Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Do Organizations Give Grant Money?

The federal government, state governments, and foundations are the main organizations that provide grant money to schools in the United States. Sometimes businesses and individuals give grant money to schools without setting up a foundation for that purpose, and although this is rare, schools should always be on the lookout for local grant money from wealthy individuals and thriving businesses within their communities.

It never hurts to ask for grant money. You may get turned down, but you’re certainly not going to get grant money if you don’t ask for it.

Every organization that gives grant money has a purpose. The better you understand that purpose, the better your chance of getting some of that money. Fortunately, most organizations that give grant money to schools have websites. These websites tell you everything you need to know about these granting entities including their philosophy in regard to education. They also generally list the types of projects supported by that foundation or government agency.

Why do the state governments, the federal government, foundations, businesses, and wealthy individuals give grant money to schools? They want to provide equity in education, to encourage new, innovative programs that can be replicated, to bolster the overall quality of education in the nation, in a state, in a region, or in a city. They want to take advantage of tax breaks. They want to promote a love and appreciation of art, music, science, history, or reading.

As a grant writer, you want to know exactly why grantors are making their grant funds available to schools. It does not matter whether the grantor is the federal government, a state government, a foundation, a business, or an individual. You still want to know the motivating factor behind the particular grant program. By understanding why they are giving money and what they expect to happen as a result, you will be better able to craft your grant application into a highly competitive document.

Do your homework. Seek out every bit of information you can about the individual grant you are seeking and the reasons that grant is being given. Only by truly understanding the motives behind the grant can you do your best job in successfully applying for that grant.

Check it Out: Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: Music Is Revolution Foundation Mini-Grants

Funded by: Music Is Revolution Foundation and Svengirly, Inc.

Description: The Music Is Revolution Foundation administers a mini-grant program for Music Is Revolution activities designed by teachers to implement, support, and/or improve their ability to provide quality music education for their students. Mini-grants up to $500 are available to teachers for music education activities of all types. Only projects that clearly contain a music education focus that is, projects based on the concept of music education, through musical experiences, initiating students into a sense of their social, academic, and cultural identity, and humanizing them through the emotional, cognitive, and/or physical impact of music will be considered. Applicants are encouraged to include activities that expose students to genres and styles of music not likely to be experienced as a part of their normal daily lives, and to plan the project with input from students, parents, and school administrators, so that the project supports the imaginations of the students while maintaining relevance to the curriculum already in place.

Program Areas: Arts

Recipients: Public Schools

Deadline: 4/15/2010

Average Amount: $500.00



Availability: All States

Check it Out: Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: ING Unsung Heroes Program

Funded by: ING

Description: Are you an educator with a class project that is short on funding but long on potential? Do you know a teacher looking for grant dollars? ING Unsung Heroes could help you turn great ideas into reality for students. For more than 10 years, and with $3.0 million in awarded grants, ING Unsung Heroes has proven to be an A+ program with educators. The program's "alumni" have inspired success in the classroom and impacted countless numbers of students. Each year, 100 educators are selected to receive $2,000 to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000.

Program Areas: General Education, Math, Reading, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, Special Education

Recipients: Public Schools, Private/Charter Schools

Deadline: 4/30/10

Average Amount: $2,000.00 - $25,000.00


Availability: All States

Monday, March 15, 2010

Create Your Program with the End in Mind

As we head into spring, you should begin to think about summer school and fall programs that can improve the educational experience of your students. I often talk about assessment and how to use your assessments to build better, more productive programs. It is important when you start to build a program to clearly picture that successful program in your mind. It is like the painter who pictures the final masterpiece before he ever puts paint to the canvas.

Your 3rd grade readers may be an average of a year behind national norms. The picture in your mind should be of your 3rd graders all scoring at least on grade level when they take their final assessment each spring. You then need to contemplate and picture the type of activities it will take to make sure that each student is reading at the proper level. You might picture small reading classes with each child getting individual attention from teachers, aides, or volunteers. You might picture students all reading hundreds of library books in the hour you give them each day to practice their reading.

Maybe during summer school you decide to attack the obesity problems of your intermediate students. You picture happier, slimmer students who have moved away from obesity and the bad habits that got them there. You see them exercising each day, eating good fruits and vegetables at school, and learning how to make good choices when it comes to their own nutrition and exercise programs. You visualize the people and the activities that will get you to that result.
You have to be able to picture the result of your program and the types of activities it will take to get your students to that end. Never let money get in your way when you are picturing your programs and results. If you can envision the positive conclusion of an exemplary program, you will be able to find the money to finance it in your regular budget or with grant funding – if you are determined to make it work.

