I don’t know any New York City public school
teacher who would say that s/he has all of the materials, supplies,
furniture, and resources necessary to run a classroom successfully.
Unfortunately, it has become acceptable to expect our city and
state to underfund what our students need to achieve success.
Yes, we have Teacher’s Choice, but how many countless times
have you heard, “You should use your Teacher’s Choice
for that.”? And how many times have you answered that the
$200 we receive to spend on our students was spent before school
even started! So, we are required to either spend our own money
to furnish our classrooms, ask parents for supplies, or find another
way to fund our needs. The main “other” way is seeking
Before applying for any grants ask yourself these questions:
What do I need and is this grant the best way to get
Don’t write a grant just because it’s free money.
Have a compelling reason to apply—Look specifically for
grants that support what you want to do in your classroom or school.
Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with having to complete extra
work that isn’t congruent with any of your goals for your
students or your classroom. Implementing the grant will be a burden.
What does the RFP ask me to do?
Before you write, read the Request-For-Proposal (RFP) over carefully.
Is this a grant that individual teachers can apply for or does
it require a district to apply? What does the grantor want you
to include? When is the deadline for sending it in? In other words,
as we tell our students, make sure you follow the directions.
If you don’t, the granting organization will eliminate you
Do I have the time to devote to implementing the grant
if I do get it?
When you are a new teacher, time never seems to be on your side.
Even if you have the time to write the grant, will you have time
to satisfy the requirements of implementing it? Look closely at
your time frame and figure out what else you’ll be required
to do at implementation time. For example, if your students will
be taking standardized tests and your school has a heavy test
prep schedule, you might not want to apply for that grant to take
your students camping for the week before the test.
Are there other teachers at my school who would be willing
to work with me on applying for and implementing the grant?
It’s definitely more fun and more interesting to write grants
with a friend. You’ll also end up with a better product.
If you can find a colleague who has been successful obtaining
grants, you’ll have it made!
The following are some places for you to start. But don’t
stop here. Keep your eyes and ears open, ask colleagues for suggestions,
and look for companies and organizations that might offer just
what you need.
WWW.Donorschoose.org is a great site where teachers post their projects and funding
needs and donors choose which project they want to fund. They
even buy you the supplies when you are funded!
www.Schoolgrants.org is a wonderful on-line resource for teachers, offering lists of
current grants, tips for writing grants, sample proposals, and
At www.Teachersnetwork.org (you're here right now!) you can download information and
applications for Impact II grants. You can be recognized and funded
for a successful unit you've taught or you can adapt somebody
else's successful project for use with your own students.
Teacher newspapers often have sections that give funding opportunities
and deadlines. New York Teacher, our UFT newspaper, has a great
column about grant offerings. Teacher magazine’s Calendar
section gives application deadlines and contacts for national
grants and fellowships.
Many companies have philanthropic foundations. Go to their websites
and see what their funding priorities are. Many of them offer
programs for students or schools. Some offer their employees as
tutors or volunteers. Some companies adopt a school. Look on the
web and see what you find! Good luck!
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