Across the country, schools are adopting new plans and programs to help address the need for greater access to technology throughout their districts. Since so many districts are grappling with state and federal funding shortfalls, schools have begun looking elsewhere to get the funding they need to put their technology initiatives in place.
If you’re one of those districts, read on to find out about four potential sources of funding that could help make your district’s technology dreams come true:
1. Federal Grants
One of the goals of the current administration is to help improve the availability of technology in K-12 schools, and as a result, federal grant programs have become available to help schools get the funding they need. Although many districts and school groups make the mistake of believing federal grant money is only available through the U.S. Department of Education, in fact, many different government agencies offer grants. The key is to search broadly and read the grant terms carefully to learn which ones may apply to your school’s needs. To make it easier to learn about which grants are available, the government has developed a website - grants.gov - that serves as a federal grants clearinghouse. The list is comprehensive, so be prepared to spend some time to learn which grants might apply to your needs.
2. Title II Funding
Title II funding is federal funding that’s provided to state and local educational agencies for their disbursement. That means that the type and number of grants available will depend on your state or local Title II agencies. One of the best places to start looking is at your state department of education’s website. You can also do an Internet search using the term “Title II” coupled with your state name or the name of your county or other locality to turn up potential sources of Title II funding in your area. Pay close attention to funding requirements when deciding whether or not to apply; Title II cuts have resulted in many funding opportunities adopting more stringent qualification guidelines.
3. Parent Groups
If your school has a PTA, PTF or other parent organization, tapping them for assistance can be an effective way of helping your school get the funding it needs. Most parent organizations are experienced in raising funds through a wide variety of activities and special events, and most members are extremely eager to help their child’s school succeed. Even the community at large is usually well engaged in any effort that can help improve their school’s overall performance – and hence, their property values.
Getting publicity can be key here; ideally, you want to garner media attention that will enable your fund raising efforts to move beyond the school grounds and well into the community, including the involvement of local businesses. Having a person or team handle publicity – that is, writing press releases, reaching out to the local media, writing letters to the editor and even writing brief articles for the local paper – can be a critical part of your campaign’s success.
4. Educational Foundations
In addition to parent groups, educational foundations can be very helpful in acquiring funding. Again, looking beyond your local community and focusing on foundations with state or national presence is an important part of making sure the foundations you approach have the funds available to meet your needs. Private foundations and charities can have very specific guidelines and requirements that determine qualification, and even a minor misstep in the application process can mean disqualification of your school. Careful, diligent review of the application and eligibility requirements are crucial to ensuring your grant is properly developed to have the best chance of receiving funding.
Ready to get started? Getting organized is the key. Make sure to assign specific roles to anyone involved in the grant-writing or fund-seeking process, and develop a system to keep track of your progress to make sure you don’t miss important deadlines that might kick your school out of the running.