By Christine Ziese
Have you ever thought, “You know it would be really nice to be able to get that app for my classroom,” or “I wish our department could afford that equipment.”? Grants allow teachers to be able to secure funds for their wish list of apps, equipment, supplies or other materials needed for that department or school funds are not able to be allocated for.
Many teachers hear the word grant and are intimidated because they feel it will be a high-level process. Grants do not have to be scary. It is important to keep in mind a few things when looking into securing grant funding: what do you want it for, how will it benefit your students/classroom, and why would someone want to give you money for this?
There are many places that teachers can go to look for grants, it just depends on your needs, and the requirements of the institution. Many school districts have their own education foundations with funds provided specifically to support district teachers. There are also local philanthropic foundations, local and national businesses (such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot), as well as national entities, such as the NIH and the Department of Education.
It is important to be specific and follow directions of the grant process. The people giving you money want to see that this is an effective use of their funding dollars. For example, funders want to know that (1) their investment will have a positive impact on kids, (2) their investment will be handled responsibly, and (3) they will see results.
Writing a grant isn’t as scary as you may think. All you need do is follow the guidelines! First, let your principal know, in writing and in person, you are pursuing a grant. Each grant provides specific directions which need to be adhered to. If it asks for 12 pt. font, then use 12 pt. font! Remember someone will be reading this that wants to give you money, but they need to make sure it worth their while…be creative with your idea, try to be unique (everyone asks for technology but few state how it will be used), and keep the focus on your students (how will the grant benefit students).
The Teacher Enrichment Leadership Academy (TELA) offers trainings on grant writing that has excellent information to support you through the process. Grant funds can take an ordinary learning experience and turn it into an extraordinary event! The TELA is here to support teachers with tools, resources, and experienced grant-writing teachers. We are here to help you be successful with your grant writing experience!
Since 2014, the TELA has helped area teachers secure over $36,000 in local grant funding! If you would like to know more about grant writing, you can join one of the TELA workshops or contact one of the TELA Leaders for more information.
Please visit the TEI Resources page for even more information.
TELA Teacher Leader
If you have any questions, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org