Updated July 11, 2016

Technology Grants for Educators: 17 Resources for Future-Proof KidsThere is no denying that over the last several years, the role technology plays in our lives has changed in a major way. Computer-based technology is no longer supplemental in most of our lives, but rather a critical factor. Classrooms have been especially impacted by our ever-changing society, where education has shifted from knowing how to look up an entry in a hardbound encyclopedia to learning how to identify reliable sources of information on the Internet.

This evolution is further demonstrated by the ConnectED Initiative, a program established by President Obama and his administration to ensure that 99 percent of American students will have access to the technology they need in order to be prepared for the job market post-graduation. Government leaders seem to be realizing more and more how key a role technology plays in our lives – and therefore, how important it is to prepare today’s youth for the inevitable science-driven future.

The United States Executive and Legislative Branches aren’t the only ones getting on board with preparing tomorrow’s leaders today. There are many grant opportunities available for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educators and programs, whether you and your students dream of inventing the next great technology-based solution or you desire to build a foundation of tech knowledge to your team. This guide highlights many of the available grants that could help you reach your goals. You will also find information on how to get started on writing your grant proposal, as well as ideas on other options for landing the support you seek.

The future is technology, and the future is now – why not receive some assistance in taking yourself and your students there?

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Tips for Writing Your Grant Proposal

To be considered for a grant, you will need to provide information that demonstrates why your cause has more merit and value than another. This document is called a grant proposal. Different organizations have specific requirements on what content to include in your proposal, but regardless of whom you’re requesting funding from, there are a few basic tenets you should include. The following resources provide helpful information on creating a strong message to deliver to your intended grantor.

Identify your needs. Before you even begin looking for grants, try making a list of what exactly you’ll need from funders. This resource points out that the organizations awarding grant money often have very specific ideas about who they want to provide funds to and how they should be used. Having a clear idea of what you require to reach your goals will help you decipher which grants are likeliest to support your efforts.

Develop and outline a budget. Even though you may be applying for several grants in the hopes of covering your entire proposed budget, it is a good idea to include information on all of the areas in which your financing will be applied. For instance, if you have a goal of acquiring $5,000 in funding and apply for a $1,000 grant to cover part of it, your idea of how those funds could be used versus how the organization feels they should be used may differ, so don’t limit yourself by excluding aspects of your budgeting plan.

Have a timeline. Knowing how you will be spending your time and when you aspire to reach milestones can be as important to a grantor as your prospective budget. For many grants, a simple indication of a start and end date will suffice, but you may be required to be specific and give more frequent updates on your project’s status for larger amounts of funding.

Explain what you hope to achieve. There are likely other competitors going for the same grant you are, and there are usually a limited amount of award recipients. That means you’ve got to prove why you are going to have more outstanding results than your competition. Be specific but realistic about your intended accomplishments.

There are also many comprehensive guides to writing proposals. The Foundation Center offers a user-friendly step-by-step guide on the sections you’ll want to include in a successful grant proposal, and includes detailed information on suggested lengths for each section.

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Technology Grants to Help You in Your Teaching Journey

There are many grants available specifically for STEM educators. The following resources provide information on some of the most well-known grants for teachers in these roles, or for school districts who wish to bring new technologies to their classrooms. Be sure to check grantor webpages for specific requirements and deadline dates, as they may vary from year to year.

The NEA Foundation: Grants are awarded to teachers employed by a public school or secondary education institution in the amounts of either $2,000 or $5,000. Funds are intended to support students in their critical thinking capacities, which is often supported by advanced technologies.

Deadline: Accepted year-round; submissions reviewed February 1, June 1, and October 15

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams: STEM educators and recommended teams of 10 to 15 students can apply for up to $10,000 in their pursuit to invent a technological solution to an everyday problem. The idea behind this grant, which is funded by the Lemelson Foundation and awarded by the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is for teachers to lead their students to devise a solution and inspire minds to pursue further education in the field of technology.

Deadline: Mid-March for initial application; Early September for final application

Toshiba America Foundation: This grant is awarded to teachers of two different groups, kindergarten through fifth grade (in the amount of $1,000) and sixth through twelfth grades (amounts of up to $5,000). Applicants must demonstrate a desire to provide an innovative, technology-focused implementation to improving classroom learning for students.

