7 Best Tips When Applying For a Grant

1. Know what grants exist and when to apply

Sign up for National PTA’s newsletters and bookmark our grants page.

2. Tell a compelling story

Make sure all your answers work together to highlight your PTA’s strengths.

3. Share how the grant would impact your school community

Identify an existing need in your school community and explain how the grant will address that need.

4. Show your enthusiasm

Describe how the grant will provide an exciting opportunity for your school and PTA.

5. Answer all parts of the question

Include concrete, detailed examples and explanations that completely answer the questions asked.

6. Promote family engagement

Demonstrate how this grant will help you build stronger families in your community and how you will encourage all families to attend your event.

7. Get a second set of eyes

Ask someone to proofread your work for spelling, grammar and clarity before submitting the application.

 

We offer over 500 grant opportunities throughout the year. If you don’t receive a grant the first time, apply again!

Parents are Key to Healthy Schools

When we moved to the Skokie School District, just outside of Chicago, I decided to volunteer at my children’s school, John Middleton Elementary, because I know kids do better in school when their parents are involved.  My three kids, ages 4, 6 and 8, are active in swimming, Tae Kwon Do and baseball, but I know that learning to eat healthy is as important for them as being active. Kids tend to think they are like Superman, but with my family’s history of high cholesterol and heart disease, instilling healthy habits in my children has always been important to me. That’s why I chose to volunteer with school health and wellness programs.

One of my first volunteer experiences was working on our family fitness night. I worked with our PE teachers to organize the event and involve the community, too. Five different local businesses, including personal trainers, a kickboxing coach and a yoga instructor, hosted family fitness classes. We also incorporated a healthy snack component for the event, and our local grocery story provided smoothie samples.

Normally, the kids would be afraid of the green color of the smoothies, but the small samples were easy and fun for them to try. A little innovation and creativity can go a long way to getting kids excited about trying something new. Now we’re working on our HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC:SL) award application to receive national recognition for creating a health-promoting school. The school is getting a new gymnasium and multipurpose room to accommodate the daily PE initiative for the students. This could not have been made possible without the support of a great community, administration and our wellness committee.

It’s been over two years since that event and we have accomplished a lot since then. I became more involved with the school’s wellness committee. We applied for a Game On grant from Action for Healthy Kids, funded by ALDI, to support our physical activity and nutrition education programs.

My kids were my inspiration to get started, but they and the school community kept me motivated! The principal, Courtney Goodman, and the teachers are an integral part to the success of the school health initiatives, in which I’m involved. They are supportive, passionate and really believe in what they are doing—and it shows. If you’re interested in getting involved in school health and wellness, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Lead by example. Parents should show their passions, be creative and have fun! Talk to your kids to see what they would like. When I planned our first family fitness night, I brought a Taekwondo instructor to teach a class, because my kids are involved in it outside of school and I knew they and their friends would enjoy it. If you make physical activity fun, kids are more likely to get excited and want to participate.
  2. Join your school’s or your PTA’s health and wellness team. If there isn’t one, start one! You can find tips and resources for creating and being a member of a successful school health team at org/Game-On.
  3. Start by talking! If there is something you want to improve at your child’s school, don’t be afraid to speak up. Talk to your school administration, teachers and other parents about your concerns and how you can problem solve together to make your school a healthier place. Enlist community members to support your team as you develop your programs. They are invaluable and can bring extra resources and hands to help you be successful.

Learn more and apply a newly released Parents for Healthy Kids grant from AFHK at ParentsforHealthyKids.org/Grants. Applications accepted through April 6, 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year. Questions? Email schoolgrants@actionforhealthykids.org.

Minal Desai is a parent from Skokie, Illinois.  

Start Planning for Take Your Family to School Week

National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week (TYFTSW) is Feb. 11-17, 2017. The week is timed to honor our Founder’s Day (Feb. 13) and celebrate PTA’s long legacy of family engagement. Although February seems far away, with the holidays coming up it will be here before you know it! Now is a great time to start planning your Take Your Family to School Week celebrations.

Take Your Family to School Week is a great time to:

  • Engage the whole family in reading activities to support children’s literacy skills and help foster a love of reading.
  • Empower families with tools to adopt more active, healthy lifestyles.
  • Showcase how students use technology in the classroom, help close the homework gap by increasing technology access and digital learning at home and support families in creating safe digital environments through the Smart Talk.

