Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Grant Database is Good, But...

A free school grant database like the one Discount School Supply® provides is a tremendous asset, but you have to have a good program that you are looking to fund to make it useful. Many educators want to go out and find money when they don’t have a clear purpose in mind for using that money.  That’s not practical, and they rarely find grant money that way.

You need a program in mind that will either improve something you’re already doing at school or that will address a problem that has arisen at your school. If you have a reading problem at your school, and you have a good reading program which is simply underfunded, you might find a grant that will provide you with the additional funding. Maybe you have an after-school tutoring program that is working well, but you don’t have the money to fund enough tutors for all the students that need tutors. A grant could make a good program much better by allowing you to hire all the tutors you need.
On the other hand, you may have a reading problem and no program in place that is likely to fix that problem. Maybe you need an after-school reading tutorial program that will allow tutors to work with individual students or small groups. Such a program might be an excellent candidate for grant funding if established and run in the proper way.

You need to have everything you’re going to do and all the people and supplies you will need down on paper in a working model before you apply for grant money. The grantors are going to want to be able to visualize your program and how it will work before they fund it. If you can’t visualize the program yourself well enough to put it down on paper, don’t expect grantors to lay out the money you need to start or improve your program.
A good way to get a grasp on your overall program is to do a five-part planning document:

1)      Define the problem you have using as many statistics as possible to make the problem clear and concrete.

2)      Describe the comprehensive program you want to establish that has an excellent chance of positively impacting your problem.

3)      Give details of the growth that is likely to occur as a result of your program.

4)      Give details of how you will measure that growth (pre-, post-tests, state tests, nationally-normed tests, etc.)

5)      Make a detailed list of exactly what you will need in terms of people, equipment, and supplies in order to make the program successful.  Be sure to list what your district or campus is supplying and any other grant money that you may be using.
When a grantor sees that you’ve done this level of planning, you will have an excellent chance of receiving grant money if you use the grant database to make good matches for your program.  Find all the grants that you might qualify for and then narrow your list down to the two or three that most closely match your needs.

If you’ve done your part in the planning stages of your program, and you get good matches from the grant database, you are very likely to win the grant money you are seeking. It’s not magic. It’s just good planning and hard work.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Program Development Grant

Funded by:  Society of Women Engineers

Description:  A grant opportunity for teachers to encourage girls to pursue engineering and technology studies. Proposals must be new, innovative programs.

Program Areas:  Math, Science/Environment, Technology

Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Other 

Proposal Deadline:  9/1/2012

Average Amount:  $5,000.00

Contact Person:  Kathy Mergl

Email:  pdg-chair@swe.org

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

Deadline:  9/10/12

Average Amount:  $1,000.00 - $25,000.00

Contact Person:  Maureen Bulkley

Telephone:  303-763-3471

Website:  http://www.kindermorgan.com/community/

Availability:  All States


Friday, July 13, 2012

Free Grant Information

In some of my first blog posts way back in 2008, I discussed using the Discount School Supply® free grant database.  I want to take a little time to review the nature of that grant database and just how useful it can be to you when searching for grants.  If you’re not using the DSS database to look for grants at least once a month, you’re probably missing out on a lot of grant money that you could get for your classroom, campus, or district.

First, I’d like to tell you my philosophy of time management as it relates to grants. I believe you should always spend your valuable time writing grant proposals rather than searching for good grants to write. I’ve known people who try to use Google to find grants and literally spend weeks looking for a grant that matches their needs. That is simply not necessary when you have a tool such as the free grant database that Discount SchoolSupply® provides you.
Basically what it does is bring all school grant information into one place on the Internet. The information in the database is collected from thousands of different sources, but it is then placed into one database that makes it quick and easy for you to find grants that match your needs. In fact, the database is so comprehensive and so up-to-date that if you can’t find a grant in a particular category when you search the database, it is unlikely that such a grant exists.

On the other hand, if you don’t find the grant you need this week, you should check back every couple of weeks. One major strength of the Discount SchoolSupply® grant database is that it is updated on a daily basis. Old grants are removed when their deadlines pass, and new grants are entered into the database every day. If you search for a grant today and give up, you may very well miss an excellent grant that is posted next week or next month.

The Discount School Supply® free grant database lists grants available in all fifty states. It lists grants available to public schools, private schools, higher education, and non-profits that have an educational component. Grants are listed in the following categories:  after-school, arts, early childhood, migrant, professional development, reading, science/environment, and special education.  For those particular categories you will not find a more comprehensive, fresher database anywhere, even if you have to pay hundreds of dollars to subscribe to it.

My greatest concern as I write this blog is that you may not be using this excellent tool, or you may not be using it nearly as often as you should. Billions of dollars of grant money are out there and available to almost every school IF you do your homework and search for the right grants that match the problems you happen to be experiencing at the time.

