Tag Archives: Funding

Grant Proposal Writing for Libraries

Are you new to proposal writing or looking to learn more about the grant writing process?  During this class, we will present a general overview of the proposal writing process including:

  • the basic components of a grant proposal
  • some dos and don’ts when submitting a grant proposal
  • how proposal writing fits into the total grant funding process
  • what to do when you receive a decision, whether yes or no

Additionally, we will take a closer look at how to apply to federal grants offered by agencies like the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) by showing you how to navigate Grants.gov Workspace.  Resources on where to find prospective funders and additional grant writing support will also be shared.


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Grant Opportunities with March Deadlines

Lightbulb icon

Start planning now for two grant opportunities with March deadlines! Between February 19 and March 16, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) will accept Intent to Apply forms for its next Action Grant opportunity. Submitting an Intent to Apply form is the first required step to submitting a full application for an Action Grant. March 31 is the deadline to submit an application for an Ezra Jack Keats (EJK) Mini-Grant.

What are the humanities? On its Grants FAQ Page, NJCH states, “The humanities examine shared history, culture, values, and beliefs.” Specific humanities fields include (but are certainly not limited to) anthropology, ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, literature, and political science.

NJCH makes awards twice per year for Incubation Grants (up to $5,000) and once per year for Action Grants ($2,000 to $20,000). See the Grants Overview section of the NJCH website for summary information about both opportunities. Action Grants “help to implement new projects or expand existing programs.” On its Action Grants page, NJCH provides some tips to writing a competitive proposal. A proposal should support one or more of the Council’s four primary goals, such as building new audiences for the humanities or bringing people of different perspectives and backgrounds together. NJCH also expects applicants to emphasize a project’s audience and the significance of the proposed project. In 2017, NJCH awarded $184,000 in Action Grants. Awarded grant projects range from public programs to exhibitions to discussion groups.

If NJCH approves an applicant’s Intent to Apply Form, NJCH will unlock the full application. Applicants are required to discuss their proposed projects with NJCH staff and they are encouraged (although not required) to submit a draft of the application in advance of the deadline. Applicants should contact Gigi Naglak, the NJCH Director of Grants and Programs at gnaglak@njhumanities.org.

Grantmaking to “support arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries” is one of the ways that the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation meets its mission of “bringing the multicultural, creative spirit of Keats into children’s lives and literature.” An EJK Mini-Grant in an amount up to $500 offers the “opportunity to design and implement a creative program for your school or library.” Visit the overview page of the EJK Mini-Grant program and read a description of what makes a “great” program. The Foundation website also provides examples of great Mini-Grant programs.

Potential applicants should review the page concerning how to apply and the program’s FAQs. After submitting the online application by March 31, applicants will receive notice of the status of their applications on or around May 1.


Early January Grant Deadlines

Working at the office

Don’t miss these three grant opportunities for public libraries which have early January 2018 deadlines: the YALSA/Dollar General Summer Learning Grant, the YALSA/Dollar General Teen Summer Intern Grant, and Round Six of the ALA/Dollar General American Dream Literacy Initiative. The YALSA applications are due on January 1, 2018 and the American Dream application is due January 2, 2018.

The two YALSA opportunities particularly focus on the efforts of libraries to help prevent the “summer slide.” Individual library branches within a larger system may apply for these opportunities. Eligibility requirements include personal membership in YALSA and the library’s geographic location within 20 miles of a Dollar General store. Questions about each grant may be emailed to Taylor Crossley at tcrossley@ala.org.

YALSA’s Summer Learning Grant will award 20 libraries $1,000 each to help them “purchase resources or provide services to bolster their teen summer learning program. The program must support teens who speak English as a second language, teens in socioeconomically challenged communities and/or teens who are at risk of failing school.” The online application includes five narrative questions requiring responses of 250 words or less, such as a description of how the grant funds will be used to meet the specific educational and recreational needs and interests of the targeted teen audience (as identified by the applicant). The application also requires a budget template (see the bottom of the link for the form) which must be completed and uploaded to the online application. See the YALSA Blog for an example of a Summer Learning Grantee in 2017, the Pemberton Community Library, a branch of the Burlington County Library System.

