Teachers:  Here's a Way to Reward Your Student's Grit and Character

Your recommendation could mean a $2,500 GritGrant for your student

The McKenzie Foundation and Uncharted Learning are pleased to announce the submission process for the 2023 GritGrant™ Awards.

WHO is Eligible?  Students currently enrolled in high school INCubatoredu/ACCELeratoredu and/or MobileMakersEdu/MobileMakersStudio programs and nominated by teachers from Uncharted Learning member schools through a recommendation letter are eligible. 

WHAT are GritGrants?  GritGrants are cash awards recognizing students who overcome adversity to reach their goals. The award winners motivate others not to quit no matter the difficulty. This year, four students will receive $2,500 each for a total of $10,000 in grants.

WHEN are recommendations due? The submission window for recommendation letters opens March 31, 2023 at 8:00 AM CST, and closes May 26, 2023 at 5:00 PM CST

WHERE will the Awards be announced?  Awards will be announced at the Uncharted Learning National Summit on July 11, 2023.

WHY GritGrants? The McKenzie Foundation established GritGrants to:

  1. Reward the “Grit” of students who successfully overcome adversity
  2. Motivate others that no obstacle is insurmountable

“Grit” is inspirational. It comes from passion, perseverance, and a never-quit attitude.  The McKenzie Foundation wants to encourage student passion and perseverance when things seem too tough to keep going. 

HOW will GritGrants be awarded: GritGrants will be based on a student’s Grit and Character. Elements of “Grit” include: 

  • Optimism, confidence, and creativity 
  • Resilience despite fear
  • Laser-like focus on meaningful goals
  • Excellence not perfection 

Elements of “Character” refers to ways of thinking, acting, and feeling that benefit others as well as ourselves. Character includes:

  • Heart—such as gratitude and kindness, enabling harmonious relationships with other people 
  • Mind—such as curiosity and creativity, enabling independent thinking
  • Will—such as discipline and self-control

Students will be evaluated on their demonstration of these characteristics and qualities in working towards their goals.


Teachers from Uncharted Learning member schools can each nominate a total of two students to represent their school’s INCubatoredu/ACCELeratoredu and/or MobileMakersEdu/MobileMakersStudio programs. 

Nominations are made by INCubatoredu or MobileMakersEdu teachers in the form of a recommendation letter. 

Follow this link to submit an application.

The recommendation letter must include the following:

  • School Name and Address
  • Teacher Name and Email
  • Name of Student and Graduation Year
  • Description of Student’s “Grit” and “Character” (not to exceed 1000 words) 
  • Nominations will be considered based on the authenticity of content.

No minimum GPA level is required.

The submission window opens on March 31, 2023 at 8:00 AM CST. Recommendation letters are due no later than May 26, 2023 at 5:00 PM CST.

GritGrant nominations are reviewed by a committee of volunteer community champions, and recipients are selected in a final round by a panel of entrepreneurs.


2022 GritGrant™️ Winners


Stanley Bazelais

Immokalee High School, Collier County Public Schools, FL

Teacher:  Falia Justima

Dawid Redo

Harry D. Jacobs High School, District 300, IL

Teacher: Shaugh Davenport

Franklin Sinchi

St. Patrick High School, IL

Teacher: Paul Best
GritGrant Awards-2022-images

Rod Yazdi

Vista Ridge High School, Leander ISD, TX

Teacher: Dana Jones

(Virtual award ceremony)


About The McKenzie Foundation

The McKenzie Foundation was established to inspire peace through kindness and education. To illustrate this philanthropic mission, its founders, Maureen and James McKenzie, along with their children, Alexandra, Samuel and Joseph, lead the Foundation to fund nonprofits working on peacemaking through education and the improvement of the human spirit. The Foundation believes in building the capacity of its partners and the realization of their commitments. As active impact donors, the Foundation aligns its mission with grant-making goals. Outside of this work, the Foundation makes discretionary donations by invitation.