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10 Ways to Fund Your Technology Vision

13 Jan 2015 by Samantha Cleaver

You want a new computer station, a set of iPads, or a SMART board, but it’s not in the budget. Time to tap into the millions of dollars that go toward edtech each year. These ten organizations are looking to fund teacher projects that drive innovation, make students more competitive and eliminate the technology gap.

$0 – $1,000

  1. Kids In Need Foundation

What: The Kids In Need Foundation and this year’s sponsor Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores fund $100 to $500 grants for K-12 educators to use for creative classroom projects.

When: Applications are accepted online from July 15 through Sept. 30.

Insight tip: Applications are considered for their innovation and clarity of objectives, so focus on a specific project with a measurable learning goal.


  1. NEA Foundation

What: The NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants fund teacher projects that support student achievement, specifically around critical thinking, self-directed learning and habits of inquiry. K-12 applicants must apply for grants that total either $2,000 or $5,000 and spend the money within a year.

When: Deadline is Oct. 15.

Insight tip: Think about how your project gradually releases responsibility to students, whether it’s building independence with blogging or advancing their research skills through project-based learning.

  1. DOW STEM the Gap

What: The gaps in STEM range from disparities between interest level and achievement, to disparities between low- and high-income students, boys and girls, and minorities and Caucasian students. STEM the Gap $1,000 grants are dedicated to addressing those gaps by addressing the biggest gap — lack of funding and resources.

When: Summer Teacher Challenge applications are due in July. Fall Teacher Challenge grants are due Oct. 31.

Insight tip: Join the STEM the Gap Facebook page to follow this topic throughout the year, and keep your grant ideas relevant.

  1. Toshiba America Foundation

What: The Toshiba America Foundation runs two grant programs, one for teachers in grades K-5 and one for teachers in grades 6-12. Both fund innovative, hands-on Math and Science projects.

When: K-5 grants for $1,000 are due Oct. 1. 6-12 grants for less than $5,000 are accepted any time. Applications for 6-12 grants for more than $5,000 are accepted Feb. 1 and Aug. 1.

Insight tip: This is the grant for project-based learning whether you’re a veteran or newbie to this real-world, hands-on approach.

  1. IRA Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant

What: The International Reading Association honors classroom teachers who are dedicated to improving teaching and learning in real-world contexts in grades K-6. (At least 60 percent of students in the teacher’s school must be eligible for free or reduced lunch.)

When: The deadline to apply for the $2,500 awards is Nov. 15.

Insight tip: Think beyond books for this grant. The 2014 grant winner used the funds for technology to advance student collaboration.

  1. Voya Unsung Heroes

What: One hundred K-5 teachers receive $2,000 each year to fund class projects (three are chosen to receive larger awards of $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000). One recent project winner used iPads to create online collaborative learning groups.

When: Deadline is April 30.

Insight tip: This grant is focused on making learning fun, so think about how your project will increase student engagement.

  1. Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams

What: If your students have an idea for a real-world invention and need $10,000 to implement it, this grant’s for you. Students at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C., invented DeadStop, a tool to prevent doors from opening during a school lockdown.

When: The application is due at the end of February for the projects that run during the following school year.

Insight tip: In addition to the invention itself, think about how the grant will improve students’ collaboration, communication and other skills.

No amount specified

  1. Donors Choose

What: You’ve probably already heard of Donors Choose, the website that matches teacher projects with more than one million donors from across the country. Technology is one of its top-funded projects. However, the average cost of a project was $642, and 70 percent of projects are funded. So, use Donors Choose for projects that you want to do, but that aren’t urgent.

When: Ongoing. The site hosts project proposals for up to four months. The average wait time from project post to funding is 27 days.

Insight tip: Use social media to promote your project and increase the number of potential donors.

  1. Digital Wish

What: On Digital Wish you can create a classroom page and build a tech wish list. Then, funders and donors fund items on your list.

When: Ongoing.

Insight tip: Use its Teacher Tools to create a letter writing campaign and fliers that promote your wish list.

  1. GoFundMe

What: GoFundMe is a crowdsourcing site that allows people to donate money to campaigns — from saving a pig’s life, to helping someone recover from a spinal cord injury. The website isn’t education focused, so you’ll reach a different donor set.
When: Ongoing.

Insight tip: Campaigns on GoFundMe are sent out to friends and family first, so engage your students in planning and promoting your idea.

Bonus! Even more funding.

EdWeb has an online professional learning community where you can keep up-to-date with funding resources. GetEdFunding lists more than 2,900 grant opportunities specifically for education.

Funding Factory accepts old ink cartridges, cell phones and other technology, and in return gives you points you can use to buy technology from its catalog.

Grant Watch allows you to search and browse grant opportunities. Use this site to find government and other larger grants.

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