The Foundation's annual grant programs have grown significantly since we launched the Horizon Campaign in 2009. Where we once funded classroom asks in STEM, Literacy and Math, our efforts have grown to include clubs and activities, key student needs, and most recently, large school asks.
In all, we plan to grant nearly $500,000 to district schools, classrooms and programs this year.
Our bread-and-butter grant -- Horizon Awards -- remains in place for the 2014-15 school year. We'll have a single cycle, totaling $125,000. Horizon is limited to competitive asks in Fine Arts, Literacy and STEM.
But we're also doing plenty more, including:
-- Two robust funding cycles for the Achieve Awards, which are dedicated to clubs/activities. In all, we'll grant $90,000.
-- Success Awards, which will go to two schoolwide asks. This year, we plan to grant $50,000.
-- Varsity Awards, driven to a key student need as determined by two voting student members of the APS Education Foundation Board of Directors. A year ago, Varsity went to students who needed help paying for ACT/SAT prep materials or college applications. This year, we'll grant $20,000 in Varsity.
-- Our newest grant, the Guhl Literacy Awards, will go to pre-K through fifth grade asks, with two awards totalling $100,000.
In addition, 2015-16 will include awards provided by key partners, such as the Wells Fargo Broader Horizons Award for financial literacy and the Walmart Blue Sky award, which will go to a schoolwide ask from an APS middle schools.
Our goal is to give teachers, schools and principals a better opportunity for funding – and also to give donors the opportunity to know their dollars are making a difference system-wide.
There is no one-size-fits-all granting process, just as there’s no one-size-fits-all way to learn in a classroom. Each of the Foundation grants will have a unique criteria, and some will be targeted at certain levels of the educational process.
The truth is, needs are great in APS. The Foundation works to be as comprehensive as possible and drive funding to where it's needed most -- schools and classrooms. We've placed more than $1 million into classrooms since the original version of Horizon launched, and our funding budget is bigger than it has ever been.
But we understand teachers and schools like to be innovative. That's why we've partnered with Class Wallet to create SupportAPS.org, a funding tool that helps teachers raise needed funds for classroom projects on their own. You can learn more by clicking SupportAPS.org in the navigation bar.