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The Grant Helpers Blog is a resource for educational entitities, municipalities and related service firms, non-profits, and businesses that are interested in proposal development and securing grant funding. Our blog can help you get started, but if you have questions or need assistance, feel free to contact us for a free grant writing consultation.

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Grants for Municipalities

  
  
  
  

There is hardly an initiative from any city, large or small, where the acityvailability of grant funding isn't a factor.  No matter the area—transportation, safe schools, energy, the environment, economic development, parks and recreation, culture and quality of life, and many more—being able to obtain grant support can determine whether or not a project happens.  

Two of our Grant Helpers, Rebecca Motley and Roland Garton, will discuss ways that cities can obtain more grant funds over time at the annual meeting of the Illinois Municipal League, September 19, 2014, at the Chicago Hilton. (The location itself, facing Grant Park and Lake Michigan, is a quite a sight.)  

The main points of the session are not restricted to municipalities.  Most apply to all organizations.  So here are some key take-aways from the presentation.  

  • Grant funding is available.  The federal government provides billions of dollars annually for a wide variety of projects.

  • Work with larger organizations.  In the case of municipalities, federal dollars typically flow through the state, so working with relevant state departments is critical.  Also, work with regional collaborations and initiatives to broaden your impact.

  • Align for fundability.  You can be more fundable if you shift priorities and structure projects to line up with the priorities of funding agencies.  Example: one city got funds for a bike path by switching the planned route to accommodate school children on bikes.

  • Plan on multiple applications over time.  Your first proposal is less likely to be successful than your 20th. So plan on writing a series of proposals over time, building your library of support materials and approaches.

  • Numbers rule.  You must provide measurable data to quantify the need for your project and the impact your project will have.

  • Review proposals carefully.  Allow ample in the development process to check for obvious errors, and to make sure the proposal responds to the main interests of the funding agency.  Be willing to re-write sections, even if you considered them complete, if they don’t directly address the main goals and interests of the funder.

If you’re interested in more details, you can download the slides and handouts from the presentation.


You may also benefit from our Grant Readiness Checklist.  We can help your organization structure for successful grant funding over time.  From high-level advice and guidance to detailed issues regarding grant strategy and applications, we can help however best fits your organization.

 

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Grant Opportunities for Literacy Programs

  
  
  
  

Low literacy is a huge concern across the United States for both children and adults.  According to ProLiteracy, 14% of adults 16 or older read at or belbooksow a fifth grade level and 29% read at an eighth grade level. Among those with the lowest literacy rates, 43% live in poverty. Schools and other educational institutions, as well as non-profit community groups, are trying to help this epidemic by providing literacy programs for both children and adults. There are a number of grants available to help such programs, and below is a list of selected grant opportunities.

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

This national retailer’s foundation is a wealth of grant opportunities for all ages and program types.

  • Adult Literacy Grants make funding available to non-profit organizations that provide assistance to adults who need literacy help. To be eligible, the organization must provide help in adult basic education, GED preparation, or English language acquisition.

  • Family Literacy Grants provide funding for organizations that provide programs with the following three components: adult education instruction, children’s education, and parent and child together time.

  • Summer Reading Grants provide funding to non-profit organizations and libraries to assist with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs. These programs must target preK-12th grade students who are new readers, below grade level readers, or readers with learning difficulties.

  • Youth Literacy Grants provide funds to schools, libraries, and non-profit entities that help students who read below grade level or experiencing problems with reading. This program provides grants to purchase software, books, and materials for literacy programs, purchase new technology or equipment to support literacy programs, or help implement or expand ongoing literacy programs. Applications for all of these programs will be available January 2015.

Wish You Well Foundation

The Wish You Well Foundation’s mission is to improve family literacy by supporting the development and expansion of literacy programs. Any 501(c)(3) organization is eligible to apply. The Foundation board meets on average four times per year (specific dates determined by the availability of board members to attend). At each meeting, the board reviews grant requests and determines which to fund. Organizations are notified as to which meet their request will be discussed. Most requests range from $200-$10,000.

Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program

The U.S. Department of Education funds this program to help literacy skills for children from birth through grade 12. Education agencies and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Eligible projects include those that support school libraries, that promote early literacy for younger children, that motivate older children to read, and that distribute books. Applications for this fiscal year were due in July, so start planning now for next year’s application. Funded school districts can expect grants ranging between $150,000-$750,000, and non-profit organization grants average $4.5 million.

Barnes and Noble

While not technically a grant program, Barnes and Noble does support preK-12 school and non-profit organization literacy organizations in the form of sponsorships and donations. Applicants must be located in the community or communities in which Barnes and Noble operate, and serve the greater good of the local community or region. Partnerships must offer in-store events, visibility, and reach a wide audience. Proposals must be submitted to the local store manager for review.

Tina B. Carver Fund

Members of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) can apply on behalf of non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status for funding from the Tina B. Carver Fund. Eligible programs provide English as a Second Language Programming for adults. Programs that serve the hardest-to-reach students with limited resources will be given top priority. Annual application deadlines are January 31st, May 31st, and September 30th.

Target Early Childhood Reading Grants

Schools, libraries, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants from Target. Eligible programs must be targeted toward preschool through third graders only. Examples of eligible projects include after-school reading events and weekend book clubs. Each grant is $2,000. Applications are due between March 1 and April 30 each year. 

 

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Grants for Senior Citizen Programs

  
  
  
  

People aged 65 or older numbered 39.6 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data are available), according to the Administration on Aging. They (thesenior citizens elderly, not the AoA) represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons. With such a large influx in older Americans, there will be a greater demand for services ranging from education to basic necessities to social needs. Below is a list of grants that fund these areas, handpicked just for you.                             

AARP Foundation Grants Program

501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, including municipalities, community based organizations, or educational entities, may apply for funding from the AARP Foundation Grants Program. Eligible projects must help people aged 50 or older and may range from basic education programs to social and behavioral programs. AARP Foundation opens its grant application window several times throughout the year through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Though there is no open program currently, it is expected one will be announced shortly. There is no maximum or minimum grant amount through this program. 

Transportation for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities

Each state is a direct recipient of funds from this Federal Transit Administration grant program. Funds are apportioned based on each state’s share of population for these groups of people. Non-profit groups hoping to help meet the transportation needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities in areas where the service provided is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate to meeting these needs should contact their state transportation office to inquire about these funds. There is a 20 percent local match required for this grant program.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.

The Older Adults program is the single largest grant making area from this Foundation. Even better: there are no deadlines, and the Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry (LOI) on a rolling basis and reviews them weekly. There are several different categories of grant making in this program. These include grants for residential care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living residences that are aiming to make their facilities more “home-like.” The Foundations also funds home repair and home modification services for older adults. Community-based facilities, like senior centers and adult day program sites, are also a funded area. Elder homelessness, elder abuse emergency services, caregiver support, promotion of professional long-term care workforce, and economic security programs for seniors are also eligible for consideration for funding. Non-profit organizations and municipalities are eligible to apply.

Verizon Foundation

Grants from the Verizon Foundation go to support organizations that help healthcare providers, patients, and care-givers to create innovative care models, enabling seniors with chronic disease to stay within their home as long as possible. Applications are accepted through October 10, 2014. Any organization that has received its 501(c)(3) from the IRS as well as governmental agencies are eligible to apply. The average grant size is between $5,000 and $10,000.

 

While not necessarily a grant, here’s an interesting program for senior citizens:

Silver Scholars

The Americorps Silver Scholars Program grant was established by Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act for adults over the age of 55. For every 350 service hours, the senior receives a $1,000 education award. The program is especially unique because the grant money can be transferred to the recipients’ child or grandchild.

 

Photo Credit: Pictures by Ann

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Upcoming Municipal Grant Opportunities

  
  
  
  

In helping municipalities set priorities among the constant barrage of requests from the community--infrastructure, better roads, water systems,safey, recreation and leisurem and many communitymore--it can help to know what kinds of funding are available. Toward that end, check out the grants below, some with September deadlines, as well as some information about an ongoing grant program that may be helpful for future planning.

We make you aware of new grant opportunities in a variety of ways, including Twitter and Facebook. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@TheGrantHelpers) to make sure you get updates.

