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Money Makers

Districts that land the big grants get to pursue the best projects.

Find your best grant today!<br />
Find your best grant today!

Are you taking advantage of all the grant money that's available to you? According to a 2007 study conducted by the Foundation Center, the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, more school districts should be. Although government funding for U.S. education declines annually, privately held foundation giving for education rose nearly 10 percent last year. Education continues to receive the largest share of grant dollars, with elementary and secondary schools receiving 30 percent of the pie.

Private foundations are responding to what has become a pressing need in K–12 education throughout the United States. The following are the most well-known and proactive players in the K–12 grant-giving business. Check their Web sites for details on how to get your school's share next year. (Organizations are listed in alphabetical order.)

Organization: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Grant Program(s): Early Learning, High Schools and Scholarships
Profile: The foundation has invested more than $4 billion in scholarships and building high-quality, high-performing schools and systems, supporting more than 2,600 schools.
Past Recipient(s): In 2006, the Gates Foundation provided a $21 million grant to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to implement a groundbreaking high school transformation plan. The grant funded major improvements in high school curricula and instruction. Since then, classroom instruction has been enhanced, parents and students take advantage of unique school options and opportunities, and parents can access new accountability tools, such as a "scorecard" to track school performance in a range of areas including graduation, school climate, teacher information and student achievement. Likewise, CPS strengthened its school improvement plan with new, rigorous college preparatory curricula in English, math, and science; more instructional support for teachers and recruitment of and professional support for high-quality principals. CPS implemented its new curricula in 14 schools, starting with the ninth grade. The reform efforts then expanded to other grades and to 36 additional high schools over a three-year period.

Organization: The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
Grant Program(s): $2 Million Broad Prize for Urban Education, The Broad Superintendents Academy, The Broad Residency in Urban Education, numerous grants in K-12 urban public education.
Profile: Since 2000, the foundation has invested more than $400 million to improve student achievement in dozens of urban areas by developing strong leaders, efficient school district practices, professional teaching conditions, competition and best practices. Each year, it also awards the $2 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, to large urban American school districts that demonstrate the greatest improvement in student achievement and reduction in income and ethnic achievement gaps.
Past Recipient(s):
The 2008 Broad Prize winner was the Brownsville Independent School District, Texas, which serves one of the poorest urban populations in America. Between 2004 and 2007, Brownsville reduced the gap between Hispanic students and the state average for white students by 12 percentage points in middle school math and reduced the gap between low-income students and Texas' non-low-income student average by nine percentage points in high school reading.

Organization: The IBM International Foundation
Grant Program(s): Reading Companion, ¡TradúceloAhora!, KidSmart
Profile: IBM's primary mission is to improve teaching and learning in public schools through innovative technology. Since the launch of Reading Companion and ¡TradúceloAhora! in 2006, it has invested millions of dollars to provide Reading Companion voice recognition software to more than 750 schools and nonprofit organizations worldwide and free automatic translation software to more than 600 schools and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Latin America. The KidSmart program has been used by more than 100,000 teachers and millions of students worldwide during the last decade.
Past Recipient(s):
The Union County School's East Elementary and Monroe Middle School in North Carolina are using Reading Companion and ¡TradúceloAhora! to improve literacy and facilitate communication between Spanish-only speaking parents and English speaking teachers. Union County plans to expand the program to include another elementary school this spring. Additionally, Monroe Middle School hosts parent nights and provided training of the ¡TradúceloAhora! software. Teachers are also using it for communication with parents on a regular basis, which frees up staff who serve as translators. 

Organization: The Intel Foundation
Grant Program(s): Intel Education Grants, Volunteer Matching Grants
Profile: The Intel Foundation contributes millions of dollars annually to schools, educational institutions, communities and selected nonprofits where the company operates major facilities. Over the past decade, Intel has invested significantly more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind contributions worldwide.
Past Recipient(s): The foundation donated approximately $3 million to Oregon K-12 schools, community college and higher education institutions and programs in 2007. The funds were used to achieve several objectives: to enhance K-12 science and math education, improve the use of technology in the classroom, broaden access to technology and encourage women and minorities to enter technical careers. During the 2006-2007 school year, more than 1280 Intel employees in Oregon also participated in the company's volunteer matching grants program. By volunteering 49,000 hours in local schools, the company donated $491,200 to K-12 schools in volunteer matching grant funds.

Organization: The Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation
Grant Program(s): Lowe's Toolbox for Education
Profile: In 2008, the foundation contributed more than $4.1 million to schools in all 50 states. Since 2006, it has donated nearly $15 million to more than 3,500 K-12 schools, offering opportunities to 1.5 million schoolchildren and districts for enhanced learning, safe recreation and parent interaction.
Past Recipient(s): In Oct., 2008, Compton Elementary School completed its water smart garden, funded by a $57,000 grant from the foundation. The garden supplements students' in-class water conservation curriculum with hands-on activities, giving them an up-close look at how plants adapt to environmental changes. The garden, which was constructed entirely by volunteers from 27 local Lowe's stores, contains six individual garden plots – one for each grade level – that contain drought tolerant plants that can survive without the use of a sprinkler system or watering hose. The funds will also be used to develop water conservation educational materials.

