Insight Grants

Featured Grants: Two Opportunities for Schools in the State of Vermont

There are two grant opportunities for schools and non-profit community-based organizations in the State of Vermont with deadlines coming up in February 2016.

21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant

VT 21CCLC grants support programs that provide rich, diverse high-quality afterschool and summer extended learning opportunities for students with a focus on improving achievement and graduation rates and high-need schools. For complete information and to access the application visit the 21st CCLC Grant Information page at  Applications are due February 5th.

2016 Dairy in the Classroom Grant

Dairy in the Classroom grants increase students’ appreciation and knowledge of dairy farming, dairy products, and healthy eating through Dairy in the Classroom education and Fuel Up to Play 60. K-3 teachers are invited to apply. Schools must participate and enroll in Fuel Up to Play 60 and participate int he National School Lunch Program. Grants are available for up to 40 classrooms. Awarded schools will be provided with in class programs, hands on activities, and $200 toward field trips to cow-based dairy farms. Applications are due February 8th. For complete information visit the 2016 Dairy in the Classroom Grant page here.


Grant Opportunity: Healthy Kids-Healthy Schools Grants (State of Washington)

In Washington (state), the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction recently released the Healthy Kids-Healthy Schools grants. These grants are specifically equipment and/or facilities upgrades for existing schools. Grants are available for Nutrition (kitchen, cafeteria, gardens, greenhouses), Physical Activity and Physical Education (indoor and outdoor equipment, covered play structures, playground equipment), and/or Access to and Appeal of Water (water bottle filling stations).

Applicants can apply for funding for one or more topic areas. Free/reduced lunch rate is one of the factors considered, so highest-need schools as defined by free/reduce lunch rate are likely to have some competitive advantage.

Award Amounts: Grants are available for up to $200,000 per district.

Application Deadline: Applications are due 2/19/2016.

For complete information visit the Healthy Kids-Healthy School grants page.

Featured Grant Opportunity: NYSED Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention Program

The New York State Education Department has announced a new grant competition, the NYSED Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention Program. The program’s primary purpose is “to provide support to students through extended school day activities and/or school safety programs which promote violence prevention.”

Extended School Day (ESD) programs must serve students in grades PreK-12, and a total of at least 50 students must be served. ESD programming may take place before or after school, Saturdays, Sundays, and/or during the summer. ESD programs must operate at least 3 days per week for at least 2 hours per day. The RFP states ESD programs must, “Provide extracurricular enrichment activities including but not limited to athletics, academic enrichment, art, music, drama, academic tutoring, mentoring, community services and related programs that will increase student achievement and contribute to school violence prevention.”

The RFP indicates, “School safety activities include goods and services to provide safe corridors, diversity programs, collaboration with law enforcement agencies or community-based organizations, metal detectors, intercom systems and other intra-school communication devices, devices to increase the security and safety of program personnel and students. School safety activities may also include comprehensive school-based intervention models that reduce violence and improve school safety.”

Additional Details:

  • Applications are due January 8th, 2016.
  • Public school districts and not-for-profit organizations working in collaboration with a public school district(s) are eligible to apply.
  • Maximum annual request is $350,000.00 per year.  There is a per-student cap on Extended School Day activities that could reduce the individual applicant’s maximum request amount. There is no per-student cap on violence prevention activities.
  • The grant period is 5 years – from July 1st, 2016 to June 30th, 2021.
  • A total of $24.3 Million is available per year.
  • Funds will be allocated to geographic areas across NYS at: 55% to NYC, 15% to Buffalo/Rochester/Syracuse/Yonkers, and 30% to the rest of the state.
  • Applications must be submitted electronically through the new FluidReview portal at hardcopies must also be submitted.

For complete details and grant documents visit the NYSED Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention Program page.

Featured Grant Opportunity: The Colorado Health Foundation Healthy Schools

The Colorado Health Foundation offers a grant program with community outcome areas of Healthy Living, Health Care and Health Coverage. The Foundation looks for integrated approaches that take full advantage of each and every opportunity to improve the health of all Colorado residents.

We’re providing basic information about the grant program, for complete details visit The Colorado Health Foundation Grantmaking Page.

Program Overview: In more detail, the three outcomes are: to ensure access to the key components of Healthy Living, increase the number of Colorado residents with Health Coverage, and ensure access to quality, coordinated Health Care. The section of the grant program that we will be focusing on is the Healthy Schools outcome under Healthy Living.  This outcome provides funding for programs that make Colorado’s schools healthier.  Nutrition, activity, education, access to health services, and community support are all funding areas mentioned by the program.

Award: The Foundation does not provide minimum, maximum or average request information. Instead, the Foundation notes that award sizes vary based on  multiple factors and also states, “We favor proposals that include other funders and that show how proposed activities will be continued after the grant term is completed.” Insight’s review of grants awarded by The Colorado Healthy Foundation for the Healthy Living outcome area between January 2007 and January 2014 showed grant awards ranged from $5,000 to $8,748,005, with 74.8% of awards falling in the $20,000 to $400,000 range. Request the amount you need and can justify in order to launch a high-quality, sustainable project.

Who Can Apply: Colorado organizations classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3), Colorado public agencies, including state and local governments, and new or emerging organizations without 501(c)(3) status with a tax-exempt organization acting as fiscal sponsor. On occasion, grants are made to organization with 501(c)(4) status.

When is the Deadline? Upcoming deadlines are June 15th, 2014 and October 15th, 2014. The application deadline for February 15th, 2014 has passed.

Something Cool or Unique About This Opportunity: The Foundation provides examples of grants for each of the funding strategies. This great resource can help you understand the types of programs that have been funded in the past. See some of the grant examples for Healthy Schools here.

Where Can I Get More Information: Visit the Grantmaking section of The Colorado Health Foundation website.

NYSED Teacher and School Leader Effectiveness Grant Awards Announced

The New York State Education Department recently announced grant awards for the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Program (STLE 3), and we were pleased to learn that Insight client Alexander Central School District was awarded funding! We worked with Alexander’s administration to write a very strong grant proposal that is now scheduled to receive $96,050 in STLE 3 funding. Alexander’s project is focused on creating career ladders for both teachers and principals that include opportunities for each to be rewarded for high-quality job performance and acceptance of additional duties. The ladders will allow opportunities for teachers and principals to be educators and leaders for their peers in order to create an stronger learning environment for students that facilitates increased achievement of Common Core Learning Standards.

The STLE grants and activities are supported, in whole or in part, by New York State’s Race to to the Top federal funds. STLE 3 grants are targeted to support school districts and charter schools utilizing a comprehensive approach to recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of effective teachers and school leaders as part of their implementation of an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan.

To see more about the program, including some of the STLE 3 initiatives included in awardees’ plans, access the press release regarding STLE 3. To date, Insight has worked with four school districts on STLE grant proposals, and we are pleased to report that all of the districts have received STLE funding. To see a list of grants won by the Insight Team, visit our awarded grants page.

Featured Grant Opportunity: Ohio Straight A Fund Round 2

The Ohio Department of Education has released application documents for Round 2 of the Straight A Fund Grant Program. The Straight A Fund provides funding to educational entities in Ohio with the drive and courage to try new approaches that:

  • Meet the learning needs of its students,
  • Reduce the cost of running a school or school district, or
  • Drive more dollars to the classroom.

We’re including some basic information on the grant below. For further details be sure to visit the Straight A Fund Program Website.

Program Overview: This is an exciting and unique opportunity because funds can go for virtually any school project that is sustainable and will increase achievement or the amount of resources devoted to the classroom! In the first round of funding, 24 grants representing over 150 school districts and partnering organizations were awarded $88.6 million dollars. Grants funded in the first round of awards included the following initiatives: plans to increase student access to high-tech manufacturing skills, expansion of post-secondary class offerings in Appalachia, expansion of the use of digital technology in classrooms, STEM-focused projects, and support for physical activity and nutrition programs, among others.

Award: Individual applicants can request up to $5 Million, and consortium applicants can request up to $15 Million.

A total of $250 Million was allocated to the Straight A Fund. About $11 Million was earmarked for a specific initiative. In the first round of the grants, $88.6 Million was awarded.  Therefore, approximately $150 Million remains available for Round 2 awards. Awards are for Fiscal Year 15.

Who Can Apply: Schools in Ohio

When is the Deadline? The intent to apply period is open through March 7th, 2014. (The intent to apply is neither required nor binding.) Applications for the grant will be accepted from March 20th through April 3rd at 4 PM.

Tips for Proposals: Proposals that are creative and cost effective will have a higher chance at getting funding. The Straight A Fund states that they “are on the lookout for proposals that solve specific problems in our schools, can be quickly duplicated by others and are sustainable.”

The contacts stress that being clear in your application explanations is critical.

The impact of your project will be scored. Think about changes you can make that will make a large impact either because you will affect a lot of students (there were many multi-district winning projects in Round 1) or because you will make a huge change or both.

Something Cool or Unique About This Opportunity: Projects proposed for Straight A funding MUST be sustainable. In addition to providing thorough, detailed narrative explanations about sustainability, applicants must also complete a five-year Financial Impact Table that demonstrates the project can be sustained for at least five years beyond the grant period. Additionally, sustainability is not only scored, but there is an entire scoring round specific to rating sustainability. While you may propose a project that is expected to yield income, and you may discuss that income in your narrative, you may not count income as part of your sustainability plan due to the wording of the funding legislation. The project must be sustainable even without the anticipated income.

More Information/How to Apply: Access the Straight A Fund application here. Webinars aimed at helping potential applicants understand the rules and requirements of the program and application were scheduled for 2/11, 2/18, and 2/25/2014. If you weren’t able to attend a webinar that has already occurred, check out the links to the recorded events at the program’s site.

We’ll continue to add more featured grant opportunities to the Insight Blog. If you would like more information on Insight’s grant writing, editing, or research services, please contact us by phone at 716-474-0981, email, or fill out our online contact form.

The Impact of the Economy on Grants: Part 1—Cancellations

In previous years, cancellation of an announced grant competition was rare. Not so anymore. As the economy has continued to sink in the last year, cancellations have begun to surface. While they still certainly aren’t common, they’ve strayed far from unheard of.

Here are a few examples we’ve come across in our work in the last year. South Carolina Department of Health’s Prevention Partnerships Grant, designed to leverage community partnerships for health prevention efforts (including obesity and obesity-related chronic disease prevention and reduction) was cancelled just a few days prior to the deadline. The reason cited was that the money simply wasn’t there to make awards as expected due to the economic challenges facing the state. Goody’s Good Deeds for Schools, a grant created through a partnership between Goody’s Family Clothing stores and Ashley Judd, was cancelled at some point after the grant deadline had past, again due to an unexpected lack of funds. It seems now, unfortunately, this grant aimed at funding a wide range of needed school projects, has been ended permanently since the website ( is no longer active.

We’ve heard stories of other programs—both state and private—that have been unexpectedly cancelled after a competition announcement was made, as well. Since funding available for foundations is often linked directly to the profit margin of a corporation, many more foundations have continued to make awards but have been forced to make fewer than they’d like or than they’ve made in the past. These trends are almost certain to continue until the economy becomes stronger. That said, even though the risk of program cancellation and competition for grants that do move forward have increased, I do not advise shying away from applying for anything (and nearly everything) that feels like a strong fit for your organization’s needs, goals, and resources. You’ll never see a check if you don’t apply! :o) Plus, while cancellations have become more of an issue in the past year, they are still relatively rare. Most organizations know prior to RFP release that at least some funds will be available for grant awards, so your risk of investing time and effort into a grant competition that is ultimately cancelled is still reasonably low.

What has your experience been this year with this issue? Please share!!

VT Heart Rate Monitors Grant

It’s exciting to see states stepping up to the plate to encourage schools to improve physical education (PE) programs to increase student activity and decrease obesity! Especially considering the tough economy. Yesterday we discussed PA’s new program for middle schools. Today we look at the Vermont Department of Education’s 2009-2010 School Wellness Grant Application for Implementation of Heart Rate Monitors in High School Physical Education—fondly referred to (at least by me :o) ) as the VT HRMs grant.

