On Monday, November 20, the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation board met to consider requests for more than twenty grants and mini-grants. The applications came from teachers, students, administrators and parents.
Items in the grant requests ranged from a new 3D printer to books for the elementary school learning commons, and from diversity training for teachers and students to a student-created public art project.
Grants are considered at two semi-annual meetings, one in the fall and one in the spring, and the meetings are the culmination of a process that begins months earlier. The first step is completing a grant application, which includes a detailed description of the project, an itemized budget, a timeline, an estimate of the number of students who would benefit, and a way to measure whether the grant was successful after implementation. After all the grants are submitted, the Foundation board’s Grants Committee meets with school administrators to evaluate each grant before it’s presented to the board as a whole.
This fall, nine grants were approved, totaling nearly $55,000. There were also eleven mini-grants, totaling more than $7,000, approved by the board. The board didn’t just rubber stamp all the requests either. Board members denied several thousand dollars in requested funding.
The funds that pay for the approved grants come from the earnings generated by the Foundation’s endowment, which has grown over time thanks to the generous contributions from parents, teachers, and community members.
“Everything that we’re able to do for our students and our schools is made possible by the incredible generosity of our donors,” says Foundation Executive Director Amy Stuursma. “The support from our community is unbelievable, and our board members take their responsibility very seriously. Every grant we consider is discussed, evaluated, and ultimately voted on by the entire board.”
Each of the district’s schools will benefit from the approved grants. For the elementary schools, there are the books for the learning commons, a March Madness book project, and a set of classroom ukuleles at Lakeside. The middle school will receive the diversity training, the art project, the 3D printer, and books for classroom libraries. At the high school, students will have new U.S.history class materials and a tabletop router for the Robotics team. Items in the approved mini-grants will be used by students in all the schools as well.
“Along with program support funded by EGRNow!, the enhancement grants are one of the two major ways the Foundation is able to provide outstanding teaching and learning opportunities in our schools,” Stuursma says. “Our donors have made a commitment to our students and our community, and we honor that commitment by funding these vital projects.”
For a complete list of the grants approved this fall, click here.