Finding, Writing, and GETTING the Right Grant for YOU!
A project or idea that needs funding. We all have one of these!
To find sources for funding, strategies for success in the grant-writing process, how to write a grant and what to do once you receive one (besides spend the money)
OK, so you have this great idea, have turned it into an exciting proposal and are ready to begin creating your project, but you begin to wonder, "Where am I going to get the funding to actually run this project once I have it ready to go?"
You have decided on a project idea to work on that really excites you and your team. Your facilitator thinks it has great potential, but you realize that you are going to need a lot of items to make this work, such as software and student materials. Where is the money going to come from?
You and your team are elated! The project proposal that you submitted for approval has received an enthusiastic "green light!" But when you start working on fleshing it out into a presentation page, you get stuck at the hardware configuration setup realizing that you only have access to one computer in your room with access to the Internet. How are you ever going to pull this project off with only one computer and a classroom full of eager students?
It is late at night and you are at your computer putting the final touches on your scenario page before the presentation at your discussion session. As you work, you start to daydream of the time you will actually be putting it in place within your school/district. You can see how worthwhile this might prove to others in your district and the thought occurs to you, "Where can I get the resources needed to provide adequate staff development?"
These are just a sampling of likely events which many of us will or have faced. It is never too early or too late to begin thinking of funding issues. There are many resources available on the Internet to get information on where to go for funds, how to go about obtaining those funds, and how to best utilize what you already have.
The following annotated listings are here to give you a start in your search for the "almighty dollar." They are by no means all that are available. To help you out, the listings are grouped in the categories of:
- Search Engines for Grants
- Grant Sites that Cover a Lot of Areas
- Sites for a Specialized Location or Audience
- Sites with Tutorials and Information on Writing Grants
- Sites with Information on Equipment Donations
You are not expected to look over each and every site, but rather this listing is to help you in your search for project and staff development funding. Pick a couple to look at so that you begin to familiarize yourself with the many opportunities available to you and your team. If you have a site or information that might be of use to someone, bring that information to your next discussion session and/or post it to your bulletin board.
Once you have identified some potential sources that issue grants which meet your goals and needs, you may want to look over these Grant Writing Tips to help you in the "daunting" task of writing your grant proposal. Good Luck!
- Environmental Education Grant Search - Multisite Search
On this page you can enter keywords for the type of grant you are looking for and it will search through the following sites for grants that meet your criteria:
- US EPA Office of Environmental Education
- National Environmental Education and Training
- Seattle Environmental Education
- North American Association for Environmental Education
- NEC Foundation of America
- Florida Office of Environmental Education
- Technology and Learning On-line
- US Department of Education
- Chevron Corporation
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- Toyota TAPESTRY Grants
- Federal Register
- Sea World
- School Nature Area Project
- Bullitt Foundation
- California Office of Environmental Education
- Ohio EPA Environmental Education
- Texas Challenge Grants
- Arizona Advisory Council on Environmental Education
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
- Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education
- North Carolina Project Tomorrow
- National Association for Humane and Environmental Education
- Illinois EPA
- Ohio DNR
U.S. Department of Education Search Page
Here you can enter keywords to search the U.S. Department of Education Web site for any information you might want . . . in this case, "grants." There were a ton of hits on that keyword alone, so plan on spending some time wading through these. The plus side is that you might find one that fits your situation to a "T" and have the inside track to get the funding. Warning: A lot of them are "need-based." Or you might want to go to:
The Foundation Center: Finding Funders
Although this site requires a fee to hunt for specific grants, they also maintain a freely accessible database of funder Web sites. Regularly updated, their four distinct directories of annotated links to more than 1,700 grantmaker Web sites are organized by grantmaker type: Private Foundations; Corporate Grantmakers; Grantmaking Public Charities; and Community Foundations. All you need to do is to select a grantmaker type to search or browse our summaries of the sites collected here.
