New VELA Partnership to Offer $1 Million in Local Grants in Dallas-Fort Worth

VELA Education Fund and the Miles Foundation announced yesterday a $1 million opportunity for everyday entrepreneurs in Tarrant County, a new local activation of grantmaking for the national nonprofit and its Texas partner. The opportunity is focused on reaching everyday education entrepreneurs: students, parents, teachers, and community leaders who are envisioning new approaches and meeting the unique needs of learners and families. 

Micro grant applications for funding up to $10,000 will be available starting next month for Tarrant County-based programs. The awards are intended to support nontraditional educational opportunities, such as homeschool co-ops and microschools. 

“We’ve seen strong interest in Tarrant County in permissionless innovation, and we’re excited to be able to launch this initiative to support families and educators who are reimagining education,” said Meredith Olson, VELA’s president. 

VELA has awarded more than 1,300 grants since launching publicly in August 2020. The grants total more than $11.5 million and support entrepreneurs in all 50 states and 3 U.S. territories.

Tarrant County programs are among VELA’s grant recipients. To date, eight Fort Worth-Dallas area programs have received a total of $75,000, including the Barefoot University Forest School, which has subsequently opened more than a dozen more chapters across Texas and two additional states. 

“VELA’s support has allowed us to grow and meet the needs of many more families across Tarrant County,” said Amber Brown, a mom and co-founder of Barefoot University. “We serve hundreds of families across three states, and it all started because my co-founder and I had an idea here in Tarrant County. We’re grateful that other entrepreneurs will be able to access the same kind of game-changing support that we did.” 

This specific opportunity is exclusive to Tarrant County area programs, which will help fuel growth and accelerate innovation. The local program hopes to tap into exceptional interest in homeschooling, hybrid learning models, micro-schools and support for students with disabilities as the community seeks to address covid learning loss and redefine quality post-pandemic education. 

“The Miles Foundation is honored to partner with the VELA Education Fund to inspire innovation and support unique educational opportunities across North Texas,” said Grant Coates, CEO and President of the Miles Foundation. We are especially excited to reimagine and better recognize where and how learning happens, guided by students, parents, educators and leaders within our own community.”

The $1 million opportunity is expected to support up to 100 Micro grants over two years. The grant application will be available at starting in April. Interested applicants can sign up at to be notified when the application goes live.

The Micro grant recipients mentioned above, Grant Coates, President and CEO of The Miles Foundation, and Meredith Olson, President of VELA Education Fund, are available for interviews. If interested in pursuing a story, please contact Lisa Cohen at