FY 2015 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (BF AWP) Grant

The Environmental Protection Agency is already announcing funding for the next fiscal year’s brownfield grant program. The deadline to apply is Sept. 22, 2014. This funding is available to municipalities and non-profit organizations to conduct research, technical assistance, and/or training activities that will enable the entity to develop an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. BF AWP-funded activities must be directed to one or more brownfield site(s) located in a specific area. The maximum amount of grant funding that applicants may apply for under each proposal is $200,000. EPA anticipates selecting approximately 20 projects through this program.

State of Illinois Small Equipment Grant Program

Fire departments, fire protection districts, or township fire departments located in Illinois can now apply for funding from this grant program. Applications are due Sept. 30, 2014. These grants can be used to purchase small equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus, and other tools for firefighters. The grants may not exceed $26,000. In order for a fire department, fire protection district, or township fire department to be eligible for any grant or revolving loan offered through the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM), the department must be in compliance with the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for a minimum of 24 months prior to the open application period.

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) Program

It’s never too early to start grant planning. The National Endowment for the Humanities has already announced funding for its Fiscal Year 2016 HCRR grant program. Applications will be due July 21, 2015. Libraries, museums, and historical organizations are eligible to apply. Funding from this program aims to preserve the collections of these entities. Awards are also made to create various reference resources, as well as make these collections more widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.

Small Grants Program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers the Small Grants Program to assist with public-private partnerships that create projects for long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds. The deadline for this program is November 7, 2014. Grant requests may not exceed $75,000, and priority is given to applicants that have not received this grant before. From the inception of the program in 1996 through March 2014, 665 projects have been funded with more than $37.2 in grant money.

Informational Grant Tidbit

Need a transportation grant? Start planning now for a successful grant application for next year’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. Why so early? The demand is so high. Applications for the program this year totaled $9.5 billion, 15 times the $600 million set aside for the program. The Department received 797 eligible applications this year, compared to 585 in 2013.

 

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Water and Wastewater Grant Opportunities

  
  
  
  

A centurwatery ago, the average American used only about 10 gallons of water a day to drink, cook, clean, and bathe. Today, Americans use 100 gallons a day per person on average, causing stresses on our sources of drinking water. Along with that stress on the drinking water comes a burden on the wastewater systems. It’s not surprising that we often get requests from municipalities for help finding water and wastewater grants. Below is a list of hand-picked grants.

USDA Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loans and Grants

Towns with a population under 10,000 qualify for this grant program that assists in the development of water and waste disposal systems. To qualify, applicants must be unable to obtain the financing from other sources at rates and terms they can afford, and/or from their own resources. Projects must be primarily for the benefit of rural users. Applications are accepted at any time through the Rural Development State and Area Offices. To locate an office near you go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.

USDA Solid Waste Management Grants

This is a unique grant program from the United States Department of Agriculture. Instead of funds to improve infrastructure, this grant program provides communities with technical assistance and training to reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources and to improve planning and management of solid waste sites. Grants may be used to enhance operator skills in operations and maintenance, to identify threats to water resources, and to reduce the solid waste stream. Eligible municipalities must have a population of 10,000 or less. Applications are accepted between October 1 and December 31 each fiscal year. The City of Dickinson, North Dakota received a $20,600 grant to develop and implement a public training campaign to ensure proper use and acceptance for the program. USDA will also extend technical assistance to 23 area communities whose municipal solid waste is disposed in the Dickinson landfill.

Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) offers this grant program to assist municipalities with water and wastewater projects. The EDA accepts applications quarterly with October 17, 2014 being the deadline for funding cycle one of FY 2015. Applicants may submit applications at any time during the quarter, and EDA representatives will give formal feedback on any application submitted before the deadline. Decisions on funding will be made by the last business day of the month following the applicable funding cycle deadline.

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

This foundation opens its grant program to any Illinois publicly owned and operated wastewater facility. The goal of the program is to reduce energy consumption among facilities that treat wastewater by providing incentives for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy systems. Applications were due in January and July for the FY 2014 funding cycle. It is expected that applications will be due at the same time for FY 2015, meaning now is the perfect time to begin the application process for the first 2015 cycle. Funding is available up to $500,000 (with a minimum award of $50,000).

