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The Foundation Center A Resource for Grant Seekers

Josh Harris • Fundraising • January 19, 2009

Whether to help with musical instrument or music technology purchases, teacher training and educator workshops, or enhanced opportunities for students and ensembles, securing a grant can work wonders for a school music program. One fantastic resource for educators looking to pursue such auxiliary funding is the Foundation Center.

This New York City-based organization has amassed a tremendous database of philanthropic entities and developed a broad spectrum of tools and information for nonprofit groups seeking funding. In addition to five central “library/learning centers” and hundreds of affiliated “cooperating collections” located around the country, the Foundation Center also offers a plethora of learning material and helpful grant writing information through its Web site, www.foundationcenter.org.

SBO recently caught up with Charlotte Dion, director of the Foundation Center’s New York library, who shared some tips for music educators interested in the grant-writing process.

School Band and Orchestra: What is the first step that an educator interested in learning more about grants needs to take?
Charlotte Dion: I would suggest, first of all, that educators start by gaining a clear understanding of the fundraising strategies of the school in general. It is important to make sure that they are not competing against another group, such as a PTA, or even something happening on a district level. We’re most familiar with the New York City schools, but here we have a general fund for all of the public schools, where a lot of the large funding, like, for example, Gates money, would tend to go. Fundraising at the local level might be quite different. I would definitely suggest that any teacher discuss this with the principal

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