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Volume 1 Issue 1
September 15, 2008

Getting Ready to Write Fall Grants

by Don Peek

There is more grant money available to schools during the fall semester than at any other time of the year. Right now is an excellent time to apply for grants -- whether they are being awarded by the federal government, your state government, or by a foundation. It doesn't matter if you are an experienced grant writer or an educator who has never written a grant, now is the best time to get started writing those grant proposals for your school.

As you begin to fill out applications for grants, keep in mind the one key to getting any grant funded: You must closely match the needs of your school with the purpose for which the granting organization is giving grant money. That seems like a simple and straightforward idea, one hardly worth mentioning, yet failure to do that is the single biggest reason why most grant proposals are never funded.

To make sure your needs do match those of the granting organization, you must fully understand the needs of your school. Your school may need a new field house for the football team, additional money in the general budget, or money for your seniors to visit Hawaii on their senior trip, but those types of needs almost never match up with a granting organization's reasons for giving grants.

On the other hand, the need to raise the reading scores of middle school students who are two years behind, the need to involve more parents in the education of their children, or the need to enhance the learning experience of struggling students by incorporating the proper technology can often be matched with the purposes of granting organizations.

When you begin to seek grant money, it is important to remember that your search is not just a search for money. It must be a search for the resources you need to tackle a specific problem or need at your school. So.

  • First you must identify via some form of assessment your schools needs; data will verify the existence of the problem/need.
  • Once you have identified a list of needs, you must then prioritize them and begin to research the resources that will help you solve the problems you have identified.
  • Then you are set to begin your search for a granting organization that will provide funds to help you meet your needs.

    If your school is having academic problems, for example, your assessment may begin with standardized test scores. If your incoming freshman class has an average reading level of 6.8, you have an academic problem that will impact almost every subject you teach. Your standardized test scores are proof that you need help with this group.

    If only 40 percent of your fifth graders passed your state's assessment test in mathematics, you have a problem that needs addressing. Again, standardized tests have informed you of the need.

    However, some problems cannot be identified by assessment testing. For example,

  • 60 percent of your students might be overweight.
  • more than 5 percent of your high school girls might be pregnant.
  • only 50 percent of your elementary students may have someone at home to care for them at the end of the school day.
    These are not problems that can be identified with a standardized test, but they are still problems that need to be addressed and can often be addressed with programs funded by grant money.

    A good way to identify some of your schools most pressing problems might be to survey your entire staff. Such a survey might be used to identify the three biggest problems your school faces. Or it might be used to identify the three biggest problems students face in getting a quality education at your school. Or it might be used to get your staff's perspective on school needs or school climate. For example, might a survey reveal that your school suffers from a lack of academic leadership? inadequate staff development? discipline problems? apathetic teachers? Grant money might be used to solve any of the problems identified by survey data.

    Surveying your students may yield a host of other topics that can be addressed with grant money. Bullying, racial tensions, or classroom disruptions by problem students may be preventing your students from learning to their potential.

    Once you have found and prioritized the major problems that impact your students' academic success or their quality of life, you are ready to begin searching for the resources and grant monies that will closely match your needs.

    Whether you are a teacher, administrator, or a grant writer, now is the time to start writing grants for your school. But it will do you little good to begin applying for grants if you have not taken steps to determine and document the major problems your school faces.

    Remember, writing grants is not just about trying to get free money for your school. It's about entering into a partnership with an organization that agrees to fund a program that will help you meet a major need you face.

    When should you start applying for grants this fall? Just as soon as your assessment has been done and your needs have been prioritized, it's time to begin applying for grants.

    Don Peek is former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. Learn more about The School Funding Center at the bottom of this newsletter.

     

    Grant Name:
    Global Climate Change Education

    Funded by:
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Description:
    The goals of the GCCE project are to use NASA's unique contributions to climate and Earth system science. GCCE will fund grants that

  • advance the teaching and learning about global climate change in elementary and secondary schools and on college campuses.
  • increase the number of students -- predominantly high school and undergraduate students -- using NASA Earth observation data/NASA Earth system models to examine and analyze global climate change issues.
  • increase the number of undergraduate students prepared for employment and/or to enter graduate school in technical fields relevant to global climate change.
  • increase access to high-quality global climate change education among students from groups historically underrepresented in science.

    Program Areas:
    Professional Development, Science/Environmental

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

    Proposal Deadline:
    10/24/2008

    Average Amount:
    $150,000.00 - $500,000.00

    Contact Person:
    Tamra Ross

    Address:
    500 E St., S.W., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20024

    Telephone:
    202-479-9030

    Email:
    [email protected]

    Website:
    http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/
    cmdocumentid=152202/GCCE_Announce_FINAL_July15.pdf

    Availability:
    All States

    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. All states and Canada.

