Science Explorers
Science Explorers

Educators want to make a difference with STEM programs, but sometimes schools don’t provide enough funding for lab equipment, technology or even textbooks. Fortunately, there are plenty of creative ways to get funding for your specific program or idea.

How to Get STEM Funding

Here’s how you can secure grants and support for your STEM program:

  • Fundraise locally: Your school can host bake sales, talent shows, plays, yard sales, science events, raffles or other events to raise funding. You’ll shine a spotlight on your STEM program, get the community involved and supplement any grants you receive.
  • Contact STEM companies: There are many grants for STEM programs that come from companies like Honda, Toyota, Shell, ETS and others. If you’re looking for tablets, for example, look up companies that manufacture them to see if they have initiatives to help you.
  • Look for foundations offering grants: Institutions like The NEA Foundation have STEM grants available while groups like the Texas Yes Project offer grants and programs to support classroom learning.
  • Crowdfund: You can ask the public to support your STEM needs through traditional crowdfunding sites or education-specific sites such as AdoptAClassroom or DonorsChoose.
  • Partner with organizations: You can reach out to non-charitable and other groups like the Boys and Girls Club, Communities In Schools and others. Many offer STEM grants for elementary schools and other supports.
  • Ask your school district: The Curriculum Director or STEM Coordinator may have funding opportunities or be able to direct you to funding sources.
  • Look at government grants: Check your local, state and federal governments. For example, the government of Pennsylvania offers several grants for education.
  • Check aggregator sites: Some websites list many STEM grants you can apply for. Sites that pull different grants together include Grants for Teachers, the Space Foundation Discovery Center and others. Your local library will also have grant resources for your specific state and city.

Applying for Grants

Grants offer free funding that doesn’t have to be paid back, making grant programs a great way to finance your STEM initiatives. If you have a specific need, apply for grants — but be aware that it’s a process and other classrooms and programs are applying, too. To increase your chances of success, you’ll want to:

  • Have a clear idea: Consider what you need funded. Do you need a 3D printer, a telescope or another piece of equipment? How will you use the equipment you buy? Before you apply for any STEM education grants, it’s important to have clear goals and a clear budget, since most grant applications require lots of details and a detailed budget. When you outline what you need, you can also get clearer about how much you’ll need.
  • Find out if you need your school’s permission: At some schools, you’ll need administrator approval before seeking funding.
  • Go public: Be vocal about your need for funding and the projects you want to fund. You never know when a student’s parent or someone you know will have a lead on a STEM grant or will have grant writing experience that can help you.
  • Get everyone excited and organized: Create a grant-writing committee with other educators or volunteers and keep a list of grants you want to apply for as well as their deadlines so you don’t miss out. Keep everything in one folder so you can easily reference it and make sure you draft a few versions of grant proposals before sending one out. Have a few people look it over to give feedback and to check for errors.
  • Know what grant providers want: You can look up successful grant proposals online to see what grant committees want to see. In general, these programs want to support education, but they also do their own fundraising. They want to offer grants to successful education programs and it can be helpful if you can offer specific information about how the grant will help. If it will reach a specific number of students, especially disadvantaged students, emphasize this in your application.
  • Read directions carefully: Every grant has its own application process and any errors can get your application disqualified. Print out the instruction and go over them multiple times to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
  • Apply for everything: Even if you’re not sure you have a great chance at a grant, apply. It will help you build your application skills and you never know: some grants get fewer applicants than they expect, so applying can sometimes get you a “yes” where you least expect it.
Get Students Learning

Get Students Learning

If you’re looking for more STEM learning opportunities for students, Science Explorers is passionate about sharing the love of STEM learning with students. Check out our STEM summer camps and look at our after-school clubs to find new ways to learn.

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