01 Aug Former Music Teacher Helps Other Music Teachers Find and Win Music Education Grants by Julie Assel, GPC
I’ve been there, that place where many music teachers find themselves today with a lot on their plates and few dollars to fund their programs. I have worked in a rural school district where the general music teacher wears every hat, from choir, orchestra, and band to musicals, with limited or no supplies. I have worked in the urban core where music was everywhere, but the students’ music preferences are embedded in a web of cultural values and identity, which made engaging them in specific compositions, elements of music, and performances a continual challenge.
My experience in rural and urban districts increased my understanding that if I wanted to provide quality programming and meaningful instruction aligned to state and national standards, I was going to have to find the resources I needed myself.
I turned to writing music education grants to support technology upgrades for my classroom and attract partners in the arts to build background knowledge and increase practical application of the skills I was teaching my students. At first it wasn’t easy and not every music grant proposal was a winner, but slowly I began to accumulate resources to make the vision I had for my classroom a reality through grant funding.
A few of these grants for music include:
As part of the program, Target stores award field trip grants to K-12 schools nationwide. Each grant is valued up to $700. We accept grant applications between noon CDT Aug. 1 and 11:59 p.m. CDT Oct. 1.
The Sharon Gewirtz Kids to Concerts Fund grants focus on financial needs in school and non-profit music programs throughout the United States. Grants will be awarded in September of each year. Grants are made for each cycle up to $1000 and are made on an annual one-time basis.
The Academic Enrichment Grants provide funding for programs that nurture the intellectual, artistic and creative abilities of children from low-income households. The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation awards grants to individuals in amounts up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $30,000 over three years, provided the eligibility requirements continue to be met.
In applying for the above grants, teachers can request funding for band and orchestra items, electronic music technology and gear, and materials for elementary and general music programs. Funding can be requested to give students an intellectual, artistic and creative experience, which is only limited to the imagination as long as the experience meets the grant guidelines.
DonorsChoose.org Puts the Odds of Being Funded in Music Teachers’ Favor
One important funding opportunity not available when I was teaching is DonorsChoose.org. This crowdfunding program allows teachers to create projects for their classrooms and encourages other to fund them. According to the DonorsChoose.org website, “Irrespective of the grade for which a project was requested there was a ~70% chance of it getting funded. This number is 72% for projects that went live in 2012, highlighting increased likelihood of projects being funded on DonorsChoose.org, even though there are more projects competing for funding as compared to earlier years.” The site includes other interesting statistics about the odds of getting funded by grade, project type, linguistics, and the school’s poverty level.
A regular DonorsChoose.org project can be written for up to $2,000 worth of materials, which could cover several typical music classroom needs, such as:
There Are More Music Education Grants Available to Nonprofits with a 501(C)3 Status Than School Districts
Some funders interested in music education require the recipient be a nonprofit with 501(c)3 status. An option for music teachers may be to partner with a nonprofit organization. This may be your school’s education foundation or you could reach out to a local arts organization to be your partner.
Contact Assel Grant Services to help you find and receive funding for your music classroom and programs. Our education grant writers, like me, train teachers, like you, to write high quality proposals with strong evaluation and compelling narrative that appeal to foundations and individual donors.
GPC Competency 1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs. Skill 6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organizations.