Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Grants for Food and Hunger Relief

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 @ 10:10 AM

food-1No one should go without the basic need of food. Yet every day children go to school hungry, and parents skip meals so their children can eat. Organizations throughout the United States are working to make sure all individuals know where their next meal is coming from. To help achieve that goal, we have selected some grants that fund programs related to hunger relief and food.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s focus is helping organizations that address basic human needs, such as hunger. Non-profit organizations that provide access to vital food supplies and services to feed individuals, children, and families are eligible to apply. Examples of these include: food pantries, after-school feeding and nutrition programs, food stamp programs, or child backpack programs. A special consideration is given to those organizations that focus on the immediate challenges of food access and connect the people they serve to supportive services and economic livelihood programs that help toward financial stability. The application period for this focus area ended in August. However, it’s not too early to start preparing for the 2016 request for proposals. This is an annual competitive grant program.

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless

This grant program awards $5,000 grants to organizations focused on raising awareness of hunger and homeless issues. The grants are to be used for sponsorship of educational events, conferences, or community forums. Fundraising events are not eligible. Eligible agencies must be non-profit and must serve hungry or homeless people as their primary function. Events scheduled between May 1 and Oct. 31 should apply by Feb. 1. Events between Nov. 1 and Apr. 30 should apply by Aug. 1.

Jewel-Osco Foundation

The grocery store chain focuses on several areas of hunger and nutrition for its grant program. The grant program referenced here supports non-profit organizations aimed at ending hunger relief, either by food distribution or hunger relief programming. Grants are also awarded to entities that provide nutrition education and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet. All grants must be submitted online and can be submitted at any time during the year.

The Kroger Co. Foundation

Non-profit organizationslocated where Kroger has operations are eligible to apply for this grant program. The foundation has seven different area of interests including local hunger relief organizations. Organizations that are hoping to fund a project with a strong base of community support will receive priority.

Insider tip: The Kroger Co. Foundation is unique in that it does not have a formal application process nor a team that analyzes/awards the grants. The foundation relies solely on the management of Kroger operating units to make recommendations for funding requests. Therefore, building a positive relationship with your local Kroger management team would be a good first step toward getting your hunger project funded.


Our blog contains a wealth of information ranging from grant opportunities to insights into the grant industry to grant strategies from our team of experts. We want to provide you valuable information every week so you are prepared to start your grant journey. We welcome your questions and suggestions for topics.

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Topics: food grants, food program grants, hunger, food insecurity, hunger prevention grants, hunger relief

Grants for School Field Trips

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 14:09 PM

field_tripThe school year is a month in, and teachers are gearing up for field trips to pumpkin patches and corn mazes. These trips outside the school building are a great way to break up the school year, as well as a chance for hands-on education. Some of the best learning comes outside the classroom. So whether your school’s field trip ends with a science lesson or just a pumpkin to take home, we can help find funding to make it happen. Below is a hand-selected list of grants for school field trips.


Target knows it’s hard for schools to find funding for intangibles like field trips. That is why the retail giant offers $700 to K-12 schools nationwide. Grant applications are accepted every year from Aug. 1 - Oct. 1. That deadline is coming right up! If you need help meeting it, get in touch. We can accommodate rush deadlines. Over 3,600 grants will be awarded this school year. Funds may be used for transportation, ticket fees, food, resource materials, and supplies.

Walmart Community Giving Program

K-12 public or private schools could also apply to the Walmart Community Giving Program for field trip funding. Walmart will award $250-$2,500 grants, and applications will be accepted until Dec. 31. Schools must be located in a Walmart service area. Insider tip: Walmart’s four main goals are: healthy eating, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, and career opportunities. Align your field trip with one of these areas to increase your chance of funding.

Verizon Foundation Grants

Verizon doesn’t specifically fund field trips but it does fund STEM education. So, to get your field trip funded, plan a STEM-orientated trip, maybe to a hands-on science museum or a robotics lab. Teachers and administrators of K-12 schools are eligible to apply. The average grant is $5,000-$10,000. New applications are now by invitation only. For help on handling invitation only applications, check out this blog.

