Causeway Challenge IV

You don’t have to be a nonprofit or a foundation to make a difference. Causeway believes in equipping average citizens to solve problems they identify in their own communities. Through the Causeway Challenge, we look to the wisdom of the crowd to solve some of our city’s toughest challenges. We frame the problem. You propose a solution. For our fourth Causeway Challenge we are asking: How can parents help transform public education in Chattanooga? Applications are now closed. Follow us on Facebook to be the first to know who the winners are on May 5th. 

In every conversation we have with Chattanoogans about our city’s problems, education is an issue that rises to the top. Education problems are complex, because they are intertwined with so many other issues, both in cause and effect. We know that teachers can’t do it alone, schools can’t do it alone, and students can’t do it alone. It takes all of us to make sure that our students have the support they need, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Parents, guardians, grandparents, family members, and caretakers play an extremely important role in a student’s life. What tools can we build to help busy parents support their kids? What information do parental figures need to be able to advocate for public education? How can we make sure every child is prepared for each new stage of education–from kindergarten to post-grad life? We encourage anyone with an idea to apply – students, teachers, community members – as long as their idea revolves around parent or guardian involvement in education.


We want to hear your ideas.

Applications are now closed. We will be announcing the winners on May 5th. We plan to award $3000 each to ten projects that answer the question: How can parents help transform public education in Chattanooga? A group of community judges will select ten projects to receive grassroots funding up to $3000 to implement their projects. Si te gustaría solicitar en español, por favor, envíenos un correo a

Dates to Remember:

Applications Open: March 1
Show and Tell, Speaker Panel: March 15th at 6:30pm at CCA
Open Office Hours: 
Friday March 11th, 18th, and 25th from 12 - 1 at Causeway.
Monday March 21st and 28th from 5 - 6 at Causeway.
Applications Close: April 8th at 11:59pm
Winners Announced: May 5
Projects Planned and Implemented:  May - October 2016

Questions? Email us at or come by Open Office Hours to run an idea by us (dates and times listed above). 

Projects should...

be led by individuals.
In an effort to build up new community leaders, applications are open to individuals and groups. If the individual project leader(s) happen to own or work for or with an organization or business they would like to get involved, we think that is great, too.

be realistic and manageable.
Projects should be small-scale, well planned, and able to make significant progress with $3000 in four months.

bring people together.
Projects should bring people together who would not otherwise work together or know each other.

align with Causeway's mission, vision and values.
Using an entrepreneurial approach, Causeway inspires and equips Chattanoogans to develop smarter solutions to our city's toughest challenges.



Get Inspired with Show and Tell.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, March 15th and join us for Show and Tell, a speaker panel highlighting four examples of great projects from all over the country that focus on parental involvement in education. Meet us at the Center for Creative Arts (1301 Dallas Road, two minutes from downtown) at 6:00 PM. 

Admission is free, and we have a fun night planned. In addition to the inspiring speakers, we will have a student-led string quartet to keep your toes tapping, amazing food from Dish t' Pass that will make you nostalgic for snack time, and a few other surprises. There will be a supervised play area for children, so bring the whole family along! Let us know you're coming by registering through Eventbrite, and invite your friends with our Facebook Event!

For more inspiration you can check out the example projects below, read about the past challenge winners, or check out the education projects we've highlighted on Pinterest.


Meet the Judges.


Kendi Anderson
Education Reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press


Elizabeth Crews
Executive Director of UnifiEd


Cordell Carter
CEO of Tech Town


Wendy Jung
Principal of Harrison Elementary


Allen Coffman
Pediatrician and founder of Pediatric Health Improvement Coalition


Alexis (AJ) Willis
Parent, Social Entrepreneur, and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Support for LAUNCH and The Company Lab


What if I need help with my application?
In addition to the office hours mentioned above, applicants are always welcome to email us with questions at or call us at (423) 521-5554. If you do not have access to the internet, or the online application makes you uncomfortable in any way, please stop by our workspace and we will assist you. Si te gustaría solicitar en español, por favor, envíenos un correo a

Can ONLY parents apply for this Causeway Challenge?
Nope. We would love to see applications from students, teachers, and community members, so long as those applications include an idea about getting parent or guardians involved in public education. 

Can businesses apply for the Causeway Challenge?
In an effort to build up new community leaders, applications are open to individuals and groups. If the individual project leader(s) happen to own or work for or with an organization or business they would like to get involved, we think that is great, too.

If I'm an individual who wins the Causeway Challenge funding, do I have to pay taxes on it?
We cannot give you personal tax advice, so we recommend you consult with your accountant about how this might work with your particular circumstances. If this is a concern for you, we are open to you finding a nonprofit like a neighborhood association or a traditional charity to partner with to manage the funds. We can also help you identify an organization that might be a good fit.

Are there certain things you will and won't fund?
While we hope to leave things broadly open to your imagination, here are some examples that may give you insight into what we're looking for in an application's budget. Eligible expenses might include things like permits, rentals, supplies, some marketing expenses, limited stipend for effort committed to the project. Non-eligible expenses include personal capital expenditures (like buying yourself a fancy camera), and deficits or expenses incurred prior to the project implementation period, projects or events that have already taken place, purchase of awards or cash prizes, projects planned primarily for fundraising purposes, or applications that are simply asking for monetary support of a larger fundraising campaign (i.e. sponsorship requests). 


Read about our past Challenge Winners.