ATA News

Ed Trust helps teachers develop their careers

Board members eye expansion and growth

Did you know that the ATA has a trust that’s set up to help teachers engage in meaningful professional development?

In operation since 1978, the Educational Trust program provides funding for teachers through four distinct bursary/grant programs. What’s common between the four programs is that money is available for teachers to learn and grow in their careers.

“With the cost of everything being so high coupled with no money in schools, it’s hard to do PD nowadays,” said Ed Trust’s board chair Melissa Morton, a teacher with Edmonton Public Teachers Local No. 37. “This is a great way for people to get some funds that they wouldn’t normally have access to.”

Melissa Morton
Melissa Morton

Ed Trust board chair

Each year, the Ed Trust disperses between $60,000 and $65,000. The majority of the funds come from donations from ATA locals, which pledge their support every year at the ATA’s Annual Representative Assembly in May. This funding is stable and predictable, but isn’t enabling the trust to grow, Morton said.

Many of the Ed Trust programs have a cap on the number of recipients and so choose their recipients by random draw, which means that some eligible applicants go without each year. For example, the Dr. B. T. Keeler Continuing Education Bursary had 200 applicants last year but is capped at 70 recipients.

“It would be nice to bring in more donations to be able to provide more of the grants and bursaries for applicants,” Morton said.

With most of Ed Trust’s money coming from locals, the system is a closed loop in which the teaching profession is indirectly paying for its members’ professional development, Morton said. There is a hope among the board that, with a recent influx of new board members, there will be ideas for tapping into new donation streams, enabling the program to grow.

“It would be nice to be able to grow it and to provide more opportunities for more people,” Morton said. ❚


The trust has four ongoing programs, each with its own awards and eligibility criteria.

Dr. B. T. Keeler Continuing Education Bursary

This bursary provides funds to certificated Alberta teachers for teaching-related courses at a university or professional program of education.

Funds available: $700 per recipient
Deadline: May 1 annually
Selection: The name of each eligible person is entered into a draw. 

Morgex/Johnson Insurance Centennial Fund for Teacher Development

This grant enables a teacher to attend a non-ATA professional development event:

  • conference
  • workshop
  • seminar
  • institute
  • symposium

Funds available: $600 per recipient
Deadline: Sept. 30 annually
Selection: The name of each eligible person is entered into a draw. 

ATA Specialist Council Conference Grants

This grant provides support to a teacher attending an ATA specialist council conference. 

Funds available: up to $500 per recipient
Deadline: September 30 annually
Selection: The name of each eligible person is entered into a draw.

Orest and Francina Lazarowich Bursary in CTS Technology Education

This bursary is funded by the trust and administered by the University of Alberta. It is awarded to a U of A student enrolled in the faculty of education with preference given to a student enrolled in the third year of the career and technology studies (CTS) program, majoring in technology education.

Funds available: up to $2,000 per recipient
Dec. 15 (fall term)
April 30 (winter term)
June 15 (spring or summer term)
Selection: One recipient is awarded each year, on the basis of demonstrated need.

What is the ATA Educational Trust?

As a separate legal entity from the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the ATA Educational Trust is a registered charity that provides bursaries to encourage teachers to advance their knowledge and skills and grants to help teachers attend professional development activities and events.

Donating to the trust

The ATA Educational Trust receives ongoing support from the ATA, ATA locals, the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association and private individuals.

Bequests in memory of a favourite teacher, donations to celebrate a colleague’s successful career in education and individual donations are all gratefully accepted. Tax receipts will be issued.

Contacting the trust

For more information about the trust and its award programs, visit, call 780-447-9498 or 1-800-232-7208, ext. 498, or email

This allows me to continue improving my professional knowledge and practice while reducing the financial impact on my family. It proves the ATA’s commitment to ongoing learning and growth.

Thank you so much for the support in completing my graduate studies!

This bursary has allowed me to continue my graduate studies while taking maternity leave. Being immersed in the world of education while being away from the classroom temporarily was an absolute blessing!

This has allowed me to afford a conference I have wanted to attend for many years.

This bursary allowed me to focus on my own education, and being the best teacher to my students, rather than worrying about costs.

Quite simply put, without the support of this grant, I would not be able to attend conferences like this. Thank you!