- AIAA Classroom Grants from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
- Fuel Up to Play 60 from the National Dairy Council and the National Football League
- Foundation Grants from the American Honda Foundation
- Foundation Grants from the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation
- Foundation Grants from the Standard Charitable Foundation
- National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
- Instrument Grants from the Fender Music Foundation
- Small Grant Awards from the American Association of Teachers of French
- Educational Grants from the Dr. Scholl Foundation
- Educational Grants from the Ambrose Monell Foundation
Last time I talked about ethical standards for grant writers and carefully obeying rules. This time I’m going to travel to my dark side and talk about rules that can be broken and how to break them.
My favorite rule to break is:
“Grants must be written in committee”
Principals need to form committees so they can assign tasks to people who are becoming pests. I have found in my experience that committees become unwieldy and stand in their own way. The key to writing in committee is having clear leadership. When someone tries to challenge the leader, it’s important to be sure that everyone has a task to match his or her talents. There are even good roles for complainers; these folks are good researchers. When they object to an issue, and they begin to complain, the leader reminds them of their “librarian” role and asks them to get the facts so everyone can make good decisions. After all, sometimes they’re right and you don’t want to push them away and antagonize, give them tools to prove their positions, and then be sure their research fits in to your overall narrative. This is how you publicly recognize their contributions.
In general though, I work best when I work alone.
I guess it’s because we’re one year away from a Presidential election. The candidates are polishing their resumes (such as they are) and Donald Trump is holding court with the American people. All of these things have inspired me to write about the politics of grant writing.
First, the obvious, when you’re looking at Federal and pass-through State grants, it matters who’s in the White House. In general, when Democrats are in the WH, there is more money for grant programs like Title I, Educator Quality, and Special Education allocations. When Republicans are in charge, wheels spin in a frantic effort to curtail or eliminate the federal government’s role in funding public education. Lately, the democratic environment has positioned the government to increase these grant programs, trying to level the playing field for the poorest and most fragile of our children to succeed.
Foundation and Corporate grants are a little different; they rely on the general economy to extend their philanthropic reach. Private grantors, as ruled by federal law, must devote a percentage of their profits to giving programs of many kinds, the most important through grant programs.