This grant surfaced in 2007. Lindsay Simpson (802-828-1461 or at VT Department of Education is the program contact, and I can’t say enough good things about her. She is extremely committed to improving PE across the state and to this program in particular. My professional communications with her have revealed her to be a very helpful, responsive contact who is ready and willing to support PE programs in her state in any way that she can. This year’s late May application release is just one more example of her ongoing efforts to make VT schools successful. While the program has historically had a pretty short application period (just a few weeks to a month), this year schools have been given several months to prepare their applications: the deadline is September 18, 2009.

Any Vermont public school serving grades 9-12 may apply for this grant, provided the school has not already won this grant and/or has not already won a Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant. Three applicants will be selected to receive awards of up to $9,000 for the purchase and implementation of Polar heart rate monitors ( to ensure objective assessment of time spent physical active in PE. Awardees will be notified by October 9, 2009. (I love the quick turn-around this program provides! It’s a rare treat to know the results of your grant efforts so soon after submission.) All project activities, expenditures, and required reporting must be completed by June 30, 2010.

As found on page 2 of the RFP, the goals of this program are to:

  • Document and increase the amount of time high school students spend engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity during physical education.
  • Develop student self-knowledge, personal goal setting and fitness planning skills for lifetime physical activity.
  • Develop students’ 21st century skills of tracking, interpreting and evaluating personal physical activity effort with objective, technological measures.

The RFP is clearly written and easy to respond to, but you will need time to gather information and form the required project committee (see page 4 of the RFP), if you do not already have one in place. The committee verification DOES require signatures from ALL members—in addition to your administrator—to evidence commitment and support for the project. Hence, I recommend taking full advantage of the additional time the Department of Education has allowed for this year.

What additional thoughts or questions do you have? Good luck to all applicants! Be sure to let us know via comments on this blog or if you win an award!

New Grant: Active Schools—PA!

Today Pennsylvania Department of Health’s (PDH) brand new Active Schools Grant competition opened! All program and application information can be found at This is an exciting new opportunity for middle schools in Pennsylvania offering $5,000 in grant funding from PDH PLUS more in matching grant funds. The exciting—and unusual—part of this program is that most applicants can expect a 2-to-1 match (bringing the total grant award to $15,000) that they do not have to drum up on their own. Area foundations have already committed to participating in this program, and PDH will match winning applicants with matching funders at the time of the award. This is an outstanding example of public-private partnership to battle childhood obesity!

Proposed grant projects must provide students with at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous daily physical activity. Schools need to implement evidence-based programs. A discussion of PDH-approved programs which includes HopSports (, Project Fit America (, and SPARK ( is available on the website, though applicants are not restricted to programs in this listing. Other options may be incorporated in addition to or in place of these programs with an adequate justification. Aerobic activity must make up the bulk of daily activity time, but muscle and bone strengthening exercises should each be included for part of the period at least three days per week. (See the bottom of page 2 and the top of page 3 of the grant application guidelines for more details.) Funds may be used to enhance or improve but not replace existing physical education (PE) programs. Unallowable expenses include: administrative/indirect costs; food purchases; new construction or capital expenses; staffing for existing job responsibilities; and purchase of computers (except for laptops to be used to track progress and/or as part of the evaluation), televisions and DVD players.

Middle schools or other school buildings serving two or more middle school grads (6, 7, and 8) may apply for grants. Approximately 40 awards are anticipated, with the announcement of winners expected in September. Grants are for the 2009-2010 school year, however renewal for the 2010-2011 school year may be an option pending availability of funds. Please keep in mind, however, that PDH is still looking to fund projects that are likely to be sustainable without additional funding.

The application deadline is a little unclear at this point. The main program page says applications will be accepted June 1-30, however the application guidance indicates applications are due by 5pm on July 1, 2009. I have submitted an inquiry to try to determine the correct deadline and will update the blog when a response is received.

PDH funds are coming from the federal Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant offered through the US Department of Health and Human Services. Those of you who win this grant will want to keep that in mind as you apply for future state and federal funds, as sometimes you are asked to disclose all federal funding streams. Also, when applying for federal grants requiring a match, you are typically not allowed to use other grant funds that originated from the federal government—even if your directly received them from the state as in this case.

What are your thoughts on this new program? If you apply and win, let us know via comments or at If you need assistance with your application, email the info address ASAP for information on our services and pricing.

Insight Grants