Ready To Learn Community Partnership Planning Applications

New applications are no longer being accepted. Check this page for updates about this initiative.


Open to CSG-qualified TV Stations.


June 30, 2017

Request for Applications

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), as part of the 2015-20 Ready To Learn initiative (RTL) intends to provide funding for up to 30 public television stations in phase one, from which up to 14 stations will be selected for funding in phase two. In phase one (October 1, 2017 through April 30, 2018), applicants must demonstrate that the station has sufficient staff available to support the project with experience in early learning, station leadership support for this project, and the capacity to develop a community engagement collaborative to support early learning in STEM and literacy. In phase two (October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2020), CPB expects to fund approximately 14 of these stations to implement a two-year Community Collaborative for Early Learning & Media (CC-ELM). The objective of the CC-ELM is to give children ages two to eight from low-income households (the "Target Audience") a stronger foundation in early science and literacy learning by engaging them, their families, and their caregivers with Ready To Learn’s high-quality digital and hands-on educational content.

If selected for phase one, stations must use the grant funds to conduct a needs assessment to identify a community site for the project and potential partners, utilizing a toolkit developed by CPB. Once those partners are secured, the stations must work with them to develop a two-year community engagement plan using the CC-ELM model. At the close of phase one, CPB will review applicants’ community engagement plans for funding consideration in phase two.

To be eligible to apply for consideration, applicants must currently be CPB Community Service Grant recipients in good standing and have recent experience with the Target Audience using any CPB-PBS RTL content and models from the 2010-15 and 2015-20 grant periods (which may include, but is not limited to, Odd Squad Be the Agent Camps, Boston University Teacher Professional Development Modules, and PBS KIDS Transmedia Suites).

These Community Partnership Planning grants are funded by the CPB-PBS RTL Content, Community, and Collaboration: Advancing Children's Learning through Personalized Media Experiences grant, funded under the U.S. Department of Education RTL grant (No. U295A100025, CFDA No. 84.295A). The total amount of funds available for these 30 planning grants is $50,000 and contingent on CPB’s continued receipt of its annual federal appropriations for the RTL program.

Please download the Request for Applications below for detailed information, including application requirements.
PDF icon Request for Applications104.72 KB

Questions from Potential Respondents, with CPB Answers:

FAQ Topic: 

When and how will the 14 stations be selected for phase two?

The proposals will be reviewed by a panel and evaluated using the criteria in Attachment A (“Anticipated Evaluation Criteria for Phase II”) of the RFA.

CPB expects to announce the fourteen recipients by October 2018.

Do stations need to budget for travel to the required national meeting in phase one?

Yes, budgets should include the estimated cost for two station representatives to attend a two-day in-person kick-off meeting with CPB, PBS, and key RTL partners in the Washington, D.C. metro area in the fall of 2017.

Are the current 16 CC-ELM included and eligible for additional funding in phase one or phase two of this grant?

No, these planning grants are meant to expand the network of CC-ELM.

What is the expected amount of funding available to stations in phase two of this project?

While the funding amounts are dependent on CPB’s appropriations for fiscal years 2019 and 2020, CPB expects to make $2,450,000 available in grant funds for the 14 CC-ELM during the two year period of phase two.

I would like to register for the webinar but do not see how to do that on the link provided in the RFA.

Pre-registration to the webinar is not required. The link for registration and to join the webinar ( will go live approximately 15 minutes prior to the webinar start time, 3:00 PDT on Monday, May 15, 2017.

The RFA states that “the total amount available for these 30 planning grants is $150,000." Does that mean that each recipient will receive $150,000 or is $150,000 the total amount to be divided by 30 recipients?

The total amount available for the planning grants is $150,000, to be divided among 30 recipients. Projects selected for funding will be evaluated to determine whether the proposed costs, which may vary from applicant to applicant, are reasonable for the work planned.

What are the PBS KIDS Transmedia Suites?

The PBS KIDS Transmedia Suites were developed in the 2010-2015 round of Ready To Learn. They are collections of cross-platform videos, games, and off-line activities, connected by a singular property (e.g. Peg+Cat) or curricular theme (e.g. spatial reasoning). The PBS KIDS Transmedia Suites can be found at

Where is the Needs Assessment Tool?

The Needs Assessment Toolkit is currently in the pilot phase and not yet available to the public. However, applicants may request a copy of the pilot version by emailing Applicants should note that the Toolkit may have minor revisions prior to use in phase one.

Our station serves an entire state. Will each station be required to select only one community, or could a station work with several communities across the state?

CPB has found that the most successful CC-ELM projects focus on one specific neighborhood or community. Consequently, we recommend that applicants limit their focus accordingly.

How would a small station that hasn’t been involved with RTL have recent experience with the “Target Audience?”

Given the plentiful offerings of free PBS KIDS television programming and digital content, and public media's mission to engage underserved audiences, applicants must have experience working with the Target Audience (defined as "children ages two to eight from low-income households"), as well as with their families and caregivers.

Will phase one grantees have to submit a proposal to a new RFP to be considered for phase two CC-ELM funding?

At the close of phase one, CPB will review applicants’ community engagement plans (a deliverable for all planning grant recipients) for funding consideration in phase two. The plan will serve as the proposal; no additional RFP will be posted. The Anticipated Evaluation Criteria for the engagement plan is posted in the RFA under Attachment A.

The budget template and RFA describe a seven month contract period for phase one, but the notes in the Equipment section refer to “equipment needs in their first project year.” Does that mean applicants need to estimate equipment needs for phase two or only the planning period in phase one?"

The term for the planning grant (phase one) is October 1, 2017 through April 30, 2018. Accordingly, please include in your budget an estimate of any equipment required for this period.

Where can I access the webinar “Community Collaboratives for Early Learning & Media: Lessons & Opportunities with Ready To Learn” from May 15, 2017?

Can you clarify what is meant by “local evaluation work” on page three of the RFA?

Local evaluation work means any efforts to better understand the impact of the station’s work with its community or neighborhood, which may be accomplished through informal surveying and observation or through partnership with professional researchers.

Does CPB have specific parameters for the scope and delivery of planned activities for the two-year local initiative?

A detailed workscope for phase two is not yet available because it is contingent on content and resources still in production. However, phase two stations should anticipate providing CPB with regular narrative and financial reports, participating in trainings (virtual and in-person) with partners, and hosting awareness building activities, as well as implementing Family Creative Learning workshops, RTL transmedia content, and other RTL resources.

During phase two, will station staff be required to provide 100% of direct services, or is it acceptable to share service delivery with community partners?

An essential part of the CC-ELM model is for stations to work collaboratively with their partners to implement the RTL content and resources that facilitate early science and literacy learning of the target audience, as well as their families, caregivers, and educators. All members of the CC-ELM – stations and local partners – should share the responsibility of direct service to the community.

Is there a suggested length for applications? How much detail should applicants include in response to the Technical Proposal requirements?

There are no limits on application length. Applications should include only responses to the items described in section IV. Application Requirements.