Other resources

If you are looking for additional resources to help with your municipal water and wastewater projects, take a look at these sites:

Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN)

This network provides environmental management, planning, funding, and regulatory information for local government elected and appointed officials, managers, and staff. Besides the website, LGEAN also operates a toll free telephone service (877-865-4326).

Water Environment Foundation

This non-profit organization, with a motto of the “water quality people,” is a technical and educational organization representing water quality professionals. This organization provides water quality professionals around the world with the latest in water quality education, training, and business opportunities.

Photo Credit: Donald Lee Pardue

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Grants for Veterans' Programs

  
  
  
  

Grants for VeteransTheGrantHelpers.com has recently had an increased interest in grants for veterans. This topic can be a very broad category, as there are many different types of programs and services for veterans and their families.

In this blog, we highlight a few of the various funding sources for veterans, along with a short summary of what each source funds. We also offer additional resources for veterans. If you are interested in learning more about additional funding sources or specific grant programs for veterans, please do not hesitate to contact us.

GRANT PROGRAMS:

Wounded Warrior Project

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) awards grants of up to $250,000 to organizations with a 501(c)(3) tax exemption status. For 2014, WWP is focusing on four categories of needs: engagement, body, mind, and economic empowerment. WWP considers grant requests for operating costs, organizational overhead, and other capital costs, as well as various other programs.

WWP does not provide grants to individuals. However, it does have the WWP Resource Center, where service members, veterans, and their family members can learn more about financial assistance that is available through Operation Homefront.

For additional information, including who and what projects are eligible for WWP grants, please visit the WWP website.

 

Disabled Veterans National Foundation

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation’s (DVNF) Organizational Grants program provides grants to “like-minded organizations who provide support to veterans and disabled veterans alike.” Organizational grants are used to fund programs or initiatives that require outside funding. Some examples from previously funded projects include PTSD therapy initiatives, veteran entrepreneurship programs, and homeless veteran programs.

There are two application cycles each year: February 1 – May 1, with notifications and awards made by June 1; and August 1 – November 1, with notifications and awards made by December.

DVNF also has a Health & Comfort Program, which supports aid to veterans who are disabled, low-income, or homeless by providing in-kind support in the form of food, water, clothing, health and hygiene items, etc. This program may provide grants to individuals for housing costs and other items or organizations who help veterans. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

 

United States Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor funds several programs for veterans. These programs include the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program, Veterans Workforce Investment Program, Stand Down, and Incarcerated Veterans’ Transition Program. Eligible applicants include “State and Local Workforce Investment Boards, Public agencies, non-profit organizations, including faith-based and community-based and neighborhood partnerships.” To learn more about each program, please see the specific program’s website.

 

Veterans Support Foundation

The Veterans Support Foundation (VSF) provides funding to support veteran-related projects. Priority is given to matching fund projects. Grant requests greater than $25,000 are discouraged, and the application deadline is March 31 of each year.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

United States Department of Veterans Affairs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization hosts the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP). This website makes it easier for veteran entrepreneurs to find “best-practices” and information on other business-related matters.

 

Military.com’s “How to Get Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans”

Finding grants for for-profit businesses can be a rarity, although this is a common topic that TheGrantHelpers.com encounters. Businesses that hire veterans could be eligible for tax credits, which may free up some of the monies for which the businesses wanted grants.

  

TheGrantHelpers.com is committed to helping you find the information you need. If we can assist you in finding additional grant opportunities for veterans or if you have suggestions of blog topics you would like to see featured on our website, please contact us today.

 

Image Credit: The National Guard

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Grants for Swimming Pools, Water Parks

  
  
  
  

As summer comes to a close, TheGrantHelpers.com continues to get a great number of requests for information swimming pool grants, aquatic center grants, water park grants, and other similar types of funding.

In this blog article, we provide you a few examples of grants that might assist your municipality or non-profit organization in finding grants for the construction, rehabilitation, or running of aquatic swimming and leisure facilities. If you have any questions, or if you would like to speak to a specialist about finding additional funding for your project, please do not hesitate to contact us. After all, next summer will come around sooner than you expect, and many of these grant opportunities require some advanced planning before submitting a proposal.