Deadline: October 1 for K – 5; year-round for requests of less than $5,000, or August 1 and February 1 for $5,000 award level for 6 – 12

American Honda Foundation: The well-known motor company boasts over $32 million awarded to date to schools and community organizations. It provides grants to individual schools or school districts as a whole in amounts ranging from $20,000 to $75,000 with a focus on supporting STEM programs.

Deadline: February 1, May 1, August 1 and November 1

National Weather Association (NWA) Sol Hirsch Education Fund: These grants are awarded annually to educators of every school grade from elementary to high school who seek to teach students about meteorology. Applicants should propose a detailed plan for implementing an initiative that specifically promotes weather-related scientific education.

Deadline: Unspecified, with applications available in February

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation: STEM educators with a passion for space exploration can receive up to $250 in annual funding to launch their science curriculum. Teachers in kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms may apply by submitting a proposal for how their students will benefit from aeronautical- or other science-themed learning programs.

Deadline: Mid-November

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KLA-Tencor Foundation: This foundation provides direct funding or supplies to schools at a community level in support of increasing STEM students of all ages. Although it is not intended for one school to receive priority in funding over another, educators who are interested in impacting many schools in his or her community may apply.

Deadline: Year-round applications are accepted

Shell Foundation: With a focus on promoting education for careers in technical industries, Shell supports elementary, middle and high school math and science programs. The company also awards funds to qualifying university-level science programs and vocational and technical schools.

Deadline: Unspecified

 

Post-Secondary Grants From the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created by Congress in 1950 as a federal agency in support of scientific advancement by providing funding and research opportunities to college and university students and teachers. The following grants are provided by the NSF and are related to career and education exploration in STEM areas.

Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE): The primary goal of this program is to provide women pursuing an education in technical areas access to advanced technologies. It also aims to promote careers in STEM fields to women in order to increase diversity.

Deadline: Early October for letter of intent; Mid-January for full proposal

Advanced Technological Education: This program specifically targets two-year colleges. Funds are intended to promote fostering partnerships between educational institutions and career opportunities in STEM markets, as well as passageways from these institutions to four-year universities.

Deadline: Early October for full proposal

Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP): AGEP’s goal is to afford underserved groups the necessary tools for achieving success in STEM degrees at the graduate level and beyond. Some of the underrepresented groups it focuses on include minorities and those with physical or mental disabilities.

Deadline: Unspecified

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Talent Expansion Program: This program was designed to recruit more college-level students to follow a STEM career pathway. Educators with a plan to step up their school’s related programs are encouraged to apply.

Deadline: Early February

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Other Programs and Resources

Grants aren’t the only option educators have for funding their tech-ed programs. There are many ways to fundraise within your community and beyond, and programs available to help guide you in your success as a technology teacher. The following resources provide useful information on other ways of receiving funds for STEM programs or learning how to become a well-rounded STEM educator.

Grants for Teachers: There are many regionally-focused awards available in support of STEM educators. This guide lists many of the grants available by category, grade level or state and includes deadlines and anticipated award amounts.

Funding Factory: Turn your school’s old ink and toner cartridges into cash to support your school! This organization allows you to mail in approved recyclables and receive different levels of funds in return. You can also involve your students by asking them to bring redeemable items from home.

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF): This program invites high school STEM educators to continue their education by offering five-year fellowships with the goal of becoming a tech-teaching guru. If you are in the early years of your teaching career, this program’s mission is to provide you with a hands-on, technology-focused education you can share with your students.

Intel Teach Program US: The technology leader has worked with over 15 million teachers in 70 different countries to broaden their horizons in teaching STEM courses. The company provides online resources for teachers to use in the classroom to build a technological foundation for children of all ages.

DonorsChoose.org: Are you having trouble finding a grant that meets your needs, or difficulty in receiving an award for which you’ve applied? That’s why one teacher created DonorsChoose.org. This online community allows you to request a specific amount of money for whatever kind of learning you wish to bring to your classroom. Since its creation in 2000, over half a million teacher-created initiatives have been funded, with 1.75 million supporters from across the country.

Grants can provide opportunities that some educators and school districts may not otherwise have for advancing their team’s technology. With all of the resources available for funding your program, there’s no reason you should feel limited in your pursuits. Whatever idea you have on bringing new tech into the classroom, remember that just about every great scientific achievement came from someone with a simple idea – and a will to see it put into action.