Active Learning Grant

Steelcase Learning


It all started in 2016. Steelcase Education established an annual grant program to fund select Active Learning Classrooms—physical spaces designed to support co-learning, co-creation and open discussion in educational settings. Each year, eligible educational institutions have been invited to apply for this innovative grant, which provides furniture, onsite training, design, installation and evaluation supports for classrooms of up to 30 students.


For six consecutive years, SteeIcase Education has asked Williams Group to manage and support
the grant program. In close collaboration with the Steelcase team, Wg writes the grant proposal guidelines, develops comprehensive communications plans and timelines, produces all program communications, and manages the extensive submission, award and implementation process—no small feat for a program of this size.


In the grant's first year, the Steelcase Education grant team hoped to receive 200 applications. Instead, a remarkable 535 proposals were submitted, prompting the team to staff up their grant review process and recalibrate expectations for this runaway success. Participation continues to rise with each passing year: In 2018, application submissions surpassed 1,000. National media has also responded very positively; paid and social media campaigns had more than 100,000 impressions and yielded nearly 1,000 clicks to the Active Learning Center Grant landing page. In 2019, 12 classrooms were awarded in the spirit of creating environments that encourage engagement, collaboration and creativity. And despite the challenges 2020 brought, four studio classrooms were awarded in May.

Building on the program’s massive success, Steelcase launched an Active Learning Symposium in 2017, gathering together former grant recipients. In its second year, this exclusive learning and sharing event in Grand Rapids serves as an excellent opportunity for teachers, staff and education thought leaders. Williams Group assists in a variety of ways, including consulting and project management support, content creation, design, scheduling and general logistics.