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By Karen Greenwood Henke, Founder of Grant Wrangler
Several different types of organizations offer grants for schools and classrooms. Grants and awards from associations like the National Gardening Association, International Reading Association or National Science Teachers Association may require membership to apply. Corporate foundations often give to their local community, but many offer national grants such as General Mills Home Town Helper grants and Oracle's ThinkQuest program. Many communities have community foundations and family foundations that give based on their particular areas of interest.
These are grants that your school can easily incorporate into their planned activities. Unless you are on the school board or in a community leadership position, avoid multi-year, major reform projects. These grants require significant support and organizational resources.
Most teachers are pressed for time. Don't send them every grant you find, but give them a short list of the most relevant grants. Include:
Offer to help, but let the teacher decide how to proceed.
You can help with the application by conducting research or reviewing the teacher's draft. Use the judging criteria or last year's winners to make sure that the proposal is a good match. Other things to look for:
Most grants are competitive, which means there will be winners and "non-winners." If your teacher wins, help implement the grant by volunteering your time or researching bargains on the items to be purchased. You could even notify the local press about the award (with the school's permission). If your classroom doesn't win, acknowledge the effort and encourage the teacher to try again.
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