Grant Writing For Your Classroom I
With Winter Break almost upon us, I understand the last thing that many teachers want to do is school work. While I find the break an excellent time to rest my mind from the day-to-day pressures of teaching, I also like to reflect and consider my classroom's needs or special projects I might like to involve my students in the next school year.
With the first several of months of school fresh in our minds, it is an excellent time to consider educational items you might want for your classroom to enhance your students learning. How many times have you thought "If I only had a.." or "I wish I could afford to.." Taking some time to organize a grant proposal might allow you to acquire the funds you need to make your idea come to life; making a regular unit or project more exciting and meaningful for your students.
Grant writing is NOT that difficult to do. I will never understand why so many teachers seem intimidated by the process or seem to have a lack of desire to even try. Successful teachers, in general, are creative, organized and gifted writers. Why not put your skills to work for you to get funding for your classroom?
Over the past five years I have been awarded money to purchase games for my students to take home on a rotating basis to play with their families to encourage "family learning time", was able to buy digital cameras for each grade level to use to capture their students work, was able to support a 9 month geography project to learn about our United States and so much more! This is my effort to inspire you to try grant writing- you have nothing to lose and much to gain!
Here is a list of some national grant programs. Most of these I have actually had success with, even if I had to submit a proposal more than once! Some I am still getting an ideas together for and some I didn't win, but will try again in the future.
Best Buy Teach Awards
The Best Buy Teach Award program was created to specifically recognize and reward schools that are using interactive technology in the classroom to engage students and make learning fun. In the past five years Best Buy has donated move than $17 million in Teach Awards to 6,000 K-12 schools across the country. Selected schools demonstrate that their students are using technology in interactive and engaging ways. Teach Awards are intended to help schools purchase technology products to expand or enhance the program described in their application. Best Buy Teach Awards provides gift cards up to $10,000 to schools so they can purchase technology for their students.
Application Deadline: Applications were already taken between July 1 and October 12, 2008, but keep this one in mind for next year! Decision Date: March 3, 2009.
Dollar General has four different programs throughout the year that they offer funding for:
Back to School: Provides funding to assist schools in meting some of the financial challenges they face in implementing new programs, or purchasing new equipment, materials or software for their school library or literacy program. (deadline was June 12, 2008)
Adult Literacy: Provides direct service to adults (for example ESL classes) pays up to 50% of budget up to $20,000.
Family Literacy: Must have four components; adult ESL, children's education, PACT parent and child time, and parenting classes that teach parents to be the primary teacher for their child.
Youth Literacy: Provides funding for schools and public libraries to help with the implementation or expansion of literacy programs for students below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading.
Application Deadline: Currently, all of their grant deadlines have ended, but they will open up again in the spring, so keep checking back to the website for updates. This is NOT an online application, it must be received, in the mail by the deadline listed NOT just postmarked by that date. Your school must also be located within a certain amount of distance from a local Dollar General store to apply. On the date the winners are announced, you have to look on the website to see if you won.
General Mills Healthy Kids
The General Mills Foundation, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association Foundation and the President's Council on Physical Fitness, developed the "Champions for Healthy Kids" grant program in 2002. Each year, the General Mills Foundation awards 50 grants of $10,000 each to community-based groups that develop creative ways to help youth adopt a balanced diet and physically active lifestyle. I just love this idea and am really trying to come up with a proposal that would work on our campus.
Application Deadline: Jan 15, 2009 by 11:59pm CST (submitted online) Decision Date: May 2009.
Lowes Toolbox for Education Grant
Lowes has two grant cycles a year, Spring and Fall. However, if 500 applications are received before the cycle deadline, then the application process will close for that cycle. For this grant, you have to apply to their database first and this could take up to 24 hours to confirm your school. You will also need your school's Employer Identification Number to apply. For the 2008-2009 school year the first deadline was 5pm EST on October 17, 2008 and the second deadline will be 5pm EST on February 13, 2009. You can apply once per year if you win, and consecutively if you don't win. There is a preference for funding requests that have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor) as well as landscaping/clean up type projects. Projects that encourage parent involvement and build stronger community spirit will be favored. The requested grant amount must be between $2,000 and $5,000.
Application Deadline: Spring 2009 Cycle deadline Feb. 13, 2009 5pm EST (online) Decision Date: May
Save Our History Grant
Proposed projects must raise awareness among students and community members about the significance of their local heritage and the importance of preserving it. Proposed projects must include a tangible resource that captures students' efforts to learn about and preserve their local history in a unique, creative way. Resources can include an exhibit, a notebook, research documentation, a photo or video documentary, a map, a pamphlet, oral history, historical marker, podcast, a walking/driving tour, etc.
Application Deadline: Usually in May/June and it is submitted online. Check for current application dates in January 2009 Decision Date: Jul/Aug
Tapestry Grants (NSTA: National Science Teachers Association)
Fifty one-year grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded for the 2008 competition. A minimum of 20 "mini-grants" of up to $2,500 each will be awarded as well. The new online applications are available by mid-August each year. Toyota TAPESTRY is open to K-12 teachers of science. The program is open to elementary teachers who teach some science in the classroom or as teaching specialists. The Project Director must have at least two years of science teaching experience in a K-12 school not including the current school year. The project staff may consist of educators of any discipline or administrators.
Application Deadline: January 21, 2009, 11:59 pm ET (submitted online) Decision Date: March 2009
Target Arts Grant & Early Childhood Reading Grant
Arts Grant: Grants are awarded to programs that bring the arts to schools or make the arts accessible to children and families.
Early Childhood Reading Grant: Grants support programs that foster a love of reading and encourage children, from birth through age 9, to read together with their families.
These are usually due both at the same time, but they are two different programs. I applied to both this past year, but only won the reading grant.
Application Deadline: May 31, 2009 (can begin applying online on March 1, 2009) Decision Date: Sept 30, 2009
Target Field Trip Grants
Mark your calendars. Put on your thinking caps. Make a list of what your class could do with one of 5,000 Field Trip Grants of up to $800 each.
Application Deadline: Usually around Nov 1, submitted online.
We The People Bookshelf
The "We the People Bookshelf", a collection of classic books for young readers, is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities' (NEH) We the People program, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office. Each year, NEH identifies a theme important to the nation's heritage and selects books that embody that theme to build the We the People Bookshelf. The theme for the 2008-2009 Bookshelf is "Picturing America." This is basically a free set of books for your library. Each year they offer an outstanding collection.
Application Deadline: January 30, 2009 (submitted online)
Decision Date: March/April
Check back over the next couple of weeks for links to educational grant websites, ideas for local grant writing in your own community, grant writing tips and teacher contests!
"If you don't apply, you won't ever have a chance of winning."
Valerie Galbraith, Metz Principal