Grant Opportunites

Education is Crucial

Crucial Technology, a division of Micron, has announced that it will donate up to $100,000 worth of server memory upgrades to Idaho public schools through the Education is Crucial program. The program is intended to help Idaho schools increase the performance level in their existing computer systems. Idaho schools received $87,000 in memory upgrades last year through the Education is Crucial program, now in its second year. Applications are being handled by the Idaho Department of Education. Schools need only complete an online survey to apply, with memory upgrading to be administered on a needs-first basis.

(800) 239-0337

http://www.sde.state.id.us/bots/techgrants/ edcrucial.htm

First for Education Grants

Carolina First Corp. has established the Carolina First for Education Foundation with a $12.6 million endowment. The foundation will provide education and community-based grants to teachers and public schools in South Carolina for projects that will help bring the state to the educational forefront, including grants for technology initiatives such as purchasing computers. All grants will be awarded based on evaluation of a written application. For an application form, write to the Carolina First For Education Foundation, PO Box 1029, Greenville, SC 29602.

(864) 255-4780

http://www.carolinafirst.com

EchoStar Satellite Systems

In partnership with the National Education Association (NEA), Future View, and the Learning First Alliance, EchoStar will donate 1,000 satellite TV systems and free air time to schools. The high-tech school safety program comes in response to the Littleton, Colo., school shooting and aims to provide schools with pertinent school safety programming. NEA and the Learning First Alliance will develop the programming, with Future View providing production facilities and staff assistance. The competitive donation program will favor schools that have the most need and that demonstrate a commitment to using the satellite systems to the fullest extent. Application procedures and a deadline were to be announced at NEA’s annual conference July 2. Contact the NEA for more information following the announcement.

(202) 833-4000

http://www.nea.org

Learning to Win

Cloudscape, a leader in database management solutions, is offering its Cloudscape 100% Pure Java database to schools at no charge through the new Learning to Win program. Learning to Win is designed to encourage students to learn the Java programming language and experiment with building applications in Java. Cloudscape says it is the first company to offer free Java SQL databases for schools to use as educational resources.

(888) 595-2821

http://www.cloudscape.com

Schools Online Internet Access

Schools without classroom internet access are eligible to apply for Schools Online equipment grants. The Schools Online grant program offers schools simple, cost-effective internet access, together with local support and training. Participating schools are asked to designate a committed person to manage the equipment and participate in training. Schools are also asked to provide a telephone line with an internet service provider (ISP) account for dial-up access or a network connection to the world wide web. Schools Online has helped more than 5,000 classrooms get internet access in a little more than two years. Schools Online is supported by corporate, educational, and individual partners.

(408) 501-0770

http://www.schoolsonline.org

$3.1 million from the Gates Learning Foundation

To advance the use of technology in the classroom, $3.1 million worth of equipment and training to 214 Washington state teachers through the Teacher Leadership Project. Grant recipients will use their awards to purchase laptops for themselves as well as computers for student use. Recipients will also get 11 days of training on how to use technology to assist students in reaching the Washington Essential Academic Learning Requirements. Separately, Microsoft will donate $500,000 worth of software to recipients to use in their classrooms.

http://www.gatesfoundations.org

$1.8 million from the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation

To fund technical network training for school district technology personnel, $1.8 million to the Idaho Division of Vocational Education. School districts will be able to enroll at least one employee in week-long training for Microsoft NT or Novell NetWare Network Operating Systems. The goal of the program is to ensure that each district has an individual qualified to install, troubleshoot, and maintain their information technology networks. The training initiative is the first of four phases under the grant to meet the goals established by the Idaho Council for Technology in Learning.

http://www.jkaf.org

$1.25 million through Safeway’s Register Tapes for Education Program

To fund computer equipment and other purchases, $1.25 million to schools in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Donations are earned when students, parents, relatives, and friends collect Safeway register tapes and give them to participating schools, which then receive credit toward computers, audiovisual equipment, and other materials. In the seven years that Safeway has offered the program, area schools have earned $9.7 million in educational equipment.

http://www.safeway.com

$34,000 from the Peter J. Stulgis Memorial Fund

To honor innovative programs using technology in the classroom, $34,000 to seven schools and districts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Grant recipients demonstrated unique and creative ways to integrate technology into secondary education classroom or teaching environments. In its second year of grant-giving, the Stulgis Memorial Fund, part of the Unitil Charitable Foundation, was established to provide charitable contributions and awards promoting the development and implementation of advanced electronic and computer technology applications in secondary schools. The fund honors the late Peter