Resource Guide to Federal Funding for Technology in Education
Information on and links to the various grants offered through the many different federal departments such as: U.S. Department of Education; National Science Foundation (NSF); Department of Energy (DOE); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH); other funding guide sources. ("Note: It is important to point out that this guide is by no means complete. It is intended to provide some of the resources available throughout the federal government for educational technology. Hopefully this list, in conjunction with resources in your area, will provide the assistance necessary for locating funding sources in the area of educational technology.")
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
Hundreds of education resources supported by agencies across the U.S. federal government are now easier to find. Subjects include: Arts; Educational Technology; Foreign Languages; Health and Safety; Language Arts; Mathematics; Physical Education; Science; Social Studies; and Vocational Education. Search the resources, or visit the site map to find exactly what you're looking for.
In addition to other community projects, AT&T provides grants to projects in education that support lifelong learning and teacher training and parent participation in children's education. They look for initiatives that use technology to connect students, teachers and institutions of learning. They also encourage efforts to win student interest and involvement in mathematics, science and engineering.
The USDLA Funding Source Book for Distance Learning and Educational Technology
The USDLA Funding Source Book is a 400+ page publication complete with electronic and print references of funding sources for technology. It is available for $42.50 plus $4.00 shipping as of July, 1999. To order contact Kendall Publishing at 1-800-228-0810. The ISBN number when ordering is 0-7872-4980-7. To obtain information electronically, visit http://www.technogrants.com.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation
"The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) grows out of filmmaker George Lucas's commitment to education and to a vision of learning where students are challenged and engaged, have access to interactive technologies, and are supported by inspired teachers and involved parents and communities." Although they do not themselves give grants, they have an excellent resource page for grant-giving institutions, grant-writing information on the Net, and even technology donation programs at http://glef.org/grant.html .
Grants and Funding Sources in the Great Lakes Region
Funding sources are sorted into academic, foundation, government sources, fellowships and scholarships. Provided by GLIN (Great Lakes Information Network).
The Dunn Foundation
The Dunn Foundation is particularly concerned with the impact sprawl is having on community character and the visual quality of our landscapes, streets, and neighborhoods. They look for programs and organizations to fund which will foster "visually distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place." They look for programs located in Rhode Island and New England first. If you think that schools aren't funded, look at a current program being funded at a middle school in Connecticut at http://www.dunnfoundation.org/grants4.htm.
Educational Grants for Colorado Educators
Just what the title says, this site provides links to information on grants of interest to Colorado educators and education administrators.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Grants Management Division
This site, for those in Illinois, offers numerous direct grant opportunities through state and federal funds received by the agency. In addition, there are opportunities for school districts to apply directly to federal agencies or private/corporate foundations for funding.
The Foundation Center
The Foundation Center is a central repository of information about private foundations designed to serve the needs of grantseekers and grantmakers. The mission of the Foundation Center is to foster public understanding of the foundation field by collecting, organizing, analyzing, and disseminating information on foundations, corporate giving, and related subjects. Their targeted audiences include grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public. Currently this site consists mainly of "how-tos."
EPA Grant-Writing Tutorial
This is the site where you can download a Windows or Mac version of a tutorial in grant writing. The program will step the user through the grant-writing process and help them with writing a competitive grant. Though there are sections dealing with just the EPA grants, the program is valuable for any type grant you might be applying for.
Investing in School Technology: Strategies to Meet the Funding Challenge
Although this guide was prepared by the Pelavin Research Institute in November, 1997 for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology, the information it contains is still relevant and invaluable. The purpose of the paper is to provide state and local policymakers, state legislatures, state superintendents and departments of education, local school boards, school district superintendents, and teachers some tools and pointers for thinking about their educational technology plans and for developing comprehensive strategies for funding those plans. It is also available as a downloadable PDF file.
The Art of the Deal - No Trump!
