What are grants?

Grants are a sum of money provided by a private or public entity for a specific project or purpose. There is almost always a proposal or application process involved in obtaining a grant. Grants are typically characterized by rules, including eligibility rules dictating who is allowed to apply and when and how the funds are to be spent.

How do I write grants for my school?

The Office of Grant Development can help you with that. Successful school grant-winners suggest having school staff and/or parents apply for at least one grant monthly throughout the year. All grants must be used to support projects supported by the school principal.

OGD offers a variety of support services for anyone pursuing grants including:

  • Publishing lists of grants for which schools are eligible to apply
  • Conducting “Grantwriting 101” workshops
  • Providing editorial assistance and other advice

Do I have to inform the Central Office of my school’s plan to raise money, whether through grants or fundraising?

That depends upon how much you’re seeking to raise/receive and a few other factors. SRC policy states that any District school or office pursuing more than $100,000 must contact the Office of Grant Development. We strategically coordinate District-wide grant-seeking efforts to provide support and to ensure grant seekers are not competing with other District entities.

If you are pursuing a smaller grant, you are not necessarily required to contact any central office, but you are encouraged to contact OGD. OGD grant writers have learned from experience and they are eager to share best practices. If you are awarded any grant, regardless of size, you must notify the OGD. Review Guidelines for additional information.

We’ve formed a nonprofit/Friends of/Home & School Association/PTA/local civic association. Do we have to contact the District about our plans?

It depends on what your group wants to do. In some cases — if you’re raising money for a school’s capital improvements or for a program that will directly involve students, for example — a legal agreement with the District is required. Please note that all groups from outside the District must file an Intent to Apply form with OGD before undertaking any projects.

But even if your project doesn’t require contacting the District, doing so often proves beneficial. If your group is raising money for an after school sports program, for example, the team at the OGD may know of existing opportunities and will be able to share grant writing best practices. They’ll also be able to connect you with the Office of Athletics for additional support.

My school doesn’t have a nonprofit or any organization helping us raise money for school projects. What do you suggest?

Partnering with an existing, independent local nonprofit can provide many benefits. Contact the Office of Strategic Partnerships to find a local organization/group looking for a school partner.

If my group wins a grant, how quickly will we get the money?

That depends on the funder. We’ve seen some funders take a few month to a year to deliver a grant, so keep that in mind when planning a project. The original grant opportunity instructions should contain this information. If it’s still unclear, contact the funder.

For more information please download our Guide to Fundraising and Grantwriting for Schools.