Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Grant Ideas for Educators - Part 2: Finding Support for Your Project

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 @ 09:06 AM

In our blog article from two weeks ago, we discussed strategies for making your educational grant more fundable. This week’s blog discusses finding a variety of funding avenues to help successfully support your educational project.

Funding Avenues for Schools

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Since we’re a grant helping company, grant funding is an obvious source of financial support. We’re aware that depending on the project, proposal development can present challenges and take a chunk of resources to prepare a competitive proposal. Many funding agencies are experiencing the same cuts schools are, and finding specific grants that are well-suited to specific projects (and in specific geographical areas, etc.) can be difficult. The application process itself can be extensive, particular, and time consuming. We can help with all of steps of this process.  Even with our help, though, our interactive approach still requires an investment of time to plan and present a strong project for funding.

Websites for School Funding

Websites such as DonorsChooseGoFundMe, and others are very popular for educational projects. A simple visit to their websites will show many of the projects they assist in funding. Be sure to read the fine print. For some of these websites, you must give a percentage of the cost of the project back to the site for successful funding of your project. Additionally, most of the time, your project is only funded if it raises the full level of support needed. (You do not keep the portion you raised if you did not meet 100% of your goal.)

Horace Mann Educators Corporation

Horace Mann is a corporation started originally by teachers and for teachers. It focuses on providing teachers with affordable insurance, among other services. One of those services includes helping teachers find funding for the projects they want to execute in their classrooms. Consider contacting your local Horace Mann agent for information on how he or she can assist you in setting up a funding plan for your next project.

Community Support

Community support gets called upon frequently, but if you live in a generous and supportive community, or even if you don’t, consider reaching out to community businesses and services that pair well with your project. For example, maybe a local business would be willing to partially fund a new business development program at your school. You might even offer naming the program or project after the business(es) that support your project and installing a plaque or banner on something more concrete in their honor.


Despite our “Grant Helpers” name, we have helped many clients with multiple types of fundraising.  Contact us to brainstorm ideas at no charge.

Photo credit: Tracy Lawson

Topics: education, education resources, education funds, art grant art education grant, STEM Education, educational funding, education grants, education funding, educational grants, corporate grant for education, education grant, art education grant, early childhood education, art education, Education grants for Native Americans

Grant Ideas for Educators - Part I: Planning for Fundability

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

Finding Grants and Other Funds for Education

Summer is upon us, and for many educators school is out for the summer. While summer provides a nice break from the classroom and the routine of plan, teach, and grade, it can also serve as a fantastic opportunity for educators to put their energy into planning for projects or future needs and wants of their schools.2447140827_d0a7e12413_z.jpg

Planning for projects, wants, and needs is one thing. Finding funding in today’s world of budget cuts is a different story. Educators need to keep some core principals in mind and consider multiple methods and avenues of funding. Below are some approaches that we encourage you to keep in mind. Please feel free to contact us if you need additional assistance in developing funding strategies, finding sources, applying for funding, or executing awards.

Strategies for Grant Programs to Propose

1. Consider reach. Most funders want their money to reach as many students as possible, so think of ways your idea could help large numbers of students. For example, a technology cart for a specific classroom teacher will reach only that teacher’s students, whereas one that is utilized by an entire department will likely impact a greater number of students.

2. Consider sustainability. As with “reach,” greater sustainability usually means higher odds of funding. How long will your project sustain itself once funded? For example, that same technology cart might be used across several departments and might include technology that will be available for at least five years into the future. That’s a lot of student reach over time! As a counter-example, funding for a field trip is more short-lived, and while it has an impact on those involved, it is not a sustainable project and has less reach.

3. Consider educational “hot topics.” Movements like STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) get a lot of attention in the educational world right now. How might your project incorporate these areas? For example, if an English teacher wants funding for a writing lab, he or she might be more fundable by considering a writing across the curriculum initiative that invites the mathematics and science departments in writing assignments, research, etc.

4. Consider matching grants. Many funders feel more confident in awarding funding if they know that their efforts are being matched. Perhaps you are looking for $5,000 for a project, but you're aware the funding agency usually awards a maximum of $2,500. Finding additional funding, either through local donors, the school’s budget, or another grant, that will match that amount might give you the edge over someone who does not have matching support. Many funders allow for in-kind matches such as parent volunteer time, use of facilities, and transportation—resources already in use that can be assigned a dollar value.

Finding a potential funding source goes hand-in-hand with identifying fundable programs. In next week’s blog we’ll talk about some potential funding avenues.

Meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions about your search for funding.

