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


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

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

Grant Opportunities for Literacy Programs

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 @ 07:09 AM

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. 


Photo Credit: Evan Bench

Topics: education, reading grant, education funds, literacy grants, literacy, grant announcement, educational funding, education grants, education funding, educational grants, education grant, grant opportunity, early childhood education

Head Start: Grant Funding Available

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

What is Head Start?

Head Start began almost 50 years ago as an eight-week program designed to provide preschool children from low-income families the opportunity to be in a program that nurtured their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs. By October of 1998, Head Start was expanded to provide full-day and full-year services. In 2009, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided more than 64,000 opportunities for Early Head Start and Head Start programs, and today, Head Start serves children and families in urban and rural areas in every state in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories.

Head Start promotes educational readiness for children from low-income families from birth to age five. Children receive health, nutrition, social services, and education and cognitive development services. Families undergo a needs assessment to help determine other services that might be needed.


Is Head Start effective? What is the impact of Head Start?

There have been several studies and reports throughout the last twoHead Start decades on the effectiveness of Head Start programs and how they impact children over time. Data from these studies can be interpreted in various ways, and lately, there has been quite a stir of controversy over whether or not the government-run preschool program is actually worth the billions of dollars funding it. Again, it’s all about how you interpret the data.

Some test score data indicates that by third grade, children who participated in Head Start programs do not perform any better than children who did participate. However, others argue that there are more immediate educational benefits for children who are enrolled in Head Start programs. While these people recognize what the data has shown, they point out that sometimes, positive effects can appear, disappear, and reappear at later ages. These people also argue that Head Start is not only about promoting educational readiness, but it is also a program that strives to promote health, emotional, psychological, and other types well-being. Because of all the different needs Head Start tries to meet, supporters of the program argue it is well worth the funding.

You can view the Head Start Impact Study and Follow-Up, 2000-2012 reports, as required of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, here. If you are interested in reading more about Head Start and its impact and effectiveness, Tim Bartik’s blog article on, “What do we know about Head Start’s effectiveness?” and Valerie Strauss’ article, “Does Head Start work for kids? The bottom line,” in The Washington Post, might be of interest. If you want more information, a simple Google search brings up many different resources.


What grants are currently available? 

Head Start periodically makes grants available by region or county. Applications and deadlines tend to be staggered throughout the year. Recently, Head Start and Early Head Start announced it is accepting applications from public or private non-profit organizations, including community-based and faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies within a community that wish to compete for funds to provide Early Head Start or Head Start services to infants, toddlers, and their families. Only programs serving the following states and counties or areas are currently eligible to apply. The application deadline for these opportunities is 8/19/13.


  • Arkansas: Miller County, Little River County, Hempstead County, Nevada County, Lafayette County, Sevier County, Howard County
  • Connecticut: Norwalk County, Weston County, Westport County, Wilton County, New Canaan in Fairfield County
  • Louisiana: Natchitoches Parish, Desoto Parish, Iberville Parish
  • North Carolina: New Hanover County
  • Oklahoma: Adair County Cherokee County, Craig County, Delaware County, Ottawa County
  • Pennsylvania: Bradford County, Tioga County
  • Virginia: Caroline County, Virginia Beach, Amelia County, Appomattox County, Buckingham County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Goochland County, Lundenburg County, Nottoway County, Prince Edward County


  • Florida: Brevard County
  • Louisiana: Ouachita Parish
  • New York: Bronx County
  • Ohio: Ashtabula County
  • Oklahoma: Adair County Cherokee County, Craig County, Delaware County, Ottawa County
  • Pennsylvania: Bradford County, Tioga County


  • Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri


If you are an organization that is interested in Head Start or Early Head Start funding, you can go to and sign up for free notification of government grants as they come available. You will get an email from nearly every day with a summary of newly announced grants. If you do not wish to sign up for the email notification, you can visit regularly and quickly conduct a basic search. Enter 93.600 for the CFDA number to search Head Start and Early Head Start grants. You can also visit the Office of Head Start website to view funding opportunities.

As always, if you have any questions or if you need assistance in any part of the grant process, please do not hesitate to contact us, and Carol Timms, our Educational Grant Specialist, will get in touch with you. Our initial consultations are always free. You may also consider visiting our Grants for Education page for other educational grant opportunities.


Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDAgov

Topics: education, educational funding, preschool program, early childhood grant, education grant, preschool program grant, Head Start, Early Head Start, preschool grant, early childhood education grant, Office of Head Start, early childhood education