As an educator, you have dozens of exciting ideas and projects that you would love to introduce to your classroom. However, your budget might only account for a fraction of your dreams. Student fundraisers can only go so far and you can’t cover all of these expenses out of your own pocket.
Fortunately, there are dozens of companies, foundations, and organizations that want to step in to help. Check out this list of grants for teachers to fund STEAM projects and classrooms.
The National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a great place to start when looking for STEAM education grants. They have a glossary where you can browse opportunities and find the right one for your classroom and needs. Over the course of 2018, the NSF gave out nearly $50 million by way of 59 new awards to educators in 24 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is where you can find larger awards and more targeted grants if you have a vision for your classroom and need help executing it.
American Chemical Society
The goal of the American Chemical Society is to advance the knowledge of this scientific field in order to better society. As such, the primary objective of their STEAM grant is to help high school chemistry teachers. The maximum proposal amount is $1,500 and the proposed plan needs to be completed during the school year. While applications are closed for the 2019-2020 school year, they should open up again over the summer for the following year.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics brands itself as “the public voice of mathematics education.” It offers multiple awards for teachers to help students better understand and appreciate math in order to inspire the next generation of math professionals.
There are typically two grantees each year, each awarded up to $3,000 for “books, calculators, tablets, computers, or related equipment, as well as professional development in the use of the designated tools and technology.” The application window typically closes in April for funding for the upcoming school year.
Rural Technology Fund
The Rural Technology Fund works to close the digital divide between rural and non-rural schools. “For rural communities to remain economically viable and appealing as a home to new industry, technology-based or not, these communities need to fully understand the potential that technology can provide, and encourage growth of those skills in local youth,” they explain in their mission statement.
Their goal is to put new technology in the hands of 100,000 students by 2020. You can see their impact map and the projects they have funded, including Raspberry Pi starter kits and 3D printers. Consider applying to this fund if your school is in a rural area.
Massachusetts Life Science Center
The goal of the Massachusetts Life Science Center is to support “the growth and development of the life sciences” in the state. It offers multiple funding programs developed to fill gaps in education and to support educators, students, and nonprofit organizations in the area.
A good place to start if you are a teacher in Massachusetts is the STEAM equipment and supplies grant program, which provides equipment to high schools and middle schools in the area. “To date, the program has awarded over $16.5 million to 170 high schools, middle schools, and organizations throughout Massachusetts,” they report. This is a great program if you need to improve your STEAM classroom but lack the funds.
The Oregon Department of Education
Like Massachusetts, many states have their own specific grant programs for improving STEAM resources in local classrooms. The Oregon Department of Education offers innovation grants, expansion grants for existing STEAM programs, and grants for students and teachers who are learning outside of school. If you are an Oregon-based educator, check out this site and see which grants could apply to you.
National Parent Teacher Association
The National PTA offers several STEAM grants for educators that it develops through sponsorships by companies and community partners. This means that there are often rolling applications and new opportunities. Use these grants to put on Math Nights, Innovation Nights, and other fairs the connect your students and their parents with STEAM ides.
AFCEA Education Foundation
The Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association has a strong education foundation and grant program for elementary school teachers looking to fund their STEAM classrooms. Since 2010, the Gravely Grants for Elementary School STEM Teachers “has invested more than $1.2 million in teachers who are providing innovative STEM learning opportunities in their classrooms.”
The grants are funded up to $1,000 with applications accepted in May and June. Teachers can apply for the grant so they will have resources for the upcoming school year.
AIAA Foundation Classroom Grant
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics consists of nearly 30,000 engineers and scientists across 91 countries. This organization is dedicated to furthering the future of aerospace research and exploration, and their classroom grant program funds “worthy projects that significantly influence student learning” up to $500.
While these grants are available for K-12 classrooms, the purpose must be STEAM-related with an emphasis on aerospace. There are also guidelines for the types of materials funded under the grant, such as classroom STEM supplies and software.
American Society Manufacturing International
The American Society Manufacturing Materials Education Foundation awards grants to K-12 educators who are teaching science and engineering to the next generation of STEAM professionals. The organization awards 20 grants of $500 annually. The goal is to help teachers bring real-world materials into the classroom so students can gain knowledge with hands-on learning and exploration. The focus of this grant is materials science and the application window opens in May.
The Spencer Foundation specializes in funding “education-focused research projects, research training fellowships, and additional field-building initiatives.” This is a great option for educators who want to enhance their education to help their students while researching the impact of STEAM education or other learning principles. This organization particularly focuses on cross-disciplinary learning, which is ideal for educators combining science or math concepts with the arts.
There are a variety of grants with deadlines throughout the year, so keep an eye on the programs and requirements you are interested in.
Society for Science Advocate Grant Program
The Society for Science offers an Advocate Grant Program which provides mentors to help underserved students enhance their projects in science competitions. Society advocates travel to Washington D.C. for training and to share tips and ideas for better helping students. You can read about past advocates and how they have used their grants to improve their classrooms and make their students more competitive in science competitions.
Kinder Morgan Foundation
Kinder Morgan funds education centers and educators to advance science, math, and music students in their area. Applicants must live within 30 miles of one of their operations centers, which educators can find on their website. The awards range between $5,000 and $20,000 and only one award is given to an organization each year. This organization takes rolling applications where they review requests for support quarterly.
American Electric Power Teacher Vision Grant
The teacher vision grant program by American Electric Power is another regional grant. Applicants must live in the AEP service area or in communities with major AEP facilities nearby. If you fit in this category, then the grant may be ideal for your classroom. Teachers are encouraged to be creative and develop unique projects that need funding. The goal is to engage students and keep them connected in the classroom. Grant awards range from $100 to $500 and there is a limit of one grant awarded per teacher per year.
Westinghouse Charitable Giving Program
The charitable giving program by Westinghouse provides support to communities that want to improve their STEAM education and resources, with a focus on environmental sustainability. Schools must be within 50 miles from a Westinghouse site; however, there is no deadline as the company accepts rolling applications. Additionally, there is no maximum amount that teachers may request.
W.R. Grace Community Stewardship
The goal of the Grace foundation through W.R. Grace is to fund communities to help them reach their full potential. Their grants also have a clear STEAM focus for educational institutions. “Our focus is on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and basic needs, such as food, shelter, first aid, and healthcare,” they explain. While this grant is available for non-profit institutions, its education focus may make it ideal for some educators who want to improve the resources in their area.
Bostitch Office Products Creativity Grant
If you have a creative lesson plan idea but need it funded, check out the Creativity in the Classroom Grant by Bostitch. This is a smaller grant of $250, but it is incredibly flexible. The administrators of this grant are looking for ideas that have creativity, originality, and impact. There are two deadlines, one for the fall semester and one for the spring. So if you missed the last deadline you can start putting your proposal together for the next one.
Youth Service America
The mission of Youth Service America is to support youth who want to make a difference in their communities. This organization has grants for the development of afterschool programs, leadership, and other youth-led service and service-learning projects. For this grant, a teacher can work with a group of students to address a problem and apply for the grant as a way to solve it.
Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology is a data-focused company that works closely with educators. It hosts an annual contest that awards $5,500 to one middle, high school, or college-level instructor who uses their sensors in an innovative way to introduce engineering in the classroom. The award consists of cash, Vernier products, and paid expenses for a STEAM-focused education conference to help the winning educator share their ideas and develop new plans for their classroom.