Do you have a great idea? We want to fund it! (Yes, you read that correctly)

Do you have an idea for teaching a subject in a novel, engaging and creative way? Or would you like to participate in a conference or institute that will help you grow as a teacher, professor or education support professional? The NEA Foundation awards Learning & Leadership and Student Achievement grants in the amounts of $2,000 and $5,000 that help NEA members strengthen teaching, learning and student support.

Each year, the Foundation awards approximately 150 grants. Over the past decade, nearly 4,500 educators have received more than $7 million in grants.

Applications are reviewed three times a year. October 15 is the next deadlineand winners will be notified by January 15, 2017. Information is available on the Foundation’s website.  The Foundation also maintains a list of competitive  grant opportunities sponsored by other organizations.

One NEA Foundation grantee, Joe Pizzo, an English teacher at Black River Middle School in Chester, N.J., used his Learning & Leadership grant to create a digi-poem project for students. Joe’s students learned how to combine poetry they wrote with technological enhancements, such as iMovies, Canva posters, Google Slides and Screencastify, a screen capture program that allows a user to record anything on the screen.14160079982

“The digi-poem assignment drives students to hone their 21st century digital literacy skills as they gain a deeper understanding of the composition process,” Joe says. “Through this innovative education program, my students combine fun with fundamentals.”

But a technology focus or component isn’t a requirement.  The Foundation is interested in ideas that “engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter” and “improve students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning and critical reflection.”Projects focusing on school farming, aquaponics and global learning are also of high interest to the Foundation.

The Learning & Leadership grants allow participants to take part in “high-quality professional development experiences,” including summer institutes, conferences or action research. Group Learning & Leadership Grants fund teams of educators looking to participate in shared learning, such as study groups and lesson plan development.

 And if you’ve never written a grant proposal, have no fear. The NEA Foundation offers plenty of tips, including a grant writing course and tutorial, and there’s additional information in this article.

Happy grant-writing, and good luck!

One Response to “Do you have a great idea? We want to fund it! (Yes, you read that correctly)”

  1. Shawna Ricci

    Hi! I am not in need of a grant. However, I want to share our new children’s middle grade chapter book series that teaches empathy, compassion, and other values as a way of counteracting the rise in bullying. As mother/daughter co-authors, we inspire kids to choose the “power of good” and to see honesty and integrity as empowering. We are currently writing the study guide for this trilogy (The Betty Dog Series), with plans to release the guide by the end of October 2016. We believe that our secular approach to teaching basic, human values is a necessary and proactive way of balancing the negativity that children face on a daily basis. The Betty Dog books are available on and Barnes & The three titles are: Betty Dog’s Special Gifts, Betty Dog and Gracie Find Their Power, and Betty Dog and Jaya’s Power Pack. Thank you for your consideration! – Shawna Ricci (


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