If your Montessori school has a new project that is ripe for grant funding, you have a wide array of places to go to find funds. Grants are available from private organizations, federal agencies, education organizations, and small business development agencies. Be sure to find a grant that fits your needs.
Several foundations and non-profit organizations exist to promote the mission of Dr. Montessori. These organizations also offer awards and recognition to Montessori schools. The American Montessori Society awards teacher education scholarships, Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grants, and dissertations awards. In 2009, the society awarded over $50,000 to various projects.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the U.S. Department of Education. There is a wealth of grant funding available for anything from field trips to major initiatives. Funding is also available through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as No Child Left Behind. Be sure to start with the Office of Non-Public Education, which serves as a liaison between private schools and the Department of Education.
Charter School Grants
If your Montessori school is organized as a charter school, you will be eligible for grants tailored for charter schools. Often the criteria of these grants align with the values of a Montessori school. For example, the Daniels Fund offers grants to charter schools in the western region of the country. These grants focus on ethics and character building, as do Montessori values. (See References 3)
Local Foundations and Agencies
Local foundations are often a valuable resource for funding projects such as community gardens, art projects, or computer labs. Many of these projects fit well with the Montessori curriculum. In 2009, the Hershey Foundation awarded grants to three Montessori schools in Northeast Ohio for capital campaigns and outdoor gardens. Look for foundations near you through an aggregate site such as the Foundation Center. In addition, look to local agencies that award grants. In Portland, Oregon, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability awarded $500 to $2,500 grants in 2009 to organizations to implement recycling and waste prevention programs. The Whole Child Montessori Program won one grant to develop Waste Watchers worm and compost bins. By paying attention to local programs that fit the mission of your school, you will find unique opportunities for which your school will be quite competitive.
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