This year, in partnership with Chrysler Pacifica and Google Chromebooks, National PTA will provide 55 local PTAs with $1000 to host a Take Your Family to School Week event. All grant recipients must be in good-standing with their State PTA and be a 501(c)(3) organization. Below are four quick steps to take advantage of this opportunity:

  1. Visit PTA.org/TYFTSW to download the grant requirements and a practice grant application.
  2. Use the practice application to design your Take Your Family to School Week event and to save your great ideas.
  • The grant application page will automatically refresh if it is left open. Please use the word document to craft your event and then copy and paste when you are ready to submit.
  1. Complete the grant application by Friday, Nov. 17 to be considered for a $1,000 Take Your Family to School Week Grant.
  2. Celebrate Take Your Family to School Week with hundreds of other PTAs across the country Feb. 11-17, 2017.

A Take Your Family to School Week toolkit will be made available to all PTAs hosting an event during the week. This digital toolkit will include documents that help you plan, promote and report the success of your event. Be on the lookout for helpful resources around your Winter Holiday Break.

National PTA encourages all PTAs to participate in this opportunity and to begin planning for Take Your Family to School Week!

Fire Up Your Feet!

This post was also featured on Together Count’s blog.

Fire-Up-FBObesity prevention has been identified by PTA members as a top priority for health and safety.  School nutrition has long been a key component to PTA’s history, yet PTAs are relied on to raise much needed funds for schools often through food-based methods. As a member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and a Together Counts™ Ambassador, we promote energy balance and encourage schools to make healthy changes having to do with more activity to balance calories consumed. This year schools began implementing “Smart Snacks” that ensure all food sold to kids during the school day is healthy.  PTAs and families play a critical role in supporting the new nutrition guidelines as any fundraisers, school stores or vending machines running during the school day must meet these new standards.  PTAs and school groups therefore needed a healthy, easy choice for school fundraisers.

Fire Up Your Feet, a program launched in partnership between National PTA, Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Kaiser Permanente as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Active Schools program, gives families, students and schools tools to create fun, active lifestyles that inspire our children and their families and schools to be healthy and physically active by walking before, during and after school.  The program, available to any elementary and middle school (grades k-8) nationally, offers an online activity tracker and school fundraising component that supports annual PTA annual fun runs or walkathons, with 75 percent of the money raised going back to the PTA or school, which is more than the typical amount of 60percent.  The Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge award program, which has awarded more than $115,000 and more than 1,100 K-8 schools, is also available in sponsored regions.

For many years now, Jenkins Middle School PTA has supported students, families, and staff by raising funds.  They decided that Fire Up Your Feet was a wonderful way to engage students, staff, families, and the community in increasing health and wellness. They kicked off their Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge with a before school walk around their track, with 100 parents, staff, and students energetically completing laps while logging their hours for the challenge. As a result, they received a $200 award.  Bathgate Elementary PTA proudly walked to school on October 8 (Walk to School Day) with almost 85 percent of the students participating.  They used their activity challenge award to purchase additional PE equipment and provide CPR and First Aid training.  Rainbow Elementary PTA used Fire Up Your Feet to support their “Walk Around the World Challenge, where families logged in almost 2,300 miles and over 79,000 minutes of exercise.

Parents are a key part to the coordinated approach to child health.  Through Fire Up Your Feet National PTA is giving families the tools they need to model positive health behaviors, meet their required amount of daily physically active and burn energy together.  And, it helps PTAs fully supporting the positive changes happening at school while still meeting the obligations of bringing much needed funding into the school.

In addition to this program, we’re proud to announce year three of our partnership with Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and their Together Counts program to bring schools an incentive toward healthy lifestyles through the Healthy Lifestyles: Energy Balance 101 grant.  The application is open now, with a deadline of June 19, 2015.  Go to PTA.org/awards to find out how your PTA can get involved.


Heather Parker, MS, CHES is the Senior Manager for Health and Safety at National PTA, where she serves as in-house expert on child health and safety and develops new programs, materials and resources to support PTA’s health and safety efforts.