This area of the web site contains templates of content and/or layout that can be cut and pasted to jumpstart your own grants. You can adapt them to focus on an individual school district, program, or school.

  • Proposal Introductions
  • Generalizability
  • Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Organizational Capacity
  • Comprehensive Organizational Capacity
  • Work Plans
  • Sample Budget
  • Budget Tips
  • General Tips
  • Information Links

Sample 1: very brief—1-paragraph–overview of the two intermediates—students served, purpose formed, and history:

GRO serves 24 school districts with almost 200,000 students. The two Intermediate Districts that sponsor GRO were formed for the express purpose of providing services to particular populations of students: first, those with special needs; later, those who would like vocational education; and, most recently, those who are gifted and talented. We therefore have 30 years of experience serving students with diverse needs.

Sample 2: brief summary of population (stressing diversity—important to this funder) leading directly into a summary of needs the grant is designed to meet:

GRO serves 24 local school districts with 189,467 students, including 29,000 students of color, 25,000 students living in poverty, and 21,000 with special needs. GRO proactively addresses challenges we face as educators of a significant cross-section of Minnesotans: embracing the vision of the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) initiative by including all students in learning; fostering volunteerism to address community needs; meeting the demands of a diverse population; and counteracting the risk of an unstable, insufficient, or poorly trained future teaching pool.

Establishing generalizability from research projects done in our suburban districts:

Research-based projects are often meant to test theories or establish procedures that can be replicated in other places.  Many funders have a prejudice against our suburban districts, believing that they are not representative of the diversity of the schools across the nation.  They believe that results from our studies will therefore not be generalizable to the general population.  Below is a segment of text that can be pasted (and adapted and added to, of course) to help establish that indeed our students are representative of those across the nation.

(Often, challenges can become strengths. GRO’s challenge in formulating the _________ Project and in our work in general is the diversity of our student and teacher population: Our teachers range from veterans to first-year teachers.) The students in our component districts range from below the poverty level to affluent, speak more than 70 different languages, attend schools of widely varying sizes, come from diverse backgrounds, and range from special-needs to gifted and talented – with a fair number falling into both categories. They represent the full spectrum of populations found in our state and most of the states of this country.  While this makes serving these students and organizing an action-research project on this population challenging, it also represents a great advantage we would bring to _______ [funding organization] research. Our research focuses on _____________________________, and, for that research, we will draw upon populations spanning more than 60 miles in the most populated and diverse region of our state, the Twin Cities Metro area.  Our research population would represent a wide range of students present throughout the nation. The findings from the research would therefore be highly generalizable overall. Our focus on dual needs students would also be generalizable, because students with dual needs (those who are gifted and also have other needs or conditions, including low-English-proficiency (LEP), mental health or behavioral issues, Asperger’s Syndrome, other cognitive or physical disabilities, chemical dependency, teen parenthood) can also be found in every state.

Furthermore, the student population in our districts represents and reflects the diversity of suburban students nationwide. In an article in NCREL Policy Issues (December, 2002), Ronald F. Ferguson writes: “Improving the quality of inner-city schools will be an important aspect of pursuing these [No Child Left Behind] goals, but it will not be sufficient.  Suburbs must respond as well. An analysis of U.S. Census data for the year 2000 indicates that 33 percent of the nation’s African-American children, 45 percent of Hispanic children, 54 percent of Asian children, and 55 percent of white children live in suburban communities.  Some children attend poor, segregated schools, similar to the poorest in the inner city, while others attend racially integrated schools in well-off communities where resources are relatively abundant and schools are reputedly excellent.” (p. 1) Research conducted in GRO’s highly varied suburban districts will reflect the racial and economic diversity of the country and can be generalized for use in most states.

Grant segment on collaboration (tailor as necessary):

Frequently, grantors want to make sure that entities they give money too are collaborating with others so that money is well-spent, projects are cost-effective, and appropriate partners are working together to get the job done.  Here is an example of how you might show collaboration in your specific project (tailor as necessary):

The EDGE Project involves many partners: [Hamline University, local school districts, individual community schools, teachers, and reserve teachers]. Our initiative is, by its very definition, a partnership, because it is a joint program of two Intermediate Districts serving 24 local school districts. The local school districts and community schools within them will also be partners, so that 30-50 different community organizations will partner in the finished project.

