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#DataCafe: Navigating 2019-2020 Grant Opportunities for the NOW Learning Community

September 11, 2019

by Soojin Conover, Vital Village Network

While a number of different online directories for funding and grant opportunities are available, it takes time and effort to find a good fit with your organization. One way of searching for a good fit is to filter the opportunities by using a keyword or state. Many foundations have a geographic focus as well as prioritized topics. It is a good idea to check if an opportunity is limited to certain regions. Reading about the current or past awardees (if available) is a great way to understand the funders’ interests and priorities. Once the topic and geographic focus seems to be a good fit, looking at the basic information about the application such as deadline (cycle) and eligibility criteria will be helpful to deciding whether to pursue the opportunity or not. This process usually takes about 15-20 minutes to look through one potential opportunity. As the NOW Learning Community’s interest in sustainability is growing, the NOW team put together a number of potential grant opportunities and the sources of information that the NOW Learning Community Members might find useful.

[Example Information Sources on Grant Opportunities]


“Discover new funding opportunities - Requests for Proposals” is a useful source. RFPs can be searched by topic or keyword.

A directory of foundations and corporate sponsorship is available. The information is mostly about regional opportunities. You can narrow down the applicable funding sources by searching with a State or keyword such as “early childhood” (Ctrl+F). Some information may be outdated, visiting the websites of the foundations would be helpful.

[3] Sometimes, a list of grant opportunities can be found on a state health or education department website (e.g. Alabama Department of Public Health). South Carolina Department of Education also provides tutorials for grant writing.

[Example Regional Grant Opportunities Available in the States of the NOW Learning Community]

Lloyd A. Fry Foundation - Grants to Chicago, Illinois Nonprofits for Employment Training, Education, and Arts Learning: The Foundation focuses on programs that improve conditions for low-income, underserved communities in Chicago, and we are especially interested in efforts that will foster learning and innovation. We award grants in four program areas: Arts Learning, Education, Employment, and Health. Please refer to the Program Areas section for a description of funding priorities in each program area.

  • Proposal Deadline (rolling): Jun 1, Sept 1, Dec 1, and Mar 1.

  • If you are seeking support for the first time or if you are a returning grantee seeking support for a new project, we highly recommend that you send us a letter of inquiry before you submit a full proposal.

Brady Shines: Brady Shines is a charitable giving program designed to provide monetary or in-kind donations to support communities wherein Brady Companies serve, specifically toward educational and youth focused organizations. Must be located in a Brady geographic territory: Arizona, California - Los Angeles Metro, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas - El Paso MetroUtah, Washington D.C. Metro.

  • If seeking monetary donation, request amount must range from $250 - $10,000

  • CYCLE 9: FALL 2019 Theme: “Schools in Need” (Application: Sep 1 - Nov 30) Examples include: (a) Reading proficiency programs (b) STEM and STEAM programs (c) School Supplies (d) Supporting school-sanctioned clubs and activities

  • CYCLE 10: WINTER 2019 Theme: “Supporting the Disabled” (Application: Dec 1 - Feb 28) Examples include: (a) Children with disabilities, (b) Social skills for developmentally challenged, (c) Inclusion programs, (d) Autism, Down syndrome, and more (e) Anti-bullying

  • CYCLE 11: SPRING 2020 Theme: “Healthy Living” (Application: Mar 1 - May 31) Examples include: (a) After school programs (b) Summer camps (c) Athletics (d) Community gardens (e) Playground improvements (f) Healthy eating habits (g) Artistic programs

  • CYCLE 12: SUMMER 2020 Theme: “Safety & Wellbeing” (Application: Jun 1 - Aug 31) Examples include: (a) Foodbanks (b) Child Advocacy (c) Crisis intervention (d) Childhood Hunger Programs

Buell Foundation: We partner with programs and organizations to ensure that there is a quality system in place that allows all children to be valued, healthy, and thriving. Our strategy includes funding in two primary areas of interest: early childhood education and development and teen pregnancy prevention (Colorado).

  • Proposal Deadlines: January 15, 2020 & May 1, 2020

Robert and Joan Dircks Foundation: the foundation supports non-profit organizations that enrich and improve the quality of life for individuals primarily located in the New Jersey area. The focus is to encourage innovative programs and projects that benefit and improve the lives of children and individuals who are physically, mentally, or economically disadvantaged.

  • Grants are awarded for one year and typically range from $1,000 to $15,000.

  • Proposal Deadline (rolling): January 9, March 1, May 3, August 2, and November 1

Turrell Fund: grants for at-risk youth are awarded to organizations which provide or foster the creation and delivery of quality developmental and educational services to at-risk children, especially the youngest, and their families, in Vermont and, primarily in the New Jersey counties of Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union. The Turrell Fund actively considers programs of exceptional merit serving the youngest children with emphasis on birth to five.

  • Proposal Cycles: Spring Application (Jan 1 - Feb 1) & Fall Application (July 1 - Aug 1)

Otto Bremer Trust: Grants are made only to organizations whose beneficiaries are residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, or western Wisconsin. While the Otto Bremer Trust does not have specific strategic grant-making priorities, we do provide broad categories to explain the types of programs and services we invest in. These categories are intended to provide some insight into our social returns - (a) Basic Needs, (b) Community Asset Building, (c) Health & Wellbeing, (d) Restorative & emergency services.

  • Proposal Cycles: September 24, 2019 & January 7, 2020.

Joyce Foundation: We focus specifically on advancing racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. We concentrate on initiatives that promise to have an impact across the region and/or within the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Our program areas are Culture, Democracy, Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, and Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform. The foundation welcomes grant requests from organizations that engage in public policy advocacy.

  • Proposal Deadlines: Grant proposals are considered at meetings of the Foundation’s Board of Directors in April, July, and November - Applicants are strongly encouraged to plan their application and proposal submission process for the April or July meetings, since most grant funds will be distributed at those times.

Duke Endowment: the Endowment has worked to help people and strengthen communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits.

  • Proposal Deadlines: “Child Care” area (Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children) - June 15 and December 15 (pre-application).

Altman Foundation: the foundation supports programs and institutions that enrich the quality of life in New York City, with a particular focus on initiatives that help individuals, families, and communities benefit from the services and opportunities that will enable them to achieve their full potential (Has an interest in supporting programs that serve vulnerable populations, in particular children and youth from underserved communities, immigrants, and the elderly).

  • Are you accepting new proposals? While we have limited funds available for new, non-foundation-initiated grantmaking, if, after reviewing the Program Interests tab above, you believe your work is directly in line with the results we seek, we want to know about what you are doing via a Letter of Inquiry using our grant portal.

Medina Foundation: the foundation serves 14 counties in the greater Puget Sound region in Washington. Our primary areas of funding are family support, housing & homelessness, economic opportunity, youth development, hunger, and education. Our funding prioritizes organizations that provide direct services to people in these areas, particularly individuals and families who are low-income and in communities that have been marginalized or underserved.

  • Application Deadlines: applications on an ongoing basis, year-round. All requests begin with an LOI.

Alabama Power Foundation: As a part of all five of our initiatives – Educational Advancement, Civic and Community Development, Arts and Cultural Enrichment, Health and Human Services and Environmental Stewardship – Alabama Power Foundation Grants are designed to meet a number of different objectives.

  • Application Deadline: Fourth quarter - Oct. 18, 2019

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