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Nonprofits and Charter Schools: Working Together to Do More

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

As school leaders across the country pivot to face new expectations for online learning, new questions and unexpected problems are impacting your ability to serve your students. What do you need today to deliver high-quality online instruction? What will you need in 60 days, or six months? Can you even guess? How will you find the resources to fund your most urgent needs?

cooperate & collaborate
As you look ahead to the coming year, what do you need that could be funded by grants?

Nonprofit organizations grant nearly $40 billion dollars each year. Education programs receive around 14% of that total. As you look ahead to the coming year, what do you need that could be funded by grants? What ongoing programs will need support? What new technology or training activities could be funded with grants? How will this situation impact your plans for expansion or growth in enrollment?

As we think about the health impact of this disease, it’s difficult to even guess at the potential economic impact. Charter schools are vulnerable because so many are newer schools or start-ups that do not have the luxury of deep reserves or strong financial histories. Others are independent, small schools that have run on tight budgets and creative fundraising for years. School leaders need to keep one eye on future funding even as you try to focus on current challenges. What are you doing to ensure continued growth and financial stability for your school through this difficult time?

What do you need?

How have your needs changed in recent weeks? As schools face the probability of delivering online programming for the rest of the school year, what new problems will that present? Changing your delivery system for a few weeks is very different from creating a new program for the rest of the school year. What are your biggest concerns?

Grants can support your school to cover many of your unexpected costs. Take notes over the next few weeks and make a list of unexpected costs. Here is a short list of possibilities.

  • Laptops

  • Tablets

  • Subscription services for conference calls

  • Phone reimbursement costs for staff

  • Additional IT services

  • Travel

  • Training

  • Printers/Scanners for Home Offices

  • Additional staff members or staff moving to new roles

Determine your most critical programs and functions. Decide who your critical staff members are for those programs. Determine the essential resources they need to be able to continue providing the services and programs your school community relies on. Then, look for grants to support those needs.

Nonprofit Organizations Want to Help

Recent events have caused many nonprofit organizations to “double down” on their grantmaking activities, recognizing that they are in a unique position to support a wide variety of needs. Calls have gone out to increase the commitment from nonprofits to support schools and other community service agencies during this crisis.

You can learn more in this help article from the Nonprofit Quarterly:

Nonprofit organizations are nimble and able to shift gears fairly quickly. Many have already offered new grants or re-focused prior grant programs to respond to new demands. A quick search on Google of “grants to schools for COVID” brought up over 9 million results. If you added your state or region to the search terms, I am sure you could narrow the list and find a local agency ready to offer support.

State and Federal Grants are Ready Now

Grant funds for current state and federal grants were allocated last year. The money is already in place and waiting for proposals. Even if the grant was not specifically designed for COVID19 funding, you can still request money to cover unexpected costs. Decide on your most critical program needs and set your goals. Review the application to be sure what you want to purchase is allowed for the grant, and then develop your proposal to incorporate new COVID19-related expenses.

Grants are Competitive

More school leaders will realize they can’t do what they need to do without additional funding, and the need for grants will explode. Grants have always been highly competitive. I recommend that you start searching for grants now and begin the process of applying before competition becomes even fiercer.


Looking for answers? Download my e-book from Amazon

Start-Up Guide for School Grants

Answers to the Questions You Should Be Asking


Resources for Grants

Follett Master List of Grants

An extensive list of grants available to schools

Health & Human Services Grants

Largest funder of community-based programs

K-12 Education Funders

A list of grants from a variety of agencies

LovetoKnow – Grant Giving Foundations

A list of various nonprofit foundations that offer grants

No Kid Hungry

If you're feeding children and families affected by the coronavirus, we're here to help.

The Philanthropy Chronicle

Foundations and Corporate Funds Announce New Wave of Covid-19 Grants (Coronavirus Grants Roundup)


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