Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Technology Grants for Rural Schools

Funded by: Foundation for Rural Education and Development

Description: Technology Grants for Rural Schools program was created to help meet the growing need for innovative technology in the classroom. The grants are funded by a donation from Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative (RTFC) and strive to help public schools in rural areas served by OPASTCO members bring modern computers to every classroom, connect schools to the information superhighway and make sure that effective and engaging software and online resources are an integral part of the school curriculum.

Program Areas: Technology Recipients: Public School Private/Charter School Proposal

Deadline: 9/14/2009

Total Amount: $50,000.00

Average Amount: $10,000.00

Website: http://www.fred.org/pdfs/2009techgrant_web.pdf

Availability: All States

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: ING Foundation Educational Grants

Funded by: ING

Foundation Description: As part of their commitment to educators, ING honors excellence in education through a series of programs and sponsorships.

Program Areas: Arts, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, General Education, Health/PE, Math, Reading, Science/Environment, Social Studies, Vocational Recipients: Public Schools, Private/Charter Schools, Higher Education Proposal

Deadline: 9/5/09

Average amount: $200 – $400,000

Telephone: 770-980-6580

E-mail: ingfoundation@us.ing.com

Website: http://www.ing-usa.com/us/aboutING/CorporateCitizenship/index.htm

Availability: All States

Check It Out! 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/ Environmental, Social Studies

Recipients: Public School, Other Proposal

Deadline: 9/10/09

Average Amount: $3,500 – $5,000

Telephone: 303-763-3471

E-mail: km_foundation@kindermorgan.com

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

Availability: All States

Closing the Gap: Your Ticket to Grant Money

One of the easiest ways to acquire grant money for your school is to find an achievement gap to close. Almost every school has some type of achievement gap; and many granting entities are interested in investing their money to help close those gaps. Find the gap(s) in your school and you might be on your way to some grant money.

Typically, serious achievement gaps exist between economically advantaged and disadvantaged students. Gaps of that nature can be found in many, many schools. Differences of 2 years or more in reading and math levels are frequently found when the achievement of economically disadvantaged students is compared to those who are not.

Other gaps may exist between minority and non-minority students and between suburban, rural, and urban students. Minority, rural, and inner-city students may appear to lag in achievement because of their race or where they live but, on closer observation, it is often their economic status that produces gaps.

Some gaps can be traced to reduced expectations on the part of parents, educators, or the community as a whole. Grant money may be useful in implementing programs to reduce those gaps too.

Another achievement gap, which is typically not explained by economics, is one that can exist between male and female students in the mathematics and science areas. All too often that gap can be tracked to lower expectations by teachers and the larger educational community. Grant money can help schools build high expectations and achievement for all.
Achievement gaps can usually be pinpointed by comparing test scores of various student groups. If you find one or more of the achievement gaps I’ve mentioned in your school or classroom, remember that the existence of that gap provides an excellent reason to apply for grants to help reduce or eliminate it.

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Striving Readers Program

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education

Description: The purpose of the Striving Readers program is to 1) raise literacy levels of adolescent students in Title I-eligible schools with significant numbers of students reading below grade level and 2) build a strong, scientific research base for identifying and replicating strategies that improve adolescent literacy instruction.

Program Areas: Reading

Recipients: Public Schools

Proposal Deadline: 8/10/09

Average Amount: $750,000 to $1.3 million

Contact Person: Marcia Kingman

Telephone: 202-401-0003

Email: Marcia.kingman@ed.gov

Website: http://www. ed.gov/programs/strivingreaders/applicant.html

Availability: All States

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: NEA Foundation Green Grants

Funded by: NEA Foundation

Description: Over the past decade, the NEA Foundation has invested more than $5.9 million in grants to support and grow the ideas of more than 2,000 educators nationwide. Public school educators PreK-16 are invited to apply for the popular Student Achievement and Learning & Leadership grants at http://www.neafoundation.org/grants. A new online application makes applying easier and more convenient than ever. For those grant writers who have questions, the Foundation has posted an instructional video to guide grant writers through the process step by step. Deadlines for applications are June 1, October 15, and February 1. This year, the Foundation will emphasize “green” grants, because some of the most innovative and impactful projects involve students learning about and engaging in environmental preservation and protection. From publishing books on ecological restoration to designing lessons on renewable energy, NEA Foundation grantees are getting results.