Grants

National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF)

NSPF awards grants of up to $35,000 to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. The Foundation encourages healthy living, prevention of pool and spa injury, illness, drowning, and more. NSPF does not consider “requests solely for building, equipment, educational, and/or other programs.” However, because they focus on preventing injury and the increased health benefits a pool and spa can offer, enhancements or upgrades that increase safety might be considered. 

The deadline to submit a grant request is June 1 of each year, and applications are reviewed by August 31 of each year. To learn more, download the NSPF Grant Guidelines.

 

Outdoor Recreational Grant Program

The National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreational Grant Program awards park districts and local government agencies grants to acquire, plan, and develop land for public recreational purposes. Swimming pools, bike and walking trails, tennis courts, soccer fields, restrooms, and water facilities are just some of the eligible projects for this grant. Deadlines and amount of funding given varies from year to year.

 

Community Facilities Grant Program

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Grant Program awards funding to repair facilities used for community purposes, public safety, and health care. Municipalities with fewer than 20,000 residents are eligible for this grant, but communities with fewer than 5,000 residents or with median incomes below 60% of the state’s median income receive highest priority.

 

Community Entitlement Grants Program

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development supports the Community Entitlement Grants Program, which awards grants to municipalities with over 50,000 residents and counties with more than 200,000 residents. The purpose of the program is to support community projects that improve the economic development and living conditions of residents. Projects may include land acquisitions, construction and rehabilitation of facilities, and more.

 

Angles to Consider

It seems obvious that when searching for grants for swimming pools or water parks, you would look for grants that promote such types of recreation. However, as we often encourage, try to think outside the box. Ask yourself, “What, besides recreational activity, will such a pool/center/facility be able to do for the community?”

You might realize that, depending upon your location and your design for your facility, you might be able bring additional dollars to your community through avenues such as tourism, business and economic development, community development, promotion of healthy living, and more. Do not forget to examine grants in these areas as well as more traditional areas like those mentioned above.

 

As always, if you need assistance brainstorming or finding funding sources for your projects, TheGrantHelpers.com offers free initial consultations. Contact one of our experts today.

 

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Resources and Grants for Hunger Relief, Food Insecurity

  
  
  
  

According to FeedingAmerica.org, over 50 million people in AmericaHunger Relief experience hunger. That equates to 1 in 6 of all the United States population and more than 1 in 5 children. At the start of summer, food programs across the nation are set up to feed children who would otherwise not receive the healthy meals they have access to while school is in session.

TheGrantHelpers.com has recently received a number of requests related to grants and resources for food banks, food hubs, and other food- or hunger-related causes. In this blog, we provide some statistics and information about hunger in the U.S., some foundations that give grants for hunger relief, and resources for learning more about hunger relief efforts. The information in this blog is a very small snapshot of the various facts, grants, and resources associated with food programs, hunger relief, and food insecurity. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance in finding more grants or resources.

 

The Facts

From 2002-2012, the U.S. national average of household food insecurity rates was 14.7%. However, ten states had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average, including the following:

  • Mississippi (20.9%)
  • Arkansas (19.7%)
  • Texas (18.4%)
  • Alabama (17.9%)
  • North Carolina (17.0%)
  • Georgia (16.9%)
  • Missouri (16.7%)
  • Nevada (16.6%)
  • Ohio (16.1%)
  • California (15.6%)

Food insecurity can lead to:

  • poor physical and mental health conditions, as the lack of healthy food results in people receiving fewer nutrients.
  • an increased risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular complications, and/or a higher risk of disease in general.
  • lower scores on physical and mental health exams.
  • (in pregnant women) complications during birth, babies with lower birth weights, and babies with delayed development or learning difficulties in the first two years of life.
  • lower than average academic performance among children who experience food insecurity (when compared to peers who do not experience food insecurities).

Grants and Funding

As a note, some of the foundations and programs below partner with FeedingAmerica.org. FeedingAmerica.org can assist food and hunger relief programs by connecting them with members of the FeedingAmerica.org network to help them receive food from member agencies.

