Even though the economy has rebounded and tax rolls are starting to grow again, education funding is still being held to pre-Recession levels. Nationwide, per-pupil spending has decreased three years in a row.
To keep a certain level of innovation in the classroom, teachers and schools often turn to private grant sources – especially for new technology. Finding the right source can make your school’s language learning dreams come true!
But what are these sources and what are the easiest ways to tap in?
Foundations and corporations
Private education funding tends to come from two general sources: foundations and corporations.
Foundations tend to serve a particular geographic area or segment of the education landscape, such as a certain student population or subject area. The well-known names – Gates, MacArthur, Dell, etc. – come to mind. But there are many local foundations as well, and they are more interested in helping the local schools.
Corporations also tend to be interested in their local education institutions. After all, those students will become their future employees. Large corporations with a national presence sometimes do good work in education across the country, but it can be tough for an individual school or teacher to be noticed by them.
Schools and teachers have a variety of other private options to approach for funding, including well-known individual philanthropists that have shown interest in education projects in the past, the alumni of the particular school in question, and the school’s own PTA/PTO organization. PTA/PTOs have actually become a de facto funding source for many schools who experience funding shortfalls. Recently, many teachers have turned to online crowdfunding sites to fund specific projects.
How to get started
The first step is to take a realistic look at the amount of work that will be required to compete for a grant. If it seems like a lot, consider forming a committee to help spread the burden. You would like to have at least one person who is an experienced grant writer and, if the project involves technology, a tech savvy teacher who can provide the geeky details that the grant committee will probably want to see.
Next, find the grants that are available to you. There are plenty of resources online, including our own Funding page . For large projects, you can even bring in a consultant to help find funding.
Maximize your chances
For major projects it’s often beneficial to break up the spending into chunks. Foundations usually don’t want to be the sole source of funding, or are only interested in funding certain parts of the project that align with their goals. Make sure your project aligns with those goals and their history of giving.
Speaking of giving history, do as much research as possible. Private funders will often provide copies of successful applications from previous grant periods as well as very descriptive explanations of what they’re looking for. If your project doesn’t fit that history, move on to the next potential source.
For more information
The Rosetta Stone® Education team has gathered many more resources on our Funding page that can help you identify great sources of funding to make your 21st century language-learning dreams come true.