July: 4 education grants you don’t want to miss

School grants offer much-needed financial help for schools

grants-julySchool funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News compiles a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on STEM learning to funding for financial education programs. You don’t want to miss out on these July school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: July’s funding opportunities)…Read More

June: 4 education grants you don’t want to miss

School grants offer much-needed financial help for schools

june-grantSchool funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News compiles a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on cultural traditions to prizes for deserving educators. You don’t want to miss out on these June school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: June’s funding opportunities)…Read More

May: 4 education grants you don’t want to miss

School grants offer much-needed financial help for schools

may-grantsSchool funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News compiles a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on cultural traditions to prizes for deserving educators. You don’t want to miss out on these May school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: May’s funding opportunities)…Read More

April: 5 education grants you don’t want to miss

School grants offer some much-needed financial help for schools

april-grantSchool funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News editors compile a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on professional development for arts educators to funding that helps improve school leadership. You don’t want to miss out on these April school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: April’s funding opportunities)…Read More

March: 5 education grants you don’t want to miss

march-grantSchool funding difficulties show no sign of abating this March, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News editors compile a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on integrating finance into math projects to corporate funding for school arts programs. You don’t want to miss out on these March school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: March’s funding opportunities)…Read More

Department of Ed announces new school competition

In yet another move to try and spur education reform, the U.S. Department of Education announced last week $300 million in potential competitive grants that would allow schools to redesign teaching, learning, and traditional seat time.

During his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced “a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.”

Last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced exactly how ED will reward schools for their reforms.…Read More

What ‘sequestration’ could mean for school grant seeking in 2013

You might already know that the Budget Control Act of 2011 created a Joint Commission of Congress that is charged with identifying budgetary savings of at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. If a joint committee bill is not enacted by Jan. 15, 2013, an automatic spending reduction process will go in to place. Sequestration, or the cancellation of budgetary resources, will take effect on Jan. 2, 2013. Based on what I have read, I believe sequestration will have a dramatic impact on the grants field.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) already has stated that it expects fewer medical research grants, with approximately 700 fewer grant opportunities to be available in 2013. The National Science Foundation has stated up to 1,500 grant opportunities could be cut as a result of sequestration.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan presented testimony to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Committee in July. He stated that sequestration would reduce spending on federal education programs by 7.8 percent. He said the following programs would be at risk:…Read More

Dispelling five common grant-seeking myths

Myth: Grant deadlines are negotiable. In plain and simple terms, no, they are not!

As I’ve talked with a variety of people recently who are looking for funding for their education projects, I’ve come to realize there are a few grant-seeking “myths” that need to be dispelled. Here are the most common ones that I have heard.

  1. Grants are the answer to every financial crisis. I understand that many people are now looking at grants as a solution to their budget difficulties, such as losing staff, ending programs, and simply buying day-to-day items. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of grants are intended to fund new projects, not supply new sources of dollars to cover existing expenses. There are a few funders who have made a decision within the last two years or so to change their focus and help organizations with their basic needs; however, for the most part, this is the exception rather than the rule. What’s more, receiving a grant award isn’t a quick process that occurs within a week or two. In the case of federal grants, six to nine months can pass before you receive notice of funding. Finally, grantors tend to fund grantees who have a strong record of being able to manage grants and who can show relative financial stability. Applicants who are facing a budgetary crisis are likely to find that grantors will see them as too risky an investment.
  2. Grants are easy to get. In today’s world, the competition for grants has become even more severe. Why? Because a larger number of schools and other organizations are applying for grants than ever before. (For example, a recent new grant competition in the healthcare field received 10,000 letters of intent and more than 3,000 applications.) Although some proposals are poorly written and are not very competitive in the eyes of reviewers, many of the proposals are high-quality and worthy of consideration for funding.  I would never say that getting grants is “easy,” and I’ve been pursuing them for a long time! If you have a good relationship with a funder, combined with a positive track record of carrying out projects successfully, you might find continuation funding is easier to achieve.
  3. Grant proposals take just a few hours to complete. Grant applications come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from online applications that contain three questions to 80-page proposal packages and everything in between. What I would say is that some applications do take a few hours to complete, while for other programs it might take weeks or months to put the entire proposal package together. It’s important to plan ahead and calculate how much time it will require to apply for a particular grant program, taking the following factors into consideration: How complex is the narrative? How much data do you need to support the need for the project? How many attachments are needed?
  4. Grant deadlines are negotiable. In plain and simple terms, no, they are not! If you cannot meet a funder’s deadline, your recourse is to wait until the next deadline. Contacting a funder to explain why you cannot meet the deadline is fruitless. Stop and think about it in these terms: If everyone asked for a deadline extension and it was granted, there would be no need for any funder to have set deadlines. Funders could simply state in their guidelines that potential applicants should contact them to negotiate a deadline that would be most convenient to the applicant. Yes, there are some funders who have “rolling deadlines,” meaning you can submit an application at any time—but if you see published deadlines for submission, take them seriously.
  5. There is a grant to fund everything. This one is somewhat related to myth No. 1. Although there are a plethora of grant programs and grantors, there really are not potential funders for every project—and the related expenses that accompany it. Remember, if you need equipment, nine times out of 10 it must be related to the successful execution of some type of project, rather than simply a “wish list” of what you want to buy.

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Five reasons you should attend grant workshops and training calls

Send at least one person who is responsible for developing the grant-funded project.

When I started writing education grants nearly 20 years ago, many funders would hold Request for Proposals (RFP) workshops. During these workshops, they would review the RFP for a grant program and answer questions from potential applicants. (I remember a few workshops where program officers read the RFP word-for-word. As you can imagine, these were pretty hard to sit through.)

For federal grants, these workshops usually were held in three or four locations in the United States; one on the East Coast, one on the West Coast, one in the Midwest, and maybe one in the South. Rarely were questions taken from the audience during these workshops; in many cases, questions had to be submitted in advance. So, if you thought of a question while you were there—or an answer to a submitted question sparked another question in your mind—too bad!

Today, it is more common for funders to hold Technical Assistance calls that include PowerPoint presentations and chat boxes that allow attendees to type in their questions during the call. And, even better, many of these sessions are archived for a specific amount of time (usually right up until the proposal deadline) so you can listen to them several times to hear comments and answers to questions. Some funders turn the questions and answers into FAQ pages that are then posted to a website.…Read More

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Six lessons learned as a grant reviewer

When I review a proposal and I can see that the applicant has done a literature review of studies, says Ward.

I recently received an eMail message from an individual who attended a workshop I led on grant writing in February. During my workshops, I often encourage attendees to serve as reviewers if they plan to write grants on a regular basis. This person eMailed me to say that she had been accepted to be a reviewer for her local United Way and that she was excited at the prospect.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to serve as a reviewer for several grant competitions at the local, state, and federal level. Each time I complete my assignment as a reviewer, I find that I have learned more information that makes me a better grant writer. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned from serving as a reviewer:

(1) Reviewing grants helps you express projects in more clear, concise language. …Read More

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