NEA Foundation

This grant program focuses on improving teaching and enhancing learning, so fundable field trips would need to have an educational purpose. K-12 school teachers are eligible to apply. Application deadlines are: February 1, June 1, and October 15. This foundation has awarded more than $7.1 million to fund nearly 4,500 grants in the past 10 years.


School field trips can be funded through a variety of different grant programs, from the ones focused on education to the ones focused purely on field trip needs. We can help find you the right grant to fund your unique needs. Check out our full line of services, and even purchase some of them online.


Photo Credit: Joshua Tree National Park

Topics: education, education funds, education grants, education grant

Mapping Out Your Grant Funding Approach

Posted by Sherry Sherman on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 @ 10:09 AM

treasure_mapWhen I first started grant writing I took the “ready, fire, aim” approach to grant prospecting. Tasked with finding grant funding, I simply started researching funders and shooting out letters of inquiry (LOIs) hoping one would be a silver bullet and hit the right target. I soon learned grant seeking is extremely competitive and involves far more than “write an application, win an award, and receive money.” You have to be prepared. You need a map.

Back in 2004, The Foundation Center’s Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates revealed that two-thirds foundations received more than 50 proposals per funding cycle. That’s strong competition, and that was a while ago. Furthermore, only 38% actually funded half of the proposals submitted. These figures accentuate the importance of being prepared before undertaking a grant proposal.

Grant seeking is like going on a treasure hunt: there is hidden money out there to be found but a good map is needed to find it. Experience taught me to create a good map for my “treasure hunt.” There are many key elements. Here are four that I’ll discuss in this blog:

   1) Identify the needs of the population served
   2) Develop programming to address the identified needs
   3) Research potential funders
   4) Build organizational involvement in grant seeking.

Indentify and substantiate need. Remember, a grant it is not just free money. Grants are awarded to an organization to serve a particular need in the community, and the money must be used for that purpose. A thorough assessment of the needs of the population being served is the basis for a “grant writing treasure map.” Given how competitive grant writing is, it is vital that funders find the proposed service being provided as pressing. The need must also be aligned with the funder’s priorities. During the needs assessment, prioritize the most critical needs. Provide statistical data—hard numbers—to support the need. A grant application must build a case that the identified need is acute and that the organization has the means, capacity, and commitment to successfully solve the problem.

Develop effective programming. Developing programming in response to the designated need is the next piece of the grant writing treasure map. Establish programming in response to a community need, while keeping in mind likely funding sources. Set programming priorities that address the need in areas that might appeal to multiple funders. Then conduct a more thorough grant search for specific sources. It is imperative to adhere to the funder’s grant making guidelines, and it’s also crucial that the programming is solving a pressing problem. This is a fundamental part of assuring the funder there is an organizational commitment to the programming.

Research funders. Building relationships with funders is ongoing. Your grant strategy and programming both need to take into account the likelihood of being funded. Your programming decisions will point toward some potential funders and away from others. After the programming planning cycle, your goal is to expand the pool of potential funders that are a fit for the priortized programming. A good place to start looking is in the list of funders in competitors’ annual reports. There is a decent chance those funders may also be a suitable match for the selected programming. Another good idea is to contact all of your vendors to find out if they may have foundations or funding available. Connections with those in the political arena may also be fruitful—the topic of a future blog. Finding sources is a vast field. You might be interested in two recent blogs about finding potential sources:  What To Do When Funds Dry Up and Multiple Streams of Grant Income.

High-level organizational involvement. The Board of Directors and executive personnel should be involved in several ways. To expand the pool of potential funders, explore possible connections with the Board of Directors, management, and staff. More generally, grant writers should ask the Board and managers to establish grant seeking goals, set timelines to achieve the goals, and define roles for staff. The highest levels of the organization must allot sufficient resources to pursue funding opportunities. A vital piece in writing a successful grant is demonstrating that your organization has the resources and capabilities to achieve the goals presented in the proposal.


The Grant Helpers can provide guidance in your treasure map. We can advise on approach and strategy, we can help find funding sources, and we can help develop powerful grant applications. Contact Tammi Hughes to move along your map more quickly.