J. Stulgis, the former chairman and CEO of Unitil Corp.

http://www.unitil.com

$25,000 from Cooper Industries

To encourage vocational-technical education, $25,000 to Union County Public Schools in North Carolina through the ProjectPACE program. Cooper Industries created ProjectPACE 10 years ago to promote vocational and technical education and to stimulate partnerships between schools and local Cooper facilities. Union County Public Schools was selected for placing high achieving Tech Prep students in paid internships during their spring break and for their production of a video highlighting local manufacturing careers. Other grant recipients were Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin, $15,000, and the Arnold R. Burton Technology Center in Salem, Va., $10,000.

http://www.cooperindustries.com

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Student pleads guilty to hacking school district web site

A 17-year-old high school student has pleaded guilty to charges he altered a school district web site to protest a school tax referendum. Aaron Kennedy made changes to about six pages of the Rockford, Ill., School District web site, including one where he told users to vote against the referendum.

School officials and Rockford police were led to Kennedy by tracing through online channels, said Winnebago County Assistant State’s Attorney James Brun.

Kennedy was charged, arraigned, and sentenced in an April hearing before the Winnebago County Court. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor computer tampering and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and serve 120 hours of community service. Incidentally, the proposed three-year referendum failed by a 2-1 margin.

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Newslines–School yanks web site over privacy concerns

Officials at a South Florida elementary school temporarily took the school’s web site off-line after a parent objected to the posting of student projects on the site.

A teacher at Addison Mizner Elementary School in Boca Raton had the idea to post student autobiographies on the site. The students’ first names and pictures accompanied their work.

The parent, and subsequently the school, thought the postings could give the wrong people access to too much of the students’ personal information.

“We have many parents who think (the web site and the work) is the most wonderful thing ever,” Principal Connie Truman told the Palm Beach Post. “But like anything, we want to be careful. Some of the points (the parent) had were valid.”

Truman decided to take the site off-line immediately and remove the projects. The site was back up within a couple of weeks.

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Newslines–High schoolers test internet voting system

Students at Woodland High School in Woodland, Wash., conducted the nation’s first online high school student government election in April, according to VoteHere.net, which provided the software for the vote.

Voting began at Woodland High School at 8 a.m. in the school’s computer lab. When the polls closed at 2:45 p.m., 394 students had cast ballots, a 79.95 percent turnout. By 3 p.m., Principal John Shoup had announced the new student body president.

In past years, it was a scramble to complete the vote count by the end of the school day, school officials said.

VoteHere.net (formerly DigiVote.com) is a division of Soundcode Inc., an international supplier of voting services and security software. The company also tested its internet election software with the public in two Washington counties last month.

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South Dakota to build $7 million intranet for public schools

South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow announced April 15 that the state will spend nearly $7 million to electronically link all public K-12 and postsecondary schools in the state.

The intranet will let schools connect to the internet, offer eMail accounts, provide web page hosting, and give them the ability to transmit data and provide real-time video for videoconferencing. The state’s plan is eventually to connect all K-12 schools, technical institutes, state universities, libraries, and state and local governments together in the voluntary network.

Janklow wants the infrastructure and support staff in place by the end of the year. eMail accounts and web page hosting should be available by the start of the 1999-2000 school year, with videoconferencing capability in place by September 2000.

About 5,000 administrators, 9,000 teachers, and 135,000 students will have access to eMail accounts, and as many people as want to can set up their own web pages.

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Funding Toolbox: Don’t risk your credibility by misusing grant funds

In the past few months, several incidents have occurred that illustrate the need to understand your legal obligations when you accept a grant award.

I spoke to a grant writing colleague of mine from a school district in the Midwest who was told to misappropriate federal grant funds about a year ago. He resigned from his position when it became clear the district superintendent was determined to spend the grant dollars for other district expenses.

A recent audit by a federal employee showed that a superintendent from a school district in the Northeast had diverted more than $300,000 in federal grant funds designated for a magnet school to cover other district expenses that were totally unrelated to the project. District officials are unsure what the outcome of this situation will be.

An April 21 article in Education Week titled “NSF Pulls New Orleans Funding” revealed that more than $4 million in funds for the National Science Foundation’s Urban Systemic Initiative program will not be given to the New Orleans Parish School District in the final year of the grant. The school district was placed on probation for six months before receiving notice that the funding would end prematurely.

Another article in Education Week reported that the NSF is terminating a five-year, $15 million grant to the San Diego Unified School District, primarily because of the district’s “self-admitted inability to address both science and math at the elementary level” due to an increase in the time devoted to reading, according to NSF spokesperson Lee Herring.

