Category Archives: budget

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant

Funded by: Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation

Description: The Fall 2009 cycle is open for the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation Toolbox for Education grant program. Through the program, Lowe’s will donate a total of $5 million to U.S. public schools and public school parent teacher groups at more than one thousand public schools. For the 2009-10 program, Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation will increase its focus on basic one-time project needs. Any individual nonprofit public K-12 school or parent group associated with a nonprofit public K-12 school is eligible to apply. Parent groups (PTO, PTA, etc.) that are applying must have an independent tax ID number and official 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. Groups that do not have 501(c)(3) status should apply through their school. Applicant school must be more than two years old. Preschools are not eligible. The program prioritizes funding requests that have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor) as well as landscaping/clean up type projects. Projects that encourage parent involvement and build stronger community spirit will be favored. Grants may be requested for amounts between $2,000 and $5,000.

Program Areas: Facilities/Maintenance, Health/PE, Science/Environment

Recipients: Public School

Proposal Deadline: 10/16/09

Amount: $2,000.00 – $5,000.00

Website: http://www.toolboxforeducation.com

Availability: All States

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Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: AeroGrow Growing Kids Awards

Funded by: National Gardening Association

Description: The AeroGarden is an innovative solution for bringing gardening activities into the classroom. The AeroGrow Growing Kids Awards, sponsored by AeroGrow International, Inc., will provide 300 educators nationwide with this useful, hands-on tool to enrich and enhance the study of nutrition and life science in the classroom. This award is open to K-6 classrooms in the United States with a minimum of 15 students who plan to use indoor gardens to teach nutrition and life science. This year 300 schools will be selected to receive an AeroGrow Growing Kids Award. Each winning program will receive: an AeroGarden Classic valued at $150 and an AeroGrow Salad Greens Seed Kit.

Program Areas: Health/PE, Science/Environment

Recipients: Public School, Private/Charter School

Proposal Deadline: 10/24/09

Amount: $150.00

Website: http://www.kidsgardening.com/grants/GrowingKids.asp

Availability: All States

Making the Call

September is here, and students are back in school. This is the time of year many educators apply for grants. This period is a good time to apply because writing a grant proposal can take considerable effort, and while students get settled in, you may have more time now than later for grant writing. If you’re going to do all the work that goes into applying for a grant, you should give yourself every chance of focusing on and winning that grant.

One of the least utilized but most effective ways to increase the chances of getting your grant proposal funded is to make a phone call and speak directly to the contact person listed for that grant. Typically, this contact person will be more knowledgeable about the grant than anyone else. You might even get tips to better your chances for receiving the grant. At the very least, you can get more information from the contact person, and the more information you have about the inner workings of a grant the better your chances of getting that grant money.

A phone call is especially helpful when you are applying for foundation grants. Many foundations are run by a small board, and the contact person usually sits on that board and helps decide which grant applications to fund. The contact person can tell you if your project really fits the scope of the foundation. Matching your need with the intent of the foundation is absolutely critical, and a phone call can often save you tremendous time and effort. In some cases, you’ll abandon your application to the particular foundation because you’ll find that the fit is not there. More often, you’ll be able to make your application much clearer and more persuasive by having one or more conversations with the contact person.

State and federal grant applications are much more complicated than those offered by foundations. For that reason, a phone call to the contact person can help tremendously as you plan. That contact person can clarify parts of the complex grant application. If you truly understand the information the application seeks, you can pinpoint your narrative and make your application much more clear and concise. Since almost all of these grants are competitive, speaking with the contact person may give you just the advantage you need to gain a higher score than other schools competing for the same money.

Please be aware that some granting entities ask you not to call them. Quite often they give an email address as an alternative to a phone number. Even though a phone call is typically more productive, use whatever means of communication is available to get all the information you can before you apply for a grant.

The easiest way to get contact names, phone numbers, or email addresses for a grant is to use a good grant database such as the one Discount School Supply offer to you for free. However, you should be able to track down the information by using a search engine to find online grant announcements, which often include contact information.

I give information about applying for grants on a daily basis. I can’t give you better advice than to “Make the call.”

One phone call will tell you:
1) if you should apply for the grant, and
2) how to apply more efficiently and effectively if the grant is a good match for your school’s needs.

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Teacher Grants

Funded by: The Kids in Need Foundation

Description: Kids In Need Teacher Grants provide K-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. The Kids In Need Foundation helps to engage students in the learning process by supporting our most creative and important educational resource — our nation’s teachers. All certified K-12 teachers in the U.S. are eligible.

Program Areas: Math, Reading, Science/Environment, Technology, All Other

Recipients: Public Schools, Private/Charter Schools

Proposal Deadline: 9/30/09

Average amount: $100 – $500

Contact Person: Penny Hawk

Telephone: 877-296-1231

Email: info@kidsinneed.net

Website: http://www.kidsinneed.net

Availability: All States

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: State Farm Youth Advisory Board Grants

Funded by: State Farm Youth Advisory Board

Description: Grants given exclusively for service-learning in the areas of: 1) driver safety, 2) environmental responsibility, 3) financial literacy, 4) access to higher education/closing the achievement gap, 5) disaster preparedness.

Program Areas: After-School, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Family Services, Science/Environment, Social Studies

Recipients: Public School, Higher Education, Other

Proposal Deadline: 10/2/09

Average Amount: $25,000 – $100,000

Contact Person: Matt Maloney

Telephone: 309-766-7554

Email: matthew.maloney.mm2e@statefarm.com

Website: http://www.statefarmyab.com/

Availability: All States

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Funded by: National Endowment for the Humanities

Description: The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites applications to the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program. This program is designed to encourage innovations in the digital humanities. By awarding relatively small grants to support the planning stages, NEH aims to encourage the development of innovative projects that promise to benefit the humanities.

Program Areas: Library, Social Studies

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

Proposal Deadline: 10/6/2009

Average Amount: $5,000 – $50,000

Email: odh@neh.gov

Website: http://www.neh.gov/grants/index.html

Availability: All States

Getting an Edge on Your Grant Competition

To consistently win competitive grant money, you must have an edge on your competition. One easy way to do that is to make sure you thoroughly address every part of a grant application. If you leave out a part– or simply put in “fluff” to meet the application requirements– it is likely your grant application will not be competitive and you will not receive money.

Let’s say you are going to fill out an application for a reading grant… The grant application has seven parts, and one part deals with community involvement. You are trying to write a grant for a reading lab that, in your initial planning, would not require community involvement. The other six parts of the application are worth 95 percent; the community involvement part is worth only 5 percent. You simply decide not to fill out the community involvement part of the application because the rest of your application is strong enough that the 5 percent won’t matter. That would be a devastating mistake.

Many grants are so competitive that the funded applications have scores of 97 percent or higher. Those other grant writers knew that in order to be competitive they needed every single point they could muster.

But you say, “I’d never leave a section of a grant application blank. I’d put something in there whether we intended to implement it or not.” That’s the second biggest mistake you could make. Believe me, grant readers are pretty good at sniffing out the fluff and the disingenuous. Now for the solution: In the planning stages, even before you begin to write your grant, make sure you have a good, strong, balanced program that more than meets the criteria for every required section. Be sure that every required area actually enhances your program.

Be sure the community is involved in your reading lab in a way that will make your reading scores increase and make the community feel as if they played a role as partners in the new program. In essence, regardless of the requirements of the grant, you should write each section as if it is the only section the grant readers will score. Make each section that good and that vital to the overall program, and you will get the points you need to win most of the grants you write.