Excel Grants FAQ

horizontal excel grants graphic

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. Here you will find answers to commonly asked questions about our Excel Grant program and the application.  If you have a question that isn’t covered in our FAQ, please email Rebecca Winnier, [email protected].

Are there types of projects that are more likely to be funded?
No. Each year is different and unique. The Foundation is interested in supporting teachers in their efforts to provide engaging leaning opportunities outside of the standard curriculum – this might be bringing an author in to talk to students, planting trees, taking students to the University of Washington for the Engineering Discovery Days, visiting a college campus, or building Quadcopters. There is no limit to imagination!

How are the grant winners decided?
Grants are chosen in a blind evaluation process with Foundation board members as reviewers. Teacher names are hidden on all applications, ensuring evaluation on merit alone. The Foundation funds projects that augment and enrich the curriculum and do not supplant programs traditionally funded by district, state or federal budgets.

Am I eligible to apply for your grant programs?
Any employee of Highline Public Schools is eligible to apply for a grant from the Foundation.

When should I send my grant application and what is the timeline?
Grant requests are accepted each fall and we announce the program on our website, Facebook and Twitter. The deadline is one week earlier than in previous years : Thursday 10/26/17. The winning grants are announced in early December.

If I have received a grant from The Highline Schools Foundation in the past can I apply for another grant?
Yes. As long as you have submitted all of the required reports for your previous grant, you may apply for the Foundation’s grant programs as many times as you wish.

How many grants does the Foundation award?
The number varies each year. The application process is highly competitive and like many other Foundations we receive more worthy applications than we can fund. The number of grants awarded each year is the direct result of ongoing community support, events and our other annual fundraising efforts.

My grant project is going to involve some after-school planning time. In my grant budget can I include stipends for the teachers who will be helping?
No. Professional development, compensation for substitute teachers, and salaries or stipends for additional staffing will not be funded and should be excluded from the budget summary. Applications that include these expenses could be considered, if there are additional items included in the grant application, but stipends, salaries or fees will not be considered for funding.

What is expected in the final report?
Your final report will include both financial and program information and should include a narrative account of what was accomplished by the grant, including a description of progress made toward achieving the goals of the grant and assurance that the activities under the grant have been conducted in conformity with the terms of the grant. We use your stories to help us secure funding for next year, so please  be as excited and emotional as you were on your application! We will post stories and photos on our Blog, Facebook and Twitter – and we invite you to share too with your coworkers and school families.

Why is the deadline for the final report so early?
The last few months of the school year go fast for everyone and trying to collect final reports from all the grant recipients takes time. We’ve learned that if a report isn’t turned in before teachers scatter for summer break, we won’t get it.  We understand that reports are the least fun part of grants – but it is a very necessary piece in the circle of non-profit life. The IRS requires disclosure requirements for charitable organizations and one of the things we have to do is show how we’ve spent donor money. Your report is a large piece of that process.

What if I need an extension?
Requests for extensions will be considered if submitted to [email protected] before April 1.

I received a grant, it’s May, and I haven’t spent the money yet. Can I keep the money for next year?
No. Grants are awarded based on a competitive process and the full grant amount is expected to be used during the school year the grant was awarded. Any portion of your grant not used during the school year is expected to be returned to The Highline Schools Foundation before the end of the school year.

Additional Information

  • Submit your application on time and online.
  • Give your idea full credit for the number of students impacted by your grant request and the longevity of your program or project. Note how your project may directly or indirectly affect other students in the school. For example, a science project may also impact literacy and arts, or health and enrichment, multiple schools or classrooms and grade levels.
  • Keep your audience in mind. Remember that grant reviewers are not educators so try to use laypersons’ language or explain “edu-speak”.
  • Communicate your enthusiasm for the idea! Get the review committee excited about your project. It is important to include as much detail as possible in your request and a well-defined budget is essential to the review committee.
  • Request only the appropriate amount of funding needed. Do not automatically request the maximum amount. Also, list any additional or alternate sources of funding that have been pursued.
  • You will need to account for all funds spent on your grant. Any funds not used need to be returned to the Highline Schools Foundation prior to June 1, 2018.
  • Individual teachers may apply for multiple grants, but only one grant per project/program will be funded. (Each grant application needs to be submitted separately.)
  • The application should have the knowledge and support of the Principal of each school involved.

Please remember, when you are competing for a limited amount of funds, not only is it important that your grant request meet the criteria, but a thoughtful, complete and documented application could have a greater chance to be selected.

Common reasons that grants do not get funded:

  • Incomplete or late application
  • Lack of a definite project or detailed budget
  • Request for items covered by HPS budget
  • Final project report for previous grant not submitted

Non-fundable items:

  • Teacher salary or release time (subs)
  • Snacks or meals for field trips (including pizza)
  • Computer-related items not supported by HPS technical support

Excel Grants | Grant History | Excel Grant Final Report | APPLICATION