YALSA’s Teen Summer Intern Grant offers $1,000 to each of 20 libraries to support their hiring of summer teen interns to assist with summer reading activities. Funds can be used for intern stipends, trainings or other intern related activities. The online application includes six narrative questions requiring responses of 250 words or less, such as, “What role do you envision teen interns playing in helping to plan, implement and evaluate the summer learning program?” As the Summer Learning Grant requires, the Teen Summer Intern Grant application also requires a budget template (see the bottom of the link for the form). See the YALSA Blog for an example of a Teen Summer Learning Grantee in 2017, the Old Bridge Public Library.

The American Library Association is soliciting applications for Round Six of the American Dream Literacy Initiative grant opportunity, funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. This grant will “help public libraries in Dollar General communities add or expand literacy services for adult English language learners and/or adults in need of basic education and workforce development.” Funded libraries will receive a one-time grant of $10,000 to develop collections and services for adult learners and/or expand existing programs, add services and foster community partnerships. See the requirements and guidelines page for a link to the online application and contact information for questions about the grant program. Several New Jersey libraries were awarded grants during Round Five of the initiative.







Introduction to Finding Grants

Are you new to the field of grant seeking?

Discover what funders are looking for in nonprofits seeking grants and how to find potential funders in this introductory course.

You will learn the 10 most important things you need to know about finding grants, including:

  • Who funds nonprofits and what are their motivations.
  • What do funders really want to know about the organizations they are interested in funding.
  • How do you identify potential funders and make the first approach.
  • The class will end with hands-on, guided online grant research.


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Discover the NEW Foundation Directory Online


The Foundation Center’s Foundation Directory Online (FDO) database has a new look!   While still providing users with access to over 140,000 grant funder profiles and details on 8.5 million previously-awarded grants, the redesigned FDO makes finding prospective funders even easier.  Come and learn about how the changes to Foundation Directory Online can make your search for funding more effective and efficient.  Participants will have time at the end of this program for individual hands-on grant research with the New FDO.  This program is most appropriate for those who have previously used Foundation Directory Online.  For those new to the field of grant seeking, we encourage you to attend our Intro to Finding Grants class on December 6th.


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Please indicate the classes you would like to attend by clicking on the appropriate box below. 

Funding for English Literacy Programs

Used books

Vernon Library Supplies has announced a grant opportunity to support programs designed “to help new immigrants achieve English literacy and proficiency.” Potential applicants should review the announcement and the application guidelines. Libraries and other non-profit organizations may request up to $5,000. Applications must be submitted via email to grants@vernlib.com. The deadline is October 31, 2017. Awards will start to be distributed on December 1, 2017.

In their moving video describing this grant opportunity, Vernon Library Supplies’ owners, Judy and Shai Robkin, pledge to give away 100% of their 2017 operating profits.

They note their own personal experiences with immigration: hiring a number of new immigrants for Vernon Library Supplies and celebrating the earning of their U.S. citizenship. Judy Robkin also particularly mentions her father’s arrival in the United States as a teenager from Nazi Germany. He subsequently served his new country as an American soldier and pursued a college education through the benefit of the G.I. Bill.

Shai Robkin elaborated, “From our work with libraries for now well over three decades, we have seen the incredible work that libraries have done helping new Americans gain the English proficiency needed for both the workplace and the social sphere. We owe our libraries a great debt of gratitude for this and for so many other things.”

The grant guidelines detail the specific information to include in the application: principal contact and organizational information, along with a description of the proposed English literacy program for new immigrants. The program description should such items as population demographics and number of people to be served, the nature of the proposed instruction, the number of hours of instruction per student, and other descriptive information, such as personnel. The application must include a projected program budget broken out by expense categories. Applicants should project program outcomes and state performance metrics. Other necessary documentation includes organizational tax-exempt status and a statement of certification (exact wording is noted in the guidelines).


