Technology & Learning, February 1999, p. 54

Here are five innovative ways school districts are successfully funding their technology initiatives:

  1. Form a non-profit foundation. The Fair Haven School District in New Jersey created a foundation that awards teachers “mini-grants” valued up to $1,000. But forming a foundation isn’t always quick and easy—even with support from volunteers and members of the community, the foundation still took more than six months to launch. And you have to be careful to avoid fundraising conflicts with the PTA and other groups at your school.

  2. Think of creative ways to raise dollars. Officials in Clark Country, Nev., have looked beyond mere corporate donations to fund their technology initiatives. Their tactics included partnering with a semi-pro hockey team, hosting fundraising dinners, conducting membership drives, and even selling greeting cards

  3. Aggressively pursue corporate sponsors. An intermediate school in Brooklyn, N.Y., transformed its aging and obsolete computer lab into a cutting-edge center by partnering with Sun Microsystems to create a demonstration lab in their school. The school has also forged partnerships for teacher training and support.

  4. Join a consortium. The combined purchasing and fundraising power of a consortium allowed the rural Keystone Central district in Pennsylvania to acquire nearly 2,000 computers and provide Internet access at deeply discounted rates to its community.

  5. Apply for grants. This has been the winning recipe at the Governor Mifflin school district in Pennsylvania, which also created its own foundation arm. Grant writing is still a great way to obtain funding. As soon as teachers get an idea for equipment and projects, you should start applying for grants. The more aggressive you are, the more likely you will get funding. And be sure to share winning ideas and proposals so you can learn from what works.