My Brother’s Keeper: Understanding the Reports Guiding the Funding Trail and Helping Direct Funding Decisions – Aug 28 audio

The first Grant Advisors audio on the My Brother’s Keeper Movement highlighted its background and the new resources available since the White House involvement began last February. The movement focuses on providing comprehensive services to at-risk African American older youth and adults to ensure they have tools to succeed in society, and to avoid the pitfalls of crime and incarceration. The second of the series, will focus on the recent reports offered by the foundations and federal task force guiding the public-private partnership, as well as the wealth of new funding commitments being offered seemingly every day for the popular movement.

To ensure your involvement register for our hands-on audioconference:

My Brother’s Keeper: Understanding the Reports Guiding Funding Trail and Helping Direct Funding Decisions
Thursday, Aug. 28, from 2:00 to 3:00 Eastern Time

For registration or further information, click here.

DOJ, School District Agree to Improve ELL Instruction

A suburban Detroit school district reaches an out-of-court settlement with the Justice Dept. over allegations that it did not provide adequate instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs) and then retaliated against staffers who blew the whistle on the problems.

The 3,350-student Crestwood School District agreed to improve ELL instruction, do a better job at outreach to the local Arab-American community and stop employee discrimination. The district is one of four school districts that serve the city of Dearborn Heights, a western suburb of Detroit. Read the rest of this entry

Fight to Improve Child Nutrition, Reduce Obesity Gets Funding Aid

The Agriculture Dept.’s Food and Nutrition Service later this month will re-open the HealthierUS School Challenge, a funding program that rewards schools for taking steps to encourage kids to make healthy food choices and be more physically active. It is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ Initiative

Deadline: Rolling (program opens Aug. 31).

The funding program makes awards up to $2,000 to schools which meet certain benchmarks. The awards are open to all schools participating in the Nat’l School Lunch Program and the Nat’l School Breakfast Program.

The HealthierUS School Challenge is not a competitive grants program but a voluntary certification recognizing schools that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity. Awards range from $500 to $2,000, based on the level of achievement. To date, HUSSC awards have been given to schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. As of Aug. 12, there are 6,655 schools certified (4,468 Bronze, 1,219 Silver, 585 Gold, and 383 Gold Awards of Distinction).

HUSSC criteria now includes a Community Eligibility Provision and healthy cooking technique classes for students/families. The CEP (allows schools that predominantly serve low-income children to offer free, nutritious school meals to all students through the Nat’l School Lunch Program and the Nat’l School Breakfast Program. HUSSC will no longer require any specific meal criteria, but schools must meet current meal pattern requirements.

The criteria also include modifications to nutrition education requirements for all schools. For elementary schools, nutrition education must be is provided to all full-day students in all grades. The classes must be part of a structured and systematic unit of instruction, incorporate USDA Team Nutrition curricula and materials and utilize multiple channels of communication, including outreach to parents.

FNS is making no changes to the HUSSC criteria for Physical Education or Physical Activity. The program requires that elementary schools provide physical activity opportunities each day for all full-day students (e.g., scheduled recess, walking clubs, bike clubs, intramural sports, a walk-to-school program). Such opportunities for physical activity are not the same as physical education. Schools must not deny nor require physical activity as a means of punishment.

Schools can earn extra points if they implement innovative practices to increase School Breakfast Program participation, such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab and Go options, or vended reimbursable breakfasts. They are also encouraged to operate an afterschool program that offers an afterschool snack or an at-risk afterschool meals component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Team Nutrition

USDA-FNS also announced the award of $5.7 million in Team Nutrition grants to state agencies administering the Nat’l School Lunch and the CACFP. The grants help states expand and enhance training programs that help schools encourage kids to make healthy choices. States will use the grants to increase the number of schools implementing Smarter Lunchroom strategies, which are methods for encouraging kids to choose healthy foods that were developed by child nutrition experts. By using environmental cues such as better product placement and creative names for healthier foods, these practical, research-based techniques increase student selection of healthier items and reduce plate waste. Research has shown these strategies successfully lead to healthier choices among students. USDA is also funding 2,500 toolkits to provide school districts with the resources they need to take advantage of research on Smarter Lunchroom strategies.

Team Nutrition has three behavior-focused strategies:

  • Provide training and technical assistance to child nutrition foodservice professionals to enable them to prepare and serve nutritious meals that appeal to students.
  • Promote nutrition curriculum and education in schools through multiple communication channels.
  • Build school and community support for creating healthy school environments that are conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.

