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Peek's Perspective

A Good Time for
Foundation Grants

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This may be one of the best times you will ever have to apply for a foundation grant.

  • The economy is weak. Grant money is one way to meet growing needs forced by a weakening economy.
  • The timing is excellent because many foundations offer December deadlines for grant applications.
  • Finally, you will most likely receive your grant money in December or January, in time to have an impact on the new semester.

    [content block] While receiving grant money is always a time for celebration, it is especially appealing right now when our economy is taking a hit. Schools are not immune to the impact of a poor economy, as I'm sure you're aware. House values are down, which means fewer taxes are being collected in many communities. Less sales tax is being collected, too. Just like everyone else, schools must cut back to make ends meet. Add to that the fact that federal and state government grant wells can run dry during tough times. All those things make the possibility of receiving grant money all the sweeter.

    In December, many foundations are still distributing money based on their 2008 grant budgets. Many of them have to give away a certain percentage of their money in order to remain tax exempt. But most foundations will not have as much money to give away in 2009 since their resources often depend on investments to create the money they distribute each year. If their money is tucked away in CD's, they are receiving a fairly low rate of return. If their money is invested in the regular stock market, they probably lost money in recent months. That is one more reason to make the effort to get some of the monies those foundations are committed to giving out during 2008 but have not yet distributed.

    Your December timing of a grant application could not be better. Whether a foundation reviews applications semi-annually or quarterly, they frequently offer a December deadline. If they don't have a posted deadline, the end of December is still the deadline for many foundations to distribute their 2008 monies. And many foundations don't see as much competition at this time of year because, quite simply, many folks get busy with other things as the holidays approach. So if you are industrious and put forth a little more effort than others to apply for grants now, your grant applications might recieve a bit more attention simply because the competition is not as stiff as it is at other times of the year.

    The final reason December is a good time to apply for a foundation grant is that you will most likely receive the actual grant money in December or January. That means you can get new programs -- or improvements to old programs -- started at the beginning of a new semester. That gives you more time to see and measure the effects of the grant monies you receive.

    December is an excellent time to apply for a grant. It's a busy time for most educators, but if you make that extra effort and set aside time to apply for two or three foundation grants, you may receive the biggest gift of the holiday season.

    Article by Don Peek
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2009 Education World

    Originally published 02/05/2009


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