The Overdeck Family Foundation and the Simons Foundation just announced the launch of Science Everywhere, an initiative to catalyze math and science learning beyond school walls, in partnership with DonorsChoose.org. The foundations are providing nearly half a million dollars to match donations from the public to support creative, hands-on project ideas submitted by educators to the DonorsChoose.org platform. At the end of the challenge, a panel of judges led by astronaut Leland Melvin will award five $5,000 prizes to the best ideas.
There are several steps and requirements, so make sure to carefully read the challenge guidelines. Here’s an overview:
1. Find a public school teacher to partner with.
- Submissions must come from them, so this is a great opportunity to build relationships!
- Read more about DonorsChoose.org’s eligibility requirements.
2. Propose an innovative science or math project that takes place outside of school hours.
- Review the rubric to ensure that your project is competitive.
3. Submit it to DonorsChoose.org ASAP.
- There are specific steps in the submission process, be sure follow them!
- Only funding requests for project materials are eligible, not staff time.
- Total costs must be kept under $2,000.
4. Start fundraising!
- Tell parents, partners, and community supporters all about your proposed project and get them to donate via the DonorsChoose.org platform.
- If you reach half of your funding goal through donations from the public, then you’ll receive a one-to-one match from the Foundations. That means up to another $1,000!
5. Implement the project in your afterschool program.
6. Capture student impacts for a chance to win an additional $5,000.
- Submit the required pre- and post-surveys by the end of this academic year.
- Five winning projects will be announced September 5, 2017.
Apply soon—donations will be matched only until funding runs out! Again, be sure to read the full set of submission guidelines here.
By Dan Gilbert
We here at the Afterschool Alliance are incredibly excited by the opportunity to administer the New York Life Foundation’s new Aim High grant program. This May, 18 awards will be made to out-of-school time programs serving disadvantaged youth. The Aim High program is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing investment in middle school OST programs to help economically disadvantaged eighth-graders reach ninth grade on time.
Over the years, the Afterschool Alliance team has learned a lot about what makes for the strongest applications for funding opportunities like this, and what pitfalls it is important for applicants to avoid. Last week, we hosted a webinar to help you learn more about this incredible new grant opportunity and give insights into the application strategies that are most likely to make your application stand out from the crowd. We also created this handy FAQ document for you to help answer any questions you may have about the grants.
The grant application period doesn’t close until Friday, February 17th, so there’s still time to put together a great application! Below you can find some tips on how to put together the best application possible, and some reminders and resources that you may find helpful when preparing your application:
1. All questions have a purpose.
Keep in mind that every open-ended question is really an opportunity for you to explain and illustrate the value of your program. It’s important to pay close attention to the prompts, and make sure to read the full RFP before beginning the questions to gain a better understanding of what reviewers will be looking for. This will also help you make sure you don’t end up repeating information in different sections.
2. Provide lots of details.
Details matter! We rely on your application to give reviewers a complete and concrete picture of your program and how it impacts the lives of the youth you serve. Providing quantitative and qualitative data is especially important. Furthermore, it is important not to assume that reviewers know anything in particular about your program, your curriculum, or your community; make sure to provide all the details that we may need to understand why your program is such a good fit for this grant opportunity.
3. Read, re-read, have someone else read, then read again.
Download the Request for Proposals in order to review the questions and draft your answers first before filling out the application form online. This is particularly important because you can’t save your answers and go back to them at a later time through the online submission form that we use. The second is that it’s always helpful to see if your answers fit together in a cohesive narrative about the nominated program and fully answer questions about the program. The third reason, which may seem minor but is an important one, is to catch spelling and grammatical errors.
This month, the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) is seeking afterschool program partners to join its Digital Learning Challenge. Selected programs will receive awards of up to $100,000 to support their work developing teens’ 21st century skills using digital media. Awardees will participate in a two-year learning community that will “explore how digital media can promote the development of skills to prepare the next generation for success.”
What is the Digital Learning Challenge?
Over the next two years, the Digital Learning Challenge will bring together the selected afterschool programs, an evaluation team, human resource professionals, and digital product developers and distributors to “explore what it means to be a prepared and skilled 21st century citizen.” The learning community “will unpack the practices and programs of top afterschool organizations that support teens as they build, produce, and remix media, and how these activities connect to opportunities and obstacles faced beyond the program.”
The goal of the initiative is to engage youth in more meaningful learning experiences. Through this work with afterschool programs, SCE hopes to analyze and articulate best practices to share with educators, informal learning practitioners, and others with a stake in using digital tools.
To participate, afterschool programs will need to make a two-year commitment, including three in-person convenings and three online meetings between June 2017 and September 2018. SCE will cover all travel and convening expenses related to participation.
By Dan Gilbert
The New York Life Foundation has created a new $1.95M fund to support middle school afterschool, summer or expanded learning programs serving disadvantaged youth over the next three years. This year, the new Aim High grant program will provide $750,000 to support 18 awards nationwide—take a look to see which opportunity is a good fit for you, and apply!
- $100,000 over two years – 4 awards to be made to organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or greater
- $50,000 over two years - 4 awards to be made to organizations with annual budgets of between $250,000 and $500,000
- $15,000 one-year grant – 10 awards will be made to programs that demonstrate promising family engagement strategies run by organizations with annual budgets of more than $150,000
Grant funds may be used for technical assistance, enhancing direct service activities, and/or program expansion. Applicants for the two-year grants will need to describe how programs support youth in the transition to the ninth grade, specifically around indicators of success such as on-time promotion; school attendance rates; improved behavior, grades and test scores; and/or the development of social and emotional skills.