Program Areas: Science/Environment

Recipients: Public Schools

Proposal Deadline: 10/15/09

Average Amount: $2,000 to $5,000

Website: http://www.neafoundation.org/grants.htm

Availability: All States

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Union Pacific Education Grants

Funded by: Union Pacific Foundation

Description: Giving on a national basis in areas of company operations to support zoos and aquariums and organizations involved with arts and culture, education, the environment, health, youth development, human services, community development, and leadership development.

Program Areas: Arts, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, General Education,
Health/PE, Library, Professional Development

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

Proposal Deadline: 8/15/09

Average Amount: $1,000 to $200,000

Telephone: 402-271-5600

Average Amount: $1,000 to $200,000

Email: upf@up.com

Website: http://www.up.com/found

Availability: All States

Four Basic Steps for Winning School Grants

Winning grant money for your school is not nearly as difficult as many educators think. It requires work — as does anything else worthwhile — but if you follow four basic steps consistently and persistently, you will win grant money for your school.

Step 1: First, you need to determine the main problem(s) that needs to be addressed on your campus or in your district. That problem usually reveals itself when you assess programs you are using. If you look at your annual goal for a program, and your assessment indicates you did not come close to achieving that goal, you have identified a definite problem. Additionally, you might need to address new situations that crop up — problems such increases in students with ADHD or autism, a large increase in teen mothers, or an increase in the number of students who speak limited English. So, first step, you need to identify the problem you would like to address with grant money.

Step 2: Next, you need to match the problem identified to a granting entity that is interested in helping with that type of problem. That granting agency might be the federal government, your state government, a foundation, or a business. Those four provide 99 percent of all grant money in the United States. Your best bet for tracking down an appropriate granting entity is to use a school grant database, subscribe to a school grant newsletter, or use search engines such as Google on the Internet. The fastest and most efficient way to match your needs with appropriate grants is by using a grant database. The cheapest way is by using the Internet.

Step 3: Once you have identified potential granting agencies, you must develop a plan to solve or alleviate your problem using the grant money for which you will apply. You must convince the potential grantors that you understand your problem and you know how to fix it. They also need to know if you are using their money exclusively or if the district, campus, or other grantors will also be providing money. Your plan will need to include concrete, measureable goals so both you and the grantor will know if your problem was appropriately addressed and whether or not the money helped improve — or solve — the problem you identified.

Step 4: Finally, you must put together a quality grant application. You don’t have to be a professional grant writer. If you can read, write, and follow directions well, you should be fine. If you are new to grant writing, and you’re applying for a large state or federal grant that is highly competitive, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional grant writer until you get more experience. Grant applications vary greatly. Applications for business or foundation grants are generally shorter and easier to complete. Grant applications for state and federal governments tend to be much longer and much more involved. Don’t let that discourage you though. Just complete one section at a time thoroughly and completely. Also, make sure your application reaches the grantor by the grant deadline.

That’s it. Four steps. Seems simple enough. Yet whole books have been written on those four steps. And, as simple as those four steps seem, thousands of campuses and districts have never applied for a single grant.

If there is one overriding rule in grant writing, it’s this: you will never get a grant for your school if you never apply. So (1) identify a problem that needs attention, (2) identify a grantor(s) who can help solve your problem, (3) develop a plan to solve the problem, and (4) write a quality grant application. Those four simple steps can bring tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of grant dollars your way. You don’t need magic. You don’t need luck. You just need determination and work to get your share of school grant dollars.

Check It Out! Grant Opportunity

Grant Name: Technology Inspired Le@ding Store Donation Grants

Funded by: Best Buy Stores

Description: Donations are given to schools, libraries and after-school clubs. Donations are made in the form of product or Best Buy Gift Cards. Local store employees decide how to support their community.

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

Recipients: Public School, Private School

Proposal Deadline: None

Amount: $500 – $2,000

Telephone: 612-291-6108

Website: http://communications.bestbuy.com/communityrelations/our_programs.asp

Availability: All States