Funding Opportunities for K-12 Education


As a rule, secondary and elementary education institutions are well funded, both by the government and other supporting foundations. Diverse foundations provide support for different types of K-12 projects in many fields. Most funders are available online and can be found on particular web-resources. For example, Inside Philanthropy resource is tracking funders that support K-12 projects and creates their profiles to make them available for applicants. 1

The purpose of this report is to provide information about foundations that support K-12 education in general and music or art at the high school level in particular. The report covers major facts concerning some foundations that are known for supporting education projects. It includes general information, specific spheres of funding, the process of applying for grants provided by these foundations, their requirements, and other peculiarities significant for applicants.

However, the report has some limitations. There are hundreds of foundations functioning on the national, state, or community level, and there is no possibility to review all of them. Thus, the report includes some foundations that provide additional funding for education and give particular attention to K-12 projects related to music and arts.

One of the major resources for finding foundations that provide grants for K-12 education was the website Inside Philanthropy. It reviews the major funding organizations supporting diverse directions throughout the country. The profiles of foundations included links to their pages where further information was found. Moreover, search on the Internet was used as a tool to find suitable foundations.

Foundations Supporting K-12 Education Projects

The Daniel Foundation

The Daniel Foundation is one of those that work in a particular state. It provides support to diverse projects aimed at strengthening communities within the state of Alabama and increase of the quality of life for people from this state (“The Daniel Foundation”). The creators of this foundation believe their primary goals can be reached through the “support of effective organizations that are focused on building a healthy and well-educated population, living in a vibrant community” (“The Daniel Foundation”). “The Daniel Foundation” claims that a quality education creates a ground for the development of individual opportunities. Their activity is dedicated to supporting and improvement of education. Particular attention is given to “children in underserved areas or facing economic disadvantages” (“The Daniel Foundation”).

The priorities of the foundation include the improvement of availability and provision of access to high-quality public libraries; stimulation of increase in quality of school opportunities; advocacy to promote “bold approaches to Alabama’s public school challenges”; and interventions aimed at provision of “better educational opportunities for K-12 students” (“The Daniel Foundation”). In addition, the foundation is interested in the development of youth (including mentoring programs), investigation of preparedness to opportunities of higher education and employment, and summer education paying particular attention to SAIL (Summer Adventures In Learning) (“The Daniel Foundation”).

The foundation puts much trust in the colleges and universities of Alabama state as major economic drivers for the communities. These institutions suggest significant resources to empower the philanthropic goals of the foundation, and they find mutual satisfaction in diverse partnerships. The major directions in which grants are awarded include “Education and Youth; Arts, Culture and Community Assets, and Health; and Community Needs” (“The Daniel Foundation”).

To apply for a grant from the Daniel Foundation, an applicant should pass a grant process. The foundation has shifted to an online grant process, thus an applicant has to create an account where the major contact details and organization information are included.2 The Grant cycle in the Daniel Foundation comprises seven steps. At step 1, an applicant has to submit a letter of intent (LOI). For example, for the next date to submit an LOI for Arts, Culture and Community Assets, and Health projects is February 2, 2018. During step 2, every organization that submitted an LOI is supposed to receive a response from the foundation.

Step 3 will be available for the applicants who receive an approval response. At this stage, the proposal is submitted. During step 4, the proposal is reviewed. In case there are questions to the applicant, site visits are possible. Final decisions concerning funding are made during step 6. In case the decision is positive for the applicant, the Grant agreement is sent to the organization at step 6. Finally, step 7 includes reporting because the foundation is interested in the efficiency of the grant and the results that were achieved due to their funding (“The Daniel Foundation”). On average, the grant process from LOI to grant decisions lasts about four months.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation follows a goal “to support innovation that can improve U.S. K-12 public schools and ensure that students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college” (“K-12 Education. Strategy Overview”). They consider education to be a key to opportunity in the United States. At present, due to the rapid development of education in other countries, the founders believe that contemporary American schools also need a chance to catch up and outpace the competitors.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is devoted to the goal of providing students in the United States with equal opportunities to obtain education of high quality. To achieve this goal, there are two programs developed. First of all, their K-12 Education program “aims to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college”, while their Postsecondary Success program “aims to dramatically increase the number of young people who obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate with labor-market value” (“K-12 Education. Strategy Overview”).3

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invests in projects that follow a common goal of strengthening the relations between the major participants of the education process, teacher and student. To achieve this goal, the representatives of the foundation cooperate with “educators, policymakers, parents, and communities to expand and accelerate successful programs and identify innovative new solutions that can help unlock students’ potential” (“K-12 Education. Strategy Overview”). The foundation does not have priorities related to location, thus any organization throughout the country can be funded in case its project allies the major goal of the foundation.

The foundation is investing in the projects that are within its funding priorities. In fact, they frequently contact organizations themselves and invite proposals directly. However, organizations can apply for current propositions that are regularly updated on the web page of the foundation. every project has a defined timeline and application peculiarities. Generally, it is necessary to follow the proposal guidelines and requirements.

The applicants are expected to provide a proposal narrative, budget, results in framework, the recent financial statement of the organization, information or resume for the staff involved in the project, and some examples of previously developed projects. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also suggests online application at Application Portal.4 After the registration is completed, the necessary materials can be submitted. The duration of the submission process can vary depending on the character of the investment and its complexity.