In addition to inter-district collaborative planning and execution of our project, [EDGE] will enhance collaboration in schools.  The project will use coaching, training, and planning support to foster a culture of staff development and learning in participating schools.  Such cultures have been shown to benefit students and teachers.  (See Section 2.ii above for references.) The learning communities will also make teachers highly motivated to continue differentiation and identification of gifted students even after the grant support has moved on to other schools. Collaboration will, therefore, add sustainability in the program.

Successful partnerships require time, financial support, skilled facilitation, ongoing commitment, good listening, and mutual respect in order to develop and flourish. The partnerships that would be central to the project we propose would be based on decades of successful partnering on educational topics for the mutual benefit of all. For over thirty years, the Intermediate Districts have been successful facilitators of cooperative educational achievement for hundreds of thousands of students, with a particular emphasis on meeting the needs of underserved populations, including those with special needs, gifted and talented students, and those who use vocational and technical programs. The funding we have received from the State Legislature, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Labor, the US Department of Education; and the Minnesota Department of Education, and private funders speaks to the confidence that outside funders have in the quality of our services, including numerous teacher training and curriculum development initiatives, such as the one we propose to [Javits].

(Furthermore, GRO Districts take seriously the expertise of our teachers.  We have therefore invited interested district staff to help us develop this initiative.  If we receive a [Javits] grant, interested teacher teams will submit proposals on how receiving the training and support will help them serve students.  We will select for participation teacher-driven, collaborative, school-supported plans that will help us make substantial contributions to research and practice in serving the needs of gifted and talented, dual needs, low-English proficiency, and/or disabled students and those of students across the board.)

The following is an example of how to respond to questions posed in a detailed section on cultural competency.  The responses to the first and third question can be cut and pasted (to tailor as appropriate) as templates for responding to questions of this ilk.

Grantor’s words: “Diversity encompasses a broad range of human differences.  It includes, but is not limited to, differences in abilities, age, disabilities, educational level, ethnicity, gender, geographic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic class and values.”

Why do you think your agency is equipped to address the cultural needs of youth eligible for this funding?

The Intermediates are qualified to work with respect for all persons, regardless of race, disability, etc.  We already provide extensive social interaction work as a central part of the curriculum.  We also have a wide range of diversity in our current and predicted student population. We teach students to be non-judgmental and to adapt and cope with people who are different from themselves. Cultural competency is not an add-on, but an embedded aspect of the transition curriculum.

The Intermediate Districts are uniquely qualified to work with students and families with multiple and challenging disabilities.  Some of the most complex profiles are referred to 287 and 916 programs. Furthermore, family background of students include a variety of cultural, geographic, and socio-economic experiences.

What outreach, teaching and case management techniques will your staff use that are inclusive and relevant to the cultural needs of eligible youth?

The population READY will serve will be in line with the broad range of students we have a history of serving already.

Transition teachers adhere to the “Minnesota Standards for Effective Teaching Practice” which sets forth 10 specific standards including addressing the needs of diverse learners.  The standard states that “A teacher must understand how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to students with diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities.”

The Intermediates prepare staff through student history review, research on students’ backgrounds and cultures, etc. For example, last year in 916, there was a Somali need in a transition program.  Staff people researched Somali customs in order to provide special holiday curriculum in line with the student’s home life.   Preparation time is built into the program so that staff can be responsive in that way. There is also preparation time built into the hours of the social workers, who will research the backgrounds of youth and provide an interface with families and communities. Informed, experienced mental health and social services teams will work with READY students throughout the program.

How do you prepare staff to work with diverse populations?

We collaborate with East Metro Integration District, EMID 606, and PREP Center for cultural competency training in the 287 region.  Northeast Metro has competencies and staff development goals related to cultural responsiveness.  All staff has participated in diversity training and take part in cultural responsiveness training as part of continuing professional development.  Cultural responsiveness is not only an additional goal, but also an embedded part of the missions of the Intermediates.

