Insight Grants

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.

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