Cook Up Some Funding During the COVID Challenge

Throughout our nation and across our world significant challenges are rising as we strive to keep students safe, healthy, and learning during the COVID – 19 pandemic.  As teachers, you have had to react quickly to new systems of learning. It is like creating a homemade recipe for maintaining high quality remote learning while also addressing the physical and emotional well being of your students, their families, your family and of course, yourself. 

Federal agencies, states, and private sector funders are working hard to add ingredients and help you meet the challenges.  There is a batch of resources and flexibility to communities in support of efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mixing in with the many funds are provisions of the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27. Agencies, like the U.S. Department of Education, are providing menus of guidance on flexibilities within existing funding that can be used in response to COVID-19. 

COVID-19 has exploded requests for basic needs to keep students and families afloat. In response, many community foundations have changed their education giving strategies. Here are a few samplings of what is happening with local funders:

  • The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta committed $2.2 million for children’s educational needs and to provide food for students and families- a sizable slice of the nearly $12 million it raised for the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
  • The Silicon Valley Community Foundation in California refreshed its grant making to respond to COVID-19 by providing nearly $95 million. It added ingredients of social and emotional health and wellness support for students, families and staff; remote learning, including equipment, IT support and training for teachers and staff; emergency child care centers to help people who cannot work from home; nutrition services, and family engagement. 
  • The New York Community Trust raised more than $95 million for its NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. Requests pour in to develop online content for core academic subjects as well as arts education.
  • The Oregon Community Foundation is exploring support for rural and homeless students as part of its efforts to increase families’ access to technology.

Deadlines are being pushed out making it the right time to mix up the ingredients and create a recipe of funding to support your students and their families. Start assembling the grants you need to get cooking! 

Orange You Ready for More Grant Opportunities?

An orange can boost your immune system and we want to boost your opportunities for more funding. We are sweetening our GrantsAlert “Find Grants” Tool to enable you to uncover more grants to help your students. For only $99 a year or $9 a month, we can bring you a healthy dose of funding.

It’s Citrus Season for Grants Alert – the perfect time to discover new funding sources in education. Many of you may be contemplating and conducting comprehensive needs assessments for another school year. This often involves consideration of evidence-based solutions, evaluation of your current end of the year spending, and a lot of preparation for fresh new spending in the 2020-21 school year. How will you meet the identified needs? GrantsAlert is the right snack to add to your recipe for student success.

Visit the Grants tab at the top of the website, you will also see a map of our grant opportunities. We have listed the number of grants appearing in our tool for your state. As always, we continue to nurture your ability to get to know grants by offering our “jump starter” grants free. These grants feed your beginning journey in grant writing. Now with our new subscription tool, we are taking you to greater heights, closer to the sunshine, to find the perfect match for your funding needs.

Just like this symmetrical orange, funding involves teamwork to make grants meaningful and obtainable. If you need help in writing or have other funding needs, we offer the funding experts to take your fresh ideas and make them attainable and doable. Contact us at info@grantsalert.com.

We are pulped to bring you a financial means to support your learners. Orange you glad you are here? We got bushels full of money to bring the best learning solutions to our nation’s children.

 

Christmas All Year Using Gifts of Creativity and Persuasion in Writing

On January 13th, the LinkedIn Learning Blog, noted the top two soft skills for 2020 are #1 creativity and #2 persuasion.[1] Whenever I think about writing grants or other reports, these two skills seem to surface for me. For many of us, the very thought of writing a grant may stir up feelings of fear and anxiety. Perhaps even hearing the word “grant” gives you the same panic you may have experienced for an upcoming exam.  But let’s re-consider those skills of creativity and persuasion along with writing a grant application. Grant writing can offer a balance between creativity and persuasion. It can enable you, and me, to approach the task of writing with a fresh, exciting, and positive outlook. The same holds true whether you are writing a grant or a book.