Organization: The NEA Foundation
Grant Program(s): Green grants, Student Achievement grants, Learning & Leadership grants and Closing the Achievement Gaps initiative
Profile: Over the past decade, the foundation has awarded more than 2,000 individual and team grants to public educators, totaling over $5.9 million. This year, it's targeting green grants and those that promote science, technology, engineering, mathematics teaching and learning. Closing the Achievement Gap grants, offered by invitation only, also create local partnerships that help improve achievement rates for poor and minority students. The foundation's website offers an instructional video that guides educators through the online application process.
Past Recipient(s): Jay Vavra, a biotechnology teacher at San Diego  High Tech High School, received a $5,000 Student Achievement Grant, enabling his students to conduct original biology research, including studying the plankton of the South Bay Salt Work, productivity of mussels and aquaculture in the Bay. After completing their research, his students published their findings in a book, called San Diego Bay: A Story of Exploration and Restoration, and hosted public events to present their research.

Organization: Staples Foundation for Learning
Grant Program(s): Staples Foundation for Learning (SFFL)
Profile: Staples Foundation for Learning was launched in August 2002. Since its inception, it has contributed more than $14 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the United States.
Past Recipient(s): In 2007, to provide disadvantaged youth with educational and job skill opportunities, SFFL awarded a $10,000 grant to Citizen Schools in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Citizens Schools' after-school programs enable more than 225 middle school students in Newark and New Brunswick to participate in apprenticeships that involve skill building, teamwork, and leadership. Through these apprenticeships, students work on community projects with adult mentors who encourage them to pursue higher educational opportunities and help them gain valuable skills for future employment. The foundation supported apprenticeship projects and partially funded the salaries of staff overseeing the program.

Organization: The Toshiba America Foundation (TAF)
Grant Program(s): The TAF provides grants to K-12 math and science teachers. Each fall, K-6 teachers can receive up to $1,000 while grants of up to $5,000 are offered to 7-12 teachers throughout the year. Grants exceeding $5,000 for grades 7-12 teachers are also available twice a year- applications due Feb. 1 and Aug. 1.
Profile: The TAF's mission is to promote quality science and mathematics education in U.S. schools. Grants are made for hands-on, inquiry-based, classroom projects designed by either individual teachers or small teams of teachers.
Past Recipient(s): In Nov. 2008, Roanoke Valley Governor's School for Science and Technology received a $29,930 grant for a chemical ecology project. Students study how living organisms communicate with each other by emitting chemical compounds and how these compounds can then alter an ecosystem. Funds were used to purchase a high-quality chromatograph that isolates and analyzes these compounds, which enable students to design and conduct sophisticated experiments.

Organization: The Wallace Foundation
Grant program(s): Leadership for Learning
Profile: As one of the largest, private, nonprofit supporters of public education, Wallace has invested nearly $530 million over the past 16 years in school improvement efforts. Since 2000, the foundation has focused on strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement. It commissions research and offers grants to school districts in 22 states and State Departments of Education to develop more effective leadership policies and practices.
Past Recipient(s): As a participating district in Wallace's leadership initiative, the Jefferson County School District in Louisville, Ky., developed the School Administrator Manager (SAM) project, which aims to free the principal's time to concentrate more on instructional improvement. Each school creates a SAM position, which is responsible for performing many of the principal's administrative functions. The pilot is showing promising results. More than 300 Wallace-funded schools in Kentucky, Delaware, Georgia and other states have joined the program. The foundation has also commissioned a study of SAM for release in 2009.

Organization: The Walton Family Foundation
Grant Program(s): School District Improvements and other initiatives
Profile: In 2007, the foundation made grants and program-related investments totaling more than $241 million. It's K-12 educational reform initiatives support four goals: to increase the number of children who have access to public charter schools; to empower low-income students to attend private schools; to improve student achievement in specific urban schools districts (Albany, NY, Columbus, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wis., and Washington, DC) and, to raise the performance of Arkansas schools while preparing students for post-secondary education and industry careers.
Past recipient(s): The California Charter Schools Association has leveraged the foundation's investments to build a continuum of school development and support programs and create services and products for charter schools so they can operate more efficiently, be self-supportive and support the association's continued operations. More than 200 new, high-quality public charter schools have opened in the state since 2004. The foundation also helped the association create a Charter School Legal Defense Fund to ensure that all public charter school students have equal access to obtaining a high-quality public education.

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