Insight Grants

2016 Carol M. White PEP grants coming soon!

The Carol M. White Physical Education Program–also know as the PEP grant–will be holding what is almost certain to be its last competition this spring. This is because the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which goes into effect in 2017, did not include PEP as an authorized program. Congress did, however, appropriate $47 Million to PEP for 2016, and PEP is still authorized for this year. Insight was able to confirm with US ED PEP Program Manager Carlette KyserPegram a little over a month ago that US ED does plan to hold a PEP grant competition in 2016.

For months now the US Department of Education’s Forecast of Funding Opportunities has indicated PEP may open on or around 3/15/2016 with applications due on or around 5/13/2016. While those dates could change at any time, and we won’t know for certain when the application period will be until the actual RFP is released, this information suggests the application period could open as soon as this coming Tuesday. Therefore, organizations interested in applying should begin preparing immediately, if they aren’t already doing so.

PEP is always very competitive, with just 5-18% of applicants nationwide receiving awards depending on the competition year. Here are a few reasons why PEP is expected to be even more competitive than usual in 2016:

  • Due to PEP not being included as an authorized program under ESSA, 2016 will almost certainly be the last time ever that PEP will be funded. Many districts will be looking to apply this year since it will be their last chance.
  • Since PEP cannot receive funding after 2016, US ED was considering applying a forward funding approach to this year’s awards. If that happens, that would mean that the applicants selected through the competition would have all of their grant years funded out of the 2016 appropriation, rather than just the first year which is the usual approach. This means each award would cost the 2016 PEP appropriation the full project period cost rather than the just the first year cost. Ultimately, this would mean fewer total awards could be made.
  • Fewer funds are available in total than in previous years because the Congressional appropriation was lower than in most PEP years at $47 Million total compared to the $70-80 Million total for most of the program’s past years.
  • The last PEP competition was held 3 years ago in 2013. The last set of new awards were made 2 years ago in 2014, but only high-scoring but non-winning applicants from the 2013 were eligible for consideration. Many districts have literally waited years for a chance to apply, and some of them have been preparing for most of that time.

Preparation will be critical to applications being highly competitive!

If you’re not too familiar with PEP, here are the basics:

PEP exists to support physical activity and nutrition education programs that help K-12 students meet or exceed state PE standards.

As of the most recently concluded competition, PEP grants could be 1, 2, or 3 years in length with award sizes of up to $750,000 per year. Matching is required at 10% of the total project cost in Year 1, and 25% of the total project cost per year in Years 2 and 3. Matching may be inkind and/or cash. PEP grants must adhere to a supplement not supplant rule.


Will your district be applying for PEP this year? Don’t miss out! For 16 years, PEP has been the biggest and best-fit funding source for PE, physical activity, and nutrition programming for schools and community-based organizations serving school-age kids. While the competition will be tough, this year’s competition is your “last chance” opportunity to obtain a PEP grant. So start preparing now to submit a stellar application.

If you’re interested in grant writing or editing-only assistance, please contact us. Insight has a strong track record with PEP. The Insight Team includes several writers who have each won many PEP grants over the years. I myself have written 24 and edited an additional 46 winning PEP grants (70 total) for districts around the country.

Good luck!

-Rosalie Mangino-Crandall

Insight Client New London Public Schools of CT Awarded US ED Full Service Community School (FSCS) Grant

We are thrilled that New London Public Schools of New London, Connecticut was recently awarded a Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) Grant through the U.S. Department of Education! New London originally applied to the FY 2014 program and was awarded funds in FY 2015 when awards were made “down the slate.” The Insight Team worked with key New London staff and administrative members to develop and write the comprehensive proposal. Funding for Year 1 is expected to be $497,307 and the 5-Year projected amount is anticipated to be $2,434,535.

The New London project, titled “Project Connect,” is a five-year service provision and coordination FSCS initiative designed in partnership with multiple community organizations, including: Connecticut College; United States Coast Guard Academy; New England Science and Sailing; Connecticut Science Center; Child and Family Agency of New London; Child Nutrition Program of New London; Appalachian Mountain Club Youth Opportunities Program; and New London Youth Affairs.

Project Connect is strategically designed to address four primary gaps faced by a highly vulnerable, at-risk youth with a primary overarching goal: To provide and ensure access to comprehensive services that improve the academic, health, and social outcomes of students.

Gap 1: The current academic program is insufficiently intense to facilitate academic standards

Gap 2: Lack of student engagement

Gap 3: Lack of parental/family engagement, involvement and parent services

Gap 4: Inadequate awareness/utilization of comprehensive services that support student achievement

The FSCS grant program has a 20% matching requirement and Ed Sweeney, Alison Burdick, and the staff at New London did a great job working to get commitments from community partners. The value of partner donations is $159,000 per year and $795,000 over 5 years! This is an outstanding example of a school engaging community partners to put together a competitive application and ultimately a strong, effective, community-changing project!


Grant Opportunity: Skills for Success (New Program Through ED)

A new grant program through the U.S. Department of Education titled “Skills for Success” is opening this week (6/11/15).

“The Skills for Success Program supports Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and their partners in implementing, evaluating, and refining tools and approaches for developing the non-cognitive skills of middle-grades students in order to increase student success. Grants provide funding for the implementation, evaluation, and refinement of existing tools and approaches (e.g. digital games, growth mindset classroom activities, experiential learning opportunities) that integrate the development of students’ non-cognitive skills into classroom-level activities and existing strategies designed to improve schools.”

The program has two absolute priorities:

Developing Non-Cognitive Skills in Middle-Grades Students and Supporting High-Need Students

Deadline: July 29th, 2015

Awards: 4 to 5 awards are expected to be made, with awards having an average size of $500,000

For complete information, look for the RFP to be available through the Forecast of Funding Page under the Office of Innovation and Improvement. The Federal Register announcement can be viewed here.

Grant Opportunities: US Department of Justice Mentoring Funding

The U.S. Department of Education’s  Prevention News Digest for 5/1/2015 stated:

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has reposted the following fiscal year 2015 funding solicitations with a new deadline of June 23, 2015:

  • Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative. This solicitation supports organizations as they strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities with local subawardees and/or other mentoring organizations. Mentoring activities include direct one-on-one, group, peer, or a combination of these types of mentoring services for at-risk and undeserved youth populations. Applications are due by June 23, 2015.
  • Mentoring for Youth: Underserved Populations. This solicitation will support mentoring services for underserved populations, including youth with disabilities, youth in foster care, and lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning youth (LGBTQ). Applications are due by June 23, 2015.

Visit OJJDP’s funding page for more information about these solicitations.

Sign up to receive the ED prevention news digest by email here.

January 2015 PEP Grant Program Update and Additonal Grant Opportunities

The 2015 federal budget was finalized in mid-December. The US Department of Education’s (ED) Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP grant program) was allocated $47 Million. In communications we recently had with the PEP Program Manager, Carlette KyserPegram, we learned that the amount appropriated by Congress for 2015 was NOT enough to make new PEP grants in 2015. So ED will not be holding a PEP competition in 2015 and does not expect to make any new PEP grant awards in 2015. Continuation awards for existing PEP grant winners are scheduled to be funded for 2015. It is far too soon to say what this means for PEP in 2016 and the future, but for this year, those who planned on applying for PEP will not be able to do so.

Although this is disappointing news, we would encourage potential applicants to consider other programs.

General Mills and the American Dietetic Association partner to offer the foundation-funded Champions for Healthy Kids grants which are specifically for nutrition and physical activity programs. These are smaller grants of $20,000 each. The application period has already opened, and applications are due 1/23/2015. You need to have a registered dietitian on board prior to application (that person will actually be the official applicant on behalf of your organization), although how the RD participates in your project is completely up to you, and he/she can be paid with grant funds for his/her role if needed. General Mills likes to see a wide reach, so if you go for that one, think about what you could do with $20,000 that includes at least one physical activity piece and one nutrition piece (with an RD serving at least as an advisor if not playing a more direct role) that would reach all of your kids and maybe even others. This grant focuses on ages 2-20, but you can have a secondary reach to families if you want to, as long as ages 2-18 are the primary audience. Champions grants are sometimes given to school-based programs operating during and around the school day but are most often given to programs operating at other times—programs that require support because they are clearly outside of the typical school budget.

AstraZeneca’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health is a foundation-funded grant program. AZ will accept applications February 2-26, 2015. This year, grants will range from $150,000-$180,000 for one year. One exciting element of the AZ grant is that, at least to this point, there hasn’t been an age range restriction. So you could focus solely on your kids, parents and community members, both, the elderly, or another population all together. Similar to General Mills Champions grants, though, AstraZeneca tends to be less of a fit for most PE class- and school-day-focused projects and more of a fit for out-of-school time and community-focused projects.

If you have out-of-school time aims and/or aims that touch parents, staff, and/or community members, General Mills or AstraZeneca grants may be options for you this year. Both grants are highly competitive, so definitely think of creative project activities you might propose to be as competitive as possible if you want to apply.

As additional news and opportunities surface throughout the year, we’ll be posting about them. As always, if you’d like to talk with us about a potential project or application and would like to inquire about our grant writing, editing, or evaluation services, please contact us.


2015 U.S. Department of Education Funding Forecast Updated (December 30, 2014)

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has updated its Forecast of Funding Opportunities under the Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 several times since the beginning of November. The last update occurred 12/30/2014, although communications with grant Program Managers have shown that not all information has been updated yet. Be sure to visit the link to the Forecast to get the full details, but also contact the Program Managers to confirm all information prior to acting. The Forecast is an evolving document, and the federal budget was just settled in mid-December, so there hasn’t been time for it to be fully reflected on the Forecast yet.