As 2020 started off with a roar, a local author, J. Paige Straley, contacted me about his book Jack’s Christmas.[2]He wanted me to write a testimonial. So I had to approach this request from a creative, yet persuasive manner. This is an exhilarating adventure for children of all ages. As I read the story, I realized how Paige Straley used the skills of creativity and persuasion to leave you with a warm, cozy feeling of belonging; something we all long for and need in our lives. For parents, caretakers, and teachers, Jack’s Christmas allows children to experience the often, neglected art of rhymed poetry in a delightful story of nature. Teachable moments abound with themes such as safety and security, perseverance, science, and natural environments. Jack comes alive as he slips and slides his way home. And what a heart warming, home coming it is!

I am grateful to have joined Jack as he takes his exciting trail home. And I am equally grateful for creative writers that bring the warmth and joy to writing.

This year, take a look at some of the opportunities on GrantsAlert awaiting you to be creative. Grants can grant you the opportunity to bring new and exciting learning to your students. Choose one or two grants to pursue. This is a great way to jump-start yourself into the joys of grant writing. Start small and then use your creativity and persuasiveness to write a proposal. It all comes down to explaining what you believe in for your project and how you can persuade the funder to invest in your creativity.

Is grant writing worth the time and effort?  Yes! Keep writing and keep submitting grants. Send me a note, under contact us, and let me know your progress. It would be lovely to read something that said, “Yes, Dr. Love, I got a YES. Yes, we loved your creative project and yes, we will be sending you the money. “

[1]https://learning.linkedin.com/blog/top-skills/the-skills-companies-need-most-in-2020and-how-to-learn-them

[2]http://www.jackschristmas.com

It’s the Time of the Season Filled with Joy

This bright and beautiful time of the year brings a bigger and brighter GrantsAlert in 2020!

Soon RFPMatch will unwrap a new GrantsAlert and we want you to share our joy and anticipation. For almost two decades, GrantsAlert continues to be grateful that you chose us to help you make a difference in education. Now we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our service to even bigger and better grant opportunities for you and your community.

What’s coming inside this new GrantsAlert package? Soon you will be able to find more grants, focused on what matters most to you. Also, you will have more resources to launch your grant initiatives. And most importantly, you will have a funding success team committed to help you, our customer.

At RFPMatch, our mission is to be your valued partner and resource in the quest for funding by harnessing the power of technology and proven expertise to efficiently assess opportunities. We do this through the 4 P’s involving our passion, our problem solving support, our partnership, and our personal commitment.

The Funding Success Team is getting ready to bring you the best and brightest opportunities in 2020. Sound the trumpets, and get ready to spread the joy as we have many new opportunities ahead for your students, classroom, school, and community!

The Heart, the Brains, and the Courage in Grant Writing

Every year, teachers quietly and anonymously pay an average of $500, and up to a $1,000, a year for supplies for their classroom.  Yet, this goes beyond pens and papers, and can include lessons and the tools needed to teach them.   For example, a recent Gallup, Inc. report shows that 43% of teachers purchase electronic learning tools with their own money, while only 19% apply for grants for these products.  Those numbers should be reversed with the goal being an ever-widening gap between the two.

We get it! Grants can be daunting, especially after a long day of teaching and a longer night of grading. But unless applying for a new library wing, most applications under $5,000 are no harder than a lesson plan. Plus, unlike a lesson plan, you can reuse the material for other grants without groans of bored students.  To get you in the right frame of mind, here are a few key steps:

  • Know your target– With a good tool like GrantsAlert.com, you will be able to review a host of possible grants. Target those that fit your need and scope right now and keep a wish list of future grants.  Most often, the worst outcome of a grant is receiving one you cannot complete.
  • Take time to prepare– Pick a grant with a deadline a few weeks out, preferably months.Get a cup of coffee and read through what is being asked.  Send out requests for needed data or input and enjoy dreaming what you want.  A rushed grant is evident by the lack of true vision and uneven nature of the narrative.   A last second grant will also discourage future attempts, and this is a marathon not a sprint.
  • Write in your own words-Again unless it is a new building, your authentic voice will speak louder than technical jargon. Know your material, speak to your expertise, but don’t forget why this is important.  People fund change in other people, not simply implementation of programs.
  • Work with partners-The best grants are team efforts as no one is great at all things.If finances are not your thing, get someone to review your budget.  Grammar are not a universally learned skill.  Plus, your administrative office will often have data you will need. Humility is your friend.
  • Enjoy- This work will lead to a student learning a skill, realizing a dream or overcoming a barrier.