Corporate Philanthropy – Lowe’s

Pavement Bricks

Pavement BricksLowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) is now accepting applications for the Fall Cycle of its Community Partners grant program. The second of two application cycles in 2017, the Fall Cycle opened on July 3 and closes on August 25. (The 2017 Spring Cycle was open from March 20 to May 12.)

Community improvement projects funded through the Community Partners grant program are one of two main philanthropic focus areas of the LCEF. (The second focus area is public education, with priority given to K-12 public schools.)

Grant eligibility for the Community Partners program is limited to 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organizations and public agencies in communities where Lowe’s operates stores and distribution centers. Through this grant program, Lowe’s provides monetary assistance to eligible organizations looking for support of high-need projects, such as: building renovations/upgrades, grounds improvements, technology upgrades, as well as safety improvements. Grant amounts range from $2,001 to $100,000, but generally fall between $5,000 and $25,000.

Potential applicants must first take the LCEF’s online eligibility test to confirm that the organization’s needs match with LCEF guidelines. The link to the eligibility test may be found at the bottom of this page. Grant applications are only accepted through the online system. The LCEF giving guidelines and FAQs may be found through links from this page. All applicants will be notified via email of their grant status within 90 days after the last day the grant cycle closes. Questions may be directed to Community Relations by phone: 704-758-2917 or by email: Community@Lowes.com.


Follow-up from Grantmakers at NJLA


MoneyWe had great attendance for the session at the New Jersey Library Association Conference on April 25, “Successfully Applying for Grants: Tips from the Source.” Many thanks to our two grantmakers, Howard Miller of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) and Gigi Naglak of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH), and to successful applicants, Michelle Willis and Pam Brooks of the Scotch Plains Public Library!

Both the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities have upcoming deadlines for grant opportunities.

Announced on April 27 and with a due date of May 30, 2017 at 12:00 Noon, the LWD’s “Adult Literacy & Community Library Partnership Program” is “designed to create and/or expand Adult Basic Education and/or English Language Proficiency services within New Jersey libraries.” Maximum grant awards will be $100,000 per application and are awarded for one year. Potential applicants may find a link to the specific grant guidelines, including applicant eligibility information, on the LWD website under the “Public Notices” tab or may go directly to the guidelines. Questions may be directed to Kelsey Williams, via phone at (609)777-1994 or Kelsey.Williams@dol.nj.gov.

Libraries with funding needs for the early stages of humanities-based projects might consider applying for an Incubation Grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. These grants enable organizations to “experiment, plan, research, prototype, and examine new programs and topics.” Up to $5,000 is awarded to successful applicants. NJCH encourages potential applicants to contact Gigi Naglak, Director of Grants and Programs before submitting the required “Intent to Apply” form, due on June 9, 2017. Gigi is available by phone at (609)695-4838 ext. 223 or gnaglak@njch.org. Grant criteria, an overview of the grantmaking process, and budget requirements may be found on the NJCH website. Please note that full applications are due July 14 and applicants are notified by the end of September for projects that begin no earlier than October 1, 2017.

As you are considering potential funding opportunities for your library, check out this great list, “9 Ways to Make Your Grant Proposal Stand Out” from Minnesota-based consulting group, Library Strategies. (Principal Consultant, Peter Pearson, led a pre-conference workshop at the 2016 NJLA Conference.) Tips like “Do Your Research” and “Make a Good Match” are crucial first steps to any successful grant application.



Community Reading Programs

Story Hour at North Haledon

NEA Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. About 75 organizations across the country each receive funds ranging in amounts from $5,000 to $20,000 to support community-wide programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences.

Public libraries, 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and divisions of state, local or tribal governments may now apply to participate in the Big Read program. Applications are due January 26, 2017. The NEA Big Read website provides a wealth of information for potential applicants.

