By Maria Leyva
General Motors (GM) is investing in education programs that improve the presence and persistence of students studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)—and they are offering grants of $25,000 or more to do just that! GM is committed to “high-quality and relevant [STEM] learning, both inside and outside the classroom.”
Proposals should help scale strong evidence-based, innovative solutions to achieve the following outcomes:
- Increase the number of students who earn a degree in STEM that matches market needs
- Increase the presence, achievement, and persistence levels for underrepresented minorities in STEM field
- Increase the supply of qualified teachers for teacher training in STEM-related subjects
How to apply
Applicants must first submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by May 12, 2017. Invitations to submit a full proposal are based on the merit of the LOI. Only 501(c)3 nonprofits are eligible, and all applicants must take an Eligibility Quiz. Find more information and application instructions on GM’s website.
Don’t forget, the Afterschool Alliance has many resources that can help you write your LOI and proposal! See our general research page and the Afterschool STEM Hub for STEM-specific messaging and supporting data.
More about General Motors' philantropic giving
GM is committed to fostering smart, safe, and sustainable communities around the world. Through its community investments, GM provides grantees with the tools and resources to push for meaningful change and find transformative solutions to make progress towards shared outcomes. Overall, philanthropic giving is guided by the following principles:
- Support for recognized local, regional, national, and global charities who provide unique programming and/or community outreach initiatives
- Broadening strategic partnership opportunities directed toward GM giving focus areas
- Supporting work that leverages GM’s commitment to empowering underserved communities around the world
The Best Buy Foundation is looking to support your afterschool and summer program that helps youth develop 21st-century technology skills. Their mission is to “provide teens with places and opportunities to develop technology skills that will inspire future education and career choices.” The Best Buy Foundation’s annual Community Grants are awarded to programs that provide computer programming, digital imaging, music production, robotics, and mobile app development experience to students ages 13-18. The Best Buy Foundation provides one-year grants up to $10,000, with the average grant award of $5,000.
Who is eligible?
To qualify for the Best Buy Community Grants your organization must provide direct services to teens ages 13-18, have 501(c)(3) status or be a public agency with tax-exempt status, and be within 50 miles of a Best Buy store, Best Buy Mobile location, Best Buy Distribution Center, Best Buy Service Center, or Best Buy’s corporate campus. Programs can find the closest Best Buy using the Best Buy Store Locator. Programs that have Best Buy employee volunteers will receive special consideration.
How to apply
Applications are available starting April 1, and grant proposals are due by 5 p.m. EDT on May 19. Programs will be notified of the Foundation’s decision August 31, 2017. Visit the community grants page to read more and apply!
For other funding opportunities for science, technology, and engineering programs check out the Afterschool Alliance’s STEM Funding Page!
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 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.
After two years of reading nominations for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award, the staff at the Afterschool Alliance has learned a lot about the work accomplished by the afterschool field. We’ve seen students becoming reporters and editors in a Dane County, Wisconsin, afterschool program that focuses on publishing student-run newspapers for the area. We’ve discovered an afterschool program in Atlanta, Georgia, that works with the area’s immigrant and refugee population, providing one-on-one support and a literacy curriculum designed for English language learners to ensure that students are academically prepared to enter high school.
We’ve also learned the qualities shared by strong nomination forms, and the mistakes commonly made by nominators. For these reasons, as well as to help answer frequently asked questions about the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award (still accepting nominations!), we hosted a webinar on Nov. 10. In the webinar, we shared insights on the award process, answered audience questions, and offered tips to filling out the nomination form.
The call for nominations doesn’t close until Dec. 16, so you still have time to nominate a program! Here are three tips to consider from the webinar before getting started:
1. Be an advocate for your program.
How can you differentiate your program from the other programs that are being nominated? Think about how your program is helping meet the needs of your students, parents and/or community. Is there something about the community the program serves that should be highlighted? Is there strong data that demonstrates the positive impact of the program? There are a number of open-ended questions in the nomination form; use each question as an opportunity to highlight for reviewers the role that the program is playing to help its students. Be an advocate for your program and make the strongest case possible to help reviewers recognize its value.
The Puffin Foundation West seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and voices often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to race, gender, or social philosophy. To achieve that goal, the organization offers grants for arts projects that discuss a wide range of social and civil justice issues.
A grant from Puffin Foundation West could provide valuable support to an afterschool program seeking to inform the local community about an important issue through the arts. Issues that could be addressed include food insecurity, peace, prisons, discrimination, race, culture, sexual orientation, trafficking, global warming, environmental protection, nuclear proliferation, poverty, gender issues, racial profiling, immigration, bullying, violence in schools, homelessness, gun control, animal rights, and more.
2016 Puffin grantees included the following:
- ArtSparks is a nonprofit that sends professional teams of dance instructors and musicians to work with 900 third grade students in the Cuyahoga Falls and Barberton City, Ohio school districts.
- The Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition’s (MCC) Changing Minds Campaign raises positive visibility of the accomplishments of people who have mental illness. Each year, the MCC holds a celebration at the Massachusetts State House in Boston to recognize companies for taking action to diversify their workforce by hiring people who have mental illness.
- Columbus Dance Theatre offers full or partial scholarship classes to young men and boys in central Ohio, in an effort to encourage the development of men in dance. Classes consist of ballet, fitness training, modern dance, jazz, partnering, and repertoire.
- Play Us Forward seeks to overcome the socioeconomic barriers in learning how to play the violin by providing instruction and instruments at no cost to the student or student’s family.
You can find the full list of grantees on the Puffin Foundation West website. You must be a permanent resident or citizen of the United States to be eligible for the award, and must be applying for a project in the United States.