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November 1, 1996
Vol. 54
No. 3

Navigating the Net for Grant Money

With a good list of Web sites, a well-researched project, and a computer, you're on your way to finding a funder whose priorities match your own.

Imagine a classroom of middle school students working with their individual graphing calculators on real-life algebra problems. Their teacher is using an overhead graphing calculator for the day's lesson in this high school credit algebra class. Is this a dream? Not at all. It is reality in two of our district's middle schools due to a generous grant from the Toshiba America Foundation.
Finding a funding organization that is interested in supporting education projects can be time-consuming and frustrating. The World Wide Web, however, makes this search easier. In fact, the Internet offers teachers, administrators, and other educators a wealth of grant resources and information on securing funds. It also enables school personnel to network with one another and find ways to fund those highly desired but budgetarily challenged projects.
It's hard to believe that the World Wide Web was created just seven years ago by a computer scientist seeking a better way for physicists around the world to collaborate on research. Browsing software was developed and graphic capabilities added, and what began in 1990 as a simple method of joining documents through the Internet took on a life of its own. Today, a good list of Web sites and a home computer can save you countless hours of sitting in drafty libraries researching funding sources. One payoff is that you'll have that much more time to develop a well-documented, coherent grant proposal.
The first step in the grantsmanship process is finding a funding source whose goals and objectives match those of your project. Projects with the potential for outside funding grow out of a documented need or problem. They therefore require a great deal of research. Funding applications should include experts' thinking on the subject and data from research studies, information on similar projects that have been implemented, and national statistics that document the need for such a project.
Fortunately, the capabilities of various Net search engines Yahoo and Alta Vista are excellent put most of this research at your fingertips. For example, while researching applications for a technology project, I found just what I needed through the White House home page. It led me to excerpts from a speech that Vice President Al Gore had recently delivered on the benefits of technology in the classroom.
The Internet also is an ideal place to find out about projects around the nation and the world that are similar to your own. Via e-mail, you can talk with people at these sites to get further details. These people may even give you tips on funding sources.
Through the Internet, funding organizations can disseminate information about grant projects to a wide audience. Organizations want to know how information about the projects they fund will be made available to others. Traditionally, grant developers have done this through presentations at professional conferences, journal and newspaper articles, and public service announcements.
If your school or school district has a home page on the Web, you have a whole new avenue of dissemination. You may even consider creating a grant projects section that outlines all current projects and their goals, funders, and funding amounts. Most funders want the public to know the kinds of projects they support, so it is important to include the names of the funding sources.

Federal Funding Sources

The federal government is leading the way in disseminating information electronically. Almost every agency has information on the Internet. GrantsWeb is a good place to begin, with easily accessible, organized links to federal and nonfederal grants sources. They range from the U.S. Department of Education to the National Science Foundation to the Corporation for National and Community Service. GrantsWeb also lists policy developments and professional activities related to funding: http://infoserv.rttonet.psu.edu/gweb.htm.
The U.S. Department of Education's online library for grant seekers includes information on the Secretary's initiatives; agency publications, guides, and other products; legislation; press releases; and an agency personnel directory with locations and phone numbers. A "Money Matters" section tells users how to apply for grants and contracts. It also includes recent departmental notices in the Federal Register and the Combined Application Notice of upcoming grant competitions: http://www.ed.gov.
Other addresses worth knowing:
Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education. U.S. Department of Education instructional resources and links to other grant-related sites that apply to mathematics and science reform, curriculum frameworks, and classroom materials: http://www.enc.org.
FedWorld Information Network. Links to more than 130 federal bulletin boards, including the Department of Education's Grants database: http://www.fedworld.gov.
GrantsNet. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal grant programs, including the Public Health Service's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention programs. Use Gopher software, point gopher to gopher.os.dhhs.gov:70/11/ Topics/grantsnet.
Federal Register. All federal regulations, grant announcements, priorities, and other notices: http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/index.html.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. All federal grant programs. Use Gopher software, point gopher to portfolio.standard.edu: 1970/1100334.
School-to-Work Internet Gateway. News and information on federal school-to-work projects and practices (provided by the National School-to-Work Learning & Information Center) and links to other school-to-work sites, including a resource library: http://www.stw.ed.gov.
Thomas. U.S. Congress online service containing a congressional e-mail directory, large databases of legislation, and the Congressional Record: http://thomas.loc.gov.
K 12 World: A Global Education Community. Easy access to educational resources and other educators. This site was designed by educators for educators: http://www.k-12world.com.

Private Funding Sources

The Foundation Center, which publishes a host of materials on private foundation giving, has an online directory that offers information on the center's five libraries and cooperating collections, its publications (including Philanthropy News Digest and its annual report), and the fund-raising process. The Web site (http://fdncenter.org) also features a Grantmaker Information link to private foundations and corporations that have their own Internet sites.
Another site, Philanthropy Links, enables users to go directly to the home pages of a multitude of private foundations (among them the Global SchoolNet Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation). The site (http://www.acpub.duke.edu/~ptavern/Pete.Philanthropic.html) also includes brief descriptions of the foundation's priorities and giving areas, and related publications and research sources.
Many private funders have their own home pages on the World Wide Web that offer quick access to their eligibility and application guidelines. Following is a sampling.
American Express Corporate Giving Program. Funding guidelines and application information for projects that support community service, cultural heritage, and economic independence: http://www.americanexpress.com/corp/philanthropy.
AT&T Foundation. Grant guidelines and the foundation's annual report (featuring AT&T- funded education, arts and culture, human services, and international programs). Information on the foundation's current restructuring is also at this site: http://www.att.com/foundation.
BellSouth Foundation. Grant guidelines and application forms, as well as reports and findings from previously funded projects: http://www.bellsouth.com/bsf.
Carnegie Corporation of New York. Guidelines, priorities, restrictions, and how-to's for submitting proposals. Using Gopher software, point gopher to tigger.junc.net:3000/11/Carnegie.Corporation_of_New_York.
Charles A. Dana Foundation. Application guidelines and procedures for obtaining funds for health and education reform projects: http://danany.dana.org.
HandsNet. Links to foundations and government agencies that fund social services projects. (After a 30-day trial period, an access fee is charged.) http://www.handsnet.org/handsnet.
Metropolitan Life Corporate Giving Program. The "Three Cheers for Volunteers" link shows that the corporation's interests include antiviolence, community development, and health programs: http://www.metlife.com.
Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Grant guidelines and procedures. In 1994, the fund awarded $12 million in grants to education, sustainable resources, and world security projects: http://www.rbf.org/rbf.

Denise K. Schnitzer has been a contributor to Educational Leadership.

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