Monday, February 27, 2012

The Basics of Finding a Grant

I’ve been writing this blog for several years now.  I do my best to make my advice straightforward and easy to follow because many of my readers are relatively inexperienced grant writers.  In fact, quite a few are still threatening to write that first grants.

I have a list of seven or eight steps I usually recommend for finding and completing a successful grant application.  Today, I just want to remind you of the steps you need to take to find an appropriate grant to write.
The very first step in finding a good grant has nothing to do with grants.  You must take a close look at your district, your campus, or your classroom and find a problem that needs to be solved in order for students to achieve at a higher level.  Of course, if you find a problem that your district has already allotted money to solve, you don’t need to write a grant.  You need to find a problem that needs to be solved and one that has either no funding or inadequate funding.

So far, you have a problem at your district, campus, or classroom, and you have no money to fix that problem.  It’s time to find the very best grant database you can find in order to match your problem with any grant money that is available.
Since you are a customer of Discount School Supply®, recommend that you first use the DiscountSchool Supply grant database.  It is free for you to use and is very comprehensive for the eight categories it contains: after-school, arts, early childhood, migrant, professional development, reading, science/environment, special education.  If your problem fits under these categories in any way, you should spend a lot of time in this fee database to match your problem with a grantor that is interested in helping to solve that kind of problem.

In the event that you don’t find what you need in this database, you should go to The School FundingCenter Grant Database.  It is also comprehensive and up-to-date.  In fact, it contains every federal, state, foundation, and corporate grant available to U.S. schools.  It contains thirty categories from which to choose so you might find grant money in it that is simply not listed in the Discount School Supply database.  Again, as with any database you use, you are looking to match your need with grantors who are interested in helping you.
Another good choice is the FoundationCenter.  It lists all the foundation grants available to schools in this country.  It, too, is comprehensive and reasonably current.  It, however, does not list any grants other than foundation grants.

If you are looking specifically for a federal grant, you should go to either or the U.S. Department of Education.  If you are looking for a state grant, you should go directly to your state education website.  You can find all fifty of those links at
If you don’t have a legitimate problem at your school, you’re not likely to find grant money.  If you don’t use a grant database of some sort, you are not likely to find an appropriate grant to help you solve your problem.  That’s back to the basics.  That’s where all successful grant applications should start.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program

Funded by:  Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
Description: The grants support programs that encourage literacy and creativity in children and may be used for activities such as: bringing in guest authors, illustrators, or storytellers; puppet making, book making, or other projects; book writing contests, etc. Application is online and must be printed and mailed to the address listed below.

Program Areas:  Arts, Library, Reading, Other
Recipients:  Public School, Other

Proposal Deadline:  3/15/12
Amount:  $500.00

Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Annual Competitive Book Donation Program

Funded by:  Roads to Reading

Description:  The Annual Competitive Book Donation Program is designed to donate books to literacy programming in small and rural communities only. The organizational budget limit to be eligible is currently set at $150,000.00 annually. The community where the organization is located must be an underserved community. It is not enough to have a certain number of families within a community that are under served to qualify. The population where the organization is located must be under 50,000. All programs must have a strong focus on remedial reading programming or a tutoring component as part of the program. Books for bok bags programs, mobile libraries, gifts and give-a-ways, events or book club requests will not be granted through the Annual Donation program. In addition, School Districts, Lead Agencies or umbrella agencies may not apply for donations. Each site within group agencies or districts must apply for donations separately. The books that are available through this program are appropriate for ages 6 months to young adult. Books in this program are available in hard and soft cover. Currently all books in this program are available in English only. Our organization will only entertain requests for books from organizations that are located within the United States and the books must be for use in the United States.