An applicant must develop a program proposal focused on one book from a group of 28 featured titles in the Big Read library. A proposal should include a series of events devoted to the selected book, events using the book as a point of departure, and book discussions in diverse locations involving a wide range of audiences. NEA Big Read Guidelines suggest that the proposal include a kick-off event, panel discussions or author readings, film screenings or theatrical readings, and book discussions, all of which occur over the course of a month. Applicants must include a detailed budget for the proposed program. Grant-funded expenses may include book purchases, speaker fees and travel, promotion, and venue rental. Note that there is a 1:1 cost share/matching requirement (utilizing non-federal funds) for this grant.

NEA Big Read staff recently conducted a webinar about the program (scroll down the linked page – the webinar is below the list of titles). In addition to providing basic information about the Big Read program, the webinar shared details about the 13 new books added to the NEA Big Read catalog in 2016. The new books include contemporary and lesser-known titles, books from living authors and books in translation, and cover issues relevant to our times.

During the previous grant round, four New Jersey organizations were named Big Read award recipients: Burlington County Library System (The Maltese Falcon), Essex County Library Directors (Silver Sparrow), Gloucester County Library System (The Great Gatsby), and Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts (Fahrenheit 451). Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts included lectures, storytelling and art activities as part of its Big Read program.

Potential applicants should review all aspects of the application process and contact Arts Midwest with any questions: 612-238-8010 or neabigread@artsmidwest.org.





American Dream Update

New citizens reciting the Pledge of Allegiance
New citizens reciting the Pledge of Allegiance
Pledge of Allegiance during citizenship ceremony, May 2016

This month’s Grants for Libraries post provides an update to the information I provided in July. The fifth round of the American Dream grant program is now accepting applications through November 15, 2016. Applicants can start the process through this portal.

Administered by the American Library Association’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Dream grant program supports public libraries with the goal of expanding services to adult English language learners.

As I noted in the July post, several New Jersey libraries received awards in previous rounds. Applicants to the current round should be public libraries serving adult English language learners and be located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center or corporate office.

Round five funding amounts are either at the $5,000 level for libraries in rural and other small communities to develop their collections and services for immigrants or at the $10,000 level for libraries with the experience and capacity to expand existing programs, add services and foster community partnerships.

The guidelines provide examples of project budget categories and amounts at the two funding levels:

  • A project budget of $5,000 could include $1,000 for Collection Development to increase the library’s collection of ESL materials and $4,000 for Technology to purchase iPads for in-library use by English language learners.
  • A project budget of $10,000 could include $500 for Printing, design, and distribution to promote the program, $7,500 for Technology to purchase laptops for self-paced English Language Learning and $2,000 for Other Expenses (to equip learning stations).

In addition to submitting the required application forms, applicants at the $10,000 level must also upload letters of support from two or more community partners. Letters should include the fiscal and in-kind contributions by the partnering organizations to the proposed American Dream project.

Potential applicants should review the guidelines and should reach out to ALA with questions: Zina Clark, American Dream Program Coordinator, at zclark@ala.org or (800) 545-2433, x4297 or Kristin Lahurd, Literacy Officer, at klahurd@ala.org or (800) 545-2433, x3275.

Libraries selected for funding will be notified by December 15, 2016. Funds will be distributed on or before January 15, 2017.





Makerspace and Community Initiatives


As the summer comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about fall grant application deadlines!

There are several government and corporate funding opportunities whose applications are due in October and November. Here are two of them with closing dates of November 1st.

Makerspace Kit Funding

The New Jersey State Library (NJSL) and LibraryLinkNJ (LLNJ) recently announced the availability of funds through the Mobile Mini-Makerspace Kits for Public and School Library Partners grant opportunity. You can find the announcement on the Grants for Libraries page of the New Jersey State Library website.

Through this competitive grant program, NJSL and LLNJ will help fund three mobile mini-makerspace kits for joint use by a partnering public library/branch and public school library (which serves any grades from Kindergarten to Grade 8) at a maximum amount of $7,500 per award. The focus of this initiative is on small communities (population less than 15,000) and libraries currently without a dedicated makerspace or mobile mini-makerspace kit.


