Apply for an NEF Grant
NEF Mini-Grants 2017-2018
What’s an NEF Mini-Grant?
This year, the Natick Ed Foundation is honored to support the NPS Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), who will lead STEM professional development in all five elementary schools. As this is such a large initiative, NEF is unable to offer its traditional grant cycles. Instead, we have committed to funding up to $10,000 in mini-grants (less than $500 each) at the middle and high school levels.
We have streamlined the application and evaluation process for the mini-grant proposals. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be evaluated on the 1st of each month. For example, if you submit a proposal on Sept. 15th, your application will be reviewed starting October 1st, and you will be notified on the status of your application by the end of October, at the latest.
Once the $10,000 limit is reached, additional proposals will not be accepted.
Grant applications are evaluated by a committee comprised of Natick Ed Foundation Board members and other members of the community. Applicants may be contacted with questions about their project proposal. Each application is given careful consideration.
You can email questions to NEFgrants@gmail.com.
However, if your grant is health related, please consider applying for a grant from the Metrowest Community Health Care Foundation.
Grants Application Overview
Purpose and Funding Scope
To support our teachers, staff, and students with resources that are not funded through ordinary budgetary channels. To encourage programs that enhance and enrich the curriculum. Priority will be given to team and group proposals and those projects that will have a large and lasting impact. Grant recipients will be asked to share the results of their project with NEF through surveys, demonstrations and presentations. This year, mini-grants will only be available at the middle and high school levels.
Submit all mini-grant applications with the requested information to NEFgrants@gmail.com by the first of each month for consideration that month. When the $10, 000 limit is reached, we will no longer accept applications.
PLEASE NOTE: As of fall 2012, NEF stopped funding proposals for technology equipment such as projectors, iPads, and similar devices that are best coordinated through the District as part of its town-wide technology plan. Requests for equipment should be directed to building principals. Please email NEFgrants@gmail.com with any questions regarding your proposal.
What does NEF Fund?
One question that we often receive concerns the types of projects that we fund. Applicants often wonder if their need would be covered by NEF. Whereas the school district budget is responsible for hiring teachers and staff, providing curriculum materials (books, computers), supplies (crayons, lab equipment) and support for teachers (aides, professional development) and students (specialists, services) as they move through the system, NEF’s goal is to extend what is currently available and support innovative programming. Consider NEF as an education incubator, a funding source for new projects and programming that do not fall into the traditional budget.
NEF funded projects generally fall into 3 categories.
1. Pilot Projects
NEF funded the first round of iPads used in the schools. This was a pilot test to see if iPads were a viable and worthwhile technology for our students. This was a successful project and iPads are now in use throughout the district. Similarly, we have funded pilot studies on different kinds of seating (small numbers of yoga ball chairs and standing desks have been provided to different schools to be used with a variety of students). These projects have also been successful. Now, it is up to each school to decide if they want to use these items in their classrooms, based on their specific needs and what their budgets allow.
2. Extension of current curriculum & Exploration of new curricula areas
NEF funds extensions to the school curriculum so that students have the opportunity to go above and beyond. Projects like this include the school gardens, which provide students with hands-on experience as they explore science topics. This type of project can be successful only if school staff/parent volunteers are willing to support the project and carry it forward after initial funding ends.
Another example is the HS robotics program, which was seeded by several NEF grants. Robotics has flourished at the high school and has expanded into a fantastic program far beyond the original project goals. A more recent example is project that supplied elementary students with fitness tracker bracelets to use in gym class. Not only were students motivated by this new technology but also they used the data generated in gym for analysis in their math classes.
3. Unanticipated Needs & Unique Opportunities
NEF funds needs that were previously unanticipated or that enhance the school experience in unique ways. One such project provided the Lilja literacy center teacher with the equipment needed for her to organize and catalogue the school’s large supplemental lending library of leveled books. This new system helps teachers and students alike and it was implemented with the help of parent, teacher and student volunteers. In another grant-funded project, the middle school librarian noticed the proliferation of eReaders at home for younger students. She was inspired to write a proposal to acquire eBooks appropriate for the middle grades.
Having the preschool co-located with the high school has created a unique opportunity for students of all ages to get involved with projects. The NEF-funded apple orchard is being tended by both high school and preschool students.