Teaching is a tough job. Educating young people is rewarding but frequently frustrating. Added to the teacher’s challenge is the common situation of inadequate budgets. Since teachers are typically very dedicated to their mission they often try to fund necessary equipment and supplies themselves. But there is a limit to how much they can do, especially on usual teacher salaries.
Fortunately there are grants for teachers to provide more support. They range from large to small and cover needs as diverse as professional development and caring for classroom pets. The teachers’ union, non-profit organizations and foundations, corporations and even individuals make these grants possible.
Though there’s lots of information out there it’s not easy to find just the right grant. Many sites claim to be about teacher grants but many of them turn out to be for schools or programs an individual teacher can’t apply for.
We save you time and frustration by sorting through the many grants and awards available. We have searched out those that are specific to teachers and present them in this article. We encourage you to find and apply for at least one – it can make a big difference in your classroom!
Discover your program today!
*Update May 2018*
If you’re a teacher or school with a project that fits in the category of research and technology you might want to check out a grant that could get you a grant providing you with a 3D Printer. Deadlines for applications occur quarterly as grants are typically provided eery quarter. You can apply for just one grant per year and include a link to your institution (e.g. school or lab). There is no specific deadline each quarter, they are received on a rolling basis. Projects must be submitted in English. You can fill out the application form online. More details are provided on the website of Formlabs, Inc.
UPdate March 2017 Did you know that credit unions sometimes have special perks and even grants for teachers and schools? For example, in Northern Virginia you could be in luck. The Apple Federal Credit Union awards grants to teachers and to schools through its Education Foundation. You can apply for a grant for things as basic as classroom supplies and/or for special projects you want to do with your students. It’s easy to become a member of the credit union: faculty, staff and students are typically eligible as is anyone who lives or does other activities (e.g. school, church, volunteer work) in Prince William County.
News November 2016: The Department of Education recently announced $245 million awarded to support new and expanded public charter schools across the United States. The money is particularly aimed at helping those students who live in lower income areas. About eight state agencies received a total of $177 million and $68 million when to charter-school operators. (Charter Schools are publicly funded but usually privately run). While these are not grants that go directly to teachers, they do create new openings for teachers as most involved starting new charter schools or expanding existing ones. the states with education departments receiving these awards include Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and California. There are fifteen operators of charter schools which serve low income families that received part of the new funding. They plan to use the funds to support close to 500 new and existing schools.
Don’t Forget Tax Deductions This isn’t a grant but it can put a little extra money in your pocket — and every little bit helps, right? When you are filling out your tax return remember that you can deduct up to $250 in your out of pocket expense for expenses related to your classroom. If your spouse is also a teacher you can deduct $500, but you can’t take more than $250 for either of you.
News April 2016 Thinking about becoming a teacher? If you’re a math and/or science major you might get a big boost. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded a $22.5 million grant to UTeach. UTeach adds an education training element to these majors so that they can get enough credits for a teaching certificate while they are getting their bachelors’ degree. This way they don’t have to first get their undergraduate degree and then to on to education training, thus becoming a teacher faster. The organization has also in the past received $40 million from the National Match and Science Initiative - a nonprofit. And the federal government has raised more than $30 million to train 100,000 teachers of science and math i 10 years. So look for a college where UTeach is involved to get your degree and teaching certificate!
If STEM teaching Iscience, thecnology, engineering and mathematics) is your thing you should be aware of the Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. Some assume that this program is only for college and graduate studies professors but in fact its is for those teaching these topics in grades K through 12. Sponsored by the Department of Energy along with the National Science Foundation and NASA it names a number of “Fellows” each year. These Fellows spend most of the next year working in the government in agencies or congressional offices sharing their subject and classroom knowledge and experience. This is a great opportunity for the Fellows and for participating agencies and offices. To learn more check out the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Program on the Department of Energy website.
Grants can come from many different places and it’s worth checking out all of them. The most familiar to current teachers may be those available from the largest teachers’ union in the U.S.: the NEA (National Education Association). In fact the NEA is the largest or any “professional employee” organization in the country . Their NEA Foundation over the past decade has given out more than $7 million in about 4500 grants to educators.
Student Achievement Grants encourage programs that involve critical thinking and problem solving related to standards-based topics. They can be used for supplies and materials along with technology, transportation and even scholars-in-residence programs. They typically fund programs for one year. The grants are available to those teaching in the U.S. in grades preK through 12. They particularly favor applications from teachers who have fewer than seven years of teaching experience.
Learning and Leadership Grants are designated for two major purposes. The first is to support public school educators in the area of their own professional development. That may be through summer study or research projects. The second purpose is for collegial study and may involve groups, research, and mentoring activities for those teachers or staff in new positions.
Grants awarded are typically $2000 for individuals or as much as $5000 for groups in the collegial study area. Applications are accepted and grants awarded three times a year, mid-month February, June and October.
Institute of Education Sciences Grants The Institute of Education Sciences has put out an announcement about a grant. The minimum amount of the award is $25,000 and could go as high as $200,000. They are looking specifically for projects involving research, evaluation and statistics which would make a difference in the goals of the organization. Mainly they want to be able to provide the public as well as leaders in education of practices and other factors that improve learning and make learning opportunities available to more people. There will not be a lot of awards so if you are interested you should act quickly as the deadline is March 8, 2016. Learn more about this and other IES grants at ies.ed.gov.
Many grants for teachers are offered by non-government and non-union organizations. It can be a changing landscape as some grants come and go, but others are awarded annually so you can schedule your efforts. Following are a number of opportunities offered on an ongoing basis:
International Reading Association (IRA) Teacher Recognition Grant The IRA awards the Reggie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant each year to acknowledge the work of teachers in the areas of reading and writing. You can nominate someone or apply for the award directly for yourself. The award is for elementary public school teachers at schools with at least 60% free or reduced cost lunch. The amount of the award is $2500 and is given to a teacher who has provided significant inspiration and creativity in encouraging students in reading and writing.
Pets in the Classroom awards are for teachers from pre-K through the 8th grade for the purchase of pets or maintenance of existing classroom pets. Small pets and aquariums qualify; no animals may be used for any research or experiments. The awards come in several forms including purchase rebates ($75-125) for pets or supplies, cash ($50) for maintenance of existing pets, or coupons or certificates for purchases at particular stores. Applying is simple: you simply register on the petsintheclassroom.org site, choose the type of grant you want, agree to the terms and fill out a simple application. You will generally be notified within 4 weeks if you win a grant.
Adobe Systems Inc. offers grants to teachers at Title1 schools. Its program is associated to the White House initiative called ConnectEd. Their awards include software as well as access to some great professional training.
Toshiba America Foundation offers Math and Science Grants. Their goal is to support teachers and teams of students to develop creative approaches to projects. They particularly favor activities that allow students to come up with their own questions and find answers for them.
Donors Choose.org is an online charity that helps teachers turn great ideas into reality. If you are a public school teacher you can post your specific need for materials for your classroom. Projects are beautifully displayed and anyone can donate to help. K-12 schools in the U.S. 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible to participate. 70% of projects are funded successfully and it costs nothing for teachers to use. The organization is an official charity and all donations are tax-deductible. It’s a great way for everyone from individuals to major corporations to support public education.
Donors Choose has also partnered with the NEA (discussed above), which supports its members by matching funds up to $250 for projects they post. To receive the matching funds member teachers should select “NEA” as an affiliation in their teacher account on donorschoose.org.
Other Resources: Most if not all states also sponsor programs to support teachers. The best way to find them is to do a simple search with “teacher grants” and the name of your state and the current year.