How to Get a School Grant: Grant Writers' Checklist for Summer Break

Well, here we are again: the end of another blockbuster school year. I hope yours was successful and profitable. It's time to start organizing your to-do lists for the next round of grant applications for supplementing next year's school resources.

Get yourself a good calendar. I like a nice big wall calendar on which I can post reminders and deadlines. This simple step will go a long way to keeping you organized and on time for critical moments in the grant writing cycle.

Here's a checklist of people you want to see before we all scatter to the summer winds (check them off after you touch base):

  • Your Principal - First things first: you want to let your principal know you would like to pursue more grants next year (with her permission and guidance). She will know whether it needs to be bumped up to the superintendent for further permissions. Most districts have permission forms for activities. There is no wrath like a superintendent blind-sided.
  • District Business Manager - Once you've secured district permission, this is a key contact. He will know where the budget needs support. You want to consult with him, but don't let him hijack your plans or projects (this happened to me, so I'm giving you a heads-up).
  • Curriculum Director - This person can guide you to data showing areas of weakness in your school's test scores. She can also help you align your applications to CCSS (Common Core State Standards).
  • Teachers - Once you have identified the core curriculum areas for improvement, select some key teachers. They may have wish lists for projects they would love to do to boost achievement in key areas.
  • Parents (Bring in the PTO) - Sometimes if grant funds fall short on a project, you can call on the PTO to run a fundraiser (or two) to make up the shortfall. If they're in on the plans from the beginning, it makes them enthusiastic partners.
  • Custodian - Just checking to see if you're awake; however, in my career I have made custodians my best friends and collaborators. They will drop everything for you if treated with respect and appreciation for their ideas and contributions.

Things to do before school ends:

  • Get a copy of next year's school calendar; holidays have a way of sneaking up on you. I missed a deadline once because I couldn't gain access to my school building on a holiday to get my hard copies with the signatures. It was a bad day in grants land.
  • If you have grant directories or paper copies of important district documents, make copies and take them home with you—ditto for closed school buildings during breaks. Don't forget your secret password lists. You want to set up offices at home so you can pursue opportunities 24/7.
  • Have casual conversations with everyone in school whose opinion you respect and whose counsel you seek. Your goal is to take the temperature of the school climate, trying to learn where a grant-funded project could help pull people together to make next year a total success.

And it will be a total success. If you're brand new at grant writing for schools (and even it you're not), bookmark this blog. I try to keep my articles topical and relevant. If I fail, I want to know about it; use the comments function below. I'm available all summer if you need a helping hand.

Let me know your stories. I'd love to share them with everyone.


Current Grant Opportunities

Baseball Tomorrow Fund Grant from the Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association - Baseball Tomorrow Fund will review all grant applications and will be most interested in projects that help: increase the number of youth participating in baseball and softball programs, improve the quality of youth baseball and softball programs, create new or innovative ways of expanding and improving baseball or softball programs, generate matching funds for programs, address programs for children aged 10-16, support existing programs which have demonstrated success in providing a quality baseball/softball experience for youth and address opportunities for minorities and women.

States: All States

Average Amount: $50,000.00

Address: Baseball Tomorrow Fund, 245 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10167

Email: btf@mlb.com

Website: Major League Baseball

Eligibility: Public School, Other

Program Areas: Facilities/Maintenance, Health/PE

Deadline: 7/1/2015

Mini-Grants from the Music Is Revolution Foundation - The Music Is Revolution Foundation administers a mini-grant program for Music Is Revolution activities designed by teachers to implement, support and/or improve their ability to provide quality music education for their students. Only projects that clearly contain a music education focus, that is, projects based on the concept of music education, through musical experiences, initiating students into a sense of their social, academic, and cultural identity and humanizing them through the emotional, cognitive, and/or physical impact of music, will be considered.

States: All States

Average Amount: $500.00

Address: PO Box 11899 Portland, OR 97211

Email: grants@musicisrevolution.com

Website: Music Is Revolution Foundation

Eligibility: Public School

Program Areas: Arts

Deadline: 10/15/2015