Neva Fenno, M.S.Ed., MLIS
It may be an occupational hazard, but I’ve developed some annoying personal habits since I’ve been in the grants biz. One of them that's actually quite useful, is list making. This time of year, as I prepare for a new school season, I start working on a few different lists that I know I’ll need to round out as the year progresses.
1. Curriculum standards to be targeted for new funding
2. Collections of demographics and data to support the standards based grant appeals
3. List of sections to be included in a complete application
4. Budget categories
5. Lists of potential key players in the district who can help to frame a narrative
6. Categories of supplies and technology that will be important in solving problems with curriculum deficits
7. And the big one: lists of potential funding sources for solving big problems in my district
You may want to review some of my archived articles to learn how I have approached grant writing over the years. The blog has a good search engine if you have specific questions. If you’re like most of my readers, it’s number 5 that you will want to know more about. I’ll be writing more about thorough grant sourcing in future articles, but I highly recommend subscribing to, and studying, the MySchoolGrant Free Grant Search Database.
I put this item at the end of the list, because if you’re doing it right, your funding source will be one of the last things you will develop as you create a grant project. You can’t possibly know what kind of grant you’ll need (corporate, foundation, government) until your research is well under way. The amount of money you will need will change over the time you spend with stakeholders who are helping to frame the project. You may decide you need several grants to meet all of your needs. The funder will need to be someone who shares your vision of how you want your school to solve big problems. You get the picture; it’s a laborious process.
Once you’ve nailed down some of the details of your appeal, with the help of the people who are in list number 5, you will be on your way to having a solid sense of the size and substance of your grant application. I recommend that you use binders to store all your lists and ideas, with dividers for your list items. I still like the feel of paper in my hand and the easy access of a binder on my desk.
Over the summer, your district may be doing some post mortem work with test scores. Be sure you’ve been invited to those conversations. As the data is mined for information on how you will raise academic achievement, you will start the process of framing your lists and defining your needs. It may seem like you’re working backwards, but that’s really the right way to go about it. Before you put pen to paper, or finger to touchscreen, you will want to have an encyclopedic grasp of your district and its needs. Don’t forget to sit down with your IT and library media specialists too, they are the key to knowing what supplies the schools need to round out your existing textbook series and software. I especially rely on librarians; good ones are the heart of every school and often double as curriculum leaders.
One of the lists I keep handy is the template for a complete grant application package.
Abstract (consider writing your abstract last; it will allow for more concise, project specific information)
Problem Statement or Significance of Project
Project Purpose (overall goal and specific objectives)
Research Design or Work Plan (activities and timelines)
Applicant Qualifications and Capabilities
Evaluation Plan - assessments
Budget (summary and justifications - refer back to the design/work plan)
Appendix (everything else)
So, get started on your list making, you’ve got work to do. If you’re like me, you enjoy the process; it helps enhance the feeling of accomplishment you get when you succeed.
Current Grant Opportunities
STEM Educational Grants
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. PPG supports programs that impact on quality of teaching and motivate students to realize their potential.
After-School, Early Childhood, General Education, Health/PE, Math, Professional Development, Science/Environmental, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology.
Public School, Private School, Higher Education, Other.
Proposal Deadline Description
$1,000.00 - $500,000.00
1 PPG Pl., Ste. 7E, Pittsburgh, PA United States 15272-0001
Solve for Tomorrow Contest
The contest aims to engage and create enthusiasm for STEM subjects by asking teachers and their students to answer the challenge, "Show how STEM can be applied to help your local community." Winning schools will be awarded more than $2 million in technology from Samsung. Public school teachers in grades 6 - 12 can apply
Math, Science/Environmental, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology.
Free Grant Search Database
MySchoolGrantsm is a complete grant search tool that is manually updated and checked for accuracy. It includes federal grants, state grants, corporate grants, and grant alerts.
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