Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Good Time To Write Grants: Summer Vacation

I have a true appreciation for the value of summer vacation. I was, after all, an educator for twenty years. It's a great time to relax with your family and recharge your batteries. It's a time for reading good books, lying on a beach somewhere, or heading to a resort or spa. But summer vacation is also an excellent time to apply for grants for your classroom, campus, or district.

Why should you spend part of your summer vacation applying for grants? There are many reasons. First and foremost, there is less competition for grants because most educators don't give up their vacation time to write grants for their schools. Less competition means a greater chance of getting a grant request funded. It's a simple arithmetic: the number of grants is static and fewer people are applying. Your chances of being funded go up.

While there are quite a few state and federal grants available at this time of year, most foundation grants have at least one of their deadlines during the summer months. That means you can apply for those foundation grants before the summer deadline, be awarded the grant, and have the grant money available for the fall semester.

You might also want to look for foundation grants that have no deadlines. Since there are no specific deadlines, almost all educators will apply for them between September and May. When you apply for this type of grant during the summer, you could stand a greater chance of winning grant money because there is so much less competition.

Since foundation grant applications are much shorter and simpler than state or federal applications, you could apply for several foundation grants in the same time it would take to apply for just one state or federal grant. The more applications you submit, the greater your chances of winning grant money.

One other reason educators should write grants in June, July, and August is that there are far fewer distractions during the summer. Since very few districts have full-time grant writers, almost any educator applying for grants during the school year has many other responsibilities. Since grant writing is not that person's primary responsibility, it makes it easy to procrastinate or put grant writing off entirely. On the other hand, the summer vacation period is more relaxed for most educators. It is so much easier to write successful grants when you don't have competing responsibilities and can concentrate on one job at a time.

I'm not suggesting you spend your entire summer vacation in an office applying for one grant after another. Instead, take a couple of days each week or a couple of weeks during the summer and apply for several grants. Come fall or the second semester when you have that extra grant money to improve your programs, you'll be glad you did.

Check This Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Computers for Learning

Funded by: U.S. General Services Administration

Description: This is not a grant for money, but instead for computers for your school. In order to encourage and promote the reuse of computers, GSA is proud to sponsor the new re-engineered Computers for Learning (CFL) website. The CFL program evolved as a guide for implementing Executive Order 12999, Educational Technology: Ensuring Opportunity for all Children in the Next Century. The Executive Order encourages agencies, to the extent permitted by law, to transfer computers and related peripheral equipment excess to their needs directly to schools and some educational nonprofit organizations. The CFL program specifically matches the computer needs of schools and educational nonprofit organizations with excess equipment in Federal agencies.

Program Areas:
General Education, Technology

Recipients: Public School, Private Schools, Faith-based, Other

Proposal Deadline: no deadline


Availability: All States

Check This Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Qwest Foundation Grants

Funded by: The Qwest Foundation

Description: The Qwest Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of customers and the communities we serve. It's more than just caring; it's a commitment to making a difference. The Qwest Foundation awards grants that generate high impact and measurable results through community-based programs in the area of pre-K through 12 education. We encourage you to learn more about the Foundation and request funding for your program. School districts, 501(c)s, or state boards of education may apply for these grants.

Program Areas: After-School, At-Risk/Character, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Early Childhood, General Education, Health/PE, Reading, Safe/Drug-Free Schools, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, Special Education

Recipients: Public School, Other

Proposal Deadline: No deadline

Average Amount: $10,000.00 - $500,000.00


Availability: All States

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Reward for Good Assessment – Grant Money

Last time, I wrote that late spring is a critical time for writing summer-school and fall grants. It is also a critical time for assessing all the programs you already have in place. By this time in the school year, you should have at least a semester or a full year of data. You should know whether or not you've met your goals. Assessment of your efforts during late spring is important information that will drive your next round of grant writing.

As regular readers of this blog are no doubt aware, I write frequently about assessment. I don't apologize for that because good assessment is essential to writing good grants. The following are four ways in which strong assessment can help you acquire the grant money you need.

First, good assessment lets you know where you've missed the mark. It can help pinpoint the obstacles to achievement that your district or campus faces. To get a handle on those obstacles, they have to be measured. How many students are failing? Is attendance rising or falling? Are disciplinary problems getting more serious each year? Did the new reading program close the gap between disadvantaged students and others? There are a multitude of areas that need to be assessed in any school. To write that grant application, first and foremost you need to be able to document where achievement gaps exist.

Good assessments also let you know how bad the problems have gotten. For example, it is a problem if your attendance went down by 1 percent during the last year. It's a huge problem if it went down by 7 percent. It's a problem if your failure rate is 5 percent. It is a big problem if your failure rate went from 5 to 10 percent during the past year. The larger problems are usually the ones that warrant grant money. If the problem is large enough, it is doubtful that enough money can be diverted from the regular budget to cope with a serious or widespread problem.

Assessments allow you to match up problems with granting entities that are interested in helping you solve those problems. Some grants are primarily for helping disadvantaged students catch up in reading or math. If your needs assessment shows you have that particular problem, it makes it easy to match your needs with a grantor. The same is true for problems in readiness, technology, the arts, or almost any other area. By clearly defining your problems with a needs assessment, finding grant money becomes much easier and less time consuming.

Finally, good assessments give you data you need to support your grant application.Exactly how big is the problem you're trying to fix? Exactly how much will it cost to implement a program that shows promise of addressing that problem? This type of data comes from a thorough needs assessment and goes a long way in your application to convince others that you are fully aware of the problems you face and that you have a good plan for fixing them.

It's true that now is the time you should be writing grants for your summer-school and fall-semester programs. It is imperative, however, that you do a thorough needs assessment at this time of year so you can measure the problems you have, use that data to find the grant money you need, and successfully apply for that grant money.

Check This Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Grants

Funded by:

Description: is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.

Program Areas: Adult Literacy, After-School, Arts, At-Risk/Character, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Disabilities, Early Childhood, ESL/Bilingual/Foreign Language, Facilities/Maintenance, Family Services, General Education, Health/PE, Homeless, Indian, Journalism, Library, Math, Migrant, Miscellaneous, Professional Development, Reading, Safe/Drug Free Schools, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, Special Education, TAG, Technology, Transportation, Vocational

Recipients: Public School

Proposal Deadline: no deadline


Availability: All States

Check This Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Ben & Jerry Grants

Funded by: Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, Inc.

Description: The foundation supports organizations involved with the environment, employment, health, agriculture, housing, youth citizenship, civil rights, community development, civic affairs, minorities, women, immigrants, economically disadvantaged people, and the homeless. Special emphasis is directed toward programs designed to facilitate progressive social change and environmental work.

Program Areas: Community Involvement/Volunteerism, General Education, Health/PE, Homeless, Science/Environmental

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School

Proposal Deadline: No deadline

Average Amount: $200.00 - $1,000.00

Contact Person: Debby Kessler, Administrative Assistant

Telephone: 802-846-1500


Availability: All States