As part of our ongoing efforts to provide additional educational opportunities for students in the Talladega City School System, the Education Foundation is striving to reach out to teachers in an effort to facilitate communication and provide a better understanding of our mission and how the grant process is handled.
To that end, a number of foundation is providing some helpful guidelines for educators to follow when making grant applications to the foundation.
These are to be considered loose guidelines – not hard and fast rules. Teachers should keep these in mind when making applications, but should not consider them to be absolutely limiting in what they ask for in their grants.
Before discussing these points, teachers need to be aware of some loose policies the grants committee generally follows during the selection process.
1. The grants process is treated as a blind review – the committee members do not know the school name or the names of the teachers making the applications.
2. Though the names of the schools are kept secret, the grants are grouped by schools, and some consideration is given to make sure that all schools that apply receive some of the grant money.
3. While it does happen on occasion, generally, the committee does not award more than one grant per teacher.
4. Because the grant committee members do not have a way to identify the teachers or the schools during the awarding process, there is no favoritism. Each grant is considered on its merits to furthering educational opportunities alone and nothing else.
Grant writing guidelines.
1. No basic classroom supplies. Generally speaking, grants should not be for classroom supplies like paper, pens, pencils, etc. The Foundation’s primary mission is to extend the educational opportunities beyond what is normally part of public schools.
2. More bang for your buck. Funding is very limited for the education foundation grants – generally being generated from the interest in our accounts. Total grant funding can be around $10,000, so big-ticket items, like Promethean Boards, interactive white boards, and other very expensive items tend to not be awarded grants. While we would like to do more here, at this time, the money is just not there for such expensive items.
3. Helping more students. The more students your grants help, the better. One of the top grants awarded last year was for a few hundred dollars that bought a piece of equipment that could easily be used for every science classroom in the school.
4. Durability. Funding for one-time events, like bringing in a famous poet, artist or acting troupe or buying supplies for a single project or sending students on a field trip receives a lower priority than funding for something that can be used over and over again. The more use a classroom or school can get out of a grant, the more likely that grant is to be awarded.
5. Line items. If possible, submit grants with line-item pricing. Very often, the grant committee will not be able to fund an entire grant, but can award part of it – usually the core components. A teacher might ask for an Elmo, cart, computer adapter, power bar, etc. and just get the Elmo.
6. Think outside the box. The committee rewards creativity. One of the central values of the education foundation is providing educational opportunities outside the normal curriculum. The grant committee tends to reward creativity – teachers who are finding unique and unusual ways to engage their students and broaden their educational and cultural horizons.
7. Students first. The foundation is focused on the education of children – so grants for software or equipment for clerical or administrative tasks are generally not considered.
8. Ask. The foundation is here to serve our schools and our students. If a teacher or a principal has any question or wants some advice on the grant process, please contact one of our officers or members. An easy way to do this is to email current president Graham Hadley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Have all your ducks in a row. Make sure your grant is clearly written, outlining exactly how the money is going to be spent, a timeline for implementation, the name and company of any products or services involved, and any other information the committee may need to help the members make their decisions. You cannot be too detailed in your grant writing.
10. Feedback. This is actually the only hard and fast rule – we will be giving all teachers who receive grants a form to fill out after the grant is awarded. Before the next grant cycle – you have a year – we want to hear how you used the funding. This is not so much taking a critical eye to the teachers, but the Foundation needs to know what works and what does not. This will be invaluable information for the grants committee down the road in determining the most efficient ways to allocate funding.