With this funding opportunity, NJSL and LLNJ seek to:

  • support science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM)-based learning in both informal and formal learning environments,


  • foster cooperative relationships between partnering public and school libraries on the local level, and


  • leverage available funding for specialized equipment, supplies, and materials.


Note that the relationship between the applicant public library and the partnering public school library is a key element of this funding opportunity. The partners together must develop programming and curriculum ideas for the mobile mini-makerspace kit and create a sustainable plan for their joint use of the kit.

This funding opportunity builds on the successful 2013-14 New Jersey Library Makerspaces – The Leading Edge initiative. Those project documents remain available on the LLNJ website; the Makerspace Resources list may spark ideas for this year’s potential applicants.

The application deadline is November 1, 2016. The announcement contains links to the complete guidelines and application.

Questions regarding this funding opportunity may be directed to Sharon Rawlins, MLS, Youth Services Specialist for Lifelong Learning, New Jersey State Library via email: srawlins@njstatelib.org or phone: 609-278-2640 ext. 116 or to me, Eileen Morales, Grants Manager, New Jersey State Library, via email: emorales@njstatelib.org or phone: 609-278-2640 ext. 105.

Supporting Community Initiatives

Funded by Investors Bank, the Investors Foundation considers grant applications four times per year. November 1 is the last due date for submitting an application in 2016.

As its stated mission, the Investors Foundation is dedicated to supporting creative initiatives to diverse community organizations that support Arts, Education, Health and Human Services, Youth, and Affordable Housing in the communities Investors Bank serves. Investors Bank has locations throughout most of New Jersey, the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island.

Grant eligibility criteria includes organizational 501(c)3 and either 509(a)1 or 509(a)2 status. Most awards are under $5,000. According to Investors Foundation 990 filings, Friends of the Madison Public Library, Friends of Piscataway Library, and the Friends of East Orange Public Library have received funding in previous years.

Grant applications must be submitted through the Investors Foundation website.

For information beyond what is posted on their website, send an email to: Foundation@myinvestorsbank.com.


Grants for Literacy and Community

New citizens reciting the Pledge of Allegiance
New citizens reciting the Pledge of Allegiance
Pledge of Allegiance during citizenship ceremony, May 2016

Two upcoming grant opportunities may help libraries address literacy and community development needs in New Jersey.

American Dream Grants

The American Library Association (ALA) and its Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services recently announced funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation that will enable a fifth round of American Dream grants.

According to ALA’s press release, more than 150 libraries have previously received grants. The funding has supported libraries that serve adult English language learners and that seek to:

  • augment their print and digital ESL collections
  • increase computer access and training
  • provide job training
  • hold English Language Learning, GED, and citizenship classes and
  • raise the visibility of services for immigrant populations.

The American Dream program awarded grants to several New Jersey libraries in 2014 and 2013. ALA maintains a list of the grantees from those two years.

Potential applicant libraries must be located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center or corporate office. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation includes an interactive map on its website to help applicants find Dollar General locations. In addition to applying to the American Dream program, libraries may apply separately to the literacy grant programs run directly by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Funding amounts will vary for this grant round of the American Dream program. Libraries in rural and small communities may apply for one-time $5,000 seed grants to develop their collections and services for immigrants. Libraries with the experience and capacity to expand existing programs, add services, and foster community partnerships may apply for one-time grants of $10,000.

The application will become available in the fall. Potential applicants may review ALA’s page describing the 2014 grant round.

Good Neighbor Grants

State Farm’s local Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants focus on community development, safety, and education. Within the area of community development, funds are directed towards job training, small business development, financial literacy, neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing and first time homeownership.

Grant eligible organizations include educational institutions, government entities, and 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit organizations. Funding requests must be $5,000 or more.

Grant applications for State Farm’s 2017 cycle will be available Thursday, September 1 through October 31, 2016. See State Farm’s webpage concerning the Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants program for details.