Before school starts, I thought I'd address some common questions teachers and school community members have about wading into the wild, wonderful world of grant writing.
Where do I find grants?
Answer: This is the number one question by far. Begin your search with the Discount School Supply MySchoolGrantsm search. This is a free tool; you can search by state and area of interest. The database is updated often with fresh information.
There are other resources too, keep in mind most foundations and corporations reserve their support to their own locality. When you search Google, be sure to include your state name. There are also other databases, but some are quite expensive.
How much money can I ask for?
Answer: How much do you need? Remember that grantsmanship is about forming relationships. For a large initiative spanning many years, start small with local grantors. You can find out who the corporate donors are in your community through your Chamber of Commerce. Attend a COC meeting or two; network with other like-minded teachers and school officials. Larger communities will have a business education alliance. If you're in a small town see if you can partner with a neighboring community. Some of the best grants come through collaboration; foundations like these partnerships. You can piece together money from your regular school budgets with small grants to make a big picture. Prepare a spreadsheet with matching amounts from all successful grant applications and school funds. Add to it as you become more successful. Eventually you'll want to branch out to seek funding for other needs in your school. The money is out there. If you're persistent, you can find it.
What about all those big government grants?
Answer: Your district may have a grants manager, certainly a business manager. If you're a beginner, be sure to network with that person. It is their mission in life to apply for and manage those big grants if your district is applying. Big federal grants are not for the faint of heart. A successful National Science Foundation grant application may take years to develop. You may fail many times before you are successful. The application process can be arduous and frustrating, but the rewards are tremendous. Your school will be launched to a national stage. Very heady stuff. You can start your grant search at Grants.gov, but be sure to check with district leaders before you wade in higher than your knees.
What kinds of projects get grants?
Answer: All kinds. Lately, some of the most successful grant applications at the individual school level have been related to technology and STEM projects. Tablet labs and project-based science learning programs are big-ticket items that have brought in grants for schools. Afterschool programs and blended learning projects are extremely fundable if you keep them aligned with standards and academic achievement. In fact, all grants you seek should be approached this way. Take a long, hard look at your test scores; where is your school falling behind? This is the place to start. You won't find grants for playground equipment unless it's linked to a project that is aligned with CCSS and your academic needs. The title of the project won't be "Playground Equipment for the XYZ School", it will be "Raising Academic Achievement through Creative Play". You get the idea. All foundations and corporate giving bodies are aware of standards and the need for the improvement of academic achievement. They have their own agendas. Be sure you know what they are. Apple, for instance, likes to make in-kind grants of iPad labs if they line up with curriculum and address a fundamental academic need.
There are so many more questions you may have. Search this blog and you may find some answers in our previous articles.
Let me know your stories, I'd love to share them with everyone.
Current Grant Opportunities
Education Grants from the Hearst Foundation - the Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations and institutions working in the fields of Education, Health, Culture and Social Service. Our goal is to ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.
States: All States
Average Amount: $35,000.00 - $200,000.00
Total Amount: $10,000,000.00 - $11,300,000.00
Address: 300 West 57th Street, 26th Floor New York, New York 10019-3741
Website: The Hearst Foundation
Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Higher Education, Other
Program Areas: Adult Literacy, After-School, Arts, At-Risk/Character, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Disabilities, Early Childhood, ESL/Bilingual/Foreign Language, Family Services, General Education, Health/PE, Homeless, Library, Math, Miscellaneous, Reading, Safe/Drug-Free Schools, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, Special Education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology
The Elva Knight Research Educational Grant from the International Reading Association (IRA) - the Elva Knight Research Grant provides up to $10,000 for research in reading and literacy. Projects should be completed within 2 years and may be carried out using any research method or approach so long as the focus of the project is on research in reading or literacy. Activities such as developing new programs or instructional materials are not eligible for funding except to the extent that these activities are necessary procedures for the conduct of the research.
States: All States
Average Amount: $10,000.00
Address: 800 Barksdale Road, PO Box 8139 Newark, DE 19714-8139, USA
Eligibility: Public School
Program Areas: Reading