Once you have your game plan, start writing and don’t worry about a perfect first draft.  If you need help, ask your fellow teachers if they have applied for grants or search for a website (i.e. grantsalert.com).  If you are going for a complicated grant and need support, go to your administration and see if they know of any resources that exist.  Finally, if you need professional support you can contact a consultant, but understand and factor in the cost.  Many people try to pay for consultants or grant writers out of the proceeds of grants, that is a VERY slippery slope and should be avoided.

Grants are often like the Wizard of Oz.  A lot of noise, confusion and fear that dissipates once the curtain is peeled back.  Yet, also remember there were three others (and Toto) supporting Dorothy to get to the end of the Yellow Brick Road.

Good luck and may you not encounter any flying monkeys, they are the worst.

Stressing About Writing A Grant?

Recently, I was working on a funding presentation and came across some warning information on a state website regarding grant writing services. This is a caution to school districts and/or schools about free grant writing services.

Beware of Free Grant Writing

There are companies that operate online offering “free” grant writing services that are not free. Some require you sign a contract before receiving an award that ask you to purchase from a third party in exchange for their services if awarded.

However, you cannot use grant funds before you receive the award and any purchases must be allowable. Agreements entered into before you receive a grant award are not payable with funds. We recommend that you contact your attorney before entering into any agreements.

Grant Writing expenses are paid with your funds and are not reimbursable with grant funds.

As a former school district and state department of education administrator, I agree with this cautionary statement. Yet, I completely understand the anxiety and stress many of us feel or have encountered when writing a grant.  The stress can be lessened and even be an enjoyable experiment when you have a buddy – a grant coach or mentor – working with you.

We want to hear from you and help you put the “FUNd back in Funding.” Send us an email at info@grantsalert.com.

  1. Tell us about your experiences in grant writing.
  2. Talk to us about your grant writing anxieties.
  3. Offer some strategies you have used to help make the grant writing process fun!

Provide us your contact information in your email and permission to use your funding insights. If we use your experiences to help others, we will send you a free $$ Stress Reliever for the school year!

 

 

The Bookends of Education and Funding Opportunities

As educators, we spend much time reading and studying. We know reading is the foundation skill for learning. Perhaps in your classroom you have compiled many books to share with young learners that demonstrate the importance of reading. Sometimes we use bookends to support the series of books and make the book titles stand out. My sister knows my love for horses and gave to me a pair of glass horse bookends that I proudly use to support the many resource books I have on grants, RFPs and other funding sources. By positioning them on the opposite ends, this pair of supports enables my books to be easily accessible to me. Lately in my survey of grants, I am seeing the bookends of education quickly becoming a growing funding movement. The bookends of education are Early Learning and Workforce Development.

These opposite ends of the education continuum are the bookends of a student’s educational career. Beginning with preschool learning through college and career readiness, the bookends of education bring lifelong benefits to each student and level the learning field. As a result, the areas of early childhood learning and career and college readiness/workforce development are quickly rising as major areas for investment among federal, state, local, and private funders. A growing number of public and private funders are issuing calls to action and supporting efforts in the bookends by offering grant opportunities.

Between the bookends, and standing tall, is also an area of growing interest and increase funding – the Whole Learner. The bookends frame and support the efforts of social emotional learning, school culture and safety, personalized learning, and family engagement. These are just some of the many supports contributing to the success of the whole learner and appearing in many grant applications.

As the 2019-2020 school year approaches, consider how your school offers solutions to support the bookends of education. Perhaps you offer solutions to benefit the Whole Learner. Look to funding to support the continuum of learning. It is available, here and now!

