We’re thrilled to have Aaron Maurer, an elementary school teacher from Iowa, as a guest author on our blog to give some advice on where to find funding for your school’s STEM activities. We hope you find it helpful, and encourage you to reach out to Aaron through our DexterEd Facebook Group.
The DexterEd team learned about the great work Aaron was doing when he reached out after using the GoBoxEd, a curriculum for the GoPiGo Raspberry Pi robot car with his students. If you’re interested in trying out the GoPiGo or one of our other robot kits, please check our free 45-day Teacher Trial Program.
Recently, I have been asked several times about where in the world do I find money to get materials, tools, and resources to do the projects that we are very fortunate to do with students and teachers in our school. This question is always one I avoid(sorry) because it is difficult. Finding money to fund programs is never easy.
I wish I could give everyone a nice little cheat sheet of directions to a magical money tree, but I can’t. However, I realized that perhaps I could stop avoiding the question and actually do the next best thing and provide outlets and places to get started.
While I preach and educate about building the culture of making and learning as being the first and foremost essential ingredient to creating positive change in schools, I also realize having money can help to move the needle a bit. Here is what I have for you.
A list. A starting point of places I have used over the years. I write a ton of grants each year. Upwards of 10-20. I have a pretty solid rejection rate of about 95%. I don’t give up because all it takes is that one or two acceptance applications to keep things going.
This requires grit, determination, patience, and tough skin.
A form. I have built a form. I have built this form in the hope that we all contribute to it. I hope that as educators we can crowdsource funding opportunities. Let us help each other and spread the wealth. If you know of a source please take the few minutes to fill out this form in hopes that others could gain something positive for their students.
Best of luck! If you have success please leave a comment and reach out because sometimes all we need is a bit of positive reinforcement to know that things do turn out for the best.
Responses of Funding Sources – this will self populate as people enter information
While we wait for this to populate here are some general sites
- LEGO Education has created a Funding and Grant page that is helpful
- STEMfinity – search by state. Thousands of grants listed
- Grants for Teachers
- After School Alliance
- Reach out to your local companies and business that are in the STEM field. I am blown away by how often I reach out to these companies and they have either grants, checks, resources, or volunteers begging to be used. They just don’t have it advertised very well. This is a great activity for students to make calls and build connections in developing ownership into the spaces they want to create.
- Donation list – Don’t be afraid to compile a “junk” list of things you need and share out to parents, churches, and community bulletin boards. You will be surprised at how many people will donate if you provide specifics. Be ready sure to have a deadline because if you don’t you will end up with more junk than you want.
- Back to School Night – you can put money tiles on a wall that parents could grab and write a check to donate. Each dollar amount can be linked to a material that you plan on buying so they know where the money is going. Simple construction paper laminated with dollar amount, image of material, and asking for contact to show them how it is being used works really well.
- Back to School Supply List – each classroom can ask for one item that supplies the whole school. Kindergarten teacher 1 can add cotton balls. Kindergarten teacher 2 can ask for glue. 4th grade teacher asks for cardboard. You get the idea. Each set of students brings in a material that goes into the makerspace. Sort and organized accordingly.
- Win the Powerball although you will probably bounce out of teaching at the same time!