Funders want to know that your entity is up to the job.  They want to know that you have the staff, the experience, and other resources to do the proposed project. They like to see a track record of successful work. This section of a grant might be quite lengthy, but here are two short, cut-and-pastable snippets on the organizational capacity of Intermediates 287 and 916.

Very brief organizational capacity description:

Over the past 30 years, the intermediate districts have carried out dozens of new initiatives. Many programs run by ISD 287 and Northeast Metro 916 have received federal, state, and private funding. We have successfully carried out projects  for the State Legislature, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education, US Department of Labor, the Cooperation for National Service Initiative, and the Federal National School to Work Initiative. All projects were completed successfully and on-time.

Could be added to an organizational capacity description (and also appears above in the collaboration sample):

For over thirty years, the Intermediate Districts have been successful facilitators of cooperative educational achievement for hundreds of thousands of students, with a particular emphasis on meeting the needs of underserved populations, including those with special needs, gifted and talented students, and those who use vocational and technical programs. The funding we have received from the State Legislature, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Labor, the US Department of Education; and the Minnesota Department of Education, and private funders speaks to the confidence that outside funders have in the quality of our services, including numerous teacher training and curriculum development initiatives, such as the one we propose to [Javits].

Longer, comprehensive section on organizational capacity/accomplishments/awards and honors/grant history (cut and paste whatever is relevant to your needs and fits in your space constraints)



The Intermediate Districts Grants and Research Office (GRO) is a jointly sponsored office that serves Intermediate Districts 287 and Northeast Metro 916 in achieving their goal of supporting the individual needs of more than 190,000 students and their teachers within 24 member districts. For the purpose of this application, we will use “GRO” or “GRO Districts” to refer to the partnership of the Intermediate Districts, since they are joint applicants for this grant.

GRO meets the goal of serving students, teachers, and their schools and districts through direct service and through serving as a catalyst for system-wide change. Our component intermediate districts have successfully participated in partnerships for underserved and underrepresented populations for nearly 30 years, establishing successful working relationships with numerous public and private agencies, receiving outside funding, and earning accreditation and honors from many sources—all of which have contributed to continuing program growth. The ability of GRO to provide sound programmatic and fiscal oversight and our sound record of accomplishment as an organization can be shown together in this history of partnerships, grant awards, research, honors, conferences, and overall program growth.

GRO districts have formed partnerships with diverse organizations in key areas of service, including: career and technical programs, special education, services for students who have been suspended or expelled, pregnant and parenting teens.

  • Our strong Career and Technical programs depend on the insights of employers who serve on program advisory committees.  Over 1400 individuals serve on committees for our programs at Century College and Hennepin Technical College. Members of these committees have continually shown their support through opportunities for job shadowing, mentoring, and apprenticeships for disadvantaged and at-risk students.
  • In special education, co-located services bring the resources of day treatment to students by collaborating with Hennepin County’s Family Networks, the University of Minnesota, and St. Louis Park Police.
  • The Ramsey County Local Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health includes five school districts and various social service agencies to support police liaison programs and services for students who are suspended or expelled.
  • In the Area Learning Center, partnerships with local hospitals help fund and staff two programs for pregnant and parenting teens.

GRO districts engage in research on important educational topics, including basic skills acquisition, autism, post-school activities, and continuous improvement.

  • We are involved in a three year study funded by both state Goals 2000 dollars and Federal Title II and VI dollars to increase math test scores on the Statewide Basic Skills Test. Scores for students at risk.  Test scores have been analyzed and interventions have been taking place involving both teachers and students. Test scores will again be analyzed following testing in 2004.
  • At the state level, through the Department of Children, Families & Learning, we have been awarded a three-year grant for research in the area of autism, which ran through 2001.  Our Systems Autism Model (SAM) uses a systems approach to examine the current special education classroom models used in school districts across the west metro area. The findings from this grant contributed significantly to the literature and to regional understanding of autism.
  • A Post-School Follow-Up Study focusing on 125 randomly selected students was conducted in conjunction with the state follow-up study. Additional information was collected through a consultant who conducted in-person, phone, and TDD interviews.
  • The extensive report prepared by the external evaluation team for the Systems Improvement Project (discussed above) included evaluation research on training and products designed to bolster continuous improvement, teach to high standards, and promote ongoing staff development.

