New Local Partnership Leads to More Than $150,000 to Develop Nontraditional Education Opportunities for Wichita Students

July 12, 2022 — As the new school year approaches, VELA Education Fund today announced 15 grant recipients who will receive a total of $152,500 to support nontraditional education programs that serve Wichita 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 more.

These nontraditional models are increasingly popular with families in Wichita. For example, one grant recipient, LIGHT Academy, a hybrid homeschool co-founded by Kaely Blasdel, is planning to use its award to double in size from its current 59 students.

“Families across Wichita 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 Wichita and are excited to be supporting these local entrepreneurs.”

Across the country, VELA announced more than 300 grant recipients who are receiving more than $3 million in total. The funding for Wichita programs is earmarked through one of VELA’s new, local partnerships.

This initial round of awards means just under half of the $250,000 opportunity remains for other Wichita-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.

With this latest round of grants, VELA has now awarded 1,600 grants totaling more than $16.5 million in less than two years. Grant recipients live in all 50 states and three U.S. territories.

Meredith Olson, President of VELA Education Fund, is available for interviews. If interested in pursuing a story, please contact Lisa Cohen at


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.