Put the Fun into Funding

 

Finding the right grant;

Crafting a logic model;

 Forming partnership;,

Creating the project design;

Detailing a budget;

Writing the application; and

Submitting all of this in a timely fashion

Wow — all these tasks sound like a lot of complicated and all-consuming work and really no fun.  It is a lot of work. Now in my 46thyear working in funding, it still remains a lot of work. Hopefully these years of experience and skills that I have learned around funding can bring you less sleepless nights, less sacrifices with your family and friends, and less tensions as the deadline for grant submission closes in. But most importantly, I hope to put the fun back into funding.

Let’s put all these multistep tasks into one whole-task condition. A grant proposal is really a call to action. It is a cohesive, persuasive, and well-researched need for change.

It begins by defining the problem you are trying to solve. It involves obtaining buy-in on the need and solution from internal partners (such as your school principal or superintendent) and external partners (such as business officials, PTA staff, evaluators, and/or community leaders). Taking the concept and mapping it out in a logical manner helps create commitment with the partners. During this time, be searching for appropriate, matched-funding sources. Don’t carry the burden of working on all these tasks alone — look for a small but devoted team. Establishing and following timelines and schedules that are doable and obtainable will lessen the anxiety and tensions during the process. When defining the project, think simple and clear outcomes, not complicated or confusing. Details for your budget should be realistic. Consider short, laser-focused sentences when writing.

At GrantsAlert, we remind ourselves to always strive for the fun in our funding work. My horse and I enjoy special moments when we come together and bond with laughter. As your small grant team or your larger partnership teams meet, take time to bond around your call to action. Enjoy the process and find the fun in funding!

 

 

 

 

 

Three Reasons to Fall in Love with Funding

February is a time of year when we are surrounded by images and messages of love. Perhaps you, or someone you know, may be considering a Request for Proposal to the love in your life.

At GrantsAlert, we fall in love everyday with being able to help you uncover the resources to make a difference in the lives of your students. We think of it as a love affair with funding. We propose to you, three reasons why you should fall in love with funding.

  1. Funding brings the financial means to make a difference in meeting student achievement goals.
  2. Funding builds your capacity to identify evidence-based solutions to meet your pressing educational needs.
  3. Funding strengthens your skills in planning and preparing to benefit your school and community.

As we buzz around looking for grant opportunities, we want to alert you to the vast opportunities that exist and hope that you take advantage of these funding resources for your students and community. So as the school year moves forward, consider a deeper relationship with funding and let us help you fall in love with funds.

Fall Funding: Challenges & Opportunities

The arrival of fall means your students are back in school. This year, we saw an increased challenge for teachers and schools as they struggle with the lack of resources to meet the demands of a new school year. We read about many, many of you reaching deep into your personal pockets ($479 deep according to this article!) to make the learning experience for your students conducive to a supportive school climate.

We also witnessed the tragic impact that many schools, most recently in the southeastern region, have had to overcome due to devastation from Mother Nature. One of our team members experienced, first-hand, the weather disruption by Hurricane Florence. Her family, including her school-aged children, has been displaced and left homeless. As she shares her story about the social and emotional affects to her children, we are reminded of community supports in time of need. Whether grants or fundraising efforts, we see signs of financial giving and support when we look around us.

Donorschoose allows teachers to crowdfund for classroom supplies and resources. Often, generous benefactors will match donations for specific subject areas or windows of time. This fall, several celebrities and philanthropists matched donations for various subject areas.

GoFundMe is another site that enables fundraising through online sharing. GoFundMe is the #1 site for crowdfunding campaigns, which range from raising money for family emergencies to supporting local school projects.

This fall, we also noticed many foundations stepping up with grants to purchase basic classroom needs.  Though the most recent deadlines have passed for some of these programs, there are a number of groups that offer financial support.  The American Association of Educators offers classroom grants to support projects, materials such as books, software, manipulatives and more.  The Kids in Need Foundation offers an online fundraising toolkit to help with classroom supplies.  Target offers grants to support field trip excursions for classrooms.

Search GrantsAlert.com to find more opportunities to support your classroom.  We hope your fall is off to a happy, safe, productive, well-funded start.