Multiple Streams of Grant Income

Posted by Carol Timms on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 @ 17:09 PM

streamsWe’ve all been told the importance of multiple streams of income. This is true in every sector. Consider a retail store with only one customer, a governmental agency that relies only on the state, or a non-profit that has a single grant. They are within one course change of failing.

According to Robert Kiyosaki, “It’s more important to grow your income than cut your expenses. It’s more important to grow your spirit than cut your dreams.” Achieving your funding goals, whatever they are, can’t be achieved by cutting. Rather, they are achieved by developing a grant strategy that builds relationships with multiple funders. Here are some approaches to expand your grant funding by expanding your pool of potential funding agencies.

(1)   Who Benefits?

Non-profits often have a list of programs and goals they want to achieve. Each should be examined for the potential relationships it represents. Begin with the question “Who benefits from being associated with each of your programs?” Make a list whether it’s by name or by type of organization. For example, if your program helps senior citizens, what organizations want to be seen as responsive to the needs of seniors?

(2)   Who Else Benefits?

Also think about, and list, those who benefit from being part of a team working toward solving the same problem, Some of the seniors you’re serving are likely to be members of other special interest groups such as veterans. Organize your list to allow for cross-promotion. For example, if you are looking for a grant to install a community garden for seniors, look also for grants related to services for wounded warriors, funds to support intergenerational projects and/or funds to teach trade skills to low-income or young people.

As you put together a list of potential funders, be cognizant of competitors. You are building relationships. For example, Coke and Pepsi may both be interested in working with youth but may be averse to funding the same organization.

(3)   Prioritize and Approach

Rank the identified organizations. Place the ones who most resonate with the program at the top. Approach them first. Once engaged, you can leverage their involvement with the other identified organizations. Support from one funder will also help you with matching funds requirements from another. Often you can use funds from existing grants to match a new grant.

(4)   Cross-Fertilize to Build Your Funding Network

Don’t forget about extending relationships to build new ones. Introduce funding organizations to each other and include them all in events, strategy sessions, news releases, etc. Developing an image for these organizations as the champions of your specific cause can enhance their ownership of the program, build peer pressure if one is uncertain about continuing their funding, and encourage long-term funding for our efforts. They may even encourage you to expand certain aspects.

(5)   Spread your Network over Time

As you craft your grant strategy, consider timing. You want to stagger your grant cycles with the various funders so you have a continuous flow of resources. Having an ending date of December 31 for all grants - even if you’ve built strong relationships - can still result in programmatic concerns.

If you would like help crafting a sustainable multiple stream of income scenario for your organization, please contact We have the experience to provide you with a road map for success. Grow your spirit. Don’t cut your dreams.


Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond


Teen Driving Safety Grants

Posted by Paulette Pierre on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 @ 15:09 PM

The autumn season is fast approaching and teenagers are returning to school in droves. Whether still incars high school or heading off to their first year in college, many will be driving themselves to classes. What with adhering to the rules of the road, understanding the dangers of texting and driving, and obeying the speed limit, teenagers shoulder a huge responsibility when getting behind the wheel of a car. has compiled a list of three funders that give grants to organizations focused on teen driving safety. Buckle up!

The Allstate Foundation

As one of the top car insurance companies in the country, Allstate’s main business focus is safe driving. According to the foundation’s website, they have “set a goal to help reduce teen traffic fatalities by 50% by 2015.” Currently, the national foundation is not accepting unsolicited proposals for 2015 but do not let that dissuade you. This does not mean that they do not accept them at all. The foundation funds on a local level so, if you are a nonprofit focused on youth empowerment and teen driving safety, it would help to reach out to your local Allstate office to find out the best way to apply. Personal contact also helps build a relationship between the company and your organization.

The amount of past grants given ranges from $5,000 to $20,000.