Our programs have met the rigorous standards of national groups overseeing education delivered within each specialty.  For example, the Vocational Education, Community Transition and Occupational Relations (VECTOR) program was one of ten programs in a six-state region to be awarded “exemplary status” by the North Central Regional Information Exchange.  The Area Learning Center (ALC) received the 1998 National Youth Dropout Prevention Award.  At the state level, LEAP was recognized by the Governor of the State of Minnesota through a Certificate of Commendation as an outstanding summer youth program. Many employees have brought honor to the intermediates through their work: most notably: Connie Bohns, chosen as Outstanding Teacher in the Work Place, 2002, by the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce; Darla Jackson, honored by the National Association of Vocational Education Special Needs, 1998; Laura Keller-Gautsch, selected for the Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children 1993 Special Person of the Year Award; Dolly Lastine, chosen by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired for their 1996 Outstanding Service Award; and Mary Sheie, winner of the 2001 Christa McAulife Fellowship.

GRO’s component districts consistently contribute to the knowledge base in teaching by hosting and presenting at local, national, and international conferences and webcasts.

  • We hosted an international conference on “Transition into Tomorrow’s Workplace” which had over 1,000 attendees from throughout the world.
  • We often fulfill the roles of planner or co-host for state and regional conferences. In 1999, for instance, 287 co-hosted two state conferences: the Vision Conference and the conference of the Minnesota Association of Augmentative Communication (MNSAAC).
  • We have organized a multi-dimensional staff development program called PREP Center (Practical Resources for Education Professionals).  PREP Center provides workshops, national speakers, reflection groups, group facilitation for local districts, and hosting of relevant college coursework workshops.  At the heart of all these options is the PREP Center belief that unique and diverse school districts (who serve 20% of the public school students in Minnesota) can come together to create an inter-district learning community to pursue common professional development goals.
  • Our Career and Technical education program has hosted a Regional Tech Prep conference for the past 8 years involving over 300 attendees each year from business, secondary and post-secondary education.
  • In addition, in one of our special education divisions alone, 73 current staff members have presented at national, state, or regional conferences, with several presenting at multiple conferences.  Current staff members who present at major conferences include a nationally recognized specialist in Autism Spectrum who consults internationally and a certified stress management trainer who works with both students and teachers throughout the region.
  • We held a statewide webcast in May of 2000 on integrating standards into special education . The cutting edge webcast had over 200 sites register to participate.

GRO districts are continually recognized as leaders in preparing students for the world of work and society. One indicator of that success is the growing student population in our programs.  We are serving more students now than at any other time in our history. The Area Learning Center serves over 7,000 dropout and at-risk students, nearly 2,500 high school students are enrolled in campus vocational programs at three sites, and around 5,000 students receive some form of special education services each year. All of our programs together serve 190,000 teachers and students in 24 local school districts, providing them with sound programs in research, assessment, teaching and learning, special education, gifted and talented education, alternative study programs, vocational and technical education.


Many programs and collaborations run by GRO’s component districts have been the recipient of federal, state, and private-sector funding. Here are examples of the major grants we have successfully administered:

  • From the State legislature, we have received Best Practices Clearinghouse awards administered by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning. We received $2.5 million over the past four years.
  • From the Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning, we received a three-million-dollar Goals 2000 award to promote continuous improvement, standards development, and staff development in schools.
  • From the National Science Foundation, we received seven years of continuous funding for a regional teacher enhancement program called PriMath.
  • From the US Department of Education, through the Minnesota State Colleges and universities (MnSCU), we have been awarded the Tech Prep Consortium grant for the past 10 years.
  • From the US Department of Labor, administered through MnSCU in Intermediate 287 and through a partnership with Ramsey County and our Area Learning Center at 916, we were one of only three awards given that year of Jobs Training Partnerships Act (JTPA) Education Coordination Funds; we held the award for 4 years.
  • Under the Cooperation for National Service initiative, administered through the Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning, we have been awarded the Learn & Serve America Grant for 2 years.
  • Under the Federal National School to Work Initiative, we have facilitated a grant for the East-Metro School-to-Career Partnership for the past 5 years and the Carl Perkins grant for the past 12 years.