The New York Life Foundation invests in middle school OST programs to help economically disadvantaged eighth-graders get to ninth grade on time. Research has shown that for disadvantaged students, more learning time in the form of high-quality afterschool, expanded-day, and summer programs leads to greater achievement, better school attendance, and more engaged students.
The Foundation has invested more than $240 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations since its founding in 1979, including supporting organizations that provide nearly 500,000 middle school youth with afterschool and summer programming. Foundation grants have supported an additional 6 million hours of OST programming. The new grant opportunities provide a way for the Foundation to support smaller programs in communities across the nation.
The Afterschool Alliance is administering the grant program on behalf of the Foundation. A panel of external reviewers will assess applicants. Awardees will be notified in May 2017.
Questions? Email Dan Gilbert at email@example.com.
Are you or your afterschool program concerned about preventing youth violence in your community? Then STRYVE (Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere) might be the right tool for you. STRYVE is an online space with everything practitioners and their team members need to create, edit, and save a customized youth violence prevention plan. Through STRYVE, you can access video examples from other communities working in violence prevention that provide real-life examples for the strategies discussed.
STRYVE is a national initiative led by the Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), located at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The initiative provides direction at the national, state, and local levels on how to prevent youth violence with a public health approach, action that is comprehensive and driven by multiple sectors, and the use of prevention strategies that are based on the best available research evidence.
What is youth violence?
STRYVE defines youth violence as “when young people aged 10 to 24 years intentionally use physical force or power in order to threaten or cause physical or psychological harm to others.” Youth violence is a general term that includes many behaviors, such as fighting, bullying, threats with weapons, gang-related violence, and perpetrating homicide.
Why does youth violence matter?
- Young people are dying prematurely and getting hurt at alarming rates.
- Youth cannot grow into productive citizens and a developed workforce if they are unable to learn.
- Youth violence and crime hurt everyone in a community—youth, adult residents, and businesses.
- Costs of youth violence limit resources to achieve community goals.
By Jen Rinehart
Sustainability: it’s an ongoing struggle in the nonprofit world. Afterschool and summer learning programs are no strangers to writing sustainability plans and working tirelessly toward this goal. For many, sustainability is elusive. For all, it’s hard work.
In November, I had the opportunity to hear from three 21st CCLC-funded afterschool providers in Colorado who have achieved success in sustaining at least portions of their afterschool and summer programs.
One of those project directors, Maria Ortiz, served as an Afterschool Ambassador in 2013 and manages a program in Poudre School District. Located in Fort Collins, Colo., the district is home to one of the first 21st CCLC-funded afterschool programs that I ever visited as a program officer at the U.S. Department of Education.
I remember being impressed during that first visit back around 2001, and hearing Maria speak again recently only strengthened my initial impression. Maria has been part of the afterschool program in Fort Collins from the beginning and has done a tremendous job finding and cultivating local champions and applying for new grants to keep the program going for more than 15 years!
Tips for sustainability success
Maria and her two counterparts, Clarice Fortunato of Englewood School District and Jovita Schiffer of Boulder Valley School District, offered many valuable insights, including these eight key sustainability tips:
The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the latest installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a blog series by Mike Burke, Director of Development at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs. Check out the first, second, third and fourth installments.
|Photo via Flickr.|
As the calendar year draws to a close, many of you are busy with year-end fundraising campaigns. Because many people wait until December to make their tax-deductible donations, the year-end appeal is a great opportunity to engage your donors with highlights of the past year, as well as an opportunity to look forward to the coming year. If your afterschool program reached significant milestones, or has exciting plans to expand or begin a new initiative in the coming year, the year-end appeal is the perfect time to ask your donors to continue and/or increase their support.
In the digital age, there are many different approaches to how you can go about conducting your year-end appeal. Don’t discount the traditional direct-mail letter—it’s still an incredibly effective method for raising valuable funds. Some programs may opt instead to engage donors through email or social media.
Whether you are engaging your donors through direct-mail, via email, or using a combination of both, there are several key things to remember as you wrap up your year-end campaign.
Compare your year-end appeal to other campaigns
You’re probably receiving a lot of appeals from other organizations in both your mailbox and your email inbox. Take some time to examine their requests for support and ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you like in their request for support?
- Is there anything in their messaging that rubs you the wrong way?
- Do you feel connected to their mission? If so, what makes their messaging effective? If not, what are they lacking?
- What makes their appeal stand out from so many others?
- The bottom line: Would you give to them?
Then, take what you’ve learned and use it to refine your own outreach.
By Rachel Clark
|Des Moines Public Schools students showed off their artistic talents at their 2016 Lights On Afterschool celebration.|
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is currently seeking applicants for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. According to the Committee, the award is “the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities.”
12 outstanding programs from a wide range of communities across the country will be recognized with a $10,000 grant, an invitation to accept the award at the White House, and a full year of capacity-building and communications support to ensure their programming will benefit youth for years to come.
The short answer: many afterschool programs!
The eligibility criteria specify that applicants must operate as ongoing, regularly-scheduled programs for children and youth outside of the school day, using one or more disciplines of the arts or humanities as the core content of their programs, and must concentrate on underserved children and youth. The programming must involve children and youth as active participants, rather than only as an audience for arts or humanities experiences, and must integrate arts and humanities education with youth development goals.
Additionally, programs must have been operational since January 2013 for a minimum of five years, including 2017, and must be a 501(c)(3) organization, state or local government entity, or federally recognized tribal community or tribe.