Tip: Read through both the Frequently Asked Questions section and the Teen Safe Driving Overview to get a better idea of their program focus

State Farm

Next on the list is another top car insurance company. One of State Farm’s largest funding initiatives is Safety and Awareness. State Farm believes in doing all it can to strengthen and protect those communities in which it does business. According to their website, two of the sub-categories under this umbrella are “auto and roadway safety” and “teen driver education.”

The 2015 funding cycle is closed but the 2016 grant cycle begins September 1, 2015 and runs through October 30, 2015. Applications will be available on their website. Grant requests must be a minimum of $5,000. There does not appear to be a maximum. Funding is released in early 2016. The usual caveats also apply: Your organization must be either a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or, 501(c)(6).

Tip: The guidelines appear to be broad in terms of what State Farm seeks in a fundable proposal. To strengthen your application, keep in mind that as an insurance company, they will be focused on specific measurable outputs (e.g., how many students would be reached; impact on the wider community, etc.).

The Toyota Corporate Giving Program

It’s fitting that a major car manufacturer would indeed be at the forefront of funding driving safety. Toyota’s corporate giving program is focused on three key initiatives—the environment, education and vehicle safety—with vehicle safety being a larger portion of their giving. According to their website, Toyota has “given more than $700 million to date to nonprofits across the country.” Toyota’s vehicle safety initiative focuses on programs that have a wide reach and impact multiple communities. This is something to keep in mind as your organization considers applying for funding.

While there is no set grant cycle, it is recommended that an applicant apply at least three months in advance of the company’s budget funding cycle, which is March 30 of each year. There is no minimum or maximum amount for a budget request. It is dependent on your organization’s proposed vehicle safety program.

The online application is very user-friendly, allowing you to start the application and save it as you go along. You can always pick up where you left off without worrying about losing your information. Check out the FAQ page for more information on application guidelines and tips.

Tip: The online application has a printer-friendly version that allows you to first print out the entire application template before you start filling it in online. This can be a huge benefit as it allows you time to think through all aspects of the application and gather all of the necessary documentation before applying online. This type of preparation will lead to a much stronger and more compelling grant application.



First Steps to Grant Funding: Get Started Building Relationships

Posted by Sherry Sherman on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

relationshipOne of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my grant writing career came during a cold call with a foundation grant officer. At the end of the conversation he thanked me for calling and told me he wished he received more calls from grant seekers. At that point I realized a foundation’s role is to help non-profits serve the community. If an organization is a good match for a foundation, that organization is doing the foundation a favor by reaching out to them. Initiating a relationship with grant-making organizations before applying for a grant can be advantageous. It can all start with a simple phone call.

First Phone Call

Making that first call to a foundation can feel daunting. The truth is many grant officers consider it their job to get to know non-profit staff and would welcome the call. Interacting with applicants helps the foundation make informed funding decisions. Before calling be prepared and do your research. Fully vet each foundation online to verify they fund in your geographic area and fund the type of program you are proposing. Then prepare two or three questions aimed at learning more about their funding cycle and funding guidelines. I will delve deeper into foundation research in a future Grant Helpers blog, with somemore in-depth tips on foundation prospecting.

In addition to gathering information about the foundation, have a brief description of your organization ready. This is the well-known “90-second elevator pitch”—it can be delivered between floors on an elevator. Center the pitch on how your program will help the foundation achieve its mission. I like to pepper my elevator speech with quantifiable program outcomes. Grant-makers are increasingly focused on verifiable outcomes when making funding decisions.

Here are some approaches to keep in mind for the first call:

  • The purpose of the call is to discover if your program is a good fit for the foundation. Learn as much as possible about the organization. Ask for their questions about your organization and its programs.
  • Start the conversation by asking thoughtful, open-ended questions. Listen more than talk. Grant officers will be more forthcoming if their concerns are understood.
  • End the call by arranging the next step in your ongoing communication. Consider extending an invitation to visit your program.

Remember, even if a relationship with a foundation ends with the first call, you are no worse off than before the call. On the plus side, a warm response will place you on the track to submitting a successful grant application.