These are all serious situations that point to a need to understand exactly what happens when you agree to accept a grant award, what your obligations are as a grantee, and what options funders have when grantees don’t meet their obligations.

It is crucial to read the entire Request for Proposal before submitting a grant. In most cases, you will find copies of the paperwork that will have to be signed and the programmatic and fiscal reporting requirements required by the funding source that you, as a grantee, will be expected to follow when you accept a grant award.

When you accept an award (often you will be asked to do this in writing), you are entering into a contract with the funding source. You are telling the funding source that you will follow the rules they have set forward as a condition of receiving the grant dollars.

You are also telling the funding source that you expect to carry out the project in the manner that you described in your proposal, with the expected goals and objectives you outlined in your proposal, using the staff you described in your proposal, during the timeframe you outlined in your proposal, and by spending the amount of money you put in your proposal budget!

Frankly, I am amazed when people ask me if you really have to do all the things you say you will in a grant proposal.

Of course, there is room for negotiation when a funder decides to give you less than the amount you requested. In some cases, you might find that not all activities can take place as described if they aren’t going to be funded, so they might have to be scaled back or eliminated.

It’s also crucial to be realistic when designing project activities based on factors such as scheduling availability, training requirements, and curriculum requirements.

Funding sources can–and do–monitor their grant programs. The recent decisions by the National Science Foundation show the agency is very serious about how the federal funds in the Urban Systemic Initiative program are spent and whether grantees are actually meeting the goals they outlined in their proposals. The NSF is just one example of the many funders who have withdrawn funding from grantees over the years.

Funding sources use a combination of on-site monitoring visits and reviews of programmatic and fiscal reports to decide how successfully grantees are carrying out their projects. If a funding source determines that a grantee is failing to comply with the terms of a grant agreement, that source can withhold future grant funds and even terminate the grant. In some cases, the funding source can also require that all paid grant funds be reimbursed.

Obviously, these actions have serious short- and long-term ramifications for a grantee. Having to return grant funds not only damages the credibility of the grantee in the eyes of the funding source; it can also damage a grantee’s credibility with future funding sources and potential collaborative partners.

Trust and credibility are vital components of any successful relationship between a grantee and a funding source. Be sure not to jeopardize either of yours. Read the contracts very carefully and make sure you understand your legal obligations before accepting any grant awards.

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Grantmaker Profile: Classroom Teaching and Learning Grants

Classroom Teaching and Learning Grants

The Coca-Cola Foundation

Contact: Program Director

Grants Administration

P.O. Drawer 1734

Atlanta, GA 30301

http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com

Though not an obvious source for technology funding–and though it does not emphasize technology in its grantmaking materials–the Coca-Cola Foundation does have a track record of supporting technology-related projects in public schools.

According to the foundation’s 1997 report (the most recent available), a handful of grants were made to public or private schools and districts to fund such things as distance learning programs, computer lab equipment, and technology education.

The grants to these schools ranged from $10,000 to $25,000, including an award of $10,000 to the Pottsville Area School District in Pottsville, Penn., to support a technology-education program for middle school students.

The foundation supports new solutions as well as existing programs addressing the problems that are now impeding schools. The foundation seeks educational programs that foster global understanding, enrich lives through art, encourage students to stay in school, train and support those who lack sufficient opportunity, and link higher education to younger students.

Grants are awarded in three categories: Classroom Teaching and Learning (K-12), Higher Education, and Global Education. Classroom Teaching and Learning grants support innovative public school programs and those that take students outside the “four walls” of the classroom to help them lean more about the world they live in.

The foundation also funds teacher development programs and in 1997 awarded more than $78,000 in various teacher grants.

“When teachers are overwhelmed, they can lose the connection to the student,” says Ingrid Saunders Jones, chairperson of the Coca-Cola Foundation and former classroom teacher. “When I was a teacher, I was startled to see how easily that could happen. What helps teachers stay connected? It’s when they have an opportunity for training.”

The foundation additionally supports “smaller” projects that deal with specific activities in the elementary and secondary classroom.

Its grants to higher education institutions also should be noted, since some foster direct relationships between public schools and local colleges and universities.

For example, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., was awarded $50,000 in 1997 to fund teaching workshops for public school educators and administrators to learn about technology that advances student learning and achievement.

The Coca-Cola Foundation was established in 1984 to support communities through charitable contributions. In 1989, the foundation decided to take on education as its singular focus, and a year later it committed to provide $50 million in support of education over the next decade. That commitment was doubled to $100 million through the year 2000.

In 1997, the most recent year for which figures are available, the foundation made contributions totaling more than $12.5 million.