Program Areas:  After-School, Library, Reading
Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Other

Proposal Deadline:  3/30/12

Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Educator Grants and Scholarships

Funded by:  Air Force Association
Description: The Air Force Association (AFA) helps provide educational opportunities for America’s youth. These opportunities were initiated to help ensure that future generations of Americans: * Appreciate the important role of aviation and space in America’s future * Have the technical knowledge necessary to understand aerospace issues * Have the educational background required to pursue aerospace careers To accomplish their educational goals, the AFA communicates directly with the American public about the importance of maintaining a sound aerospace infrastructure and the importance of maintaining a strong Air Force to ensure national security. Another important part of their educational efforts is to support the educational objectives of the Air Force and CAP. As part of that support, the AFA recognizes outstanding contributions in the field of aerospace education. To support CAP’s aerospace education programs, the AFA provides aerospace education grants for Civil Air Patrol units. Since 1996, the AFA has provided over $240,000 to CAP units and teachers to help fund their aerospace education programs.

Program Areas:  Science/Environment
Recipients:  Public School

Proposal Deadline:  3/31/12
Average Amount:  $250.00


Availability:  All States

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are You Completing Grant Applications Correctly?

I wouldn’t say there’s an art to completing grant applications, but there is a set of skills involved.  There are also correct ways to fill out grant applications and ways that are simply wrong.

First, you should read all the directions provided with an application before you begin. The directions may tell you that you have to apply online, use a certain font, use a certain type size, or have the application postmarked by a certain date. If you fail to follow any of the directions given for completing the application, your application will be disqualified and all your work done for nothing. You have to be sure you follow all the directions to the letter.

As you fill out your application, you should remember that each grantor has a motive for giving grants. It may be helping students from low socio-economic backgrounds to read better, making sure students know how to improve the environment, or helping students appreciate art and music more.  Whatever their reason for giving, the closer you match the program you are trying to implement to that motive, the greater your chance of winning the grant money. You want to let them know that you want to join their team and influence students the way they want them influenced. This is not a bad thing. Your application should just reflect that your philosophy matches theirs, and that’s why you’re completing the application.

Next, you need to complete every section of an application.  It doesn’t matter if it has four parts or twenty-four parts. You need to complete each one. Most of the applications that you complete will be for competitive grants. That usually means that each application is scored by the grant readers, and each section is given a point value. If you fail to complete a section or two, you may eliminate yourself from the competition. The winning grants may receive scores of 95 or above. If you failed to complete two sections worth five points each, you couldn’t possibly get a score above 90, thus eliminating you from the competition.

Each grant is competitive. Each section has a point value. The best advice I can give is for you to complete each part in the application as if were the only part. In other words, you have to do your very best on every section in order to get as many points as possible on every section. If you will approach the application in this way, you are much more likely to win grant money. 

Many people completing the application will not approach it in this fashion. They will expend less effort on sections they feel are less important. That will give you a distinct advantage. Each time a competitor skips a section or completes it in a half-hearted manner, you will gain points.

Most applications are not that difficult to complete. Follow directions carefully. Match your grant program to the philosophy of the grantor. Complete each section of the application as if it were the only section. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll win more than your share of grant money.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Education Grants

Funded by:  Braitmayer Foundation

Description: The Foundation is interested in proposals utilizing innovative practices in K-12 education throughout the United States. Of particular interest are: Curricular and school reform initiatives; Preparation of and professional development opportunities for teachers, particularly those which encourage people of high ability and diverse background to enter and remain in K-12 teaching.

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

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

Proposal Deadline:  3/15/12

Contact Person:  Sabina Taj

Telephone:  410-480-2799

Average Amount:  $10,000.00 - $35,000.00

 Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Kinder Morgan Foundation Education Grants

Funded by:  Kinder Morgan Foundation

Description:  Grants are primarily directed to educational programs for youth in grades K-12. Funding is provided to local, state, provincial and regional educational institutions, libraries and programs that provide ongoing support, such as Junior Achievement. The foundation also supports youth programs provided by local arts organizations, symphony orchestras, museums and others. Initial approach is to contact the foundation for application form, which is required.

Program Areas:  Arts, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, General Education, Library, Math, Reading, Science/Environment, Social Studies

Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Other

Proposal Deadline:  3/10/12

Average Amount:  $3,500.00 - $5,000.00

Telephone:  303-763-3471

Availability:  All States