Grant Denial

A typical response to a declined proposal is to give up, to search elsewhere. But quite often a rejection is one step toward eventual grant funding. How you respond is key. It is a good idea to call the foundation after not getting a grant. The purpose of the call is twofold: 1) to improve your proposal so it has a better chance of funding in the future, and 2) to solidify your relationship with the grant officer. When exploring the cause of the denial, ask for specific reasons. Here are some example questions you might ask, in your own words:

  • How could the proposal have been improved?
  • Would it be acceptable to apply again?
  • What are the next steps?
  • Are there other foundations the grant officer would recommend approaching?

It’s beneficial to remain in touch with the grant officer regardless of whether you will be applying again. Even if a denial won’t lead to funding for one agency, it’s still an opportunity to expand your network of foundation contacts. The grant officer may become a valuable resource for you. I once kept in touch with a grant officer who rejected one of my proposals, and later changed jobs. IN his new position he invited me to apply for a grant at the new foundation, and that application was accepted. There was an excellent quote on the Donors Forum website that sums it up well, “A decline is just one moment in the life with a prospect - it's neither the beginning nor the end.

For insight on communication and grant management after being awarded to build and leverage relationships for more funding, see the blog on Grant Stewardship.

Effective communication is vital to building a positive foundation relationship and requires being thorough and organized, communicating regularly, and being persistent.


Photo Credit: reynermedia

Watch out for “Hidden” Grant Requirements: Part Three – Funding, Reps and Certs

Posted by Roland Garton on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

Grant writers with a lot of experience  (read: “battle scars”) tend to develop cat-like instincts for the beady, little details in the shaows that can jump out and knock a project off kilter. Two such shadowy nooks dealt with in  this blog are 1) a few financial issues and 2) some “Representation and Certification” issues.

Financial Capacity / Up-Front Funding

The need for up-front funding can catch you by surprise since it’s not usually a documented grant requirement. Many grants provide money up front to get started, sometimes a lump sum for the entire amount. These are great for the awardee. Others provide payment only after work is performed. These are called reimbursement grants. Here are two basic reimbursement arrangements:

  1. Milestone payments, or “fixed-price” agreements, in which you are paid when agreed-upon work is performed or results are achieved.
  2. Cost reimbursements, in which you are paid for the actual expenses incurred performing the work.

There are, of course, many variations and potential intricacies to these agreements. Whatever the specifics, if your award is a reimbursement type award, your organization must have the financial capacity to meet costs up front, and still continue operations while waiting for the reimbursement. Financial capacity, therefore, is an implicit requirement to consider though not necessarily listed among the explicit proposal conditions. When deciding whether to submit a proposal, shine a light on what type of payment will be awarded and make sure you can sustain up-front costs if necessary.

Reps and Certs

Representations and Certifications, or “Reps and Certs,” as they’re often called, assure the funding organization that the recipient is the type of organization serving the audience that the funder desires. Reps and Certs fall into the broad category of “compliance” requirements—one of three general categories mentioned in Part One of this series. Federal grants are justifiably notorious for requiring extensive forms certifying that, for example, the organization is not a foreign firm, or that it is not engaging in unlawful activities. Some funding organizations require certain levels of liability insurance among its awardees.

Most of the time such forms are tedious but not troublesome to complete. But sometimes they house a cloaked demon wielding the scythe of death. One client I personally worked with supported a lobbying firm that dealt with the funding agency. Once the grant team began completing the necessary forms, a lobbying form surfaced. The client had to describe its support of lobbying activities. The proposal was eventually funded, but not until the client obtained a statement from the lobbying firm clarifying its level of involvement.

Though Reps and Certs can get buried in the details of the application, it’s worth the time to review them early on to make sure there are no conditions that would nullify the submission.


Online Registrations

Another forms of Reps & Certs is registration in online databases. Federal grants typically require such registration. is the central one, but federal agencies often require registration in their own database as well. Sometimes it can take weeks to complete registration. Make sure any required registrations are current and active well ahead of the proposal deadline.

Demographic Requirements

Foundations may also impose a host of requirements concerning demographics of agency staff, its leadership, and the populations served. I’ve seen applications where the race and ethnicity of board members is part of the application. I’ve seen others where the demographics of the population receiving services must be described in the proposal text. It’s not unusual to see such demographics expected in the evaluation plan.