To apply, grantwriters must complete a two-page application form, a printable version of which is available online. Applicants must additionally develop a program description of no more than five pages, using the following format:

1. Organization mission statement

2. General program description

Describe the proposed program: Why does your organization want to do this program? Why should The Coca-Cola Foundation fund it? This is your opportunity to present your program and to convince the foundation of its importance and desirability.

3. Program detail

What are the goals and purposes of the program? How does the program relate to the goals of The Coca-Cola Foundation? What are the objectives for the program? Are they measurable? What are the specific activities that must be carried out to meet the objectives? Are they on schedule? Who are the members of the staff that will carry out the program? What are their backgrounds and qualifications? What is the relationship of this program to your institution’s overall mission?

4. Program budget and narrative

Prepare a summary budget as outlined on the application form. Attach a narrative description and include an explanation of each line item in the budget (direct and indirect costs) and how the cost was determined.

5. Additional information

Copy of the latest IRS documentation letter(s) of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) and foundation classification under Section 509(a).

One original copy of the proposal description and application form should be sent by regular mail to the Coca-Cola Foundation. Proposals are accepted by the foundation quarterly, with the next application deadline set for Sept. 1.

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Grants: Opportunities, Deadlines and Awards

July

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) offers grants to encourage and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related technologies. RUS has made available $12.5 million in grants, plus $150 million in loans for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program this year. Rural schools may apply for grants to help them invest in the telecommunications facilities and equipment needed for educational resources that might not otherwise be available in rural areas. The program focuses on “structured interactive educational training … over distances.” Community bulletin boards or internet home pages are considered adjuncts to projects, but would not be considered as a primary purpose under the program.

Deadline: July 9

http://www.usda.gov/rus/dlt/dlml.htm

Connections to the Internet

This National Science Foundation (NSF) program helps fund internet connections at K-12 schools, public libraries, and museums. This is a highly competitive, cost-sharing grant that will reward “only highly innovative approaches.” Project costs may include the acquisition and maintenance of hardware and software to establish institutional access to the internet, as well as the installation and recurring charges for a communication channel. Conversely, funds may also be used to acquire internet connections and services from an external service provider. NSF typically awards $15,000 over a two-year period to successful applicants. Consortia may apply for larger awards.

Deadline: July 31

(703) 306-1636

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1998/nsf98102/ nsf98102.htm

August

Instructional Materials Development

This NSF program supports the development of instructional materials and assessment tools to improve science, math, and technology education in grades K-12. Projects might range from the substantial revision of existing materials to the creation of entirely new ones, and from addressing a single topic to the integration of several. Projects should “promote the development of model programs that demonstrate the educational effectiveness of technology in urban and rural areas and economically distressed communities.” State and local educational agencies are among those eligible to apply–but you had to have submitted a preliminary proposal by May 1.

Deadline: Aug. 15

(703) 306-1614

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1998/nsf984/ program.htm#11

September

Classroom Teaching and Learning Grants

This program of the Coca-Cola Foundation supports innovative K-12 initiatives, teacher development programs, and “smaller” projects that deal with specific activities in the elementary and secondary classroom. While the foundation does not emphasize technology, a review of its latest annual report reveals that grants were indeed made to support technology-related projects in public and private schools. For more details on the Coca-Cola Foundation, see the Grantmaker Profile on page 4.

Deadline: Sept. 1

http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com

Dow Chemical K-12 Education Grants

This program supports school districts and school boards in communities in which Dow has a presence (see web site for nationwide locations). The Dow Chemical grant program focuses on three key areas: math and science, teacher training, and parental involvement. The company supports school districts and school boards, not individual schools. The program also gives preference to local, state, and national projects that benefit Dow Communities and those that increase the participation and achievement of minorities and females in math and science education. Applications should be submitted on official stationary and should include complete contact information, a brief description of the program and its purpose, a detailed description of the request and the amount requested, and the number of students expected to benefit. Applications should also include nonprofit federal tax status information.

Deadline: Sept. 30

http://thechalkboard.com/corporations/dow/ Grants/grants.html

November

ICONnect Collaboration through Technology

The American Library Association/American Association of School Librarians (ALA/AASL) is taking applications for its 2000 ICPrize for Collaboration through Technology competition. The program will award five $1,000 ICPrizes to collaborative teams of library media specialists and classroom teachers who have demonstrated a meaningful and effective use of internet resources in a completed curriculum unit. Applications must be submitted by an ALA/AASL member and must successfully demonstrate a collaboration between the library media specialist and classroom teacher(s). Applications and specific evaluation criteria are available online.