Grant proposals require work plans that give a sense of the order and timing of grant work and that lay out the different tasks to be performed.  Different RFP’s (Requests for Proposals) ask for these plans and timelines to be laid out different ways. Here are two examples. While the details of your plan are likely to be quite different – this is not a cut-and-paste for content – you can copy these layouts and then replace the information shown below with information from your proposal.

Sample 1: Grid

WORKPLAN – JULY 1, 2004 TO JUNE 20, 2005

Program Activities Tasks (How) Staff Responsible (Who) Time Line/Dates (When)
Put together teaching teams (one staff person and one assistant per site) and specific plans • Recruit from professionals already employed by the Intermediates;
• Administrator meetings
READY program Administrators, Jessica Wiley and Jane Holmberg July, 2004
Program Planning • Meetings
• Email discussion
• Adaptation of
existing curriculum
• Adaptation of
existing assessments
• Apartment set-up
Program administrators;
Program staff
July-August, 2004
Student Recruitment Existing classes and partner agencies(announcements, referrals) Program Staff;
Staff at partner agencies
July, 2004-
March, 2005
Course Sessions
(4 sessions, each at 2 sites)
• Pre-tests
• Experiential coursework
• Mastery assessment
• Certificate banquet
Program Staff September-October, 2004
November-December, 2004
January-March, 2005
April-June, 2005
Evaluation • Progress charting for each student
• Staff logs;
• Feedback from participating agencies;
• Student surveys
Professional Evaluator;
Program staff
Throughout year;
May-August, 2005


Sample 2: Activities and Outcomes Described Together

Note: This sample comes from a grant in which limited characters were allotted for an application meeting many requirements. This format was chosen to be space-efficient and to clearly link activities and outcomes, as desired by the funding agency.

Proposed Outcomes and Work Plan/Rationale

We will perform seven planning activities, each resulting in a specific outcome designed to serve as a springboard to strong future practice. (Please note that the rationale/work plan is described below in relation to each outcome.)

Activity/Outcome One: In order to implement an effective, sustainable plan for improving instruction, recruiting volunteers and Corps members, and creating service-learning opportunities, we will build Start-Up Team consisting of: the SAY:DIAL Program Director; a loaned corporate leader from a local company; at least two interested teachers with experience in related educational initiatives; a professor from a local teaching college (since we will eventually be recruiting teachers as AmeriCorps members.); a local teaching student who will be serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for the program; program staff, including Directors of Educational Services from both intermediate districts and a researcher; and possibly, volunteers and early AmeriCorps recruits.

Activity/Outcome Two: Perform further community needs/resource assessment, because we want to make sure that we are fully aware of what teachers want, what students need, and what our schools and communities have to offer before we begin work.

Activity/Outcome Three: Research the best practices in the country and visit any local program models to learn all we can about how to create a strong program.

Activity/Outcome Four: Complete program design and write a summary and brochure, both of which will all allow us to plan, recruit, and eventually, fund-raise.

Activity/Outcome Five: Write a strategic plan with timelines, tasks, deadlines, and staffing that will allow us to move forward from the first month of the grant period, if we obtain future funding.

Activity/Outcome Six: Design a competitive process to identify and select teams to participate in the program.  The process will shorten start-up time for the initiative.

Activity/Outcome Seven: Create manuals and systems for work we will do in our AmeriCorps project and produce a program calendar for the year showing benchmarks and member schedules.  The calendar will help keep future work on track, and the manuals and systems will make the work smooth, consistent, and effective.


