The overall take-away from this blog is, as with the other considerations above, to check carefully for such requirements and expose them early on, and make sure you can comply. As for evaluation and reporting mandates, that’s an area I’ll take up in the next installment.


We can help review an opportunity to check for requirements that might cause a rejection. We’ll take a quick look as part of a free consultation, or we can provide a more thorough review and recommendations with our Opportunity Review service, described in our services list and available on our online store.


Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano

Transportation Grant Opportunities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

In our home state of Illinois, we have two seasons: winter and construction season. Flip statement notwithstanding, transportation-related projects are huge financial commitments for states, counties, and municipalities. To ease the strain that these projects could have on your budget, check out the handpicked list of grants below.



Fiscal Year 2016 Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program High Priority Discretionary Grant Program

Funds from this program are available for state transportation agencies, local municipalities, and organizations representing government agencies that use and train qualified officers and employees in coordination with state motor vehicle safety agencies. Grants start at $25,000 and max out at $1 million. These grants are intended for motor vehicle safety enforcement and/or outreach and education. Fundable projects include mitigating large bus and track crashes, pedestrian and bicycle safety, seat belt compliance, and much more. The deadline to submit applications is Aug. 31. Our team of experts can help get this proposal submitted in time, even with a tight turnaround. If you are interested in speaking to an expert about meeting this deadline, you can contact us here.


Wisconsin Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program

This grant program is only for our friends in Wisconsin. If you are interested in a similar program in your home state, check out opportunities offered by your state’s Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin public and private agencies and marinas can apply for these funds to construct, renovate, and maintain boating infrastructure facilities for transient recreational vessels at least 26 feet long. The deadline to submit applications is Aug. 28. Grants are either $200,000 or $1.5 million. This program requires a 25% match. For assistance in applying before the deadline or for information on how to find matching grants, contact us.


Energy Foundation

The Energy Foundation supports transportation projects, especially those that reduce energy usage and carbon pollution. Non-profit organizations throughout the United States are eligible to apply. The foundation favors regional projects as opposed to local community projects. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis. The foundation also favors having an initial Letter of Intent before submitting a full application.


Surdna Foundation

This fund hopes to award grant money to transportation systems and transit solutions that give people affordable and reliable transportation options in their daily life. These projects should also have a minimum impact on the environment. Fundable projects should: strengthen and expand the use of transportation project performance standards that improve transportation options, increase access and mobility, reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, and advance climate-resilient strategies. Letters of Intent are required to be submitted before sending in a full application. LOIs are accepted on an ongoing basis. Last year, grants in this category ranged from $17,000 to over $1 million.


We have a team of experts ready to help you. Whether you are a municipality, school, or non-profit organization can develop programming, find funding, obtain funding, and manage those grant opportunities. Don’t delay -- talk to one of our team members today. Remember, the first consultation is always free, so schedule yours now.


Image by: NSW Maritime

Topics: transportation grants, transportation, grants for transportation

Environmental Grants for Schools

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 @ 17:08 PM

Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. That old educational motto has environment3been amended in modern times with STEM, STEAM, Common Core, and more. Schools are teaching a wide variety of subjects these days, one of which is environmental issues. Environment-related topics could range across recycling, climate change, sustainability, and many others. Below are a few grants that could assist your school in funding these environmental programs.

Captain Planet Foundation

U.S. schools are eligible to apply for these grants that range between $500 and $2,500. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30. Fundable projects must be performed by youth and have real environmental outcomes. The foundation awards grants in hopes that the money will be used to provide hands-on environmental opportunities for youth, serve as a catalyst to get environmental-based education in school, and inspire community service through environmental stewardship activities. Preferential consideration is given to requesters who have secured at least 50% matching or in-kind funding for their projects. If the Sept. 30 deadline is coming too quickly, the foundation has a second deadline of Jan. 31.

