Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seeking Grant Funding

During my years as a principal, I was fairly successful at getting funding for my school through grant sources. I am by no means a "heavy hitter" in this arena. Large school systems often employee people whose job it is to research and write grants. In smaller systems, we had to do the best we could, and that meant doing it ourselves. For those who are in the same boat that I was, this post may serve to be a time-saver in finding some grant sources.

Personal experience seemed to indicate that getting funded boiled down to just a few basic principles:
  1. Have some good ideas in mind. What is it that you want for your school or classroom? In particular, what is it that would improve teaching/learning yet money is the obstacle? In other words, you have the idea and it would make a difference for kids. Ideally, it would be something that cloud serve as a model for other schools and other classrooms. The only thing standing in your way is lack of money. If only someone could help with the money...
  2. Find grants sources that fund the sort of thing you want to do.
  3. Follow the rules. Reading through stacks of grants is time consuming. The quickest way to narrow the pool is to throw out the ones that fail on this technical aspect. If the guidelines call for a 12-point Garamond font and margins of 1.25 inches on all sides of the page, then that is what you use. Honor the limit on number of words and number of pages. By all means, address the questions directly.
  4. If you can, contact someone at the organization with questions. You will be surprised at the information you receive that you did not ask for and would not have known to ask. In addition, you are now more than just a name on a proposal.
  5. Be interesting. Bore a grant reader and you can forget being funded. If you can touch the emotions of the reader, your chances skyrocket. Your passion for the project must show in the writing. Your expertise must shine, and experts can generally move emotion when they talk about those things they know best.

The remainder of this post helps with point#2, finding the sources. Below are some links to grant sources that fund educational projects:


For those who have good ideas, good writing skills, and a great deal of patience, the money is there. Good luck!
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