**NEW THIS MONTH**
America Online Rural Telecommunications Grants
America Online (AOL) funds these awards, which “recognize and reward outstanding achievement in rural community development through telecommunications.” In partnership with the National Center for Small Communities, the AOL Foundation makes awards in six categories: Infrastructure Technology; Public Access, Skills, and Training; Community/Economic Development, Job Creation; Health Information and Services; Enhanced Disability Access; and Youth Development/Leadership. The foundation provides $10,000 to winners in each of the six categories and $2,000 to two semifinalists in each category. Applicants must demonstrate how they have used telecommunications to invigorate rural communitiesnot just show a plan that might work in the future. Rural communities are defined as those with a population of fewer than 10,000. Although the foundation states explicitly that an academic-only orientation is not likely to win an award, its 1999 awards indicate that projects that link students in rural areas with their peers are very strong candidates. For example, the Edcouch-Elsa High School in south Texas created the Llano Grande Center, which enables former outstanding high school students who have gone to Ivy League colleges to stay in touch by eMail and a web site with current high school students and inspire them to similar achievements.
Deadline: July 14
Contact: Jennifer Balsam at (202) 624-3550 or email@example.com
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. 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
Contact: (703) 306-1636
American Honda Foundation Grants
Four times per year, the American Honda Foundation funds youth-oriented programs that provide support for job training and/or education in math, science, and the environment. The program’s stated mission is to encourage “innovative curriculum development for K-12 youth.” Schools, school districts, and other education-related institutions are eligible to apply. For guidelines, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the American Honda Foundation, PO Box 2205, Torrance, CA 90509. If the foundation receives a preliminary proposal a month before the next deadline, its staff can provide comments in time for you to make changes to your proposal and still meet that deadline.
Deadlines: Aug. 1, Nov. 1, Feb. 1, and May 1
Contact: Kathy Carey, (310) 781-4090
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 these 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 typically have 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 per year.
Deadlines: Sept. 1 and March 1
Contact: (516) 753-7021
Distance Learning and
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
The National Foundation for the Improvement of Education’s Leadership Grants underwrites professional development opportunities for public school teachers and education support personnel to prepare them for collegial leadership. Sponsored by the National Education Association, these grants enable teachers to lead the educational process from the classroom, rather than having school administrators direct curricula. Up to 50 grants of $1,000 each are awarded each year in two rounds of competitions. Grant candidates should demonstrate a specific need for the knowledge or training that will be supported. Eligibility is limited to employees of public school systems. Although technology training is not the focus of the grant program, a list of recent winners’ proposals included online education courses, attendance at SchoolTech 2000, and the creation of an online “teacher community” to address how to meet new state education standards.
Deadlines: Oct. 15 and March 1
Target Teacher Scholarships
This year, Target Stores Inc. will award $1 million to teachers and administrators for continuing education and staff development. Technology training has been the focus of many scholarship winners in recent years. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000. More information will be made available at Target’s web site.
Deadline: Nov. 1
Contact: (800) 316-6142