 million to support non-traditional education models. Recipients reside in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.