In my last article, I talked about what happens when the grant runs out of money. There are tips and tricks available to help avoid that problem, but sometimes it's the reverse, you end up with cash on the books at the end of the grant-funded program.
What do you do where there's money left over?
Answer - send it back.
Yikes! How do you do that without having the Superintendent descend on you with both feet for bad management? Hey, it happens. Maybe you sponsored an after school program that ran into attendance problems because of the horrible snowstorms you had last winter. Or, you ordered too many supplies for that art project embedded in the STEM program. It takes experience and additional planning to skate through this one.
The best way to solve the problem is to offer to send it back but have a plan in your pocket to spend it in case the grantor will allow. This starts with a phone call to the liaison you have worked with from the foundation. If you've kept in touch with that person throughout the project (this is really important) she may already know you are facing an overage. It will be easier to come up with an alternative spending plan if she already knows this is coming.
One way to do this is to extend the program beyond the planned end date. Add a couple of days to the after school program so you are sure you are using the funds as originally intended. Or, and I've actually accomplished this; work with the foundation to allow a new application for next year's program. This is the key to establishing a long-term relationship with the grantor, which is exactly what you want. Sit down with them and present a detailed plan for how you will expand the project next year in response to the positive way the project was received in the community. Key word is detailed, if you've worked through a budget you can point out where you misjudged and explain how this deficiency will be addressed going forward.
It may take a meeting with several stakeholders to make this happen. It's time to bring out the coffee and danish and have a full morning scheduled to bring them all together. Be prepared to show photos, or create a website for the project currently under way. There is no greater advertisement for success than to have pictures of happy kids learning new things. Be prepared to share test data, emphasizing areas where academic achievement has been improved through activities sponsored by the current program. Explain how these activities will need support through next year to imprint the grantor's impact on the school community. They are funding your school partly because it's great advertising for them. Maximize this impact on the website, offer to run ads on the site for the company, they'll have someone on staff who can help you integrate the ad code into the site.
State and federal grants have rules for how much money can be "carried over" into next year's allocation. Generally, it's 10% of the total grant and a grant amendment will need to be filed. Each grant has its own form for applying for the amendment and each grant has its own liaison at the state level. Be sure you are working with your grants manager downtown for these grants, there's a special process for amending these awards.
Here are some resources for this issue:
Fiduciary Duties (Mellon)
Let me know your stories, I'd love to share them with everyone.
Current Grant Opportunities:
Education Grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation- Grantmaking in education seeks primarily to gain a better understanding of how digital technologies are changing how young people learn, play, socialize, exercise judgment, and engage in civic life. Grantmaking also is exploring how learning environments "peers, family and social institutions (such as schools)" may be changing as well. Through answers to these questions, and the policy responses to them, the Foundation seeks to help build the interdisciplinary, cross-sector field of digital media and learning.
States: All States
Average Amount: $200.00 - $500,000.00
Total Amount: $100,000,000.00
Address: 140 S. Dearborn Street, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60603-5285
Website: MacArthur Foundation
Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Other
Program Areas: Arts, At-Risk/Character, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Disabilities, Family Services, General Education, Health/PE, Math, Reading, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, Special Education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology
STEM Educational Grants from PPG Industries Foundation- the PPG Industries Foundation board favors projects that promote academic excellence and prepare the next generation of leaders in business, science, and technology. Support for students of high academic achievement and programs that attract young people to the study of science remain priorities. At the pre-college level, PPG supports programs that impact on quality of teaching and motivate students to realize their potential.
States: All States
Average Amount: $1,000.00 - $500,000.00
Total Amount: $5,000,000,.00
Address: 1 PPG Pl., Ste. 7E, Pittsburgh, PA United States 15272-0001
Website: PPG Industries Foundation
Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Higher Education, Other
Program Areas: After-School, Early Childhood, General Education, Health/PE, Math, Professional Development, Science/Environmental, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology