Each One Reach One originated as an initiative called, "Diversity in Teaching," set forth by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). In 1989, the General Assembly called for a variety of ways to correct the under-representation of African Americans and Hispanics among public school teachers in Tennessee. Changes occurred in federal law which determined that race could no longer be a factor in a program's eligibility, in addition, the proportionality of minority teachers to minority students can no longer be a governing principle of a program. Since then, the grant has evolved to focus on finding up and coming educators who have a commitment to diversity in teaching.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga received the grant in 1999 and named it, "Each One Reach One."