Foundation and corporate grants

Private foundations and corporations provide money to worthwhile community agencies, including, in some cases, public schools. They can be an important source of revenue. The Foundation Center , perhaps the best single compilation of grant-related resources, notes that foundations and corporations provide 16.2% of all private gift support to nonprofit institutions. In 1999, according to the Foundation Center, their estimated giving totaled about $23 billion. While that's a huge number, the demands for it are even larger. For example, the total government spending on Michigan public schools is about $12.7 billion annually - or more than half of the total spending nationwide by all foundations and corporations combined.

Foundation and corporate grants, as with government grants, typically are for new programs or initiatives. They are particularly valuable for funding one-time "extras" a district may have, such as money for a student garden, a special piece of playground equipment or some hand-held computers for a science class. Rarely do these sources continue funding year after year.

Each applicant must develop a plan for the proposed grant project, something that generally involves the staff members who will execute it. Each also has its own reporting requirement; the benefactor wants to ensure that his/her money has been spent as intended. Generally, these grants require that data be gathered and reports be written and submitted. These requirements, of course, add to the "cost" of the grant.