Deadline: Nov. 1

(800) 545-2433

http://www.ala.org/ICONN/icprize.html

REGIONAL GRANTS

Community Development Grants

Concept papers are being accepted for this Sun Microsystems program, which provides grants for projects in the southern San Francisco Bay area, Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts, and Front Range, Colo. The goal of this grant program is to increase education and employment opportunities for people who live and work in or near Sun’s major employment centers. In education, the program supports projects that seek to help reverse unsatisfactory school performance. Proposals should incorporate the target population’s needs and interests, engage students in activities that enable them to make experimental connections between learning and real life, foster motivation and improve academic skills, and improve college readiness. The deadline noted is for concept papers, with invitations for full proposals set for Dec. 15 and full applications due Jan. 15. Concept papers, which should be no more than three pages in length, should include the applicant’s mission or goals, a brief description of the target population and project, an explanation of how the project will be evaluated, the roles and responsibilities of participants, and qualifications of key staff. Proof of non-profit status should also be included.

Deadline: Nov. 15

(650) 336-0487

http://www.sun.com/corporateoverview/ corpaffairs/grants.html

Education is Crucial

Crucial Technology, a division of Micron, has announced that it will donate up to $100,000 worth of server memory upgrades to Idaho public schools through the Education is Crucial program. The program is intended to help Idaho schools increase the performance level in their existing computer systems. Idaho schools received $87,000 in memory upgrades last year through the Education is Crucial program, now in its second year. Applications are being handled by the Idaho Department of Education. Schools need only complete an online survey to apply, with memory upgrading to be administered on a needs-first basis.

(800) 239-0337

http://www.sde.state.id.us/bots/techgrants/ edcrucial.htm

First Energy Grants

First Energy Corp., of Akron, Ohio, will provide grants of up to $300 to successful applicants from Ohio schools served by the company’s electric utility operators, which include Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Co., Toledo Edison, and Penn Power. Grants may be used for math, science, or technology projects, with preference given to projects that deal with electricity or have a focus on teacher training. Teachers, administrators, and youth group leaders are eligible to apply. Applications are available online.

Deadline: Oct. 1

(800) 633-4766

http://www.firstenergycorp.com

First for Education Grants

Carolina First Corp. has established the Carolina First for Education Foundation with a $12.6 million endowment. The foundation will provide education and community-based grants to teachers and public schools in South Carolina for projects that will help bring the state to the educational forefront, including grants for technology initiatives such as purchasing computers. All grants will be awarded based on evaluation of a written application. For an application form, write to the Carolina First For Education Foundation, P.O. Box 1029, Greenville, SC 29602.

(864) 255-4780

http://www.carolinafirst.com

EQUIPMENT GRANTS

PREP Teacher Training Grants

This competitive grant program of the SMARTer Kids Foundation will provide an 80 percent price break on Smart products used in technology training centers for teachers. Open to all teacher-preparation facilities–including those run by individual schools, districts, and regional service areas–the grants would provide an 80 percent discount on such products as the SMART Board 560, Smart Board 580, and the Floor Stand 570. In addition, all grant recipients will receive a copy of SynchronEyes, SMART’s new classroom instruction and computer-control software that creates interactive, focused learning environments. Online applications are available at the web site below.

Deadline: July 9

http://www.smarterkids.org/prepapp.htm

ESRI Livable Communities Grant Series

The goal of this grant program is to foster and support the integration of geographic information system (GIS) software in public and private school districts. Grant recipients will receive one copy of ESRI’s ArcView Suite for School Districts bundle and license, five building site license copies of the ArcView StreetMap extension and the ArcAtlas global database, one copy of ESRI’s U.S. Streets Database, one single-seat copy of the SchoolSite school mapping/redistricting extension, links to ArcData Online Program, and several related print resources. ESRI will give priority to grant applications demonstrating curriculum and administrative GIS implementation plans, cross-curricular implementation plans, or collaborative efforts with other community organizations or government agencies. Priority also will be given to projects that promote public access to GIS databases. To receive the equipment grant, districts must agree to establish two administrative GIS workstations for boundary planning and facility sitting. Districts must also have five school building sites at which curricular implementation is being fostered in social studies and the sciences. ESRI will award 25 software and materials packages to school districts, valued at $15,000 each.