A great article from Jamie McKenzie's From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal. "This article will touch upon a few tricks of the grant-seeking trade which might prove useful to technology wizards who suddenly find themselves wearing (by necessity) the hat of some central office planner/grant writer who left this past June with pink slip in hand. The chapters include (1) The Context; (2) An Educational Foundation for Every District; and (3) Technology to the Rescue . . . Online Databases for Grants (which include sample search results).
Computers for Learning
The program is designed to donate surplus federal computer equipment to schools and educational nonprofits, giving special consideration to those with the greatest need. There are sections on the Web site to help you evaluate your needs and then register with the program. The various branches of the federal government will then use that information to determine what gets donated and to whom. Most computers (but not all) are IBM compatible 286, 386, and 486 machines.
Also see The George Lucas Educational Foundation site listed above.
- Make sure the grant you are applying for and the goals you have for writing the grant are a good match. It doesn't do you any good to send in a grant for a lab of 15 computers to an agency that specifically states it doesn't support hardware purchases. Know the grants you are applying for in order to make a good match with your goals.
- Be sure to follow all instructions given. Many grant applications end up in the "reject" pile simply because the writer did not follow the guidelines outlined in the directions. This includes details such as page setup (margins, line spacing, page numbering, etc.) and type size and font among others. Make sure you provide all the information required. . . . When in doubt on whether to include something, go ahead and include it or, if you are able, call and ask questions from the agency providing the grants.
- Make sure you use the forms provided by the agency issuing the grant. Try to get several copies, or make duplicates of the original so you have one to use as a draft. Many agencies allow you to create duplicates of their forms to generate on the computer; many others are very strict on only using their generated forms. Make sure you know what is allowed and what is not. You don't want to go through all the work of completing a grant application to have it rejected because it wasn't on the proper form!
- Remember, your proposal is not the ONLY ONE that the reviewer is reading and evaluating. Anything you can do to help them in the process can only help your proposal along the evaluation and review process. These include:
- Make sure when you are writing your proposal that you include the title of your proposal early on. Then keep the same title when referencing your project proposal throughout the rest of the narrative. This helps the reviewer keep track of which proposal he/she is reading and what it is about while evaluating the proposal.
- If you use acronyms within your proposal, make sure you include the full wording of the acronym the first time you use it and repeat it every few pages so that the reviewer doesn't have to keep flipping back to search for its definition so they can remember what it stands for.
- Try to make your proposal easy to read. Label all your sections. Include references to any appendices you may include. Include graphs and tables where applicable to make information more readable. Have someone read your proposal sections to make sure they are understandable and easy to read. Too much "educationalese" makes a dreary read. . . . Try to make the reading as enjoyable as possible for the reviewer. They will appreciate it!
- The length of your proposal, especially any narrative section, can be another problem area. While you may think that you have nothing to write about when starting the application process, once you get going, it is often hard to stay within the confines of the word, paragraph, or page limits set out in the grant directions. Try to clarify and illustrate your points as briefly as possible while still including everything that is necessary to make your case. Have someone read those sections and see if they get the point you are trying to make.
- Although it seems like a lot of work, you have a better chance of success when asking for money to purchase items (software, hardware, equipment, etc.) if you list exactly what you are hoping to receive. Use numbers, costs, brand names and suppliers. This shows the agency issuing the grant that you have done your homework. They like to know where their money is begin spent and they may know of a better deal out there to save them money!
- More and more grants are asking that you include information on where funding will come from to sustain a program after the initial grant funding runs out. Grant issuers want the new programs they help get started to become self-sustaining and continue on into the future, not die after their cash flow to you runs out. Include any past fundraisers that have supported programs in your area. Then identify potential partners for the future and include names, affiliations, and what they will contribute to the sustainability of your program.
- Before making the final copy for submission, grab a willing third party, and ask them to read over your final draft for correct grammar and spelling as well as readability. Have a thick skin and pay attention to their comments and suggestions. If they can come away from the reading, knowing what it is you are proposing and what you are asking for in help from the grant writing agency, then you have a winner!
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