by Kevin Ryan-Young

We often hear that there are many grant opportunities out there for public schools, but accessing them is a real challenge. To support schools and parent leaders in their search for grants, District 22’s Community Education Council formed a Grants Research Committee. On Saturday February 27, 2016, parent leaders from within and outside the district as well as school and district-wide administrators came together to share tips and strategies on seeking grants for schools.

The workshop was led by Committee Co-Chair Dr. Jackie Cody, who advised the group on the three basic types of grant opportunities for schools: government, foundations and banks, and private individuals and businesses. Dr. Cody suggested reaching out to the elected officials covering your school’s district – representatives in Congress, State Assembly and Senate members, Borough Presidents, and City Council members — to find out what type of funding is available through them, and then remaining in contact with the liaisons in their offices. For information about foundation grants, she pointed to the Foundation Center’s website as a source of information as well as National Education Association’s (see our Grants page for more information for grant seekers), and for banks, she suggests approaching your local bank directly to inquire about how they might support your school. Some banks, a principal noted, might provide volunteer hours in lieu of funds, so be sure to ask about their ability to help in nonfinancial ways too. Dr. Cody mentioned going directly to local businesses to solicit sponsorships and donations, and approaching managers at larger stores, such as Best Buy and Staples. She couldn’t stress enough the importance of building relationships across the board.

We also learned about a Target grant opportunity – if you didn’t know that Target provides money for field trips, you can read about the grant here. According to Target’s website, a number of NYC public schools have received funds for field trips through this program.

The group is planning to reconvene soon to answers parents’ and schools’ specific questions and provide more information on the grant seeking process. If you’d like to be invited to their next meeting and for specific questions, email the committee at [email protected]