If you do nothing else with the grant database, at least set aside thirty minutes to an hour in the next few days and just look through this valuable resource. Familiarize yourself with what grants are out there and what isn’t funded by grants. Then if you find that you want to introduce a new program at your school, or if you have an old program that just isn’t working like it should, consider coming back to this free database to find the grant money you need.

Here’s what you really need to know about the Discount School Supply® free grant database. You can’t beat the price, and you won’t find a better, more comprehensive, school grant database for the categories listed anywhere --- and that’s from an old grants blogger who has been around for years.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  State Farm Good Neighbor Student Achievement Grants

Funded by:  Youth Service America (YSA) and State Farm

Description:  State Farm™ is proud to team up with YSA (Youth Service America) to offer grants of up to $1,500 for programs enhancing student achievement through service-learning in K-12 public schools in all fifty US states, the District of Columbia, and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. 

Program Areas:  Community Involvement/Volunteerism

Recipients:  Public School

Proposal Deadline:  7/31/12

Average Amount:  $1,500.00

 Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  NEA Student Organizing and Assistance Resources (SOAR) Grants

Funded by:  National Education Association

Description:  Education Events Calendar Diversity Calendar American Education Week NEA Student Organizing and Assistance Resources (SOAR) Grants NEA Student Program Grants Beneficiary: NEA Student Program Chapter. Grant Type: Resources and Equipment Deadline: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 Building a strong presence on campus is one of the biggest challenges that NEA Student Program chapters face. NEA provides financial assistance in the form of Student Organizing and Assistance Resources (SOAR) grants to encourage efforts to recruit new members or organize a student chapter.

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

Recipients:  Public School, Private School, Higher Education

Proposal Deadline:  8/31/12

Average Amount:  $4,000.00

Contact Person:  Kimberly Anderson

Telephone:  202-833-4000

Email:  kimberlyanderson@nea.org

 Availability:  All States

Monday, July 2, 2012

Reporting Your Progress

Any grant proposal you submit should have an evaluation component built in. If it is a federal grant, the evaluation component is very structured and will specifically detail how you expect to measure progress in your grant program. If you write a $500 proposal to a local foundation, your evaluation program will be much less formal and may consist of a simple statement that indicates the positive influence that the grant has had.

Regardless of how long or detailed your evaluation might be, grantors want to know how successful you have been with your grant program. It might make you eligible for a second round of federal funding, or you might want to seek additional funds from a foundation or corporation based on your results.
Evaluation programs do not have to be complex to be effective. If you have problems with reading or math levels, it’s easy to administer pre-tests early in a grant program and post-test late in the year to determine exactly how much your students have grown over the course of your grant-funded program. 

If you got $400 from Target for your class to go on an educational field trip, you might want to survey the class for their knowledge level previous to the trip and do so again after the trip so you can report how much the class as a whole has grown or changed during the trip. This type of reporting could even include reports on individual students who were particularly excited or inspired by the field trip.

Just remember this. If you were taking money out of your own pocket to finance a program, you would certainly want to know how your money was spent and how successfully it was used.  Granting entities are no different. They want to know, too.

Typically, grantors want to fund programs that can be replicated in other classes and other schools. If you honestly report that your program did not produce the results you expected, the grantor knows not to fund a similar program unless changes are made in key components of that program. On the other hand, if the program you funded with grant money has been highly successful, and you are able to document how much progress your students made, it is likely that the grantor will fund other similar products in other schools. In fact, it will make it much easier for you to receive more money from this same granting entity for other projects in your own school.

I have one other suggestion concerning the results you get from the program you fund with grant money. Write a letter to the funding agent thanking them for supporting your program. If your program was a success, let them know that your students would not have been able to get the positive results they did without the grant money the grantor provided. Let them know you appreciate the faith they had in you and your program that led them to provide that funding.

It is important for you to report the results you get any time you receive a grant. To do that, you need to establish an evaluation component when you write and submit your grant proposal. Even if it is not required, it is always appropriate to report your results to the grantor who funded your program.

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Art Works Grants

Funded by:  National Endowment for the Arts

Description:  The purpose of "Art Works" grants is to support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Within this category, all Arts Education projects will have Learning as their primary outcome. Innovative projects are strongly encouraged. Grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Program Areas:  Arts

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

Proposal Deadline:  8/9/12

Average Amount:  $10,000.00 - $100,000.00

Availability:  All States

Check It Out: New Grant Opportunity!

Grant Name:  Aetna Foundation Grants

Funded by:  Aetna Foundation

Description:  We focus our grant-making on issues that improve health and the health care system in the following three areas: Obesity: Addressing the rising rate of obesity among U.S. adults and children. Racial and Ethnic Health Care Equity: Promoting equity in health and health care for common chronic conditions and infant mortality. Integrated Health Care: Advancing high-quality health care by improving care coordination and communications among health care professionals; creating informed and involved patients; and promoting cost-effective, affordable care.   

Program Areas:  Health/PE

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

Proposal Deadline:  8/15/2012

Average Amount:  $5,000.00 - $150,000.00

Availability:  All States