There is solid and growing evidence that well-designed, well-implemented and well-integrated school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) positively impacts academic, social, and mental health outcomes. Since 2011, the CASEL Collaborating Districts initiative has demonstrated that large urban districts can systematically provide SEL for all students, and achieve positive outcomes as a result.

The Robert Johnson Wood Foundation and CASEL embarked on the SEL Financial Sustainability Project, as part of CASEL’s Collaborating District Initiative, to research and report on how school districts can effectively prioritize, fund and sustain their SEL initiatives, so that SEL becomes everlasting, woven into the fabric of the district. Achieving financial sustainability requires districts to move beyond a single initial funding source to a diverse long term funding strategy that can weather leadership changes and political challenges.

Here you will find the results of that effort. You will find resources to learn more about key elements that build financial sustainability, four district case studies with implementation strategies, sample budgets and lessons learned, and a financial planning tool kit, with interactive financial and budget modeling planning tools. It’s all here to help you get started and maintain your momentum.


Rob Schamberg, CASEL senior district advisor was the primary website content developer and author of case studies, lessons learned, and cost calculator, and budgeting tool. Ramona Thomas, CASEL knowledge specialist, designed the financial sustainability planning tool, as well as graphs in the case studies. Both authors edited each other’s works and express gratitude for the SEL leads in each district who provided so much of the content included throughout. Melissa Schlinger, CASEL vice president of program and practice managed, guided and oversaw website content development and production.


We are appreciative of our colleagues, Marguerite Roza, Director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University and Olga Acosta Price, Director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at George Washington University. They provided knowledge and publications which helped to form this project and contributed to the outcomes.

Four school districts collaborated in this project, providing data, engaging in interviews, editing case studies, and opening their districts to a film crew. We are grateful for their fine work and their willingness to share it in order to advance SEL across the nation.
(Note: Identified district personnel and titles reflect those involved when this tool was built in 2015. Since then, district leadership may have changed.)

Appreciation is expressed to the following people who took the time to edit the content on this website, including Hank Resnik, Ann McKay Bryson, Judith Nuss, Melissa Schlinger, Sherrie Raven, Karen Van Ausdal, Trish Shaffer, and Joanne Panopoulos.

The website was designed and developed by Connect With Kids.