So, Who Offers Grants?
There are three main sources of grant funding: the federal government, corporate companies, and foundations. All three sources typically require candidates to file an application package in order to be considered eligible for awards. These application packages consist of questionnaires, the submission of school or district information, and written compositions.
Many federal government awards are designed to financially support a particular purpose. Out of these, one of the most predominant topics that grant programs revolve around is STEM education. One such grant is the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program. This program exists to improve results for children with disabilities through financially promoting their access to educational technology.
In contrast, corporate companies and foundations tend to allow applicants a little more leeway. They will specify the focus of what they would like their award to go towards, such as education technology. Due to this, their application packages often request written responses that describe what the applicant intends to use the money to fund. Keep in mind that quite a few companies and foundations contact recipients for a follow-up, so if you receive a grant you better be sure to use the funds properly!
Trick: Think of as many companies off the top of your head as you can and compile a list! If you can’t think of many then consider including the companies that your friends and family members work for. There is a large chance that some of them, even companies that are not well-known, offer a grant program. The broader your search, then the more likely you are to find a grant opportunity that many others have not heard of (or applied to), giving you the upper-hand!
Tips on Applying for Grants
Find out your school’s IRS tax status for the application. Each school is classified as either a for-profit or non-profit organization based on the 501(c)(3) tax exemption requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. This section characterizes organizations as non-profit (tax exempt) if they do not endorse private interests, shareholders, or individuals and are restricted in political activities. Most grant providers will ask for this information along with your school’s federal tax identification number, so have that ready too!
Know whether your school is considered a public charity. This is defined in section 501(c)(1)-501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Public charities have three defining characteristics. First, they include organizations that are involved in inherently public activity, such as schools, colleges, and hospitals. Next, they hold fundraisers and accept donations from a wide range of sources. Furthermore, they are either funded by activities that promote their tax free status or perform alongside other public charities.
Make sure you have your audit books or documents available! Grant providers may request a copy of your school’s audited financial statements. Honda, for example, requires two years of audited financial statements along with a statement from an independent CPA in order for someone to apply for their grant. I know, I know, this sounds tedious, but think about all the people who decide not to apply because they can’t be bothered to fulfill this requirement! All you have to do is put in the effort—so think about why you need the grant money and use that as your motivation!
Be prepared to write a proposal. Applications for grants usually require written compositions based on certain questions or prompts. Keep in mind that grant providers want to hear about why your school needs the grant money and how you plan to allocate it. Not only should you answer their questions, but be proactive in your response! Charm the grant provider by suggesting a way to measure the effects that the grant has on the classroom and offer to send them the results if you receive the grant!
Grant providers want to know that the money is being put to good use! Think about this while writing your submission. Try to include information about objectives and activities that can be completed using the funding. Then, explain how these would enhance the student’s learning. Finally, mention how the grant will accomplish both short and long term goals!
Where to Find Grants…
Considering the amount of information that can be found online these days, where might one assume the best place to look for grants is? The internet of course! Online websites, educational technology magazines, and blogs can help you find the grants you are looking for. There are websites that act as grant databases, having compiled a number of grants into their system. Educators who visit these sites are able to search for funding by using keywords or phrases, such as 'education technology grants', to help narrow down the results. The benefits of using these sites is that they provide you with an array of grant opportunities in one place, which may include those provided by companies that you would never have considered to look toward for funding. A potential downside is that some of the grants that are listed might be outdated, but you can always contact the providers to find out about current or future awards and plan ahead!
Quite a few online educational technology magazines and blogs contain posts devoted to providing grant information. Some of them even post updated lists of grants that are in the process of accepting applications. They do not usually contain application information, though, so it is up to you to take the lead and apply. These are great sources to help discover ongoing grant opportunities, however, if you are not planning to actively pursue grants each month then I would suggest not to sign-up for those that require paid subscriptions.
E-Magazines and Blogs:
This post is not going anywhere, and neither am I! Feel free to revisit it at any time during your quest to find and apply for educational grants. Below I have provided some grants funded by the federal government, corporate companies, and foundations. I have also included a quick link to request a free copy of our catalog. If you are planning out your mobile technology purchases, this catalog is great way to familiarizer yourself with the range of charging and storage solutions available. Start applying for these grants today and make your school’s visions come to life! Good luck!
- Computers for Learning
- School and Libraries Program (E-Rate)
- Enhancing Education through Technology (Ed-tech) State Program
- Open Grant Competitions
- A forecast of funding for education grant programs can be found here.