Teachers and Grants: Success Stories

Let me share some grant writing success stories to get your juices flowing. The summer is a wonderful time to clear the decks and start planning for next year; there will be curriculum related projects you will want to support with your grant writing efforts. Some projects selected for review are big, many teachers and other professionals banded together to do big things.

Blended Learning:

Rogers Family Foundation: 10 months of planning, design and implementation for a blended learning pilot in four traditional district schools in Oakland, CA. Oakland Unified School District faces a persistent achievement gap. Four pilot schools were selected to begin a systemic upgrade to facilities to prepare for a district blended learning project. An investment of $238 per pilot student was made for hardware. Other investments included infrastructure, bandwidth upgrades, software installations, and teacher training. The Rogers Foundation partnered with other funding providers to support and consult for a seamless roll-out of a multi-year project.

There were goals for professional development across the four schools, namely that teachers learn how to:

  • use data to form meaningful groups of students for targeted lessons
  • use data to customize lessons delivered to students
  • explore and clarify the procedures, routines and expectations needed in a blended rotational classroom
  • master their particular online content and hardware

The project is ongoing with hopes of creating systemic change across the entire district.

Toshiba – STEM Grants (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Allegany High School – Cumberland, MD
“STEM Lessons with Robots” project goals are to:

  • increase the number of students enrolled in Physics and Math classes and
  • increase enthusiasm about the subjects,
  • become more knowledgeable about careers in areas such as Engineering and
  • be able to use critical and creative thinking, innovation and logic skills to complete real world tasks.

Berkeley Prep School – Berkeley Springs, WV
Berkeley Prep eighth graders will “mentor” fifth graders from the local elementary school to engage in two hours per month of project learning focused on STEM under their “Changing Lives with Imagineering” program. Students were assigned to teams competing to learn the science of the lesson, designing the project and building it staying within their budget and working collaboratively.

Power of the Individual Teacher:

Individual teachers (with a little help from their friends) can be grant writers and bring in resources for their schools. Jennie Magiera and her friend Amy Jarrett-Clancy wrote a grant for 32 Ipads and won. They have graciously shared their application for all to see. She also provided a list of other resources teachers might access for similar projects.

Julie Gray, Fourth grade teacher from Huntington Beach, California became frustrated with a motley selection of technology in her classroom and wrote an Apple Grant to upgrade her situation. Thanks to Julie for sharing her mistakes and providing suggestions for making first grant writing attempts more successful.

The coolest grant story I’ve read lately is about the comedian and political satirist Stephen Colbert.
In Stephen’s own words:
“Using the proceeds of the sale of my old set (desk, etc.) on “The Colbert Report” which we auctioned off, and with the generous matching funds from The Morgridge Family Foundation and ScanSource, DonorsChoose is going to flash-fund all 1,000 projects in South Carolina,” Colbert said in a video. “Enjoy your learning, South Carolina.”
Read More

Most medium size cities have their own community foundations. Read about the Maryville City Schools  Foundation (Tennessee) and their awards, mostly through individual teacher applications.

The Foundation for Orange County Public Schools supports a signature program, Read2Succeed that engages over 150 volunteers each year to provide reading assistance to first and second graders. In addition to recruiting, and training and placing volunteers, the Foundation also provides needed resources in the classroom to support and advance this important program.

The list goes on; one of my favorite corporate giving endeavors is launched by Cisco. They have provided millions of dollars to schools worldwide for technology projects through in-kind donations and cash awards.
Use our grants database and explore the opportunities available to you – summer is a great time to start.

Let me know how you’re doing. You may network with me by leaving a comment below.


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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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