The EGUSD Grant Application Toolkit is designed to help district offices, programs, school sites, and staff navigate the competitive grants application process and develop strong proposals with limited guidance.
Questions? Contact our office at (916) 793-2955.
The following forms, documents, charts and samples may be useful as you prepare your funding application.
How To Apply
The following step-by-step process may be helpful as you develop and submit your grant application. Even if we are not managing your application from start to finish, depending on current capacity, the Grants Office may be able to assist with one or more of these steps. Contact our office at (916) 793-2955 to discuss availability.
To find funding, you can:
- Request the Grants Office conduct a search for you.
- Browse our list of categories and external funding lists.
- Conduct an internet search.
As you look for funders, pay attention to the following:
Is EGUSD eligible? Elk Grove Unified School District is a local educational agency (LEA), which is a subdivision of the California state government. Government agencies are tax free. However, EGUSD is not a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Some funding agencies will only fund 501(c)(3) organizations. Examples of other eligibility disqualifiers include the following:
- The application is by invitation only.
- The school district can submit only one application (and EGUSD is already committed to applying).
- EGUSD is not located within the funder’s select counties or states OR is not within specified geographic distance of a company’s store or headquarters.
If you aren’t sure whether EGUSD or your idea can be funded, contact the organization or the Grants Office.
Below are some links to different funders’ eligibility pages. Review these to get a sense of the variety of eligibility language.
- The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation: By invitation only.
- The California Wellness Foundation: Letter of Interest first, but 501(c) (3) status only.
- The SaveMart C.A.R.E.S. Foundation: 501(c)(3) only.
- Sierra Health Foundation’s Responsive Grants Program: Only one application from an organization accepted.
- Umpqua Bank Community Giving Grants: Only school districts, not individual schools, may apply.
Other questions to consider are below. If you aren’t sure of the answer or how to find it, reach out to the Grants Office, and we may be able to help.
- Is there an active Request for Proposals (RFP) / Request for Applications (RFA)?
- Does your proposed project fit the organization’s funding priorities?
- Does the funder tend to award grants to the same organizations year after year?
- Has the funder ever awarded grants to any school districts or individual school sites?
- Do the reporting requirements include sharing non-public student data or images?
Once you have identified a funding opportunity and confirmed that EGUSD is eligible to apply, you must gain pre-approval from your department director or your site administrator before applying. The director/administrator may also need to gain District approval depending on the project you are proposing and what you plan to purchase with the funds. The Grants Office recommends that you have these conversations early in the process before you have put extensive work into the application.
Pre-approval facilitates communication between the project manager and relevant district administrators. The pre-approval process ensures that the proposed grant project aligns with the site or district LCAP, EGUSD’s strategic goals, and school site priorities. The process also helps to verify that the proposed use of grant funds is an allowable EGUSD expense.
Develop Project Plan
While not required, the Grants Office strongly recommends that you develop a Project Plan, especially if you intend to ask the Grants Office to review, edit, or assist with proposal development. Based on a logic model, which is a common tool in grant writing and program development, the Project Plan may require a few hours of brainstorming and revising. However, it will help you create a cohesive, shared vision and narrative for your proposed project.
Why is this important? Funders want to fund solutions to a compelling problem, not pay for a “shopping cart” of items you want. The Project Plan will help shift your focus away from the items you want to buy with grant funds. Instead, it will help you think of your “need” as part of a project rather than as a standalone funding request. Ultimately, it will create a clear plan of what you want to accomplish and help you write a more competitive grant application.
Are you getting stuck? The Grants Office can walk you through the Project Plan to help you complete it.
Once you have a clearly-defined project with a problem statement, solution, long-term vision, inputs (resources), outputs (activities), outcomes (desired results), and evaluation methods, you are ready to start drafting your application. Some applications have several questions that serve as prompts. Others may ask you to submit a short proposal describing your grant project with no specific guidelines. Either way, you will write a stronger, cohesive narrative and more competitive application if you make sure to address the following five items, even if the funder doesn’t explicitly ask you to do so:
*For assistance developing your budget, please contact your assigned Budget Technician.