Photo credit: Patrick Q

Topics: education, education resources, education funds, art grant art education grant, STEM Education, educational funding, education grants, education funding, educational grants, corporate grant for education, education grant, art education grant, early childhood education, art education, Education grants for Native Americans

Real-World Examples of How to Use a Grant

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, May 8, 2013 @ 14:05 PM
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We routinely list a selected sample of grants available to municipalities, schools, and non-profit organizations for a variety of uses. Sometimes it may be difficult to imagine how your entity could use the grants to meet your goals, or you may struggle to imagine all the ways a grant could impact your school or community. In this blog, we will revisit some of the grant opportunities we have shared with you in the past and give you real examples of how organizations  have used the specific grants. Maybe these examples will give you some ideas where external funding could make life better in your community.

Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation

Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation have awarded more than $175 million in grants to help to help improve communities. One recipient of the charitable efforts was the Orcas Island School District in Washington. The district received more than $50,000 in funds from the Foundation to upgrade kitchen appliances and purchase supplies for the district’s Farm to Cafeteria Program. In the program, the students harvest, prepare, and eat fresh food from nearby farms.

Bus and Bus Facilities Grants

The city of Driggs, ID, will construct a 1,500-square-foot passenger facility and a portion of 110-space Park and Ride lot thanks to assistance provided through the Bus and Bus Facilities Grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The city received an $830,000 grant in 2012. This grant is available to local governments and state transit systems to purchase new buses as well as upgrade or build new bus facilities.

United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facility Grants

In March 2011, Palestine, IL, lost its grocery store, leaving only the gas station as the destination to buy the basics of milk and eggs. The village already had a successful farmer’s market where local vendors sold produce and homemade goods. Additionally, the village had built a shell of a building in their downtown two years earlier. Village officials thought that if improvements could be made to that building, the farmer’s market could be held more frequently and for an extended period of time. The village received a $30,750 community facility grant to finish the interior of the building as well as to add accessible bathrooms, heating, and air conditioning. Now the farmer’s market is open in the early spring to late fall, giving the residents of the small village a reliable place to purchase needed produce, baked goods, and wares.

Walmart Giving Programs

The Walmart Foundation aims to meet four core areas: 1) hunger relief & healthy eating; 2) sustainability; 3) women's economic empowerment; and 4) career opportunity with its local, state, and national giving programs. In 2012, Action for Healthy Kids was one organization that received a piece of $9.5 million in grants to organizations with a shared mission of promoting healthy eating habits. Action for Healthy Kids was granted $1.5 million to help increase access to healthy food, and to improve nutrition education at 400 schools nationwide. The program expects to increase access to nutrition programs to 160,000 school-age children.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Educated Kids Grant Program

The YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity received a $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2013 through the Foundation’s focus on educated kids. The YMCA is using the grant to help improve the quality and quantity of affordable, accessible child care for low-income families in its coverage area. Grant applications are accepted throughout the year.

The Mary Kay Foundation Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program

The Mary Kay Foundation awarded Alice’s Place in Winslow, Ariz., a $20,000 grant in 2012. Alice’s Place planned to use the grant to help support its recently opened shelter, Laura’s House. The grant will help cover operational expenses and develop programs to aid people in the domestic violence recovery process. Shelter Grant Applications for 2013 are available from now until April 30, 2013.

Whether your vision is for a new community facility or money to enhance an ongoing educational program, we are here to assist you in locating and applying for the proper grant. See a complete list of all of our services or contact one of our grant experts to get started.

Photo credit: Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation

Topics: health and wellness grant, community development grant, domestic violence, domestic violence grant, support for domestic violence, community facility grants, corporate grant for education, bus facilities grants, child care grants, school food grant, domestic violence funding, bus grants, grant seeking

Grant-Giving Corporations are Making an Impact on Communities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 14:03 PM

cashAs pointed out in our previous two-part blog, “Trends and Projections for U.S. Federal Government Grant Funding,” the availability of federal grant money is waning. Organizations that have once relied heavily on federal grant funding for their programs will likely need to look for other funding opportunities. Those opportunities could be from the hundreds of grant-giving corporations across the country. Corporations such as Bank of America and Walmart do more than provide banking services and discount products. These corporations, and hundreds of others like them, work to make a difference in their communities by providing grants to non-profit organizations in a variety of subject areas. Below we will detail a few of the grant-making corporations as well as their funding areas and any specific grant opportunities. There are countless other corporations looking for exceptional programs to fund so why not let us help you find several good matches for you? Contact a grant helper today to get your grant search started.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

In June 2012, Bank of America Charitable Foundation awarded over $22 million in grants to more than 650 nonprofits. These funds were estimated to impact more than 31 million individuals. Nonprofit organizations in Bank of America communities have two opportunities for grants this year. Community development grants focus on nonprofit organizations helping with foreclosure counseling and mitigation, real-estate owned disposition, and affordable housing. Bank of America Charitable Foundation will issue a community development Request for Proposals (RFP) on April 15 and will accept applications through May 10. Additionally, nonprofits focused on helping with basic human needs, such as food, shelter, and benefits access can apply for a Bank of America critical needs grant. A critical needs RFP will begin on July 8 and applications will be accepted through August 2.