Sample Budget:

Line Item Grant Funds Requested In-Kind Contributions
(at least 25% of requested grant amount and non-federal funds)
Other funds available for this project (specify source)
Salaries and Benefits:
recruitment, assessment and planning, life skills training, post-secondary and employment readiness, assistance with housing, health care, family involvement, etc.
$65,840 $166,000
Staff training $  1,600
Transportation: vans, public bus use $  5,280 $  4,000
Housing: damage deposit, rent subsidies, utility hook-ups, household goods, [note: students will not be housed overnight. This money goes to house the program at an apartment site.] $  20,000 $  5,600
Contracted Services: driver’s education, retreats, career assessments, employment training, van rental, etc. $ 10,800 Community agencies can bill third-party reimbursement for the services they provide
Office Supplies: postage, copying, brochures, etc. $  1,000
Group Meeting Expenses
Office and Meeting Space Rent $  3,800
Telephones, Pagers
Other: specify in budget justification $23,800
Indirect/Administrative Costs (Maximum allowed–10% of grant) $ 12,572
TOTAL $ 138,292 $  182,000
132% of total requested


Salaries: $52,672
Salaries (in-kind): $166,000


Curriculum writing, meeting time, set-up 100 hours $46/ hour $4600
School year
Preparation 10 hrs/mo x 9 mos 90 hours $46/ hour $4140
Family Nights 4 hrs/ event x 8 events 32 hours $46/ hour $1472
Total $10212
x 2 Sites $20424
Instructors (in-kind): $120,000

Duties include: course and assessment preparation; apartment set-up; pre- and post-testing; development of contracts for the course; instruction; supervision; classroom management; off-site responsibility; mentoring; portfolio creation for each student; determination of successful skill mastery to receive certificate; communication with evaluator, agencies, and administrators; keeping of program logs and student records.

The instructors will be the primary contact for the program.

Each instructor will work with up to 16 students each quarterly session at each site.

Additional program hours will be used for individual and team work (without students) regarding: curriculum design, assessment, lesson-planning, discussion, and keeping project logs and records.

Program Assistants
Curriculum writing, meeting time, set-up 40 hours $20/ hour $800
School year
Family Nights 4 hrs/ event x 8 events 32 hours $20/ hour $640
Total $1440
x 2 sites $2880
Assistants (in-kind): $46,000


Duties include: assisting instructors in all aspects of preparation and teaching (see instructor duties above)

School Social Workers
Curriculum writing, meeting time, set-up 40 hours $46/ hour $1840
School year
Family Nights 4 hrs/ event x 8 events 32 hours $46/ hour $1472
Total $3312
x 2 sites $6624


Duties include: providing individual and group support to students;
Assist students in academic planning

Work Experience Coordinators
Curriculum writing, meeting time, set-up 60 hours $46/ hour $2760
School year
Preparation 10 hrs/mo x 9 mos 90 hours $46/ hour $4140
Family Nights 4 hrs/ event x 8 events 32 hours $46/ hour $1472
Total $8372
x 2 sites $16744


Duties include: Providing direction for vocational aspects of the program; maintaining contacts with job sites; helping students prepare job related materials (resume, applications); creating school-based job training experiences.

Administrative Assistant
3 hours/ week x 2 sites 6 hours/ wk x 50 weeks 300 hours $20/ hour $6000


Duties include: Room arrangements, communication with collaborating agencies; meal ingredient and supply acquisition; photocopies; charting of student results; certificate preparation

Benefits: $13,168
Instructors: 25% of salaries = $20,424 x 0.25= $  5,106
Program Assistants: 25% of salaries = $2,880 x 0.25= $  720
School Social workers 25% of salaries = $6,624 x 0.25= $  1,656
Work Experience Coord.: 25% of salaries = $16,744 x 0.25= $  4,186
Administrative Assistant: 25% of salaries = $6,000 x 0.25= $  1,500
*District does not pay benefits for contracted services


Staff training: $ 0
Staff is fully trained.


Staff development (in-kind) = $200 x 8 staff $1600


Transportation $5,280
Public transportation:
20 people (8 students, 2 instructors x two classes a day) x $4/round-trip/per person x 1 trip/week x 24 field-trip weeks x 2 sites
$ 3,840
School vans
$20/week/site gas money x 2 sites x 9  weeks x 4 sessions
$ 1,440
School vans (in-kind)
Vehicle insurance & maintenance= $2,000/ vehicle/ year x 2 sites


Housing costs for eligible youth: $20,000
Housing costs for program apartment:
$10,000/site x 2 sites
Includes damage deposit, space rental, utilities, furniture, cleaning supplies
Microwave, cookware, dishes (in-kind): $ 300/apartment x 2 apartments $  600
Computers: 1 per site for school year & technical support = $2,500 x 2 = $ 5,000
*We do not house youth overnight as part of this program.*


