21 May From Teacher to Grant Writer by Roxanne Jensen, Ed.S.
“We can find a way to fix that, can’t we?”
When I started teaching English Language Learners in 2008, I had no idea the number of times I would say that phrase. I have found myself in over my head numerous times with that statement, but I believe in finding solutions rather than just griping about problems.
The students don’t have backpacks. We can find a way to fix that, can’t we?
The students don’t have uniforms. We can find a way to fix that, can’t we?
The students don’t understand hygiene. We can find a way to fix that, can’t we?
I tried to access the resources within my department and my school and quickly hit roadblocks. Neither my department nor school felt they had the resources to address my concerns. On the recommendation of a teacher friend of mine, I explored DonorsChoose.org. I described my school, my students, and my project request. My first project was funded in record time. I was amazed. I was hooked!
Since that first project, I have written over 30 micro-projects, totaling over $12,000 for my students. Some examples of projects include uniforms, iPads, and writing journals. In addition to writing projects for my own classroom, I have trained teachers to write their own projects. I have also trained administrators to align DonorsChoose.org projects with curriculum.
On a larger scale, I recently wrote a grant for a major suburban school district in the KC metro securing funding for mental health supports through the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. My team and I also recently wrote a multi-million School Improvement Grant which was funded for $4 million dollars over 5 years.
Mini-grants offer a way for teachers and other service providers to get their feet wet in the world of grants, allowing them to see what is possible when you make a compelling case. Yet, these types of larger proposals and RFPs may still be daunting and time consuming.
Assel Grant Services can help your school or nonprofit navigate the more challenging grant research and proposal creating process, building upon the success of your mini-grant program to secure more dollars for your school or cause! Contact us for more information about our services.
Working with Assel Grant Services, I use my passion for education to create solutions to problems. I have had the privilege to write projects that create meaningful, sustainable change for students and families right here in our community, and I love it.