You should be looking for grants right now. The way most state finances are shaping up, there are likely to be many state budget shortfalls again this year. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for schools anywhere in the country. One of the best ways to overcome fewer dollars from the state is to actively apply for grants at the district, campus, and classroom levels. It’s not the ideal way to fund new programs or ones that need revamping, but it sure beats not having the money that you need.
I have a mantra when it comes to looking for grants. Spend your time completing grant applications, not looking for grants. You need to be able to find all available grants quickly and easily. You then need to be able to match your needs with the available grants, again, quickly and easily. There is only one way to find grants and match them to your needs this way – by using a comprehensive grant database.
Several school grant databases are available to you. Without a doubt your first choice should be to use the free school grant database provided by Grants for Teachers. You can use it by going to http://www.grants4teachers.com and putting in your email address.
This database is comprehensive for the areas it covers and includes federal, state, foundation, and corporate grants. It lists grants in the areas of: After-School, Arts, At-Risk, Community Involvement, Disabilities, Early Childhood, General Education, Health/PE, Science/Environment, Special Education, Technology. If you are looking for grants in any of these areas, this is by far your best choice for two major reasons. It is comprehensive, and it’s free.
If you need grant information for areas other than those listed above, I recommend going to The School Funding Center. Their database lists thirty different categories from which to choose, and it is also comprehensive in that it lists every federal, state, foundation, and corporate grant in each area. The one drawback to using The School Funding Center database is that it is subscription-based and costs several hundred dollars per year to use.
If you are just looking for federal grants and do not plan to use either of the databases above, I recommend that you use Ed.gov. It lists federal grants available to schools in any category. It is not as easy to use as the two databases above, but it lists all federal grants, and it is free.
If you are looking specifically for state grants, you should go to your state education agency website. Some states that fund a lot of grants have a searchable grant database. If your state sponsors only a few grants each year, the site may simply list the grants that are available.
Finally, if you are searching strictly for foundation grants, you might want to use The Foundation Center. It has a comprehensive listing of foundation grants available to schools as well as other organizations. It also is subscription-based and can cost several hundred dollars per year to use.
So here’s the long and short of it. You need to be looking for district, campus, and classroom grant money now because many state budgets will cut the amount of money sent to schools this year. Your best bet is to use the Grants for Teachers grant database because it is comprehensive in the areas that it covers and it is free.
If you can’t find the grants you need there, you should move through the list of available grant databases I have listed above until you find the grant or grants that match your school’s needs. Do this now so you will have the money you need when the fall semester begins.
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.