Hot Planet Cool Athletes

Grant money from this organization wants to ensure the next generation is educated about climate change and its ramifications for the future. Fundable projects must be student led and must take action against climate change. Examples of projects funded last year include a school-wide compost system, building stationary bikes to power electronic devices in a school, creating a new school recycling program, and creating a grassroots community-wide effort to ban plastic bags. This fund has two deadlines: Aug. 31 and Jan. 15. One grant of $5,000 is available during each proposal period. In addition to winning funding, at the end of the year a representative from the top two winning proposals will be selected to travel to Washington D.C. to share the projects with Congressmen and other elected officials.

Green Thumb Challenge Grant

What better way to impact the environment than to update your school garden? The Green Thumb Challenge Grant program will help you do just that. The Green Education Foundation and Gardener’s Supply Company is providing a funding opportunity to help established school gardens. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of youth garden programs in United States K-12 schools. Grants of $250 will be awarded, and applications are due Sept. 30.

Alternative Fuel Foundation

Any public or private K-12 school or associated parent group is eligible to apply for funding from the Alternative Fuel Foundation grant program. Preference is given to programs that promote the awareness and use of alternative fuels or promote the concept of sustainability. Projects that are student led but have parental involvement and/or community support are encouraged. Typical grants range from $250 to $500, though larger grants will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The deadline for this grant is ongoing.

                            ______________________________ is committed to helping you locate and obtain the funding you need. We have a variety of services that can assist you in whatever stage of the grant process you are in. Talk to one of our experts now, and remember the first consultation is always free.  


Photo Credit: Richard Eriksson

Topics: enviornmental funding, environmental education, grant opportunity, grants for environment, environment grant, environmental grants, grants, school grant, environmental grant, grants for envirvonmental projects

Watch out for “Hidden” Grant Requirements: Part Two

Posted by Roland Garton on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 @ 20:07 PM

As promised in Part I of this series, this blog points out some clues that might indicate a purportedly open Request For Proposals (RFP) is not so open after all. Sometimes a fundrequirementsing agency has a particular recipient in mind for an award, and writes the RFP to favor that participant in the selection process.  Agencies may do this to comply with (and at the same time skirt the intent of) administrative requirements.  Agencies may also issue such RFPs to identify any applicants that might provide even better results than the providers they’re currently aware of.  Whatever the reasons, RFPs with a foregone recipient in mind are often called “wired proposals,” and if you spot one of them you may be better off not to apply.  Here are some indicators to watch out for:

Highly Specific Requirements. I’ve seen technical requirements so tightly defined that they could have been met only by a single organization.  A hypothetical example might read something like this: “Applicant must provide the 8 outreach programs listed in Appendix A to 400 underserved youth between the ages of 13 and 15 in a community whose population has fallen below 20,000 within the last two years.”  Highly specific requirements are the most common sign of a wired proposal.  At times, they take the form of geographic or historical restrictions, e.g., “Applicant must have an office within 20 miles of the assisted living center, and must have a 10-year history of successful engagement with the target population.”

Assumed Knowledge. Esoteric jargon that only insiders would understand, references to existing programs without adequate explanations, requirements mentioned but not fully described...these are all warnings that the funding agency has a specific recipient in mind whose familiarity with the program is taken for granted.  If the grant maker has a formal Q&A process, you can word questions carefully so that responses provide additional information about the funding agency’s openness.  One example question might read something like, “Page XX of the RFP requires that ex-offenders be provided job search training in weekly, two-hour group sessions.  Are alternative schedules acceptable if they meet the end objectives?”

Unrealistic Timeframes. Believe it or not, I once reviewed an RFP with a submission deadline of September 30 and a start date of Oct 1 the same year. Obviously, time for considering more than one proposal was not part of the schedule! This is an extreme case, but short proposal deadlines can be a red flag. The problematic timeframe can be compounded if proposals require lots of supporting paperwork and certifications, thus precluding participation by organizations not already aware of the upcoming opportunity.


We can review an opportunity if you are suspicious about its legitimacy.We’ll take a quick look as part of a free consultation, or we can provide a more thorough review and recommendations with our Opportunity Review service, described in our services list and available on our online store.


Photo Credit: Kate Ter Haar