Your Indispensable Tool: The School Funding Center Database

I started telling you about the database last time, some things bear repeating, I’ve included the information you need to get started on a fruitful search.

School Funding Center Grants Database – there is a free trial, you can get a sense of the huge number of sources they identify and they describe the search process very thoroughly.

Start your search with your location. The database lets you filter by a number of categories, start with selecting your state. You’ll find the names of huge corporations that you never knew were nearby.

My favorite thing to do is to drive around my town. I take a notebook (or PC tablet) and jot down the names of companies on door mastheads with their street addresses. There are many companies with very deep pockets that are not well known. These may include legal firms, insurance companies, and branch offices of big banks or financial planning companies. My best friend in grants research is a man in my town’s Fidelity office. Most companies are very interested in funding projects in their own communities. I guarantee that when you use this technique you will stumble on some amazing resources.

Ask for a directory from your local Chamber of Commerce. They may charge a nominal fee for this; you will use it all the time. Your school may already have one, but they will surely reimburse you for costs like these that you may incur during your search. As a branch of the Chamber, there may be a “Business Education” alliance of some kind. It is usually run by a retired business person who wants to give back to his community. Other directories and information about informal groups of business representatives can be found in your town library. Your local Chamber also has meetings, seminars and conferences. It is a great idea to join and start attending some of these events. The more moneyed people you know, the more of their money you’ll attract.

Try to find out where the nearest branch of SCORE is (Service Core of Retired Executives). They have a fabulous website and there are hundreds of retired executives who will happily help you network with influential people in your town; it may only require a simple introduction. There are women in business organizations too, and industry specific clubs.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Women in Business

If you sign up for membership in the School Funding Center, you’ll find a  searchable online database containing 350,000+ grant opportunities representing over $25 billion dollars in available funding in Federal, State, and Local Grants.

As you become proficient at searching for foundations and corporations that will join you in your quest to improve academic achievement in your school, you’ll learn more ways to access resources in your community.

Don’t forget your public library. Free libraries are a great American tradition and right. They preserve information for all of us, and a warm relationship with a reference librarian will pay dividends for years.

Comment on this blog, do you have questions for me?


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About Neva Fenno

Neva Fenno, M.S.Ed., MLIS, has been a special education teacher, school library media specialist, curriculum specialist and grants manager for several urban school districts in New York and Massachusetts for 30 years. As grants manager for 7 years, she managed up to $28,000,000 a year in federal, state, foundation and corporate grants from application through fiscal administration. She has hundreds of stories to tell, not all successes, but from each story there is a lesson to be learned.

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