Once you have made assessments and defined a problem, it is time to think and plan. Get clearly in your mind the results you want from the program. Visualize the activities it will take to get your students to that result. Build your budget to pay for the program. Once you have all that in place, go to your regular budget to see if there is money available to pay for the program. If there is not money available, go to a good grant database and begin to look for grant money to fund your program.

If you are absolutely determined to make positive changes in your school, you will get the money and the results you have visualized.

Check it Out: Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: Shade Structure Program

Funded by: American Academy of Dermatology

Description: The American Academy of Dermatology's Shade Structure Program awards grants in the amount of $8,000 each for the purchase of permanent shade structures designed to provide shade and ultraviolet (UV) ray protection for outdoor areas. The AAD also provides a permanent sign to be displayed near the shade structure that promotes the importance of sun safety. The AAD receives support for this program from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company.

Program Areas: Science/Environment, Health/PE

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School, Other

Deadline: 4/12/10

Average Amount: $8,000.00


Availability: All States

Check it Out: Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: Silent Hero Grant Program

Funded by: got breakfast? Foundation

Description: There are many recognizable heroes in society today – from firefighters and police officers to nurses and school volunteers. But there are also unsung heroes that have made a difference, such as food banks, agencies, School Food Service administration and many more on the front lines ensuring children receive a nutritious meal. Who can apply for a Silent Hero Grant? If you are a public, non-profit private school or 501(c)(3) non-profit that participates in the national School Breakfast Program you may qualify for the Alternate Meal Service Breakfast Grant. Alternate meal service is defined as either breakfast in the classroom, grab and go or any other alternate site meal service outside of the standard cafeteria lunch line.

Program Areas: Health/PE, Food Service

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School, Other

Deadline: 4/1/2010

Average Amount: $2,000.00 - $10,000.00



Availability: All States

Monday, March 1, 2010

4 Reasons for Writing Multiple Grants

If you have a major project you need to implement, I believe you are far better off applying for multiple grants to make sure you cover all your financial needs. Writing multiple grants gives a new or improved program every chance of success.

Writing multiple grants gives you several advantages:

1) The more quality applications you submit, the more likely you are to get at least one or two funded.

2) Completing a second, third, or fourth grant application gets easier and easier because you will essentially use the same data again and again, just in slightly different forms.

3) If you have a large project with large expenses, you may have to get grant money from several sources just to cover everything.

4) Quality practice improves your application. Your second, third, and fourth applications will probably be much better than your first. You will be better able to describe your needs and be more convincing in your narrative. You have to be very careful and stay constantly on guard to get your highest quality application the first time through.

If you already have time problems, you may not have the luxury of submitting several different grant applications. However, there are many advantages to submitting multiple applications.

I do want to mention a couple of things you may be tempted to do but shouldn't. It is a virtual waste of time to submit the same letter to foundation after foundation. The person reading the letter will be able to tell what you're doing. Applications for grant funding should be individualized and personalized based on the giving patterns of the foundation and the needs of your school. Random letters seldom tell your story well or inspire foundation board members to support your programs. Use the foundation’s own grant application form if they have one. If not, follow the directions for applying by letter exactly and completely. Submit a unique letter or application to each foundation.

If you are seeking funds to buy particular commercial programs, never cut and paste their advertising material into your applications. They may tell their story well, but your job is to demonstrate how the commercial product fits into the overall program you are developing. Many grant readers view the use of advertising copy in a grant application as a lazy, impersonal way to get grant money. You may want to use their copy; just put it in your own words and describe how the product will be used to benefit your students.

I firmly believe that multiple grant applications are the way to go when you are seeking grant funding. The warning never to put all your eggs in one basket may be old and trite, but it applies today as well as it ever did. Multiple grant applications may mean multiple streams of money for your school.

Check it Out: Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: Grant for the Enhancement of Geographic Literacy

Funded by: National Council for the Social Studies

Description: National Council for the Social Studies honors annually the outstanding performance of teachers, researchers, and other worthy individuals and programs, and has encouraged unique and innovative social studies education projects through its award and grant programs. NCSS serves as an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college educators of social studies; teacher educators; researchers; curriculum designers; and curriculum specialists. The Council engages and supports educators in strengthening and advocating social studies.

Program Areas: Social Studies

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School, Other

Deadline: 3/21/10

Average Amount: $2,500.00

Telephone: 301-588-1800, ext. 106



Availability: All States

Check it Out: Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: We Can Change the World Challenge

Funded by: Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, and the National Science Teachers Association

Description: The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, and the National Science Teachers Association have partnered again to invite students and teachers across the United States to become "Agents of Change" in improving their communities through the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. Teachers, students, and mentors can visit the program's Web site for complete application information and resources, and to register for the challenge.
Program Areas: Science/Environmental

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School

Deadline: 3/15/2010

Average Amount: $5,000.00


Availability: All States