Contracted Services: $10,800
Program Evaluator: 125 hours x $80/hour $10,000
Diversity Training:  $100/session x 4 sessions/ site x 2 sites $    800


Office Supplies: $0
Postage and copying (in-kind) $500.00/ site x 2 sites $1,000


Group Meeting Expenses $0


Office and Meeting Space Rent: $0
Planning Space (in-kind): $200/day x 5 days x 2 sites $2,000
Banquet space (in-kind): $300/session per site x 2 sites $1,800


Telephones, Pagers $0
(telephone cost already figured into apartment funds above)


Indirect/Administrative Costs 10% of grant= $12,492


Other: $23,800
Meals (breakfast and dinner):
$200/week/program x 2 programs x 36 weeks
$ 14,400
Food for family nights and end of the quarter banquets:
$ 400 x 4 sessions x 2 events/session x 2 programs
$ 6,400
Additional curriculum materials: $ 3,000


TOTAL $138,072
  1. Be comprehensive.
    Think of everything now, so there are no surprises later.  You will need meeting space, food, and possibly release time.  You may need to use vans or public transportation or school buses; you may need to reimburse for driving distance.  Consider copies, office supplies, etc. And, of course, estimate all staff time and charges, including the time of consultants, such as trainers and evaluators.
  2. Be current.  For example, I’ll give some formulas below, but the district changes policy and government numbers (such as $.36 mileage reimbursement) change.
  3. Use Excel or another spreadsheet program, if possible, for the detailed budget.
  4. Double-, triple-, quadruple-check everything!
  5. Use the order and format shown in the proposal guidelines.
  6. Consider examples (such as the one above) for ideas about categories, format, etc.
  7. Whenever possible, use the actual wages for people who you know will be on the project (accounting for any expected pay increases, since grants usually take effect in a subsequent year than the one in which applications are made.) If you do not know exactly who will full all the positions, try to budget slightly on the high-side. – You can always come out under budget!  If necessary to cut a budget and if you think that the amounts you have used are too high, you can use an average wage for that level of staffperson. Doing so is usually a safe bet and can bring down your requested funds with little agony.
  8. Do the detailed breakdown/line item budget (sometimes called a Budget Narrative, though it is not actually a narrative, but a detailed listing or table of each expense) first and then the Budget Summary.
  9. When doing a Budget Narrative, write out all calculations. For example:
    • 200 copies x $.08/copy x 2 semesters = $32 or
    • 2 full-time site supervisors/ site x 2 sites x $30,000/ year/ supervisor = $120,000 or
    • 4 instructors x 22 hrs./week/instructor x $20/hr. x 20 weeks = $35,200
  10. Often, a “match” is required, and it is almost always desired. “Matches” or “matching funds” are funds that your school/district/intermediate/agency comes up with itself to cover costs involved in the grant project.  In other words, the granting agency doesn’t want to pay for everything. They want to see that your agency has an investment – literally as well as in spirit.  Don’t despair, if your entity (agency/school/district) does not seem to have money to cover any of the project’s costs. Most or all matching funds can often be “in-kind” amounts. “In-kind” means that your entity does not actually write a check specifically for some aspect of the project. Instead, it donates something (that it already has): staff time, phone use, office space, classrooms, meeting space, computers, etc. Every project will require things that your entity already has. People have to meet, and schools and office buildings have space to let them use. Staff has time to do some work on the project within the hours they are already paid for.  For example, do you have an office assistant who has 2 hours free a week to do the administrative work for a grant? Do you have a computer person who is on call anyway? Copy machines, telephones, computers, and other tools are already available.  Use these.  Plan them into your grant, because you will need some of them. Estimate the cost. For example, if your grant involves three training sessions from an outside trainer and you have no money to pay for the trainer, you probably do have access to space (estimate maybe $300/afternoon) in which the training can be held. That’s a $300 in-kind match per training.
  11. Nice thing to keep in mind for in-kind match: if you are giving office space to staff to use for the project, you can estimate a total of up to 25% of dedicated employees’ salaries to office set-up. That’s a nice amount of match that costs nothing but a little space and set-up.