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

    Recipients:
    Public School, Higher Education, Other

    Proposal Deadline:
    11/1/2008 (Feb. 1, May 1, Aug. 1 and Nov. 1)

    Total Amount:
    $5,000,000.00

    Average Amount:
    $25,000.00 - $100,000.00

    Contact Person:
    Dawn Fones

    Contact Address:
    One State Farm Plaza, B-4, Bloomington, IL 61710

    Telephone:
    309-766-2259

    Email:
    [email protected]

    Website:
    http://www.statefarmyab.com

    Availability:
    All States

    Grant Name:
    K-6, 7-12 Science and Math Education Grants

    Funded by:
    Toshiba America Foundation

    Description:
    The mission of Toshiba America Foundation is to promote quality science and mathematics education in U.S. schools. Grants are made for programs and activities that improve teaching and learning in science and mathematics, grades K-12. The Foundation focuses its grant making on inquiry-based projects designed by individual teachers, and small teams of teachers, for use in their own classrooms.

    Program Areas:
    Math, Science/Environmental

    Recipients:
    Public School, Other

    Proposal Deadline:
    10/1/2008 (Oct. 1 is the annual deadline)

    Average Amount:
    $500.00 - $20,000.00

    Telephone:
    212-596-0620

    Email:
    [email protected]

    Website:
    http://www.toshiba.com/tafpub/jsp/about/HowApply.jsp

    Availability:
    All States

    Grant Name:
    Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities

    Funded by:
    U.S. Department of Education

    Description:
    The purpose of this program is to (1) help address state-identified needs for highly qualified personnel in special education, related services, early intervention, and regular education to work with children with disabilities and (2) ensure that those personnel have the skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined through research and experience to be successful, needed to serve these children.

    Program Areas:
    Disabilities, Professional Development, Special Education

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

    Proposal Deadline:
    10/10/2008

    Average Amount:
    $90 million

    Contact Person:
    Patricia Wright

    Address:
    400 Maryland Ave, S.W., Rm. 4113, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2600

    Telephone:
    202-245-7620

    Email:
    patricia.wright[email protected]

    Website:
    http://www.ed.gov/programs/osepprep/index.html

    Availability:
    All States

    Grant Name:
    Learning & Leadership Grants

    Funded by:
    The NEA Foundation

    Description:
    These grants support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: 1) Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes or action research. 2) Grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment. Applicants must be practicing U.S. public school teachers in grades K-12, public school education support professionals, or faculty and staff at public higher education institutions. Preference will be given to members of the National Education Association. The NEA Foundation encourages grant applications from teachers with less than seven years of experience in the profession, and education support professionals. Applicants: Mail the original and five (5) copies of your application to the address listed below. Please do not staple or bind your application. Applications that do not comply with the guidelines or that include materials not specifically requested by The NEA Foundation will not be reviewed. Applications sent by e-mail or fax, or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

    Program Areas:
    General Education, Professional Development

    Recipients:
    Public School, Higher Education

    Proposal Deadline:
    10/15/2008 (Feb. 1, June 6, Oct. 15)

    Average Amount:
    $2,000.00 - $5,000.00

    Address:
    1201 Sixteenth Street NW, Suite 416, Washington, DC 20036-3207

    Telephone:
    202-822-7840

    Email:
    [email protected]

    Website:
    http://www.neafoundation.org/programs/Learning&Leadership_Guidelines.htm

    Availability:
    All States

     

    In each issue, Don Peek recommends a Web resource, book, software program, or another useful tool of interest to the grants community.

    This week's resource is a Web site:
    SchoolGrants.org
    http://www.schoolgrants.org

    Here's a Web site that provides lots of information and tips about grant writing. Schoolgrants.org offers a biweekly newsletter at a reasonable price that lists available grants and even more information and tips about grant writing.

     

    The Education World Grants Newsletter is written by Don Peek, former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. The School Funding Center Grant Database attempts to list every grant available to schools across the United States. It is updated daily and currently contains more than 110,000 grant opportunities worth more than $6.5 billion.

    If you are serious about getting grant money for your school, you may want to subscribe to The School Funding Center Grant Database.
    12-month subscription: $397.00
    6-month subscription: $249.00
    2-month subscription: $ 99.00
    When you order the 12-month subscription, you get a copy of Successful School Grants, a step-by-step grant-writing manual by Dr. Deborah Porter, one of the foremost grant writers in the country, free with your subscription.

    Order your subscription today!

  • Use a credit card to order your subscription online
  • Call in your credit card order to 1-877-856-7400
  • Fax your order to 1-903-856-5272 (signed purchase order required)
  • Mail your order to The School Funding Center, 449 Rusk Street, Pittsburg, TX 75686

    Don't forget that you can do limited free searches in our huge school grant database by going to http://www.schoolfundingcenter.com.

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