Seussical Kids

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January 5, 2017
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I am from a very small school district. Currently we all wear many hats, I am both the 1st grade teacher and the elementary music teacher. We are a Title 1 school, at 90% free/reduced lunch, there is no way I could get any fundraising money from parents or the community. Are there any grants for schools like mine?
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January 28, 2017

Hi Emily!

First, start small.  Check to see if your district offers small grants for teachers.  Often times there are parent groups that have done fundraising specifically so they can fund special activities or projects.  Look beyond the PTA!  For instance, our district created an Education Foundation that fundraises and then offers teachers a chance to write a grant proposal.

Next, look at local businesses that support the schools.  Target, for example offers grants for educators.  Our local energy company offered grants for teachers’ creative ideas with the condition that the company then posts the grant proposals, including a unit or lesson plan, so other teachers can search the database and even contact the person who created the unit or lesson.

Another source of grant funding comes through various educational organizations.  For instance, I know that Colorado Association of Middle Level Educators (CAMLE) awarded a school with a small grant to support a WWII unit they were doing in conjunction with the Pioneer Drama Service musical.

(Finally, there are large grants that are frequently found through online searches, in educational publications (e.g.  Teacher Magazine) or publicized by large corporations.  While the amounts can be impressive, the larger the grant, the more heated the competition.  That being said, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth applying for one of these grants.  After all, somebody has to win them, and you can’t win if you don’t try!

Since your time is a precious commodity, you don’t want to waste it filling out grant applications for grants that you cannot qualify for.  You should take the time to carefully read the requirements when deciding to apply for a specific grant and not cut corners.  You can write the most wonderful grant application only to find that you are not within the given geographical area required by the grant or that your subject area isn’t included in their funding plan. Give it a go!