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Big-Time Fundraising for Today's Schools

Big-Time Fundraising for Today's Schools

Foreword by Wendy D. Puriefoy

Other Titles in:
Education Finance & Funding

November 2006 | 208 pages | Corwin

"Makes a groundbreaking, noteworthy, and lasting contribution to the field of public school improvement and reform."
—From the Foreword by Wendy D. Puriefoy
President, Public Education Network

"A must-read book that can change how public education works, thrives, and ultimately succeeds."
—Gerard A. Dery, Director, Zone 1, NAESP
Principal, Nessacus Regional Middle School, Dalton, MA

Harness skills and strategies to achieve "big-time" fundraising success!

In this enlightening book, nationally recognized author and fundraising consultant Stanley Levenson shows school leaders how to move away from labor-intensive, nickel-and-dime bake sales and car washes, and into the world of big-time fundraising. Following the model used by colleges and universities, Levenson presents a wealth of practical strategies for supporting school finances by pursuing grants and gifts from corporations, foundations, the government, and individual donors.

A proactive blueprint, this resource focuses on public responsibility in helping America's public schools become world-class learning institutions. Fundraisers will learn about the entire fundraising spectrum, from corporate, foundation, and government grants, to grants and gifts from individual donors. This valuable package of ready-to-use tools and strategies includes:

  • Basic steps for starting a public school foundation
  • Practical techniques for writing winning grant proposals
  • Examples of winning grant proposals
  • Tips for overcoming obstacles
  • Suggestions for establishing a development office
  • Techniques for obtaining grants and gifts from individual donors
  • Helpful approaches to annual campaigns, capital campaigns, and planned giving
  • A list of 101 foundations and corporations interested in giving to the public schools
  • Extensive bibliography, references, and web sites

In this comprehensive guide, educators will find specific creative solutions for obtaining funding that will support the finest schools for all our children. 

Foreword by Wendy D. Puriefoy
About the Author
1. From Needs to Opportunities
There’s Good News on the Horizon

Corporations, Foundations, and Individual Donors Are Interested

The Federal Government Is Involved

Contributions to Worthy Causes Across America Have Increased

The Transfer of Wealth in America Will Help

2. What Is Big-Time Fundraising?
Establishing a Development Office

Hiring Fulltime Staff and Consultants

Specifications for Hiring Fulltime Staff and Consultants

Be Wary of Consultants Who Propose to Work for No Upfront Fees

A Dozen Big-Time Fundraising Strategies That Win Every Time

Roles and Responsibilities in a Big-Time Fundraising Effort

Some School Districts Are Starting to Gear Up

Some Important Issues to Be Aware Of

Issues Are Legitimate

3. Public School Foundations
Public School Foundations

How Are School Foundations Organized?

How to Start Local Education Foundation

How to Start a Local Education Fund

What’s Happening Around the Country?

Twelve School Foundations Making a Difference

4. How to Get Big Gifts From Individual Donors
Why Haven’t We Gone After Big Gifts?

Defining Big Gifts

How to Snare Big Gifts From Individual Prospects

A 21 Step Approach to Securing a Major Gift

Sample Pledge Card

5. Annual Campaigns, Capital Campaigns, and Planned Giving
Annual Campaigns

Capital Campaigns

Planned Giving

Possible Non-Cash Gift Ideas for the Public Schools

Outright Gift of Cash

6. Applying for Corporate and Foundation Grants
Corporate Giving

Foundation Giving

Independent Foundations

Community Foundations

Obtaining Corporate and Foundation Funding is Easier Than You Think

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Direct Contact

Corporate-School Partnerships

The Foundation Center

Reasons for Applying for Corporate and Foundation Funding

7. Strategies, Requests for Proposals (RFP’s), and Resources for Winning Corporate and Foundation Funding
Eleven Step Strategy

Responding to Requests for Proposals (RFP)

101 Foundations and Corporations Interested in Giving to K-12 Schools

8. Writing Winning Minigrants
Needs Assessment, Goals and Objectives

Activities, Evaluation Specifications, Budget

Preparing a Winning Mini-Grant Application

Blank Mini-Grant Program Application

9. Writing Major Grant Proposals That Get Funded
Government Grants

Needs Assessment

Goals and Objectives


Example of a Timeline Using a Triple “T” Chart

10. Preparing the Evaluation Plan for Your Application
Internal (Formative) Evaluation

External (Third-Party) Summative Evaluation

Using a Third-Party Evaluation Design

Seven Tips to Remember When Designing Your Evaluation Plan

11. Preparing the Application Budget
The Application Budget

Presenting a Budget Format

Providing the Necessary Resources to Adequately Carry Out the Project

Providing the Necessary Detail

Calculating the Direct Costs

Calculating the Indirect Costs

Writing the Budget Narrative

Writing the Dissemination Plan

Writing the Program Summary and Abstract

Fourteen Helpful Hints

12. After You Receive the Grant, Then What?
Announcing Your Grant to the World

Being Good Stewards of All Grants and Gifts

What Happens When Grant Monies Run Out?

13. Some Examples of Winning Grant Proposals
Examples of Winning Mini-Grants (South Washington County Schools, Cottage Gove, MN)

Example of Winning Major Government Grant Proposal (Lubbock-Cooper Independent School District, Lubbock, TX)

14. Conclusions
Resource A: Some Examples of Grant Opportunities for K-12 Schools
Resource B: Sample Ads for Key Positions
Resource C: Sample Cover Letter to Accompany a Grant Application
Resource D: The Foundation Center's Glossary of Funding Terms

"In my pioneer work in the public education foundation movement, and as a former superintendent of schools, I endorse Stan Levenson's suggestions for the role of board members in starting alumni fundraising, the need to listen and establish rapport with prospective givers in a community, and his initiatives for tapping the sources of senior citizens and former teachers. Levenson's acknowledgement that more than 80% of all contributions come from donors fuels the idea that public school education foundations should exist in every community to enhance programs in our K-12 schools."

Judith R. Rovins, President
Rovins Educational Group

"This book helps communities leave no stone unturned in the search for funds that will help improve student learning. In shifting our sights to the new world of big-time fundraising, Stan has made a groundbreaking, noteworthy, and lasting contribution to the field of public school improvement and reform."

From the Foreword by Wendy D. Puriefoy, President
Public Education Network, Washington, D.C.

"The author has effectively and painstakingly provided a blueprint that will help individuals and schools achieve success in fundraising. This is a must-read book that could change how public education works, thrives, and ultimately succeeds."

Gerard A. Dery, Director, Zone 1, National Association of Elementary School Principals
Principal, Nessacus Regional Middle School, Dalton, MA

"Having applied for and been awarded five mini-grants this year, I feel that Dr. Levenson's book will help me take my grantsmanship to the next level. He provides a blueprint for creating successful school grant writing teams and for obtaining major grants to meet larger needs."

Andrew Goldstein, Technology Education Teacher
Boca Raton, FL

"A recommended pick for school leaders who wish to move away from small-scale bake sales into big-time fundraising."

California Bookwatch, April 2007

"Whether you are a funding novice or a veteran grant writer, Levenson provides information that should be at the fingertips of every educator looking for financial support in today's tight budget era."

Edu-Funds, May 2007
Key features
  • Filled with easy-to-implement strategies
  • Coverage of how to overcome obstacles
  • Examples of grant proposals
  • Sample marketing documents, campaigns, scripts, and more, to reproduce for school use

Sample Materials & Chapters



Chapter 1

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