Monday, October 31, 2011

Can You Get Grant Money Locally?

In my last post I gave you several places to look for grants.  Mainly I listed grant databases available to you since I am convinced these databases are the most logical place to find grants these days.  Hey, we might as well use computers to their full advantage, and up-to-date, comprehensive grant databases just weren’t available 20 years ago.                                                                                 

Sometimes these databases, as good as they are, just aren’t going to list some of the grants that are available to you. Some grants are purely local, don’t have set criteria, and are never publicly announced.

Most of my time in education was spent in a small East Texas school district where I was a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent for 20 years. In that time, I asked for and got $15,000 for my middle school and then another $75,000 for the district from one local business. How did I get that money? I just asked for it. I laid out a plan showing that by investing this money in the local school system, the company would have better educated employees when the current students graduated in a few years and sought jobs locally.

In addition to that money, a well-to-do couple in our community gave the school district enough money to buy a vocational center for the agriculture department, rebuild the press box at the football stadium, and to repair and update the baseball field. We didn’t even approach them. They came to us, gave us the money, and told us how they would like it spent. Their two children went to our school, and they just wanted to help.

Educators also often overlook the opportunity to ask for help from “big box” stores in their area.  Most of these have regular corporate grant programs, but they don’t always advertise the $1,000 to $3,000 dollar grants they often give to local groups.  To find out if your local Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. has such a program, just go to the store and ask the manager.  If they do, ask what type of projects qualify.  If they don’t, go to the next store.  Most of the time your school or organization doesn’t have to lie within the city limits. In fact, if you are within a 50-mile radius and the city is your regular shopping destination, you will usually qualify.

Even if you’re getting money locally, and the grantor doesn’t require a lot of paperwork, I still suggest you write out what type of problem you’re having, what you believe to be the best solution to your problem, and how the money the grantor is giving will be spent to help you reach your goals.  I think anyone who gives money, whether an individual or a company, deserves to know how you spend your grant money and how successful you are. 

In fact, your ability to use local grant money successfully may actually help you get even more money from the same local source in the future.  Also, you might consider asking individuals or companies that give you money if they or their employees would like to be involved in the grant program. Many like to volunteer so they can be more involved locally with the schools.

You don’t always need a grant database to find grantmoney. Look close to home when you have the opportunity. It might pay off more than you could ever imagine.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Run for Good

Funded by:  Saucony

Description:  The Saucony Run For Good Foundation is committed to improving the lives of children by helping to prevent and reduce childhood obesity. We act to inform the public about its cause and prevention and provide funding to optimize the impact and success of community organizations that promote running and healthy lifestyle programs for youth. Eligible programs include those with participants who are 18 years of age or younger, have 501(c)(3) status, and can demonstrate their program positively impacts the lives of participants through their increased participation in running.

Program Areas:  Health/PE

Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Other

Proposal Deadline:  12/13/11

Average Amount:  $10,000.00

Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Pathfinder Program

Funded by:  Teachers in Space

Description:  Every journey begins with a single step. The Pathfinder program is the first step in the journey toward our goal of putting a thousand astronaut teachers into American classrooms. Pathfinders will be the first astronaut teachers to fly in space and return to the classroom. Pathfinders will not only fly in space, they will also help us design the three-week training course for the large number of teachers who follow. We hope that Pathfinders will also return each summer to help us teach the course. Can you think of a more exciting summer job? Our first seven Pathfinders have been selected and are currently participating in training and professional development. We are now looking for three additional Pathfinders who are knowledgeable in science, technology, engineering, or math. The Pathfinder competition is open to K-12 teachers of all subjects. Applicants are asked to submit a proposal for an experiment that can be performed during a sub-orbital space flight and will be judged on these submissions as well as educational background and experience. Finalists will be contacted for personal interviews and additional screening.

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

Recipients:  Public School, Private Schools

Proposal Deadline:  12/2/11

Availability:  All States

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Good Sources for Grant Information

If you write grants or intend to start writing grants, it is always good to have a number of resources to help you. With the advent of the Internet, many of those resources are free and can be accessed within minutes of when you need them. I want to recommend a few websites and one book you can use which should greatly assist you in your grant-writing efforts.

First, I’d recommend that you use all of the free resources that Discount School Supply® provides. You can use their free school grant database that gives you information on grants in the following categories: after-school, arts, early childhood, migrant, professional development, reading, special education, and science/environment. This database is very comprehensive for these categories, and you should be able to find any grant available to your school by using it.

For information about finding, applying for, and securing grants, you should use this blog sponsored by Discount School Supply®. Seventy blog posts are listed covering a variety of topics. When you have time, you should go back to the very first one and read all of them. You can find these blogs at:

If you need a school grant database that includes categories not listed by Discount School Supply®, you might want to subscribe to the more comprehensive School Funding Center Grant Database. It includes 30 different categories and is the largest and most up-to-date school grant database in the United States. It basically includes every grant available to every school in the country. If you just want to look at grants for teachers or the classroom, go to School Grants for Teachers.

If you are looking for samples of winning grant proposals, you might want to purchase them at The Grantsmanship Center. They have an entire library of winning grant applications that you can order with many, many categories from which to choose. If you want to see a few free sample grant proposals, you can find those at The School Funding Center.

Finally, if you want solid information on finding grants, writing proposals, and doing everything it takes to win grant money, I suggest you purchase my book, WRITE SUCCESSFUL GRANTS FOR YOUR SCHOOL: A Step-by-Step Guide. It is filled with tips, links, and sample grant proposals. You can order it for just $37.00 by clicking on the title link above. Very few books deal just with school grants. Most give you an overview of grant writing in general, but this book contains all the information you need to successfully write grants for your classroom, school, or district.

Writing grants is not an easy job. You need all the tools you can get to make the work easier and more efficient. Use the links above to get all the information and help you need. You can be successful, and you can get the help you need for free or at a very low cost.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: Company Grants

Funded by: State Farm Companies Foundation

Description: State Farm is committed to meeting the needs of our communities by focusing our giving in three areas: Safe Neighbors (safety), Strong Neighborhoods (community development), and Education Excellence (education).

Program Areas: Adult Literacy, After-School, Arts, At-Risk/Character, Community Involvement, Volunteerism, Disabilities, Early Childhood, Family Services, General Education, Health/PE, Homeless, Math, Professional Development, Reading, Safe/Drug Free Schools, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, Special Education

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School, Higher Education, Other

Proposal Deadline: 10/31/11

Average Amount: $10,000.00


Availability: All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: Community Impact Grants Program

Funded by: Home Depot Foundation

Description: Grants, up to $5,000, are available to registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, public schools or tax-exempt public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community. Grants are given in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services.

Program Areas: At-Risk/Character, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Facilities/Maintenance, Health/PE, Science/Environment

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School, Higher Education, Other

Proposal Deadline: 10/31/11

Average Amount: $5,000.00


Availability: All States

Monday, October 3, 2011

Proving You Have a Problem

Applying for grant money is a competitive task. You don’t put on pads and knock heads like your students do in their football games, but winning grant money is no less competitive. To make sure grant readers know that you have a problem and that you understand that problem, you need good solid information to back up your claims.

The information you need to detail your problem can come from a number of sources including: standardized testing, state testing, free/reduced lunch counts, dropout rates, disciplinary records, attendance reports, ACT/SAT scores, grade records, teen pregnancy rates, surveys, and a host of other sources that should be readily available to you. Grant writers use statistical information from standardized tests and free/reduced lunch counts more than any others when applying for grants.

Nationally- and state-normed standardized tests are so useful because the information is usually disaggregated into grade level, classroom, male/female, advantaged/disadvantaged, minority/non-minority, and several other categories. This allows you to see exactly who is doing well and who is falling behind. This information also tells you how far some of those groups are falling behind. In other words, disaggregated data from standardized tests supply you with a treasure trove of information that is perfect to use when you are trying to detail the problems your school is having on a grant application.

Just as widely used on grant applications are the numbers for the economically disadvantaged in a school, usually derived from free/reduced lunch counts. Parents have to submit financial information to schools in order for students to qualify for free or reduced meals. It is no surprise to most educators when these same economically disadvantaged students (not as individuals, but as a group) are the very ones who show up with the lowest standardized test scores. Many people want to argue the difference in scores results from minority/non-minority or rural/urban/suburban status, but most of the time, the big difference in these scores comes down to the level of income in the home.

Many grants are won or lost because of the poverty level of your students. Don’t overlook the fact, however, that even if you just have 10% of your students that are economically disadvantaged, if that 10% is struggling, you may be able to apply for grant money to help them.

Even though low test scores and low-income are the main statistics you want to use on a grant application, you can also supply some rather unusual and convincing data from other sources. We wanted to put a piano lab in a middle school where I was principal. We surveyed local churches in our small town as to the difficulty they had in securing pianists for their services. We found they had a very difficult time. That was good information for us to use on our grant application for a piano lab.

It’s very important to give good information about the problems you have when you’re filling out a grant application. Most of the time that information will come in the form of statistics. Be sure you supply the best most detailed data that you can. Grant writing is competitive. Giving grant readers a clear picture of the problem you’re having will often help you beat that competition.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: GRAMMY Signature Schools

Funded by: GRAMMY Foundation

Description: Does your school deserve a GRAMMY? And a little bit of cash for your music programs to go along with it? If your school has a totally great music program with a fantastic music teacher or two thrown in -- it does. Or if you are keeping music classes in your school despite that fact that you barely have a budget for sheet music much less instruments – it does. GRAMMY Signature School awards are given to high school music programs that are keeping music programs alive and well despite budgets and school politics. Each school gets a GRAMMY Award and a cash prize of up to $10,000. Schools compete in different categories based on excellence or need. We have GRAMMY Signature Schools from every size city and town across the country.

Program Areas: Arts

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School, Other

Proposal Deadline: 10/22/11

Average Amount: $5,000.00 - $10,000.00


Availability: All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name: CVS Community Grants for Public Schools – Creating Inclusive School Settings

Funded by: CVS

Description: To ensure that we make a positive impact, the 2010 Community Grants Program will focus on a few key areas. One area is on public schools for children with disabilities that promote a greater level of inclusion in student activities and extracurricular programs. CVS is devoted to supporting organizations that enrich the lives of children with disabilities through inclusive programs. Through the Community Grants Program, CVS works to ensure that students are not left behind in school. Proposed programs must be fully inclusive where children with disabilities are full participants in an early childhood, adolescent or teenage program alongside their typically developing peers.

Program Areas: After-School, Disabilities, General Education

Recipients: Public School

Proposal Deadline: 10/31/11

Average Amount: $5,000.00


Availability: All States