Giant Step Award

The Gale Group and School Library Journal have created a program that will award $10,000 to a school library that has made the most dramatic improvement in service to its students. “We’re looking for libraries that may have been underperformers in the past but [have] recreated themselves,” said Renee Olson, editor of School Library Journal. “We’re looking for libraries that have become vital community assets, distinguished by exemplary services to young people.” Judges are seeking evidence of how students have benefited from the new roles that administrators, community members, and teachers play in the library. Additionally, judges will look at such objective criteria as increases in circulation, uses of computer equipment and software, and support in the community.

Deadline: May 31

Contact: Beth Dempsey, The Gale Group, at


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” of connecting to the internet, such as through an Internet2 regional switching center. 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 communications channel. Conversely, funds may also be used to acquire internet connections and services from an external service provider. NSF typically awards $15,000 during a two-year period to successful applicants, though consortia may apply for larger awards.

Deadline: July 31

(703) 306-1636


NEC Foundation Grants

The NEC Foundation of America makes cash grants to nonprofit organizations for programs with national reach and impact in one or both of the following areas: science and technology education (principally at the secondary level) and/or the application of technology to assist high school students with disabilities. These are not grants for the purchase of specific computer equipment for a specific individual, nor does the foundation broker the donation of NEC equipment. Winning projects have typically focused on disseminating products and information to target groups or expanding the scope of an existing program with national impact. The grants, which range from $1,500 to $70,000 each (with a median of $28,000), are awarded twice a year.

Deadline: Sept. 1

(516) 753-7021

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loans

This program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans or combination loans and grants to rural districts and other nonprofit entities for the implementation of distance learning or telemedicine projects in rural areas. Applications may be submitted any time up to Sept. 30 and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For 2000, $130 million for loans and $77 million for combination grants and loans are available.

Deadline: Sept. 30

Dow Chemical Co. Foundation Grants

Dow supports K-12 programs in the areas of math and science, teacher training, and parental involvement. Grants may include cash, products, in-kind services, and volunteered time. Dow will not give a grant to an individual school. Instead, the company targets its giving toward school districts; national, state, or local programs; and programs to encourage women and minorities in math and science.

Deadline: Sept. 30