Walmart Foundation

Walmart launched its “Fighting Hunger Together” campaign in 2010, and it has promised $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S.

Bank of America Hunger Relief Program

In 2013, Bank of America’s Hunger Relief Program donated over $12.9 million to more than 864 hunger relief organizations.

Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The McCormick Foundation funds programs such as food banks, childhood hunger relief efforts, and nutrition education.

Land O’Lakes Foundation

The Land O’Lakes Foundation has awarded about $14 million in grants since 1997, some of which have gone towards organizations dedicated to hunger relief, education, and community.

Safeway Foundation

Among the areas of the Safeway Foundation’s areas of interest are health and human services, hunger relief, and education.

Tyson Foods’ Hunger Program Grants

Tyson Foods’ Hunger Program Grants provides support to food banks, community programs, and more. Since 2000, the program has provided more than 95 million pounds of food, or 383 million meals, to help with hunger and disaster relief.

 

Resources

In addition to the statistics and information we listed above, the following websites are additional places that may be of assistance when trying to learn more about food insecurity, hunger relief, and similar topics.

 

Previous blog articles by TheGrantHelpers.com:

TheGrantHelpers.com has an expert staff with experience in helping organizations in their hunger relief efforts. Please do not hesitate to request a free consultation with one of our specialists. We can help you get on the fast track to find funding for your important cause.

 

Image credit: Walmart

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Grants (Management) --> Stewardship

  
  
  
  

If a proposal is well-written, most of the mechanics in managing a grant consist of doing what you said you’d do in the proposal.  These tend to be fairly obvious:  Performoneym the activities proposed.  Collect data as promised in your evaluation plan.  Provide mandatory reports on time.  Notify the funding office of any significant changes from the proposed plan.  Meet any additional requirements mandated by the funding agency.  

What may be less obvious is the importance of going beyond the basic requirements—using the grant effort to strengthen the positive relationship with the funding agency and position your organization for additional funding.  It’s important to demonstrate to the funders that they are getting more than their money’s worth, that they made the right decision in funding your proposal.  Your ability to demonstrate wise, effective use of their resources goes beyond the basics of management into the realm of stewardship.  This article provides several activities you can follow to provide excellent stewardship of grant funds.  Hopefully, these ideas will spur you to come up with even more.  

  • Keep in Touch.  The official requirements are the bare minimum in the way of interactions with the funding agency.  Go beyond them.  Find opportunities to communicate informally.  Quick emails announcing significant events in the life of the project are an obvious way to do this.  Occasional phone calls are usually welcome as well.  Any major milestone the project reaches is a good reason to contact the agency.  Let them know what their funding has made possible, and express your thanks—and the thanks of those being served—for their support.  Frame you information in terms of how you are helping the funding agency meet its goals.

  • Make the agency part of the project.  Find ways to include the funding agency in key plans and decisions, if they are amenable.  Some examples:  “We are thinking of sponsoring a walk-a-thon to attract additional project contributions, with your name on the posters to help provide credibility.  Is this aligned with your goals?”  “We are having trouble attracting Hispanics in the program, yet I see some of your other awardees have done quite well in this regard.  Would you provide contact information so that we can gain from their experience?” 

    Also in this category: invite agency representatives to your events, or simply to visit.  Most of the time they won’t be able to attend, but each invitation sends a strong message about your confidence, your interest in the agency, and your transparency.  And if they can attend, wonderful!  You have an opportunity for even greater engagement.

  • Find the right level of interaction.  Don’t bog down the agency with trivial details.  Keep your topics at a general strategic level, unless the agency expresses an interest in lower-level involvement.  While most funding agencies welcome to-the-point communications, a few prefer not to receive them.  You can check with the agency to make sure your information is welcome, both by asking explicitly and by paying attention to the type of response you get from the information you do provide.

  • Send publicity.  Most projects involve various kinds of publicity: fliers about the project, press releases, radio interviews, etc. Before producing media, check with the agency about their requirements. Some require advance approval, some have a style guide citing requirements for using their logo, and others will be happy with a copy after the release. Whenever you produce media in any format, share it with the funding agency.