Research has shown that a majority of students like the healthier meals and that the standards have successfully increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to NSLP and SBP, these include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

“We’re committed to supporting schools who want to ensure students head back to a healthier school environment this fall,” says Agriculture Under Secy. Kevin Concannon. “Parents, teachers, and school nutrition professionals want the best for their children, and want to provide them with proper nutrition so that they can learn and grow into healthy adults.”

Bickering Derails Budget Process, Stopgap Spending Measure Looks Unavoidable

Partisan bickering in Congress has dashed whatever high hopes may have existed earlier this year of completing the FY 2015 budget on time, and now lawmakers will likely approve another stopgap funding bill to extend government operations beyond the Sept. 30 deadline.

Before they left for the summer break, lawmakers in the House passed seven of the 12 required FY 2015 appropriations bills. The Senate has passed eight bills out of committee, but none have been brought to the floor for a vote due in part to the possibility of contentious amendments and an ongoing battle between Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

With August recess and the upcoming mid-term elections, Congress will have to pass a continuing resolution to serve as a stopgap spending measure. The resolution will allow Congress to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins Oct.1. Read the rest of this entry

Deserving Kids Can Get Help for K-12 Music Programs

Classics for Kids helps K-12 music education to provide them with stringed instruments. Nonprofits and schools are eligible. Awards vary.

Deadlines: Sept. 30 and Dec. 31.

Underserved music programs receive priority. Classics for Kids Foundation aims to bridge the funding gap and enhance school music programs by providing matching grants for new stringed instruments. The program has supported about 40 music programs since its inception in 1997. Contact: Artistic Director Michael Reynolds, 508/740-8331 or mr@classicsforkidsfoundation.org.

Foundation Highlight: Dedalus

Grant Advisors Ray Sweeney and Frank Klimko are constantly on the lookout for good opportunities offering vigorous funding streams. Regularly, our site will highlight a foundation or federal agency which may fall under the radar, but provides funding that can help you achieve your programming goals.

Over the past few weeks, we highlighted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Unitarian Universalist Association, Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, the Office Depot Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Emerging Teacher-Leaders in Elementary School Mathematics for Grades Pre-K–5 grants, the National Forest Foundation and Whole Foods Markets.

This week we want to talk about the giving efforts of the Dedalus Foundation. Read the rest of this entry

Statehouse Roundup: States to Enhance Online Ed, School Safety

California

Backers Push $9B School Bond for Ballot: Despite widespread bipartisan support from state legislators and school districts, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is remaining mum on whether he supports putting a multi-billion-dollar school construction bond on the ballot in November. When initially proposed, the bill called for $9 billion in construction bonds, with $6 billion for K-12 schools, $2 billion for community colleges and $1 billion for the California State University system and the University of California. The totals may be lower after it clears the state Senate, backers say. Read the rest of this entry

Federal, Private Funding Offers for Computer Tech, Services

It seems like everyone is searching for funding for computers, laptops, mobile devies and peripherals and the related servies that make those high-tech gadgets work. The Grant Advisors have uncovered some new federal and private opportunities that may help.

Education Department

The ED Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services offers the IDEA Fiscal Data Center grant (CFDA Number: 84.373F). Schools, school districts, colleges, consortiums, community-based organizations and nonprofits can apply for this $3.2 million award (no match required). Read the rest of this entry

Applicants Need to Focus On People Being Served

When writing grant proposals, too many nonprofits are focusing on their programs and not the people or unmet needs that are being served, funding experts say.

Foundations and corporations want to hear about people that are being helped. Funders also like to see client input in the creation of programs and services and the heavy involvement of all stakeholders. Board members should be investors in nonprofits. Time isn’t enough. Funders want to see board support, experts say.

Another common error: groups molding programs to suit corporations or foundations, blindly chasing money rather than doing basic research. Are similar projects being funded? Where? What levels of funding do they provide? Research the board members or trustees of the group. What are their areas of interest? Read the rest of this entry

Federal Funding: New Market Tax Credit

The Treasury Department offers $5 billion through its New Market Tax Credit Program to spur development in low-income communities. The specifics are as follows.

Opportunity: New Market Tax Credit Program; Federal Agency: Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (Treasury Department); Who Can Apply: Community development entities (CDEs must have a primary mission of investing in low-income communities and persons and be certified by the CDFI fund); Funding Details: $5 billion for multiple awards up to $125 million each; Deadline: Oct. 1; Synopsis: Through the NMTC Program, the CDFI Fund provides authority to CDEs to offer an incentive to investors in the form of tax credits over seven years, which is expected to stimulate private investment capital that will facilitate economic and community development in low-income communities; Contact: Technical support questions, 202/653-0422 or ithelpdesk@cdfi.treas.gov; program questions, 202/653-0421 or cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, administrative questions, 202/653-0421 or cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov.

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