Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quick Tips for Getting More Grant Money

Here are 25 quick tips for getting more grant money:

1.      Follow application directions carefully. All of them.

2.      Stay focused on your need for grant money. Don’t add fluff or filler to your application.

3.      Use a grant database to find grants quickly and easily.

4.      Before you write a grant, visit the grantor’s website.

5.      Be persistent. The more applications you complete, the greater your chance of getting grant money.

6.      Determine your school’s most pressing problems that could be aided using grant funding.

7.      Apply for less popular grants for less money. The competition is not usually as great.

8.      Don’t try to artificially match your needs to a grant. It’s usually a waste of time.

9.      Before you write a grant, get in touch with the grant contact person.

10.  Make sure you list all the money and resources on your application that you have available locally.

11.  Write multiple grants for a single project to make sure you get all the money you need.

12.  Competition can be fierce. Make sure your application is of the highest quality.

13.  Complete every section of an application as if it were the only section.

14.  If you are not good with budgets, get a partner to do the financial part of the proposal.

15.  Don’t focus on money. Focus on student achievement.

16.  Collect all pertinent student data (economic status, failure rate, dropout rate, race, gender, etc.) before writing your needs assessment.

17.   Apply for local and regional foundation grants. There is usually less competition.

18.  Have very clearly in your own mind what your school needs before you begin to describe it to a grantor.

19.  Develop a program that is measurable and replicable.

20.  Have a strong evaluation component that precisely measures the amount of improvement the grant money helped you achieve.

21.  Planning is extremely important in grant writing. Plan first, then write.

22.  Read your finished proposal as a grant reader would. It might surprise you.

23.  Establish a timeline for applying for grants. Never miss a deadline.

24.  Get help from those with the data you need. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

25.  Make sure you let your computer check for spelling and grammar errors.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Innovations in Reading Prize
Funded by:  National Book Foundation

Description:  Each year, the National Book Foundation awards a number of prizes of up to $2,500 each to individuals and institutions—or partnerships between the two—that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading.
Program Areas:  Reading

Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Other
Proposal Deadline:  2/21/12

Average Amount:  $2,500.00
Website:  http://www.nationalbook.org/innovations_in_reading.html

Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Summer Reading Grants

Funded by:  Dollar General Literacy Foundation
Description:  Dollar General Literacy Foundation Summer Reading Grants provide funding to local nonprofit organizations and libraries to help with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs. Programs must target Pre-K through 12th grade students who are new readers, below grade level readers or readers with learning disabilities.
Program Areas:  After-School, Library, Reading, Safe/Drug Free Schools
Recipients:  Public School, Higher Education, Other
Proposal Deadline:  2/28/12
Average Amount:  Up to $3,000.00
Availability:  All States

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Critical Two Months for Grant Writers

The New Year has begun. It is typically a long grind from now until spring break. It is an excellent time to make progress with your students. You should have few distractions and no extended holidays. It is also probably the very best time of the year to write grants for your district, campus, or classroom.
During January and February you have more flexibility as a grant writer than at just about any other time of the year. Why? Because you have the opportunity to writegrants for three different segments of the school year. You still have time to write grants that can be used during the spring semester.  You can write grants that can be used for summer school. You can begin writing grants for the fall semester. Only during the early fall semester do you have this much opportunity, and often educators are so busy with the beginning of school, they don’t have time to write grants during September and October.
In one of my November posts, I told you that it was time to begin assessing your programs so you could use that information you gained in your winter and spring grant applications. If you didn’t follow my advice then, you need to make sure you assess each of your programs immediately to measure student growth during the first semester. If you did your assessments in December, you are far ahead of the game and have all the statistical information you need to apply for grants immediately.
If you intend to apply for grant money that can be used during the spring semester, I recommend that you find either foundation or corporate grants with deadlines not too far in the future. You can apply for the grant, win the money, and actually receive your funding in time for it to impact your students in the current semester. You should be able to find several of these grants in the Discount School Supply® free grant database. Don’t procrastinate. If you need grant money in the near future, you have to begin working on your applications now, today.
If you’re looking for a summer school grant, you have a little more time, but not much. Remember, you have to send in the application, get it approved, and get your funding by the time summer school begins. Summer school grants are good to write in that you are usually helping underserved student populations, you’re helping to shore up either basic or highly advanced skills, and/or you have an innovative program that you can’t wait to try out. All of these make for great grant material. I’d try to have my grant applications in for summer school no later than the end of February or mid-March.
Finally, if you are a long-range planner, and I hope you are, you can already see major needs for the fall semester. You may need to totally revamp a program or introduce a completely new program to your school. You not only have all your assessment data from last year, you have current assessment data from last semester.  You may be searching for larger amounts of money that come only from federal grants, state grants, or some of the larger foundation and corporate grants. You still want to begin your search for grants now and to begin writing those grants during January and February.
With so many school budgets being cut time after time, finding grant money has become absolutely necessary for many schools.  There is no better time for you to write grants than during January and February. The money is out there. Discount School Supply® provides you an excellent free database to find that money. The only thing holding back the process is you. Don’t be a procrastinator. Your students deserve the best, and that probably means you need to write a few grants to supplement your budget.  Start now.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  7-12 Math and Science Grants