Walmart Giving Programs

The Walmart Foundation aims to meet four core areas: 1) hunger relief & healthy eating; 2) sustainability; 3) women's economic empowerment; and 4) career opportunity with its local, state, and national giving programs. Through the local giving program, nonprofits, government entities, schools, or faith-based organizations located in Walmart communities can apply for $250-$2,500 grants that will benefit the facility’s service area in one of the four core areas. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2013. Walmart also operates a state-giving program, which awards grants to nonprofit organizations that operate on a regional or state level or affiliates of larger organizations that operate on a state level. The application period for the state-giving program begins in June and ends in August. Also, nonprofit entities that operate on a national scale may apply for grants through Walmart’s national-giving program, which awards grants of $250,000 or more. Program ideas should be submitted using the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) format only. Unsolicited proposals or promotional materials are not accepted.

Cigna Foundation

Charitable organizations that aim to promote wellness, expand health opportunities, promote personal and professional growth, or find unique approaches to issues of local and global concern, could look toward the Cigna Foundation for grant funding. The Cigna Foundation judges grant proposals according to the following four qualities: responsive, creative, achievable, and beneficial. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

JPMorgan Chase Foundation

As a global financial institution, JPMorgan Chase aims to give back to its communities through its grant-giving Foundation. In 2011, JPMorgan Chase and its Foundation gave more than $200 million through grants and sponsorships. This Foundation supports nonprofit entities that promote community development, including programming that addresses workforce development, asset building, and financial literacy as well as those programs that encourage economic development and affordable housing. Also, the Foundation awards grants to K-12 education systems that increase economically disadvantaged children’s access to quality education. Finally, JPMorgan Chase supports organizations that encourage arts and culture in both schools and communities. To receive grant support for any such program, a potential grantee must first submit an online letter of inquiry.

If any of the above opportunities seem to fit your grant needs, let us help you by requesting a free quote to get started, or feel free to browse our list of services.

Image Credit: jollyUK

Topics: community development, community development grant, educational funding, corporate grant for education, critical needs, corporate grant, women's economic empowerment, federal spending, career opportunities, hunger relief

Seek Corporate Grant Support for Education

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Fri, Dec 14, 2012 @ 15:12 PM

Lately, we’ve spent several blogs focusing on funding opportunities for a variety of educational disciplines, since educational budget cuts are making daily headlines in the local and national press. In this blog, we are focusing on just a few of the major corporations who fund various educational grants. There are countless additional corporations, organizations, and other non-government agencies that offer grants, and it can be a daunting task to begin sifting through them. If you need grant help, or if you simply need someone to help you identify which grants best suit your needs, contact a grant helper to help you find good opportunities and turn them into dollars for your organization.

 

Lowe’s

It may focus on home improvement, but Lowe’s also offers several educational grant funding programs. Since 2006, its popular Toolbox for Education program has given over $20 million to over 4,000 K-12 public schools nationwide. Toolbox for Education grants have a value of up to $5,000.

Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 and focus on K-12 public education and community grant improvements.

In addition to these two corporate grant programs, Lowe’s also suggests that when searching for smaller donations or funding, schools start by contacting their local Lowe’s store, which may also offer smaller-scale donations.

 

Target

Target offers a wide variety of educational grant opportunities. Field trip grants, early childhood grants, and arts, culture, and design in schools grants are a few examples of what Target funds. Different grants are worth different amounts. For example, field trip grants are valued at $700, and other types of grants range in the thousands. Target gives millions of dollars annually, and it has varying deadlines for each of its different programs. As with any grant opportunity, plan ahead to give yourself the best chance for funding.

 

Education Grant MoneyThe American Honda Foundation (AHF)

The American Honda Foundation has awarded more than $27 million to since 1984. AHF grants fund a variety of interests, among them youth education and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education. Most grants range from $20,000 to $75,000, and there is a grant schedule that AHF follows. For more information about AHF’s history, funding priorities, and how to apply for a grant, visit the AHF website.

 

State Farm

State Farm’s Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants program has three primary areas of focus, one of them being education. Within education, the corporation offers three additional types of grants for K-12 public schools: teacher development, service-learning, and systemic improvement. Millions of dollars are awarded annually to educational institutions in the United States and Canada. Funding amounts vary depending on which grant is applied for. See the State Farm website for more information. 

 

These are just a few of the many corporations that fund educational institutions. For more funding opportunities or if you have any questions about grants, funding, or the grant process, contact one of our grant experts today. Start planning today for more funding in the future.

 

Image credit: Barrett Web Coordinator, K.W. Barrett

Topics: education, grant annoucement, reading grant, educational funding, corporate grant for education, education grant, corporate grant