ING Unsung Heroes began in 1995 as a way for ING U.S. to demonstrate its commitment to the education community. Grants are given to K-12 educators utilizing new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning.
Each year, educators submit applications for an ING Unsung Heroes grant by describing projects they have initiated or would like to pursue. Each project is judged on its:
- Innovative method
- Ability to positively influence the students
Each year, 100 finalists are selected to receive a $2,000 grant, payable to both the winning teacher and his or her school. At least one grant is awarded in each of the 50 states, provided at least one qualified application was received from each state. Winners are selected by Scholarship America, a national non-profit educational support and student aid service organization.
Of the 100 finalists, three are selected for additional financial awards: $25,000 for first place; $10,000 for second place; and $5,000 for third place. The top winners are selected by ING U.S.’s Educators Advisory Board, consisting of six distinguished educators from across the United States.