5 Ways to Maximize Your Small Grant

High-quality learning innovation isn’t free. Schools and nonprofits alike face maxed budgets and increasing demands to accomplish more with less.

High-quality learning innovation isn’t free. Schools and nonprofits alike face maxed budgets and increasing demands to accomplish more with less. But it doesn’t always take a big investment to create change. Sometimes, all it takes is the right support at the right time.

That’s why Remake Learning offers catalytic funding, awarding small-scale grants to support new and innovative learning across the region. This spring, our most recent Ignite Grants opportunity will award grants of $1,000 to 100 schools, organizations, and projects.

What can a grant of a few thousand dollars or less really accomplish? Alone and without strategy, not much. We’ll be the first to admit it! But when combined with passion, partnerships, creativity, and imagination, a small-scale grant can be just the spark your school or organization needs to lead the way to bigger change.

Here are our top five tips for maximizing your small-scale grant:

Think Creatively

First thing’s first: Put on your thinking cap. Look around your classroom or learning space. Where would a little investment go the longest way? How could you combine resources in new or unique ways to create something innovative? With a small grant, teachers at Cornell School District equipped students with “mobile reporter” packs – standard backpacks filled with a few supplies and tools – to introduce them to journalistic principles and practices.

Get Techy

For many, ed-tech tools open the door to more personalized, relevant, and engaging learning. Chromebooks are a great first step, but other types of tech can help elevate students’ experience beyond the classroom. With a grant from Remake Learning, Robert Morris University and the Ohio River Consortium’s after school maker-club for local English Learners captured digital stories about their cultures, which they later shared with their schools and communities.

Invest in People

Maybe your dollars are best spent on a who, not a what. Small grants are the perfect fit for funding that conference or professional development workshop you’ve been eyeing since last fall. Through networking, exposure to new ideas, and deeper content expertise, your investment in professional learning will pay dividends for your organization, and ultimately your students, for years to come.

Phone a Friend

Call on your friends from the community, both within and outside the education sector, and see where your priorities align. Organizations who work together are not only able to pool funds and resources, they can exponentially increase project reach and impact. Many Remake Learning grantees incorporate collaboration into their funded activities. With support from last year’s Great Remake grant opportunity, Providence Northside and Avonworth primary center collaborated with other community partners to create a new makerspace, while Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls partnered with local public housing community centers to present a summer story time and STEAM activity series.

Think About Scale

Taken together, an innovative idea, a strong partnership, and a healthy dash of imagination make a recipe for success – and scalability. Build a framework of scale into your project from day one. What are your long-term goals? What’s your vision for growth and what will you need to make that vision a reality? Scalability is at the heart of catalytic funding. A small grant sparks a new idea, but it’s up to you to fan the flames of innovation.

We hope these tips have sparked you to think about what a small grant can make possible. But thinking is just the first step: head over to remakelearning.org/grants to get started on your Ignite Grant application today!

Requests for Ignite Grants from Remake Learning are due April 8th.