Funded by:  Toshiba America Foundation
Description:  The mission of Toshiba America Foundation is to promote quality science and mathematics education in U.S. schools. Grants are made for programs and activities that improve teaching and learning in science and mathematics, grades K-12. The Foundation focuses its grant making on inquiry-based projects designed by individual teachers, and small teams of teachers, for use in their own classrooms.
Program Areas:  General Education, Math, Science/Environment, Technology
Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Other
Proposal Deadline:  2/1/12
Average Amount:  $9,500.00 - $17,000.00
Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Big Help Grants

Funded by:  NEA Foundation and Nickelodeon
Description:  The NEA Foundation – Nickelodeon Big Help Grants are available in the form of Student Achievement grants to K-8 public school educators. The Big Help Grants program is dedicated to the development and implementation of ideas, techniques, and approaches for addressing four key concerns – environmental awareness, health and wellness, students’ right to a quality public education, and active community involvement. The grants target these four concerns as areas of great promise in helping develop a sense of global awareness in 21st century students that will encourage and enable them to make a difference in their world. Both the NEA Foundation and Nickelodeon are strongly committed to supporting the development of these skills and attributes for America’s students.
Program Areas:  General Education, Math, Reading, Science/Environment, Social Studies
Recipients:  Public School, Private School
Proposal Deadline:  2/1/12
Average Amount:  $5,000.00
Availability:  All States

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Have Any New Year's Resolutions?

Happy New Year! The economy is not great. You probably don’t have the best budget you’ve ever had, but as an educator, the New Year affords you the opportunity to make some choices and some changes. You might want to go in a new direction. Since you are not likely to have a lot of extra money in the budget, that may mean that 2012 will be the Year of the Grant for you.

Of course, you could be a Doomsday enthusiast and firmly believe the world as we know it will end in December, 2012. If you happen to fall into that group, you may just want to enjoy yourself or start survival training. You probably believe that nothing you can do will help to avert the disaster, so you are resigned to this final act of fate.                                                                                
If you don’t belong in that small Doomsday Group, maybe you’re in the much, much larger Status Quo Group. You probably believe that nothing is going to change in your school regardless of how much effort you put forth, so it is best to just let things roll along as they are now and as they have always been. Besides, there’s no money for new programs or even enough money to significantly change the old programs that aren’t working. Nothing changed last year. Nothing will change next year. Nothing you can do now will change the current year. If that’s your thinking, then you’re as Status Quo as you can get.
The rest of you probably fall into my group: The New Year’s Resolution Group. You may have never stuck with a New Year’s resolution in the past, but you still make them because you are optimistic and believe things can change for the positive. In fact, you believe that you are an important part of your school system. Your thoughts and deeds can make your school a better place, and you are an important part of the change process.
Granted, there is probably little or no money in the budget for new programs or dramatic changes in the old programs, but that is why federal and state governments, foundations, and corporations give grant money to schools. Grant money should never be used to sustain an unsuccessful program. Grant money should be used to develop new, promising programs or to fix the ones which can be significantly improved.
New Year’s resolutions can be powerful motivators. Write them down. Share them with your fellow educators. Solicit their help in reaching your goals. Your enthusiasm is likely to be contagious and infect those around you. 

Here’s the question:  “Do you want to be a part of the small Doomsday Group, a part of the very large Status Quo Group, or a part of the medium-sized, but powerful New Year’s Resolution Group?” Be a positive, optimistic educator, if not for yourself, for every student you will touch for the remainder of this year. Make this year the year of change for your school, the Year of the Grant.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Kick Butts Day 2012 Mini-Grants

Funded by:  Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids & United Health Foundation
Description: United Health Foundation is partnering with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to offer mini-grants for 2012 Kick Butts Day ( March 21, 2012) events. A program of the campaign's For Youth By Youth program, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. On Kick Butts Day, youth organize and participate in events across the United States encouraging their peers to stay tobacco-free and educating their communities about the dangers of tobacco. This year, for the first time, mini-grants of $500 or $1,000 will be awarded to support Kick Butts day events. Anyone who is planning a 2012 event is encouraged to apply.
Program Areas:  Safe/Drug Free Schools
Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Other
Proposal Deadline:  1/27/12
Average Amount:  $500.00 - $1,000.00
Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Teacher Award

Funded by:  Environmental Protection Agency
Description:  The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is proud to announce the 2011-2012 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. As discussed in the “America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations” report, in order to make environmental stewardship and conservation relevant to young Americans, environmental and place-based, experiential learning must be integrated into school curricula and school facility management across the country. This program recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regional offices will be selected to receive this award.
Program Areas:  Science/Environment
Recipients:  Public School
Proposal Deadline:  1/31/12
Average Amount:  $2,000.00
Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Fuel Up to Play 60

Funded by:  Fuel Up to Play 60
Description: Fuel Up to Play 60, the free in-school nutrition and physical activity program, is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting applications for its nationwide, competitive funding initiative for schools enrolled in the in-school wellness program. All U.S. schools can enroll in the free program and are thus eligible to apply for funding.
Program Areas:  Health/PE

Recipients:  Public School, Private School
Proposal Deadline:  2/1/12
Amount:  $4,000.00
Availability:  All States