How to Write a Grant: What is a Matching Grant?

After you've been writing grants for awhile, you start hearing terms like "matching grant", "in-kind grants", "research grants" and more. Each type of grant has its benefits and will be part of your overall grant-writing repertoire.

A research grant is just what it sounds like. Produced in hospitals, laboratories, colleges and universities, research grant opportunities are highly complex and competitive sources of funds for scientists and graduate students who need support to pay for specific projects within their field of study. They are often by invitation only. A special source of government funding may have been moved forward to help pay for study of things like stem cell research, nanotechnology, or promoting certain drug therapies for cancer treatment. Research grants are written by experts with specific templates and formats that only specialists will understand. A project may be an offshoot of someone's thesis or dissertation. One such agency is the NIH (National Institutes of Health) with its many divisions and departments or areas of study. You will probably never be faced with the responsibility of writing one, unless you migrate to higher education.

An "in-kind" award is actually not a grant at all. It's more like a donation or gift. A technology company may be willing to donate computers  to high school science labs, provided the machines are manufactured by the same company. Your school may want to form partnerships with corporate giving entities to fulfill needs for supplies and services that only that company can provide. It's not always supplies; a corporation may be willing to provide volunteers from their community branch offices that are near your school. The company may have sophisticated laboratories or office space that provides an ideal environment for a research project.

One of my most profitable afternoons took place in my car, driving around the town to see what companies had branches or main offices nearby. I was surprised to go into large office buildings, go to the elevator directory and write down many companies that had offices in the building. Later, I made appointments with the management to introduce my school district and myself. Partnerships begin in mysterious ways.

A matching grant is an amount of support a company may want to provide that will fill out existing grants from other groups and foundations. Dell may be persuaded to double a grant amount provided by GE or Cisco Systems. This type of grant takes a long time to develop, many partnerships need to be established and nurtured to make it take shape. The funds cannot be an afterthought. You can't say, "Oh darn, we don't have enough money from GE to finish the project. Maybe Dell will help us pay the bills."

You need to plan for and identify matching funds early in the development of a big project. The budget requests must be firm and part of the original plan. Grantors need to feel secure that you have thought carefully about all of your funding needs.

All companies assisting with a big project will need to be informed of other contributors, right from the start.

Resources:

                Matching Funds

                In-kind Grant Funding

                Research Grants - Fulbright

                Finding Funding in Your Town

                How to Form a School-Business Partnership

Don't despair; what now seems overwhelming and complicated will become second nature. It's all worth the effort you will make.

Current Grant Opportunities

Foundation Grants from the Frances R. Dewing Foundation- The foundation gives grants only to programs that deal directly with early childhood education. Within that context, support is given for the fine and performing arts and other cultural programs, social services, conservation and environmental protection, pre-school, elementary, and other education. Programs must serve children under 12.

States: All States

Average Amount: $5,000.00 - $20,000.00

Address: P. O. Box 45259 Madison, WI 53744

Telephone: 401-749-8550

Website: Frances R. Dewing Foundation

Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Other

Program Areas: Early Childhood

Deadline: 4/1/2016

Educational Grants from the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation- Giving on a national basis. Foundation established a biennial international science award for discoveries in the earth sciences; grants for biological, geophysical, and environmental research, including scholarships, and cultural organizations, including those emphasizing Norwegian-American relations and maritime interests. Support also for public policy research and libraries. No grants to individuals. A Letter of Inquiry must be submitted before a full proposal will be considered.

States: All States

Average Amount: $2,500.00 - $700,000.00            

Total Amount: $4,000,000.00

Address: c/o Fulton, Rowe, & Hart, 1 Rockefeller Plz., Ste. 301, New York, NY 10020-2002

Telephone: 212-586-0700

E-mail: contact@vetlesenfoundation.org

Website: G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation

Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Higher Education, Other

Program Areas: Arts, General Education, Math, Reading, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Deadline: 4/30/2016