Who Knew That You Could Fill Up Your Cart With K-12 Help From This Giant Retailer?

Let's start with some history, some math, and some adventures with a calendar. Back in 2010, the Target Corporation made a plan to donate $1 billion to K-12 education, in-kind support and cash grants by the end of its 2015 fiscal year, which closes February 1, 2016. With that deadline approaching, Target reports that it donated $98 million in fiscal year 2013 alone, bringing its cumulative total to $875 million. In other words, it’s on track to hit its ubiquitous bullseye.

Did you know that this giant retailer was putting so many resources into education? Probably not. Which is ironic because corporations are keen on the good publicity that can come from giving, but it's hard for news of what they're doing to percolate up. After all, the media does a terrible job of reporting on philanthropy (which is why we started IP!). 

We've long been aware of Target's giving for early childhoold education, but we first learned about Target's K-12 giving this summer, when the foundation offered up $25 million in school supplies. Wow, we thought, that's a lot. 

Related - Cash for Kids: Target's Big Play on School Supplies

Target's 2014 fiscal year giving numbers haven't been reported yet (though those grants have all been earmarked), but between the 2014 fiscal year and the 2015 fiscal year, Target has $125 million to go. Assuming the amounts are evenly divded between the two funding years, that's $62.5 million left for 2015. Maybe less if Target was as generous with its 2014 winners as it was with its 2013 winners.

Of course, Target might renew its big commitment to grants for K-12 education. Heck, it may double its commitment. But we don't know. So why not get your bite of the apple while the getting's good?

Here's how to mark your calendars:

  • Early Childhood Reading Grants: Target has made this program the biggest chunk of its educational giving. It supports reading programs for early childhood through 3rd grade, both in schools and through libraries and other non-profit organizations. All grants are $2,000. The application period is March 1 - April 30, 2015 for grants the following school year.
  • Arts, Culture & Design in Schools Grants: Through this program, Target’s aim is to “bring more arts and culture into the classroom.” Unlike Target’s reading program, this one is limited to school-based programming—both during the traditional school day as well as after school. But this program is also wider in scope in that it supports the entire K-12 realm. Regardless of the grade you teach, make sure the experience you have in mind fully intergrates into your class curriculum. All grants are $2,000. It too has an application period of March 1 - April 30, 2015 for grants the following school year.
  • Field Trip Grants: This program exists for K-12 students nationwide because, as Target states, “It’s become increasingly difficult for schools to fund learning opportunities outside the classroom.” These field trips must tie back into classroom curricula. Target assesses the value of the field trips it grants to average $700, so keep that in mind when you propose your adventure. The application window is August 1 to September 30, 2015 for field trips that take place between February 1 and December 31, 2016.

If you want to scope out the funded schools and organizations that came before you, each of these program webpages allows you to sort its 2013 recipients by state and city.

Related - Target Foundation: Grants for Early Childhood Education