The Mockingbird Foundation

The Mockingbird Foundation is one of the non-profit organizations. It was created in 1996 by Phish5 fans. Its goal is to “generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community” (“Home”). It is a volunteer foundation without an office or paid staff. Its major goal is to support the music education of children throughout the country. The foundation has provided 348 grants as of 2017 and more granting opportunities are in perspective (“Home”).

The areas of interest of the Mockingbird foundation include music, education, and children. It suggests “competitive grants to schools and nonprofit organizations that effect improvements in areas of importance to the Phish fan community” (“Home”). In fact, their focus is music education for children. Mockingbird pays attention to the projects that support and encourage creativity expressed in diverse musical forms, such as instrumentation, composition, improvisation, and vocalization.

The foundation is particularly interested in applications dedicated to “diverse or unusual musical styles, genres, forms, and philosophies” (“Home”). The education component of funding can comprise the provision with some office materials, texts, or instruments necessary for the process of learning as well as practice and performance. The Mockingbird foundation pays much attention to the projects that promote “self-esteem and free expression” (“Home”).

However, it does not provide financial support for activities such as music therapy since it does not belong to education or music appreciation. The focus of the foundation is on children younger than eighteen. Still, it can consider interesting projects that support college students or teachers. Another particular interest of The Mockingbird Foundation is the scope of projects that involve “disenfranchised groups,” such as people with poor skills, low income, or lack of education; individuals with disabilities, and in “foster homes, shelters, hospitals, prisons, or other remote or isolated situations” (“Home”).

The amount of a grant can vary from $100 to $10,000 depending on the project. A grant can be rewarded on a one-time basis. Only US citizens can receive a grant from the Mockingbird Foundation. The recipients of grants are usually nonprofit organizations that have tax-exempt status. Public schools that are frequent applicants are eligible for these grants because they are tax-exempt. As a rule, the foundation does not grant individuals or research, fundraising events, or political and religious activities. At the same time, the foundation is interested in applicants that demonstrate innovative approaches and introduce collaboration in their work.

The process of applying is as follows. according to the Mockingbird Foundation, “full proposals are by invitation only, and will not be considered if unsolicited” (“Home”). The individuals interested in funding have to complete the Initial Inquiry Form at the website of the foundation, to provide details concerning the organization, and include the description of the organization in the form of narration. As for the funding cycle, it should be noted that inquiries open every year and are available online already on January 1. The online application form closes on August 1 (“Home”). The final decisions concerning funding are made by the end of the year.

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation provides grants for organizations that need them to empower some positive changes. The foundation focuses on “education, the arts, the environment, health and housing” (“The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation”). the foundation is a combination of elusive and accessible aspects. It does not have a developed mission statement or clearly identified goals with spheres of interest. At the same time, it is open to any organization that needs help and usually supports the most compelling applications. There are no geographic restrictions within the territory of the United States (“The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation”)

The history of grants of the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation provides evidence of supporting K-12 education. It does not define any distinct demands to the applicants. The foundation states that it “does not establish funding priorities on an annual basis, but rather supports worthwhile activities for which an organization has made a compelling case to receive funding” (“The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation”).

The foundation provides grants that are considered small and vary from $1,000 to $10,000. Moreover, the foundation is considered to be open-minded concerning the use of its funds. As a rule, it provides support to grantee organizations that are non-profit and located in the United States (“The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation”).

The recent grantees of the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation related to K-12 education comprise “public school districts, private schools, parochial schools, as well as other nonprofit organizations that provide K-12 education programming” (“The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation”). For example, $15,000 were granted to the Lynchburg Education Foundation for the purchase of musical instruments; $10,000 were given to the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center to support its Summer Science Program; $3,200 were granted to Wiggins School District to facilitate its Children’s Theatre presentations, $3,000 were given to Education Through Music initiative to support its NYC Partner School Program, etc. (“The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation”).

As for the application process, it does not have specific demands. The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation provides an application process during the year with two deadlines in May and November. Thus, the application process lasts for about six months.


On the whole, there are diverse granting opportunities in the United States. Different foundations created throughout the country provide support for many organizations. However, the priority is given to non-profit organizations. Thus, schools as non-profit organizations have chances to receive grants for different initiatives. Fortunately, there are foundations working in different fields. The application process is generally similar in the majority of foundations. As a rule, they have certain deadlines or due dates to submit the materials. The overwhelming majority of funds have active websites and provides online applications.

It attracts organizations from all over the country. Still, the applicants should be careful in selecting a grant because many foundations function for the benefit of certain communities or states. The available resources simplify the search of grants or funding and allow to find variants suitable for the specific purposes such as reviewed in this report. generally speaking, there are broad opportunities for the financial support of K-12 education in general and music or art at the high school level in particular. The diversity of foundations can suggest funding possibilities for different projects in case they correspond to the goals and objectives of the funders.

Works Cited

“The Daniel Foundation.” DanielFoundation. Web.

“Home.” The Mockingbird Foundation. Web.

K-12 Education Funders.InsidePhilanthrophy. Web.

K-12 Education. Strategy Overview.Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Web.

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education.InsidePhilanthrophy. Web.


  1. For more information on funders, see Inside Philanthropy resource.
  2. For more detailed information concerning application, visit the “How to Apply” section of the Daniel Foundation website.
  3. To learn about the achievements of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, visit the section “Featured Stories” of their web page.
  4. Application Portal is available by the link. Web.
  5. Phish is an American rock band famous for its improvisations and mixture of genres.
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