My GrantSuccess process evolved from writing many technology integration grants on very short timelines. Over the course of a decade, I was asked to guide many teams of teachers as they applied for state funded computers. In these applications, many questions needed to be answered: Are we eligible? What do we have to do? How will the writing get done? How will we find the time? It was out of this tension that GrantSuccess evolved. The heart of the process is the construction of the “Grant Writing Guide.” This column uses the Martha Holden Jennings’ Grant-to-Educators to show what a “Grant Writing Guide” looks like.
Every Request for Funding Proposal (RFP) includes a “Grant Narrative.” The grant narrative is usually organized into sections with headings like Abstract, Vision, Mission, Need, Goals, Objectives, Actions, Action Timeline, Participant Experience, Budget, Budget Narrative, Evaluation Plan, Sustainability, and Summary. Let’s practice building a Grant Writing Guide from a Grant Narrative.
1) Go to the mhjf.org site
2) Open the Jennings Grants-to-Educators Program
3) Open the Grants-to-Educators Application
Below is the Grant Narrative from the Grants-to-Educators. I always use the sections of the Grant Narrative to build the Grant Writing Guide.
Grants-to-Educators RFP Grant Narrative
Your request MUST provide the following information within a maximum of four additional typed pages. Please respond in the sequence below using the headings that are listed.
1. Description - Provide a concise paragraph description of the proposed project, including the data/evidence that led you to identify the need
as a goal.
2. Timeline - Specify the dates your project will begin and end and also the number of students/educators involved in the project.
3. Qualifications - What are your special qualifications for carrying out this project? Grade level(s) taught?
4. Effectiveness - How are you seeking to increase your teaching effectiveness or administrative/leadership effectiveness in one or more of the
Martha Holden Jennings Foundation thematic categories? (listed above)
5. Objectives and Plan of Action - What are your specific objectives and plan of action for increasing student achievement, enhancing student
development, or strengthening leadership skills?
6. Assessment - How will you assess the results of your efforts? Specifically, what measures will you use to provide evidence of the extent to
which the strategies you employed had an impact on student performance?
7. Sustainability - How will you sustain the effective practices after the funding period ends?
8. Dissemination - How will you share the results of your project with colleagues?
9. Alignment - State how this project fits into the total school or district-wide curriculum or improvement plan.
10. Budget - See Grant-to-Educators cover sheet guidelines for budget items that are not a priority. Provide a detailed itemized budget needed to
implement the project.
11. Endorsement - The Superintendent of Schools MUST complete the endorsement section prior to consideration of the proposal by the
Foundation. Evidence of district in-kind and financial support are critical factors in assessing proposals.
Dr. Brooks’ Grant-to-Educators Grant Writing Guide
Your request MUST provide the following information within
a maximum of
four additional typed pages.
BROOKS’ WRITING TIP: Think of this section as the Abstract. Write it LAST
using sentences from other sections of the narrative.
Please include in description of the
proposed project the data/evidence that led you to
identify the needed
improvement as a goal. Critical Questions:
1) is this grant innovative
or unique for the classroom, school or
district? 2) Could the materials or
requested be purchased with community/local, state or federal funds?
3) Has the district
done its part to support this grant and/or this teacher? 4) Are the activities involved
age-appropriate? 5) Is there evidence
that this project addresses a critical student need in
the classroom, school or district?
WRITE TEXT HERE
BROOKS’ WRITING TIP: Organize your timelines around your objectives.
Name the phases of implementation and provide dates i.e. Phase One: Curriculum Alignment (August 15-September 15)
Specify the dates your project will
begin and end and also the number of
students/educators involved in the project.
Timeline Assessment Criteria:
# Timeline is realistic and includes a specific start and end date
# Project will be evaluated within 12 months
# Proposal identifies clear roles and responsibilities for each aspect of implementation
WRITE TEXT HERE
BROOKS’ WRITING TIP: Don’t be bashful here.
List degrees, years of
experience, organizations you belong to, workshops
you have attended, other
projects you have directed or been a part of.
What are your special qualifications for carrying out this project? Grade level(s) taught?
Qualifications Assessment Criteria:
# Project shows evidence of broad
stakeholder involvement, including a specific
commitment of support from the organization's leadership
# Project involves parents where appropriate
# Project includes partnerships and/or connections within the organization and outside the organization
WRITE TEXT HERE
BROOKS’ WRITING TIP: This is a good place
to consider the goals and
objectives of your grant application. Any reference to your district Continuous
Improvement Plan will be beneficial. Consider
references to the prevailing literature on
How are you seeking to increase your
teaching effectiveness or administrative/leadership effectiveness in one or
more of the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation thematic
categories? (Listed above)
Effectiveness Assessment Criteria:
* Project connects to existing research on effective educational practices
* Project reflects teacher and/or staff participation in systematic inquiry/action research
WRITE TEXT HERE
5. Objectives and Plan of Action
BROOKS’ WRITING TIP: Start your writing
in this section. A good way to
organize your objectives is to have a student
achievement goal, a technology
integration goal, a professional development
goal and a school-wide dissemination
Four goals are enough. Start
these goals with verbs like “increase, improve, establish, demonstrate” etc. Vision guides
mission. Mission guides goals. Goals are implemented with objectives. Objectives are achieved with actions. Actions are
what you budget so budget the cost of actions. Evaluate the impact of actions.
What are your specific objectives and
plan of action for increasing student achievement, enhancing student
development, or strengthening leadership skills? Critical Question:
the potential impact of the project on student achievement and/or student
development? If the grant requests the
purchase of books or equipment, does it include
a clear implementation plan with expected outcomes that justifies the purchase?
Goals and Objectives Assessment Criteria:
* Project's goals and objectives contribute to student achievement
* Project directly links to teacher and/or student behaviors and achievements
* Proposal identifies target population and explains how project will address relevant achievement gaps
* The number of students/teachers affected by the project is appropriate
* Project has a clear element of
originality relative to the organization or the field of
* Project reflects creative or
innovative use of practices, tools, personnel, and other
WRITE TEXT HERE
The rest of the Grant Writing Guide will appear in my next column and we will discuss editing and “combing” strategies to improve the final grant application.
Dr. Douglas Brooks teaches graduate classes in grant
writing in the Department of Teacher Education within the School of Education,
Health and Society at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio