Do You Know Your Grant Categories?
By Don Peek

One major way to categorize grants is by the type of problem the grant addresses. If a grant is designated as a reading grant, obviously you aren’t going to be able to get money to fix a problem you are having in math, unless, of course, the math problem you have is directly related to your students’ inability to read well enough to work any type of stated problem in math.

Obviously, there is great overlap in these categories. An after-school program funded by grant money may involve extra instruction in science and social studies. That is why you need to fully understand the types of problems you have. The overlap in categories can often lead you to additional grant money.

Basically, the main categories of grants for schools include the following:

professional development
community involvement/volunteerism
safe/drug-free schools
early childhood
social studies
ESL/bilingual/foreign language
special education
family services

Of course, there are other grant topics, but generally these will fit under one of those listed above. Also, it is possible to have quite a bit of overlap. You may have a reading problem that is strongly impacting student performance in social studies and science, and you need considerable professional development in reading in the content areas to correct the problem. You might find grant money under any one of those categories or all of them.

Always try to approach the problems you are experiencing from as many angles as possible. When you do, your solution is likely to be more complete, and it consistently opens up more funding sources.

Grants can be categorized in many different ways. Once you have determined the problem that you have at your school, develop a plan for fixing that problem, and determine the cost of the program, you are ready to start looking in the different grant categories to find grants that match your needs.

You should always start your search for grants using the free grant database provided by Grants for Teachers at:

Don Peek is an expert in school funding. He has run The School Funding Center since 2001. Its database contains over 100,000 grants available to all types of schools in the United States. Don worked in education for 20 years as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent before becoming the VP then the president of the training division of Renaissance Learning, developer of the Accelerated Reader.

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