16 Sep Get Your School Chromebook Initiative Off the Ground with Grants
When school districts treat technology fundraising as a team effort, they can overcome financial disadvantages and secure grants to pay for Chromebook one-to-one programs.
The low cost of Chromebooks has made one-to-one programs a reality for school districts that once struggled to raise funds for laptops or tablets. Despite being less expensive by comparison, Chromebooks still require a hefty budget. Districts that want to roll the cost into the city budget have to get local politicians and taxpayers on board, and unfortunately, not everyone sees the value of integrating mobile technology in schools.
Grants, Grants and More Grants
If you happen to have a generous parent (or two) in your district who is contemplating a future in philanthropy, by all means, take advantage of those resources. When you don’t have that option, enlist teachers, students and families to apply for as many grants as possible. Grants are available from government agencies, corporate companies, private foundations, unions and trade organizations, and local businesses. The rise of crowdsourced fundraising also means you can promote your school’s technology efforts to average Joes and Janes around the world to earn impromptu grants. Use the following list for ideas on finding the best grants for your district or school.
Do you have a gifted idea-maker on your faculty team or PTA with a knack for writing or designing creative media? EdTech Team regularly accepts proposals from schools who need Chromebooks for classroom sets or one-to-one programs. EdTechTeam is known for partnering with Google to hold technology summits that help schools demonstrate their future-ready educational initiatives. The organization favors proposals that show how teachers intend to use Chromebook technology to stimulate investigative learning and content creation.
- Subject-Based Grants
Instead of focusing solely on broad technology grants, encourage individual teachers or departments to apply for subject-based grants. For example, the Principles to Actions Tools and Technology grants are awarded to math teachers who want to bring innovation to the classroom through technology. Subject grants are often smaller than dedicated technology grants, so recruit a proactive group of educators to research and apply for diverse grant programs.
Teachers need resources, and compassionate donors are in abundance, but it can be challenging to connect these parties. DonorsChoose is a nonprofit organization that lets teachers get the items they need, ranging from basic office supplies to Chromebooks, from willing donors. Donations start as low as $1, making it easy for local citizens to act as philanthropists alongside corporate giants, such as Staples, KIA and Disney.
In 2012, one California teacher raised $1,969 for 15 Chromebooks to help students hone their research, writing and editing skills. In 2013, another California educator raised $1,067 to buy 8 Chromebooks for an economically disadvantaged school that received math and reading programs through PTA funding, but lacked the technology to utilize them. To make fundraising goals more attainable, DonorsChoose works to secure low-cost deals from participating vendors.
- Corporate Grants
Corporate companies have vast financial resources, and although these grants are highly competitive, they often have multiple award categories. For example, the Toshiba America Foundation offers ultra-specific awards by education level, subject and project, such as STEM innovation or environmental research.
Schools in need of Chromebook funding shouldn’t view financial barriers as permanent roadblocks to one-to-one programs. While you can’t conjure money out of nothing, grants are everywhere, and earning them simply requires patience and planning.
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