The Top 10 Websites to Help Teachers Fund Everything

Mar 15, 2017 12:00:00 AM

by Yolanda R. Whitted

Those who love teaching often find themselves in schools that either cannot or will not fund advanced technology, teaching supplies or professional development programs. There is nothing like teaching in oversized classrooms of 40+ students without having the proper supplies, especially when it means you have to give those students a quiz or test from a PowerPoint. What do you do when the students that read slower are not done and the other 15-20 students are? Each year, I watched in horror as teachers were terminated because they were not able to meet student achievement goals—even when they were never given the proper tools to engage and inspire their students to achieve. Because of low salaries, many teachers could not afford to purchase much needed supplies or technology. They came into our school excited to change lives and left with hanging heads. They were set up for failure. In addition to overcrowded classrooms, teachers often are in classrooms with students of varied academic abilities, low English language proficiency and emotional/psychological issues. Many educators leave the profession rather than persevere because their increased workload does not match the training they received coming into teaching. If we want teachers to stick around, we need to help them develop. It is imperative that teachers receive valuable, yearly (if not semesterly) self-selected professional development to increase their confidence, provide them with fresh ideas and encourage them to continue. Giving educators an opportunity to travel and experience the foundation or history of what they teach is beneficial for students in that it encourages them to reach beyond their communities to become global citizens which in turn helps them better compete on a global level. Exposing educators to the cultural/historical origin of their content can awaken and illuminate their resolve, which will ignite students when they return to the classroom. It is my hope that these resources both encourage and assist instructors who desperately need and desire aid with classroom supplies and technology, professional development and cultural exposure.
  1. Fund For Teachers will help you (or you and a team) write a grant from a template based on your state's requirement for professional development, classroom supplies and/or technology. Teachers can even peruse the successfully funded proposals.
  2. The National Endowment of the Humanities supplies opportunities for teachers to travel and learn both domestically and abroad, in many cases, with all expenses paid—including airfare, accommodations, excursions and daily meals.
  3. The National Endowment of the Arts offers a variety of grants and fellowships for teachers in art-related disciplines. These opportunities will work well for teachers of art and English-related disciplines.
  4. Teachers Count is a database that exposes teachers to a wealth of funding opportunities from K-12. They even have grants for classroom pets!
  5. Get Funding is an amazing funding website that allows teachers to customize their registration to help them populate perfect search results tailored to their specific disciplines. In addition, educators can participate in professional development in the form of the latest scholarly articles, teacher communities, free videos/webinars, sample grants, deadline alerts and testimonials. There's even a place to share your successes to encourage others. It's a flawless virtual teacher's lounge.
  6. The NEA (National Education Association) Foundation awards grants to teachers with or without a membership. In fact, over the last 10 years, they have awarded more than $7.1 million to fund nearly 4,500 grants to public school educators to enhance teaching and learning. They also provide scholarly resources, assistance with professional development as well as life insurances and so much more.
  7. (Funds for Teachers) is a teaching resource database that assists teachers by providing funding for professional development, classroom enrichment/student achievement, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), as well as humanity grants.
  8. Edutopia is one of the most eclectic web sites used by educators in both advanced academics such as Gifted and Talented/Advanced and Intellectually Gifted, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and general education for an array of classroom resources. However, it is also a great place to find funding for students and teachers alike.
  9. The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation provides grants for small teams of teachers to attend ground breaking professional development to boost and monitor student achievement in their home schools.  
  10. Donors Choose is the brainchild of history teacher Charles Best who, along with his colleagues, used his salary to fund the purchase of classroom supplies. In April 2000, he designed the website to help teachers procure funding for their classrooms. In June 2003 Oprah Winfrey  simply mentioned the website on her show and in 15 seconds the website crashed. When it came back up, viewers donated $250,000 to classroom projects. Once a teacher posts a project, it usually does not take long to get funded because numerous celebrities, organizations and companies post challenges to the website. In many cases, Donors Choose is one of the quickest ways a teacher can procure funding for classroom supplies, technology and field trips.
An original version of this post appeared on LinkedIn.

Yolanda R. Whitted

Yolanda R. Whitted is a middle school English language arts and reading teacher in Washington, D.C., as well as an advocate for urban gifted and talented youth in poverty. Whitted was once herself an urban, unidentified gifted and talented student living on Chicago's South Side. Now, she feels understanding her story, challenges and triumphs helps Whitted to be a great support for both students and teachers who live in urban areas. In addition to her full-time teaching role, she currently conducts research, designs curriculum and creates best practices/professional development for teachers in urban classrooms. Whitted has designed and facilitated professional development for Dallas Independent School District, The College Board, Institución Educativa Nets in Bayamón, Puerto Rico as well as abroad at United Private Schools in Muscat, Oman. Whitted is an active North Carolina Central University alumna, as well as a member of Sigma Tau Delta, The National Council of Teachers of English, the National Educators Association, and Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented.

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