Insight Grants

Useful Resource for Grant Seekers: Polar USA Funding & Grants Section

Polar Logo

This year we’ve been working with our long-term partner Polar USA to develop a very useful funding & grants section for grant seekers. If you are a physical educator looking for more information on grants in general, or anyone looking to implement a program with Polar products or services included, you will definitely benefit from this information. Even if you hadn’t thought about including Polar in a grant to this point, the site is worth a visit. The pages include an explanation of how to determine whether you are ready to begin applying for grants–and what to do if you aren’t ready yet, tips for applying for grants, information on Polar products and how they fit into grants and can support grant project success, current grant opportunities you can apply to, research reports of grants that span the full year and beyond, and other helpful content!

Insight is very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Polar to share our knowledge and experience to create and present this helpful section. We hope that physical educators and other grant seekers will utilize the information now and in the future. Over the years we’ve seen several grant resources offered by many different groups, but the biggest flaw we see is that the information usually isn’t presented in a way that really supports the reader taking the full necessary series of next steps to apply for a grant in a truly competitive manner. For this reason, the Insight team has made it our goal to generate content that is actionable–even for grant seekers who are entirely new to the process. Visit often, as more content will be added throughout the year!

For those unfamiliar with Polar products, Polar makes outstanding heart rate monitors, activity monitors, and activity and fitness assessment tracking and reporting software (including wireless, iPad, and handheld device-friendly options),  in addition to offering high-quality product-related trainings. Polar products give physical educators the ability to assess students individually, efficiently, objectively, and in real time. Polar products have been implemented in countless schools and have played a major role in the drastic improvement of students’ personal fitness levels and increased PE class engagement time and time again. Polar also offers products and services to support individuals, health clubs and gyms, athletes and athletic teams, first responders, worksite wellness programs, and others. To learn more about Polar, see their full line of products, read about successes through their “Showcase Schools” section, and find out how to connect with their sales team, visit To read about products and services specific to your organization type, click on “Group Solutions” and then select the appropriate category: Physical Education, Club Solutions, Team Sports, Corporate Wellness & Health Care Professionals, Protective Services, or Equipment Manufacturers.

Where to Find Grants: Part 4: RFP Bulletin

Go to and click on the word “Newsletters” toward the end of the first paragraph. Then use the online form to sign up for the RFP Bulletin and any other free newsletters of interest to you.

Philanthropy News Digest’s (PND) RFP Bulletin is sent out via email every Friday afternoon. It typically contains 10-20 of the most recently-released, well-publicized, privately-funded grant opportunities. It has recently been revised and is now presented by topic area for more convenient browsing. This is a tremendous resource offered at zero cost by The Foundation Center—the major leader in the world of private grants information. Of course, the newsletter contains links for more information in addition to a title line (caution: the exact grant program title is not always contained here), brief summary, and posted and deadline dates.

As with the CHHCS and Grant Wrangler alerts, the RFP Bulletin provides you with an excellent means for staying abreast of some of the more widely known grant opportunities as they become available. Quick note, though, the RFP Bulletin will provide you with grants from a wide range of topic areas. Hence, some weeks you may find several physical activity or health-related gems, but other weeks there may be none at all.

If you’d prefer not to submit your email address, the RFP Bulletin is also accessible online at I would encourage you to take some time to explore because The Foundation Center offers a very wide range of services—some free, some fee-based.

The Foundation Directory Online ( is the largest database of private (that’s foundation and corporate) funders, with information on more than 98,000 funders. It is a fee-based service, though. Unfortunately, the cheapest levels, which limit access to just the 10,000 largest donors in the nation, do not tend to drill down enough to meet the needs of most schools or smaller local organizations. Those organizations often require the more costly, higher-level subscriptions in order to access a broader listing of funders, but then the cost may become unaffordable depending on the organization’s budget. If you have the funds to subscribe, AND staff members willing and able to use the subscription regularly, however, it is a tremendously rich database.

Training is among the other services and products The Foundation Center offers. While there are a range of fee-based options, the Center also offers a FREE Proposal Writing Short Course which you can access here: The content is aimed at writing strong private funder proposals. It’s important to note that while there are often major similarities between the way private and government grant proposals are written, there are also significant differences. Hence, not all of the information in the course may be transferrable to government proposals, and some key elements needed for writing government proposals may not be included. That being said, The Foundation Center is both highly and widely regarded for its expertise in the private funding arena, and I am certain this course is worth you time if you’re looking for some writing tips.

If you’ve had experience with The Foundation Center and/or used its resources in the past, please share under Comments! Your insight is very valuable to us! :o)

Where to Find Grants: Part 3—HHCS Listserv

The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools ( provides a significant amount of resources related to schools and health including but not limited to research publications, news, and a grants database.