Deadline: Oct. 1

(909) 307-3110

http://www.esri.com/industries/localgov/ k12_grant.html

EchoStar Satellite Systems

In partnership with the National Education Association (NEA), Future View, and the Learning First Alliance, EchoStar will donate 1,000 satellite TV systems and free air time to schools. The high-tech school safety program comes in response to the Littleton, Colo., school shooting and aims to provide schools with pertinent school safety programming. NEA and the Learning First Alliance will develop the programming, with Future View providing production facilities and staff assistance. The competitive donation program will favor schools that have the most need and that demonstrate a commitment to using the satellite systems to the fullest extent. Application procedures and a deadline were to be announced at NEA’s annual conference July 2. Contact the NEA for more information following the announcement and check for further details in next month’s School Technology Funding Bulletin.

(202) 833-4000

http://www.nea.org

Learning to Win

Cloudscape, a leader in database management solutions, is offering its Cloudscape 100% Pure Java database to schools at no charge through the new Learning to Win program. Learning to Win is designed to encourage students to learn the Java programming language and experiment with building applications in Java. Cloudscape says it is the first company to offer free Java SQL databases for schools to use as educational resources.

(888) 595-2821

http://www.cloudscape.com

Schools Online Internet Access

Schools without classroom internet access are eligible to apply for Schools Online equipment grants. The Schools Online grant program offers schools simple, cost-effective internet access, together with local support and training in its use. Participating schools are asked to designate a committed person to manage the equipment and participate in training. Schools are also asked to provide either a telephone line along with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) account for dial-up access, or a network connection to the world wide web. Schools Online has helped more than 5,000 classrooms get internet access in just over two years. Schools Online is supported by corporate, educational, and individual partners.

(408) 501-0770

http://www.schoolsonline.org

$3.1 million from the Gates Learning Foundation

To advance the use of technology in the classroom, $3.1 million worth of equipment and training to 214 Washington state teachers through the Teacher Leadership Project. Grant recipients will use their awards to purchase laptops for themselves as well as computers for student use. Recipients will also get 11 days of training on how to use technology to assist students in reaching the Washington Essential Academic Learning Requirements. Separately, Microsoft will donate $500,000 worth of software to recipients to use in their classrooms.

http://www.gatesfoundations.org

$1.8 million from the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation

To fund technical network training for school district technology personnel, $1.8 million to the Idaho Division of Vocational Education. School districts will be able to enroll at least one employee in week-long training for Microsoft NT or Novell NetWare Network Operating Systems. The goal of the program is to ensure that each district has an individual qualified to install, troubleshoot, and maintain their information technology networks. The training initiative is the first of four phases under the grant to meet the goals established by the Idaho Council for Technology in Learning.

http://www.jkaf.org

$1.25 million through Safeway’s Register Tapes for Education Program

To fund computer equipment and other purchases, $1.25 million to schools in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Donations are earned when students, parents, relatives, and friends collect Safeway register tapes and give them to participating schools, which then receive credit towards computers, audio-visual equipment, and other materials. In the seven years that Safeway has offered the program, area schools have earned $9.7 million in educational equipment.

http://www.safeway.com

$535,000 from the Bell Atlantic Foundation

To fund school-to-career initiatives that creatively use technology, $535,000 to various schools and organizations in Massachusetts through the EdLink program. Bell Atlantic established the EdLink program two years ago to support emerging technology needs in education. This year, the program specifically supported school-to-career initiatives that use innovative technology. The grants targeted grades 7-12 in both public and private school districts, which will collaborate on projects with higher educational institutions, community organizations, or partnerships.

http://www.bellatlanticfoundation.com

$34,000 from the Peter J. Stulgis Memorial Fund

To honor innovative programs using technology in the classroom, $34,000 to seven schools and districts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Grant recipients demonstrated unique and creative ways to integrate technology into secondary education classroom or teaching environments. In its second year of grant-giving, the Stulgis Memorial Fund, part of the Unitil Charitable Foundation, was established to provide charitable contributions and awards promoting the development and implementation of advanced electronic and computer technology applications in secondary schools. The fund honors the late Peter J. Stulgis, the former chairman and CEO of Unitil Corporation.

http://www.unitil.com

$25,000 from Coopers Industries

To encourage vocational-technical education, $25,000 to Union County Public Schools in North Carolina through the ProjectPACE program. Cooper Industries created ProjectPACE 10 years ago to promote vocational and technical education and to stimulate partnerships between schools and local Cooper facilities. Union County Public Schools was selected for placing high achieving Tech Prep students in paid internships during their spring break and for their production of a video highlighting local manufacturing careers. Other grant recipients were Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin, $15,000, and the Arnold R. Burton Technology Center in Salem, Va., $10,000.

http://www.cooperindustries.com

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Two simple sources for earning technology funds

Two new internet portals are making it easy for schools to earn money for technology and other purchases.

