Editor's note: These tips were originally published in 2009 and were updated in 2018 to reflect Teaching Tolerance's new Educator Grants program.
Got a great idea for a project that will make an important impact on your students, but you’re not sure how to make it happen?
It’s not hard to successfully navigate the journey from a bright idea to the funded Teaching Tolerance grant project of your dreams. Follow these pointers to help you get there:
1. Talk to colleagues and administrators about your idea. They may have experience, contacts or information to share. The feedback generated by the discussion will help you focus your project.
2. Do your homework. Avoid duplicating others’ projects that have come before you, but do feel free to peruse other websites, programs and publications to generate inspiration and ideas.
3. Make sure your project will have a lasting impact. Your project should be recurring, or at least replicable over a period of time. Avoid requesting funding for one-time events such as speaker fees or school trips, unless it is part of a larger, sustainable idea.
4. Use your creativity! Projects with originality and inventiveness will catch reviewers’ attention more than a proposal for a cookie-cutter program or event. Avoid drafting a proposal that solely requests supplies, products, books or materials without embedding it within a deeper undertaking. If you do need to request supplies, make sure you explain why they are necessary for actualizing the project’s greater mission.
5. Outline the project from start to finish. Include as many details as possible to demonstrate your enthusiasm and readiness to successfully implement your idea. Be specific in your timeline and budget. Develop objectives with well-defined criteria and benchmarks along the way. Make sure you explain how the project will directly affect your students’ experience, especially if the proposal pertains to an event that will indirectly affect students, such as professional development. Always include your students in the project wherever possible.
6. Include any anti-bias education literature, resources or curriculum you will be employing in your project. For instance, you might reference a Teaching Tolerance framework or lesson, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching for Change, Rethinking Schools or another resource. Mentioning these tools will ground your project in a solid theoretical framework.
7. Take your time. Be sure to proofread your work. Answer every question thoroughly. A hastily completed, conspicuously short or grammatically incorrect application demonstrates a lack of care for your project and commitment to following through on the work.
We wish you the best of luck!
Apply for a Teaching Tolerance Educator Grant here!