The best feature of the grants database is probably that it is separated into two major categories: Active and Expired Grants. Active grants are grants that are currently open. Expired grants are opportunities for which the deadline has past. Aside from that, the database is useful but not outstanding. It is relatively small, but the database managers make a sincere effort to stay “on topic,” which is very useful and saves time if indeed the opportunity you need falls within the “schools and health” topical area. The summaries are brief, which allows for quick review. The deadlines and links to funder sites are also provided.

The most valuable grants information service CHHCS offers, however, is its FREE twice-weekly grant alert emails. I highly recommend readers of this blog sign up for this service. While the days occasionally change, presently the alerts are coming out on Mondays and Fridays. They typically include one to four names of grant opportunities with a concise summary (one to two sentences) of the grant opportunity’s purpose. Each title in the alert is hyperlinked to the associated CHHCS database entry, so recipients can easily click for a slightly more detailed summary. If at that point interest or need warrants further research, the reader can click on a link within the database entry to the grant program’s official website.

The service is not always inclusive of all opportunities out there, but it does include quite a few. Also, folks may aid in making it more complete by visiting the database site ( and using the form on the right-hand side to submit information on grant opportunities.

While the other free services we’ve looked at to this point provide great places to actively research grants in a more proactive, planning-aimed manner, this service allows for passive and/or ongoing grant research. Subscribing to CHHCS’s Grant Alerts (also known as the HHCS Listserv) will provide you with a means for keeping abreast of grants that are active WHILE they are active so that you can quickly jump on them and apply. The Grant Wrangler bi-weekly newsletter provides some amount of this, as well, but its less frequent nature and broader topical scope mean the CHHCS Grant Alerts are a bit more timely and pertinent for folks looking for physical activity, PE, and health grant opportunities

Visit to sign up for this terrific resource. Let us know your thoughts on the alerts, database, or other resources offered by CHHCS, too!

Where to Find Grants: Part 2—Grant Wrangler

Grant Wrangler ( is a great site to frequent if you are looking for funding to be used for a school-based program, because the site is aimed at providing information on grants for K-12 schools in a user-friendly format.

This database is relatively new—initiated in 2006 or 2007. It’s come a long way in a short time, though, and provides a very nice listing of grants for many topics of interest to schools, including a more recently added categorical search for “Health and Physical Education (PE).” The categories by which you can search are fairly unique and do not adhere to the standard federal topic areas used by most databases. The upside to this is significantly greater flexibility for searches. The categories include academic topic areas, expiration month (deadline month), school level (such as Middle School), and many other topics, as well, like “Professional Development” and even “Home School.” You can also do a key word search or a calendar-based search. The entries found in response to your search will be summarized in two to four lines with links to more information. The links take you to summaries that include the grant program name, deadline, funding source/funder, program website link, and brief program overview.

The grant summaries on this site provide less information than is provided by some other databases, but the information is of fairly good quality, and the succinct format allows for faster “skimming” for the grants that seem best suited to the applicant’s needs. For an experienced grant researcher familiar with most programs out there, this is a handy time-saver because the researcher is typically just looking for a “reminder” of what’s out there and can easily dig deeper for information on the grants that are most ideal. For an individual new to grants research, the short format used on this site is less overwhelming than more extensive summaries may be. Since the program website link is also provided, the researcher can easily click for more details on any grant of interest.

Grant Wrangler has a few other handy tools, as well. For example, the grant summaries also include “Discuss this Grant” links that allow you to participate in an online discussion on the grant topic area. The discussion links will take you to an area where you have an additional top tool bar that allows access to a wealth of other resources, including blogs, a member community, and links to videos and other sites. Grant Wrangler also sends out a bi-weekly email bulletin highlighting a handful of key time-relevant opportunities. You can sign up for this right on the site by clicking on the “Subscribe bulletin” link on the left side tool bar on the Grant Wrangler homepage or any of the summary pages.

As with the RAC database, Grant Wrangler is entirely FREE. If you haven’t already guessed, our focus for this series on where to find grants information is free resources! :o) There are several more resources on our list, but we welcome your comments and notes about your favorite places to find grant information at no cost.

Where to Find Grants: Part 1—RAC Database

Folks often ask where to look for grants and wonder if they should pay for subscriptions to database services. My typical answer is that it is neither necessary nor cost effective for most organizations to pay for grants database subscriptions because so much of the information is available online for free. Insight has elected not to create its own grants database for the same reason. Doing so would really only mean increasing our immediate and ongoing overhead costs essentially for a reinvented wheel.

Here is a link to one of my favorite databases—the Rural Assistance Center’s grant database: Theoretically, this is a database aimed at providing grants information for rural organizations, but the reality is rural organizations are eligible for many, many grants beyond just those specifically aimed at rural organizations, so this database contains quite a wealth of information on a wide range of grants. It is entirely free and the information is as good as, and in many cases better than, most of the subscription-based grants databases I have seen. I’ve yet to see a grants database that is completely comprehensive and 100% accurate at all times, but this one is more reliable than most and does include both government and private grants information. Additionally, it is more easily and accurately searchable than most subscription-based databases.


Insight Grants