Grants for Teachers
No matter who you are or what your political, social, or cultural standing is, there is one thing that everyone will most often agree upon and that is the fact that education is a major pillar of society. Still, with more being expected from the classroom environment, keeping the money flowing into those classrooms is not always easy. Budget cuts are the norm and as a result we have seen major reductions in financial support. For that reason, many have had to look to outside sources in order to support their educational efforts.
How to Find Grants for Your Classroom Needs
There are hundreds, if not thousands of different grant opportunities to choose from and at first glance, it may not be so easy to decipher which ones will work best for your goals. Depending on the size and expectations of your project, sifting through all the possibilities could be very much like finding a needle in a haystack. In order to get the funding you need for your project, you first need to narrow down your options to the ones that are most likely to understand and see the value of your vision. As Educational Consultant Calvin Hennick of Scholastic explains,
“One of the most important lessons to learn is, you have to do your research on the grant funder. What do they represent? What do they hold in highest regard? What have they funded in the past? If a foundation focuses on science and math projects, for example, don’t come to them with your arts and literature needs.”
This is probably the most common reason why grants are not approved so taking the time to understand the organization you’re applying to is essential. By doing this, you will have a greater chance of getting the funding you need.
Evaluate Your Needs
It is also important to evaluate the specific needs of your project before you apply. Take into consideration the scope and scale before you seek funding. If your project requires only minimal financial support you could probably find funding within your local community. Smaller grant applications are much easier to apply for and are more often approved. You could even approach local businesses in the community to find the needed support.
For larger grants, consider breaking up the process and seeking out several sources of funding rather than asking for one grant to cover the total expense. You might even think about approaching your project in phases rather than trying to do it all in a one lump sum.
Possible Grant Sources
Think of your grant sources like a partnership in education. When you’re searching for a good partner you want everything to work smoothly. Here are some popular grant options that you might want to consider for funding your next classroom project.
Free Grant Databases
Databases like discountschoolsupply.com can be a great place to start your search for classroom grants. They can help you find the grants that match your specific needs and even help you to find a grant writer if you need one.
Math and Science Grants
When it comes to core subjects, the US Department of Education will always have some type of grant funding available for classrooms that may qualify. The focus of these programs is to build on the current knowledge base and to encourage more students to view math and science as life long career choices. More details about these grants can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/mathsci/eligibility.html.
Toshiba also has grant programs for math and science. They offer up to $1,000 for K-5 classrooms and as much as $5,000 for grades 6-12. They do have special grant offers for amounts over $5,000 but these will require special application status and the deadline is August 1st of each year.
There are a number of grant resources to support the arts as well. These include many types of art projects including film and videomakers, musicians, performing artists, visual artists, and writers. After checking your local sources you can visit the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (http://www.nasaa-arts.org/Research/Grant-Making/index.php), which will provide you with links to agencies in all 50 states where grant funding can be found. There is a wealth of information on this site with all types of grant opportunities that you can apply for.
There are so many different variables in grant size, type, scope and scale that finding the perfect match could be a difficult challenge if you don’t have a practical approach to the project. There are of course numerous sites like http://www.edutopia.org/grants-and-resources that list a wide selection of possible grants you can choose from. In addition, they have an extensive list of contests, awards, and free toolkits you can apply for to support your efforts in the classroom.
While funding for the various educational projects in the classroom may not be found in the school budget, it is clear that businesses’, government offices, and even private individuals are ready to support the education of our students in many different ways. We just have to learn how to look for the additional support we need.