  12. Salaries and benefits: The first section of a budget usually consists of salary and benefits.  Salary is the hourly rate.  Benefits are the additional amount (could be 17% or 25%) that salaried employees are paid to cover health insurance and other costs.   In the salary section of your budget narrative, show the per/hour amount of each project staff person and the number of hours that s/he is spending on the project. (You can group together people who are spending the same number of hours on the project and are paid the same amount per hour.) Alternatively, you can show the cost per academic year of each person, the fraction of full-time that person is giving to the project, and the total project cost for the person’s time. In benefits, list only benefits (use the percentage given to you by your entity’s administrator) for those employees who are eligible.—Consultants and some hourly, part-time workers do not receive benefits. (Note: Sometimes, consultants are listed in another section altogether. Trainers and evaluators sometimes come under that heading.  They are paid by the day, hour, or project at a higher hourly rate but without benefits.)
  13. Steps in determining total budget:
    • Come up with a reasonable budget range. Usually, this range depends on two things: the scope of your project and the average amounts that the granting agency has given in the past and/or intends to give this budget cycle. For example, if the Department of Education normally gives $100,000-$200,000 grants in this category and yours is a relatively small project, your range might be $90,000-$110,00 to be competitive. If yours is large grant and you would like $300,000 for it, you should figure that it is unlikely that you will get more than the largest amount the grantor has ever given.  Work with your proposal until you can ask for funds of maybe $180,000-$210,000. Remember you want your proposal to seem attractive and cost-effective so that the granting agency feels that they are getting a lot of good work for their money.
    • Now, draw up a comprehensive budget narrative, going back and forth between the budget and the work plan.  (In fact, it is often good to get into the details of these two grant sections at the same time.)
    • See your final amount (which will almost always be higher than it should be) and work with your budget and work plan as necessary to adjust individual and final amounts and matches.
  14. When you think your budget is finished, run it by two administrators with experience in budgeting and, possibly the accountant for your school or district.  See if the budget looks reasonable and comprehensive to them.  If not, make any changes you think make sense.  Be sure to check all your numbers again and to make sure that the line item budget (budget narrative) and budget summary match.
  1. In policy debate, one learns that there are several “stock issues” important in making a compelling argument for a case of action. They are:
    • Significance: It is important to establish that there is a significant problem or need.
    • Inherency: the problem/need is inherent to the status quo (it couldn’t just be cleared up some other way)
    • Plan: the proponent—or in this case, the grant-writer—should have a clear, cogent plan that directly links the problem or need to desired results.
    • Solvency: the plan that is being proposed will solve the problem or meet the need and will do so in a significant way.The trick then to effective grant-writing, as in making any policy argument, is to demonstrate that the significance and inherency of the problem or need, and to have a clear, cogent plan that directly links the problem or need to desired results. These desired results should result in a solution or partial solution to the problem that is significant and long-lasting (in grant lingo, “sustainable”).
  2. See the detailed suggestions on the GRO website for help with each section of a proposal.
  3. See examples of well-written grant sections as referenced in “GRO Grant Examples.”
  4. It cannot be stressed enough that it is vital to meet the terms of the grant:
    • Make sure that the grant plan would do what the funder wants to give money to do.
    • Make sure also that each section of the proposal follows grants guidelines in terms of what’s covered, how the proposal is organized, length, format, what to include and not include, and deadline.
    • Make sure that you send in the requested number of copies (sometimes, even the number of originals and single- or double-sided copying is specified) with proper signatures.
    • Do not be late!  If possible, leave yourself an extra day or two, just in case the proposal or printing take longer than you want. Send in proposals by FedEx or overnight mail, deliver them in person, or courier them, but DO NOT BE EVEN ONE MINUTE LATE (I know of someone who found the proper office 8 minutes after the final time and had his grant proposal refused).  If possible, make sure that the proposal arrives one or more days before the deadline date. Check with the courier or use registered mail (or deliver it yourself and note the name of the person accepting it) to make sure that the proposal has arrived at the right place and time.