A+America’s Technology4Kids.com and the independently run Schoolpop.com have created similar fundraising programs.

Both work roughly the same way: log onto one of their web sites, register the school you wish to support, and follow links to some of the internet’s most popular eCommerce merchants. Buy what you’d like, and your school of choice automatically gets credit for the purchase, between 5 percent and 12.5 percent through Technology4Kids and anywhere from 4 percent to 20 percent through Schoolpop.

The Technology4Kids web site is set up like a internet “mall,” with links to more than a dozen of popular internet retailers, including Amazon.com, eToys, J. Crew, OfficeMax, Cdnow, and others.

By starting at the Technology4Kids homepage and selecting a school (the site has a database of every K-12 public and private school in the U.S.), consumers automatically ensure that a portion of their purchase will go to their school of choice.

A+America says the arrangement works for schools in much the same way as search engines are compensated for directing traffic to eCommerce sites.

Many internet merchants pay royalties or commissions to search engines for sending consumers their way. A+America negotiated similar deals with online merchants and retailers for its Technology4Kids site, but instead of the commission going to a search engine operator, the money goes to help selected schools buy computers equipment and software.

“Every day, more and more Americans are getting onto the web and discovering the convenience of online shopping,” said Bob Norton, president of the A+America Free Technology For School Program, a multifaceted initiative. “We’re excited by this chance to help schools by tapping into this growing phenomenon.”

The Technology4Kids system is designed for ease of use, adding only one extra click for access to merchants after the original registration. The site will automatically remember which school should receive the shopper’s credits.

For example, someone spending $50 at eToys would automatically earn $6.25 in technology funding for their school of choice.

Technology4Kids.com is the latest in a series of technology initiatives supported by the A+America Free Technology for Schools Program.

In its six years of existence, several companies–including Sprint Long Distance, Duracell, and the Sharper Image–have committed to donating a percentage of their sales to school technology efforts.

More than 22,000 schools are currently enrolled in the program, earning millions of dollars for technology in the process.

The new Technology4Kids.com initiative could prove to earn schools much more in the long run.

The independently-operated Schoolpop site aims to do the same, though it does not restrict the money earned by schools to technology purchases.

At Schoolpop.com, consumers again select the school they want to support, and use the site’s homepage to access links to eCommerce sites, even more than are available through Technology4Kids. Again, shoppers must begin at the Schoolpop homepage before making any purchases to confirm the consumer’s association with the school.

Schools have to do very little to participate and enjoy the rebates being earned for them.

Each merchant involved in the program keeps track of the purchases made and sends detailed reports to Schoolpop.

Schools that have earned rebates will receive quarterly reports on activity that benefited them, along with a corresponding check for the amount they earned.

Making sure your school is on Schoolpop’s list and encouraging your school supporters to use the site is all it takes to earn money for technology. Schoolpop even provides promotional materials to schools to help them spread the word about the program.

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Five secrets to writing successful grants

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve got a terrific project that you think is a can’t-miss prospect for funding. Yet time and again, you receive letters from prospective funders turning down your requests for money.

What gives? Maybe it’s not your project–it’s your writing style. How you write a grant proposal is as important as what you write, according to the experts. The reason? Grant making is a simple numbers game: too many proposals, not enough time to read through each one carefully.

To make your proposal stand out from the crowd, your writing has to pack a punch. Dr. Michael Gershowitz, a successful grantwriting consultant who personally has raised more than $80 million for school technology programs during the past 20 years, shares these words of wisdom for using words to win money for your schools:

1. Tell a good story

To interest a reader in your project, you’ve got to write compellingly. If you have a background in journalism, now’s the time to draw upon that experience. Think of your proposal as a story–you want to spark the reader’s curiosity as you bring your project to his or her attention.

Talk about people. Case studies are interesting; statistics are not. To engage the reader immediately, consider starting your proposal with a description of the people–the students, teachers, parents, or administrators–who will benefit from the grant. Feel free to use names, though not necessarily the people’s real names. This will bring your project to life and create an identity for the reader to grasp as he or she reads through the rest of your proposal.

Compare the following two opening paragraphs of a proposal. Which one grabs the reader’s attention and makes him want to read on?

“This project is designed to serve the needs of economically disadvantaged children in the inner-city neighborhoods of Chicago. Access to technology in the home is scarce in these neighborhoods, so we propose to build a technology center where students can come after school to get the technology training they need to succeed in the 21st century.”

