When it comes to spending money on students, teachers tend to be incredibly generous, paying out of pocket for all sorts of things. However, there are other sources of funding teachers can explore that could help cover the cost of classroom materials and supplies. You just have to know where to look.
Here are some places to start when looking for teacher grants and funding:
At the Local Level
Many districts work with local organizations that help support teachers. Where I work, we have a parent-teacher organization that raises funds for teachers. To use them, teachers just have to submit an application. Our community also has a foundation that awards grants to agencies serving the county, schools included.
Some states have educational service cooperatives that can be a great resource. They will often know about resources and opportunities other schools in your area are taking advantage of that you can as well. Some cooperatives also work with vendors to set up discounts or special offers for local districts.
And, if you have a specific request that fills a need, check in with your district’s business director to see if there is available funding that’s been earmarked for specific purposes. For example, some districts have received additional funding to support COVID-related initiatives. That could be used to address the loss of in-person instructional time if you have a proposal that falls into that category. Even if you don’t have a specific proposal, ask your district’s business director if they know of potential funding and grant opportunities you could be taking advantage of.
At the State Level
State department of education websites might feature grant or funding opportunities (click on your state here to find your DOE). And while you’re searching online, check out GrantWatch which provides grants to school districts searchable by state. Another resource is GetEdFunding, an easy-to-navigate search tool for educational grants.
At the National Level
The United States Department of Education has a grants division, with a database of grants you can search. They also have larger grant programs you can learn more about here.
There are quite a few organizations and companies that provide grants to teachers, such as the Bush Foundation, the NEA Foundation, Target Corporate Giving, Verizon and Walmart. There are also organizations and companies that support teachers, either by providing discounts or a platform through which others can donate:
- Donors Choose is a popular way for teachers to propose a project and get funding from individual outside donors.
- Creating an Amazon wish list allows you to ask for specific supplies. You can easily share the link with others, social media or email. Amazon also periodically hosts a #ClearTheList campaign, where they work to fulfill educator wish lists.
- Barnes & Noble offers a discount of 20% for purchases for classroom use (with some exclusions).
- ID.me is a site that compiles places where teachers can receive discounts.
- Media outlets will publish educator discount lists every year, like this one in 2021. Do a search to see if you can find an updated one.
Keep in mind that there are also educator grants specific to content areas. Those can sometimes be your best bet for finding funding specific to your position or instructional goals. Try searching terms like “grants for EL teachers,” “improving literacy grants” or “grants for teachers of the arts.”
Teachers have enough to worry about without paying for classroom expenses out of their own pocket. Consider dedicating some time to exploring grant and funding opportunities to help support the great work you’re doing in your classroom.
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