We’ve broken down some key takeaways from some of the grant programs we specialize in here:

  • Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) – We’ve hear back from ED and there will not be a new PEP competition in 2015 despite indications to the contrary on the current Forecast. For more information and alternative grant opportunities to consider see are 2015 PEP grant update post.
  • Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Programs – This program will fund “down the slate” in 2015. 2014 applicants should pay attention to updates on the program and be sure the email they used for their project is still in use and frequently checked. Awards will be made on or before 9/30/2015.
  • School Climate Transformation Grant – This program will fund “down the slate” in 2015. 2014 applicants should pay attention to updates on the program and be sure the email they used for their project is still in use and frequently checked.
  • Project Prevent Grant Program – This program will fund “down the slate” in 2015. 2014 applicants should pay attention to updates on the program and be sure the email they used for their project is still in use and frequently checked.
  • Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools TA Grant Program – This program estimates 5 awards in the amount of $500,000 based on the Forecast.
  • Full-Service Community Schools – This program’s information was previously updated with 10 awards with an estimated average size of $500,000 expected. Per our communication with the Program Manager, while down-the-slate funding is not yet indicated on the Forecast for this program, ED has not yet determined whether new awards will be made down the slate or if a new competition will be held in 2015.

Although there are no estimated dates for the programs mentioned it is helpful to see what programs ED expects to make awards for in 2015. As updates happen, we’ll be updating our blog as well as InsightGrants on twitter.

ED Press Release: U.S. Department of Education Announces Awards of Over $70 Million to Improve School Climate and Keep Students Safe

The U.S. Department of Education has announced funding awards through four new grant programs designed to help keep students safe and improve learning environments. These programs are School Climate Transformation grants to school districts, School Climate Transformation grants to states, Project Prevent grants to school districts, and School Emergency Management grants to states. To see the list of winners for each program as well as detailed information on the program initiatives view the US ED press release.

The Insight Team would like to congratulate two of our clients who were fortunate to be awarded funding in these important new programs. Cleveland Hill Union Free School District, NY, was awarded a  2014 School Climate Transformation Grant for LEAs. Cleveland Hill’s Year 1 award amount is $222,037, and the five-year award is anticipated to be $1,095,493. New London Public Schools, CT,  was awarded a 2014 Project Prevent Grant. New London’s Year 1 award amount is $616,131, and the total five-year award anticipated to be between $2.5 and $2.9 million. press release: U.S. Department of Education Invests More Than $70 Million to Improve School Climate and Keep Students Safe

Innovative Approaches to Literacy grants are open–and due SOON!

The US Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant program is currently open! This is a great opportunity for high-poverty schools to work with their school libraries to apply for 2-year literacy improvement projects. This grant has a super short application period, though. Applications became available 6/18/2014 and are due 7/17/2014, so act NOW if your organization is eligible and you want to apply!

Innovative Approaches to Literacy

What kinds of projects are funded? The IAL program supports high-quality programs designed to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade in high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools. ED intends to support innovative programs that promote early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read, and increase student achievement by using school libraries as partners to improve literacy, distributing free books to children and their families, and offering high-quality literacy activities.

ED expects to award no less than 50 percent of FY 2014 funds to applications from LEAs (on behalf of school libraries) for high-quality school library projects that increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) and provide learning opportunities to all students.

Proposed projects under the IAL program, based on those plans, may include, among other things, activities that—

  1. Increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) that prepare young children to read, and provide learning opportunities to all participating students;
  2. Provide high-quality childhood literacy activities with meaningful opportunities for parental engagement, including encouraging parents to read books often with their children in their early years of life and school, and teaching parents how to use literacy resources effectively;
  3. Strengthen literacy development across academic content areas by providing a wide range of literacy resources spanning a range of both complexity and content (including both literature and informational text) to effectively support reading and writing;
  4. Offer appropriate educational interventions for all readers with support from school libraries or national not-for-profit organizations;
  5. Foster collaboration and joint professional development opportunities for teachers, school leaders, and school library personnel with a focus on using literacy resources effectively to support reading and writing and academic achievement. For example, an approach to professional development within the IAL program might be collaboration between library and school personnel to plan subject-specific pedagogy that is differentiated based on each student’s developmental level and is supported by universal design for learning, technology, and other educational strategies; and
  6. Provide resources to support literacy-rich academic and enrichment activities and services aligned with State college- and career-ready standards and the comprehensive statewide literacy plan.

Who can apply? An applicant must be one of the following:

  1. a high-need Local Educational Agency (defined as an LEA with 25% of the students aged 5-17 in the LEA from families with incomes below the federal poverty line)
  2. an National not-for-profit (NNP) that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs;
  3. a consortium of NNPs that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs;
  4. a consortium of high-need LEAs; or
  5. a consortium of one or more high-need LEAs and one or more NNPs that serve children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs.

