The Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation’s Grants Committee reviewed over 100 applications for teacher grants this morning. Projects totaled to over $200,000 in requested funding for everything from mentoring programs, special needs equipment (preventative, not just for kids currently with IEPs), computer monitors at a size that’s actually usable for 3D and graphics software, community college campus tours for students from our alternative and adult ed high school, to books…lots and lots of requests for books.
Our Grants Committee Members were recruited to reflect our public school community; parents, former teachers, scientists, education researchers, alumni, and artists. We are fortunate to have their expertise at hand and appreciate their time to volunteer with the Educational Foundation. Each year, our Committee is faced with the impossible task of reviewing all grant requests, prioritizing grants to meet the Foundation’s mission, and matching requests to available funding. Each year, our Committee expresses regret for not being able to fund all grant requests. This year we are offering the public the opportunity to fund some of these grants.
One committee member was disappointed over how we cannot fund all requests. The funds we have from donors are mostly restricted (ie a fund for painting, another for books, etc.), with varying amounts of available funds depending on how much the donor and his/her supporters have given. Funding will likely be around $20,000 unlike last year when we had a very generous donation come through for over $70,000 worth in teacher grants. We talked about how our community often assumes ALL school costs are covered by our taxes. And we talked about how much of a difference these grants can make in our schools. We prioritized Title I schools and projects that can be great test cases for District-wide work.
Many thanks to our awesome Grants Committee and their thoughtful work. I told them that their work will travel beyond our meeting room. Stay tuned and we’ll make it happen together.