We recommend completing your budget first, before you write the narrative. The budget and proposal narrative should always be “in conversation” with each other. When drafting your budget, consider the following:
- Does the grant specifically disallow indirect costs? If not, you need to include them in your budget request.
- What are the allowable grant expenditures?
- Does the application require matching or in-kind funds?
If you already have a funding source for an activity or resource, list it – this can be your “matching” or “in-kind” budget contribution, even if a match is not required. It shows that your school is invested in the project. For example, if your school has already purchased new grade-level curriculum or if you can secure site activity funds for field trip transportation, include these costs and the source of the funds.
2) Problem Statement
- Does your problem statement focus on people and align with the funder’s priorities?
- How will your grant project solve the problem you have identified?
- What is your action plan?
- What evidence justifies your selected activities or project design?
4) Evaluation Strategy
- What specific, measurable objectives do you plan to achieve?
- How will you know your project is successful?
- What is your evaluation plan? What instruments will you use to complete it?
- What will happen to the project and its lasting impact once the grant period ends?
- Will the project require ongoing funding? From what sources?
- Will the project activities be institutionalized?
- Will grant-funded equipment or project deliverables have a long lifespan?
Below are some resources (both online and available to borrow from the Grants Office). Contact us to borrow a copy.
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide
- Clark County School District Standards and Style Manual (sample style guidelines specific to school districts)
- California Department of Education’s Glossary of Terms
Available to borrow:
- Grant Writing for Teachers (includes information on budget development)
- Guide to Proposal Writing
- Guide to Winnings Proposal II
- How to Get Grants and Gifts for Public Schools
- Storytelling for Grantseekers (includes information on budget development)
- Winning Strategies for Developing Grant Proposals
Request Application Review
Upon request, and depending on current capacity, the Grants Office can provide comments/suggestions on your application draft.
To request a review of your application, please send our office:
- The application draft
- The completed Project Plan
- The RFA/RFP or a link to the funder’s website
- A summary of the pre-approvals you have received
- The grant application deadline
- What you want us to review (content, style, budget, etc.)
If we confirm that we can provide feedback, please allow at least five to seven business days for turnaround.
Route for Approvals (REQUIRED)
When the district accepts a grant award, it enters into a legally-binding contract. In addition, each grant award must receive an individual budget code to ensure correct disbursement of funds. Therefore, EGUSD’s Budget department and the Superintendent (or authorized designee) must review and approve every grant application before submission to confirm that it meets all district requirements, if awarded.
Once you have a final application draft but before you submit to the funding agency, your application must be reviewed and approved internally by EGUSD leadership. The routing process typically takes 5-10 business days. Attach the Approval Form to a copy of your final application package including the budget and any additional documents (letters of support, resumes, etc.).
Each District individual who reviews can also request additional information or changes to your application prior to submission approval. Please allow enough time and do not try to route your application for approval the week it is due.
Bring a printed copy of the application package to the District office to gather the following signatures in order.
- Project Manager – this is most likely you
- Site Principal or Department Director
- Assistant Superintendent or Executive Director
- Budget Manager
- Chief Financial Officer (authorized designee)
- Superintendent (only if required by the grant)
Upon request, the Grants Office can facilitate the routing process. However, please note that the Grants Office is not responsible for approving grant applications or responding to requests for additional information.
Package and Submit
Once your final application has routed through the District and received all necessary signatures, you can submit your application.
Allow yourself enough time. Consider the required method of submission and the different delays that may occur (traffic, parking, post office hours, online portal technical issues, printer jams, etc.)
Pay careful attention to formatting and submission requirements. Applications are disqualified for failing to follow formatting requirements precisely. Examples of common requirements include the margin width, the font type and/ font size, the color of an original (“wet”) signature (blue ink is typically required), the number of copies of an application, consecutive page numbering, table of contents, or inclusion of an electronic copy on a flash drive.
Request a receipt with a timestamp, if possible. If a submission receipt is not available, you can take a picture of the application upon delivery. We recommend that you mail applications using certified mail with return receipt (USPS) or with another verifiable form of tracking.
Celebrate! While you wait to learn the results of your efforts, make sure to appreciate the relationship building, research, and project design process that will help you with future applications. Be proud of the work you have done; submitting a grant proposal is a major accomplishment.