To be considered for an award under this competition, an applicant must coordinate with school libraries in developing project proposals.

What is the award size? There are two different award size categories defined by applicant type.

Estimated Range of Awards to LEAs and Consortia of LEAs$150,000 to $750,000. The anticipated average award for LEAs and Consortia of LEAs is $500,000. Approximately 30 new awards to LEAs and Consortia of LEAs are expected.

Estimated Range of Awards to NNPs, Consortia of NNPs, and Consortia of NNPs and LEAs:  $3,000,000 to $14,000,000. The estimated average award size is for NNPs, Consortia of NNPs, and Consortia of NNPs and LEAs is $4,500,000. Approximately 1-4 new awards are anticipated in 2014 for NNPs, Consortia of NNPs, and Consortia of NNPs and LEAs.

$24,341,646 is available in total for new awards in 2014.

When is it due? 7/17/2014 (Thursday)


Where can I find out more? Visit the official program Applicant page

Upcoming applicant Technical Assistance Question and Answer calls will be held 6/25/2014 and 7/1/2014. Click below to register!

A program webinar with a question and answer period took place on June 18, 2014. You can download a recording here.  

Featured Grant Opportunity: School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court

The Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention is offering a federal grant opportunity, titled School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court. The OJDDP is partnering with the Department of Education and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for this program.

The goal of the program is to enhance collaboration and coordination among schools, mental and behavioral health specialists, law enforcement, and juvenile justice officials at the local level to ensure adults have the support, training, and a shared framework to help students succeed in school and prevent negative outcomes for youth and communities.

Further Information on eligibility from

This initiative includes two categories, and the eligibility differs for each:

• Category 1: Local School Justice Collaboration Program. Applicants are limited to local juvenile and family courts (including rural and tribal juvenile and family courts) that can verify that they have a partnership—with a local education agency (LEA) that has applied to the Department of Education’s School Climate Transformation Grants-LEA (SCTG) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Now Is the Time Project AWARE–LEA programs. Additionally, applicants must partner with local law enforcement (via subgrants) as part of their collaborative effort. To meet these eligibility criteria, applicants must provide a letter of commitment or agreement, as described in the RFP, and the tracking numbers for the SCTG and Project AWARE grant programs applications. Awards under this category may be made only to juvenile and family courts in communities that have been awarded Department of Education School Climate Transformation Grants. A factor that will be considered in selection is whether an application also provides a plan to collaborate with the LEA on SAMHSA’s Now Is The Time Project AWARE-LEA program.

• Category 2: School Justice Collaboration Program National Training and Technical Assistance. Applicants are limited to nonprofit and for-profit organizations (including tribal nonprofit and for-profit organizations) and institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education). For-profit organizations must agree to forgo any profit or management fee.

When is the Deadline? July 21st, 2014.

Where Can I Get More Information? Visit the grant program page at

Full Service Community Schools Grant Now Open!

Exciting news for elementary and secondary education schools: the Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) Grant is now open! This grant supports projects offering coordination of academic, social, and health services through partnerships between (1) public elementary and secondary schools; (2) the schools’ local educational agencies (LEAs); and (3) community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other public or private entities.

When is the Deadline?: Friday, June 20th, 2014

Who Can Apply?: An applicant must be a consortium consisting of an LEA and one or more community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, or other public or private entities.

Award Information: The estimated range for awards is $275,000 – $500,000 per year for up to five years. The applicant’s request amount for a single must not exceed $500,000. Applicants MUST provide a cash and/or inkind match and are encouraged to provide a minimum match of 20% from non-Federal sources. An estimated 10 awards will be made in 2014.

Where Can I Get Complete Details?: The Federal Register has thorough information on the grant, and the Full Service Community Schools page on is updated with 2014 information. 2014 Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the program’s FAQ page. Note that you will need to go to the Full Service Community Schools posting to obtain the full RFP. Once there, click on the “Application Package” tab toward the top of the page, then “Download” in the “Instructions and Applications” column around the middle of the page. Then sign up to receive program updates. Then click “1. Download Application Instruction” toward the bottom of the page.

Other Useful Information: The deadline for notice of intent to apply is May 21,2014, however submission of a Notice of Intent is optional–you can still apply if you don’t submit one. The department will hold a pre-application webinar for prospective applicants on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST.

Each applicant must include a Memorandum of Agreement that includes the roles, responsibilities, and signatures of all partners.

Use your time wisely: this is a lengthy, comprehensive application that cannot be completed well at that last minute. Start today!

If you are interested in grant writing or editing services for your project, please contact us. This will be a competitive program with a quickly approaching deadline, the sooner you get started the better!

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