OR

“This project is designed to serve the needs of students like 12-year-old Jose, a bright and inquisitive sixth-grader who lives with his mother and four sisters in a subsidized one-bedroom apartment in Chicago. While some of Jose’s classmates use home computers to create PowerPoint presentations for their homework, Jose is lucky if he has enough light to read by at night, never mind a computer. To ensure that students like Jose have an equal chance to succeedin the 21st century, we propose to build a technology center where students can come after school to get the technology training they need.”

2. Make statistics interesting

To demonstrate a need for your project, you’ll have to cite statistics eventually. When you do, don’t overwhelm the reader; instead, use only the most startling or dramatic ones.

A few well-chosen facts and figures can punctuate the conditions you’ve described. But throwing too many figures at the reader will most likely weaken your case, since no one wants to sift through countless numbers. Compare the readability of the following two sections of a proposal:

“The counties to be served by this project, and their respective populations, are as follows: Banner, 894; Sioux, 905; Sheridan, 2,850; Box Butte, 3,197; Morrill, 3,265; Dawes, 6,243; and Scotts Bluff, 24,439. From these figures, it can be seen that the total population of the area to be served is 41,793. The counties involved with the project encompass 32,251 square miles. Therefore, the population density of the region to be served is 1.29 persons per square mile.”

OR

“Think about this: Alaska’s population density (Anchorage excepted) is about two people per square mile. That’s sparse. Now think about this: The population density of the Nebraska panhandle is just one person per square mile–half the density of Alaska! We don’t usually think of the Midwest as being that remote or sparsely populated. But the statistics say otherwise.”

3. Write concisely

Most people who write grant proposals write so densely that the reader has to work to understand the proposal. The minute a reader has to struggle to understand what you’re saying, you’ve lost his full attention–and most likely the grant as well.

Keep your sentences short. Keep your words short. And keep your paragraphs short.

Simplify what you’re saying as much as possible. Avoid falling into the false, official-sounding language we have a tendency to use when we’re trying to impress someone, or when we want to sound like an authority. Have someone proofread your proposal to weed out sentences and paragraphs like the following:

“At the start of the second phase of the project, it will be necessary to bring all members of the instructional staff together at a central point for a meeting, to be addressed by the key district administrators including the Superintendent, Director of Technology, and Director of Media Services. At this session, the instructional staff will be informed regarding the requisite measures to be initiated in order to achieve maximum effectiveness of the project outcomes.”

Why can’t that paragraph be rewritten to read as follows?

“We think it would be a good idea to bring teachers and administrators together about two months after the project’s start date. This face-to-face session will allow open give-and-take about the project’s perceived impact. It will also let teachers and administrators decide on steps to ensure that the project meets its intended goals.”

4. Slow the reader down

When you’ve got 25 proposals to read in a weekend, your natural tendency after reading the first few–particularly if the intended projects are all similar in nature–is to start skimming through the remainder.

As a grant writer, you want to slow the reader down to make sure he or she considers your proposal carefully. To do this, you can use verbal cues to make the reader stop and think about what you’ve written. Cues can be simple phrases, like:

“Did you know…”

“Think about this:”

“Keep this in mind:”

Another way to slow the reader down is to use bullets to highlight important points. Generally, you’re limited in terms of the space that you have to make your case for a grant; but writing in a lean style will give you the space to use bullets sparingly to accent your key points.

5. Use an active, conversational voice

Many people think grant writing should be done in a formal, third-person, passive voice. But this will most likely put the reader to sleep and won’t establish a connection. If you really want to connect with the reader, you can do it much better by writing in the first person and using a conversational tone.

The National Science Foundation and certain other federal agencies discourage this–but for nine out of 10 proposals, it’s okay to write like this.

An active voice brings action–and your proposal–to life. Consider the following alternatives:

“The teachers will be trained by the Professional Development Coordinator, utilizing materials supplied by the publisher of the software. The effectiveness of the training will be measured by pre-post surveys of the trainees. The data collected in these surveys will be analyzed by the external evaluator and the project director will be provided with the results.”

OR

“The software publisher has created and will provide training materials. The Professional Development Coordinator will use them to train the teachers. Pre-post surveys will measure the impact of the training. The external evaluator will analyze the data and report the results to the project director.”

Similarly, a conversational tone will make your proposal easier to read and will help establish a connection to your reader.

Instead of writing, “Current users of these materials have stated their satisfaction with the results,” why not write, “We spoke with three districts that have been using these materials for at least a year, and all three spoke highly of their experience.”

With the constraints put on grant readers, they don’t have time to sift through a densely written proposal to discover your terrific project. How you write a proposal is just as important as what you write. Your goal should be to make the proposal as reader-friendly and engaging as possible.

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