Funding for Innovative Ideas
Through the Venture Grant program, LEF rewards innovative and creative educational ideas for the benefit of students in the School District of Lancaster (SDoL). This program provides funds which enable improved educational strategies and inspirations of SDoL staff to become realities. The program is supported by gifts to the foundation, to provide support for initiatives not funded by current tax revenues.
Examples of Venture Grants include Artists in Residence programs, educational field trips, science equipment, and the purchasing of world musical instruments.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A GRANT?
All professional staff members in the School District of Lancaster are eligible. Projects funded by LEF Venture Grants in the last 12 months may not be submitted.
WHAT TYPES OF GRANTS ARE AVAILABLE?
Classroom: Classroom grants range from $100 to $1,000. These may be for individual classrooms or teams of teachers in a particular school.
School: School grants may be in the $1,001 to $2,500 range. They should benefit the school, entire grade level, or department population.
District: District grants may be awarded up to $5,000 and must benefit students across a level (elementary, middle or high school). Other amounts may be granted by discretion of the LEF Board. Community involvement is viewed favorably, but is not a requirement.
WHEN ARE GRANTS AWARDED?
Grants are reviewed 3 times per year – in August, October and February. Completed applications are due in the LEF office, located at J.P. McCaskey, on the second Tuesday of the above months. Notification of the LEF Board’s decision will be made following meetings held on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
- The project must not be funded through the standard SDoL budget. If you are unsure if your project could be funded through the district budget or your building budget, consider reaching out to your principal, district coordinator, etc.
- The project must not have been funded by an LEF Venture Grant in the past school year.
- Although not required, community involvement is viewed favorably – for example: partnership for funding or use of community expertise.
- A significant number of students will benefit from the program.
STANDARDS & OBJECTIVES
- The initiative must align with SDoL priorities that can be specified and will purposefully work within a unit of study. Sample district priorities could include state standards alignment, social emotional learning, PBIS, Theory of Action, and more.
- The program’s objectives are clear and realistic.
CREATIVITY, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT
- The proposal incorporates a “great idea.” This is a critical issue! The application can describe a challenge or opportunity and how the funds can help overcome that challenge or support the opportunity.
- The concept will be CREATIVE and INNOVATIVE.
- The idea has a clear purpose – implementing a creative idea, enriching teaching and learning, and/or motivating students.
- The program creates learning interactions between the students and the project, students and teachers, students and students, and students and community (if applicable).
- The program may be ongoing or a one time activity, but it will have a strong impact on the students and teacher(s).
- Purchases are integral to the program and not simply add-ons.
- Purchase of equipment is the only or best way to allow the program to happen. To determine if it is, find the idea first, and then ask if it can happen without the purchase.
- If the funding request includes transportation costs, applicants must demonstrate that at least 25% of those costs will be covered through other sources (e.g., fund-raising, sponsorship, PTO, etc.).
- Click here for a sample budget.