  • Send examples of impact.  Huge enrollment in a funded activity?  Send the numbers to the funder.  Positive results from a survey?  Send them along.  Receive a heartfelt letter of gratitude from someone you’ve helped?  These are priceless; share them with the agency that made the program possible.  Pictures of activities and good works are indeed, as the saying goes, worth thousands of words.  Share them.

  • Make them look good.  Speaking of media, use publicity avenues to enhance the public image of the funding agency.  In fliers, prominently note the funding agency’s role.  In press releases and interviews, make their involvement conspicuous.  Feature the funder on your web site and Facebook page, with links to their agency.  Post “thank you” messages from those served on their Facebook page.

  • Ask for feedback.  When the opportunity occurs, explicitly ask the agency if it appears that you are on the right track, if they are pleased with the progress and impacts, if they would like to see any changes, etc.  Ask what else they are pursuing and would like to see happen.  Be on the constant lookout for agency goals you can address in future proposals.  Building relationships is as much listening, learning, and responding as it is broadcasting information.

We’d love to hear any other suggestions or ideas you might have.  Call, send us email, or respond to this article with a blog comment.

 

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School Emergency Preparedness, Security Grants & Resources

  
  
  
  

Emergency Preparedness for SchoolsAs hard as this is to believe, summer is already more than half over for most students, teachers, and school administrators. As the beginning of a new school year draws closer, TheGrantHelpers.com receives more and more inquiries about the high-priority topic of school security and emergency preparedness for schools.

Many schools continuously review, revise, and restock supplies and equipment related to keeping their students safe. In order to assist schools in these tremendously important efforts, we offer this blog, filled with information about grants and resources that may interest anyone trying to fund and/or improve schools’ security and emergency preparedness efforts.

Grants

This grant program can be used for planning, purchasing equipment, training, and other school security support efforts. HSGP supports five core mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. In FY 2014, HSGP allocated a total of more than $1 billion to be awarded, spread across three interconnected grant programs: State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), and Operation Stonegarden (OPSG). The deadline for applying for FY 2014 funds was May 23, 2014. However, it would be wise to start planning for applications during the FY 2015 funding cycle. In recent years, applications dates varied, beginning in mid-February to mid-May and being due between May and mid-June.

To learn more about FEMA’s HSGP, visit their website. Keep in mind the information here is from FY 2014, and that application submission deadline is now closed.

 

According to one portion of its website, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program gave almost $4 million to fund improvements at 940 schools in 2013. Safety improvements were among the projects awarded. The grant also supports technology improvements, outdoor learning areas, and more.

The fall grant cycle opens on August 1, 2014 and includes a simple grant application that can earn your school up to $5,000. For more information, visit the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education website.

 

The State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants program funds a variety of efforts in the areas of safety and education. Disaster preparedness and disaster recovery are among the programs they support.

Grant applications for 2015 will be available beginning September 2, 2014 through October 31, 2014. For more information, visit the Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants website.

 

Resources

The following are various school security and emergency preparedness resources that may interest schools as they plan emergency response efforts or make their case for emergency preparedness or school security funding.

This website provides many additional resources for emergency preparedness and security for schools.

This PDF document is a detailed guide for creating emergency preparedness plans.

This website includes a crisis planning guide and other information that can help school leaders plan for emergencies, including natural disasters, violent acts, and terrorist acts.

This website includes information on the steps you should take to be prepared in the face of disasters. There is also a “Kids” section that includes fun activities and games of kids, parents, and teachers.

This PDF contains a two-page checklist of security readiness items in four common readiness categories (Mitigation and Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery) drawn from various authoritative sources.

  • Previous Blogs from TheGrantHelpers.com:
  • COPS Grant Program Announced (Note: This grant deadline has passed, but this would be worth keeping in mind for future grant competitions.)

 

There are many, many grants and resources out there for school security and emergency preparedness. Keep in mind that in this blog, we have only featured a select few. If you are interested in learning more about grants for school security or grants for emergency preparedness that may fit your funding needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our specialists would be happy to assist you, and remember, our initial consultations are always free.

 

Image credit: Emergency Info BC

TheGrantHelpers.com reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.
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