Past Recipients

Grant Writing Advice

A good proposal is clear, brief and free of jargon. It should explain:
(1) The needs, issues, and learning objectives involved
(2) How your approach will address them
(3) Why the overall theme is important

In the past, effective proposals have been those that contain clear and brief writing that express your ideas (often in less than 3 pages) and those that are formatted to highlight key objectives and goals. However, the most important component of our chosen proposals is that they meet the mission and goals of our Foundation.

Accordingly, here we summarize the kinds of proposals we are most likely to fund:

1. Students address an important local or global problem.
Examples: The Telluride Institute proposal explicitly addressed local watershed-level conservation. The Clarence Nature Center proposal directly addressed field projects at a local nature center and put the proposal in the context of the lack of other opportunities for students.

2. Students design and conduct experiments or research projects in order to learn how to do science, while at the same time learning important content.
Examples: Poland School students developed and tested hypotheses about stream characteristics and invertebrates.
 Warrenton School students will be directly comparing replicated and natural wetlands.

3. Lessons integrate classroom learning and field learning. All of our successful projects include both field-based learning that extends beyond a simple "field trip" and classroom-based learning. For example, how will your proposed activities address the required ecology content in your state standards?

Most common reasons we don’t fund a proposal:

1. Lack of Funds. Most proposals we receive should be funded, but we have limited resources so we are forced to reject otherwise excellent proposals.

2. Proposals with limited scientific content. Nobody disputes that most students would benefit from the opportunities available at a natural area or garden within a school campus. However, we strive to support science education, so we strive to fund proposal that use these areas as a natural laboratory in which to conduct scientific research and experiments. For example, how do soil characteristics affect plant growth. What factors affect bird feeder use and so on.

3. Proposals with unclear budgets. We only give grants of $1500 and we know that this is often too small to support most proposals. However, if your total budget exceeds our maximum amount, it is critical that you make it clear whether the project can succeed with only our grant.