NEA Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The NEA Foundation grants support educators as they enhance classroom learning and pursue professional development. The foundation also works collaboratively with school districts toward the implementation of high quality STEM learning programs. NEA is a partner in the Breakfast in the Classroom program.  

IP TAKE: The NEA Foundation funds projects that enhance classroom learning and support teachers as they pursue professional development. The foundation accepts applications for grants from educators and teams of educators who are members of their parent organization. The foundation also collaborates with public school districts in the development of high-quality, hands-on STEM programs and partners with the Breakfast in the Classroom initiative.

PROFILE: Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NEA Foundation is the charitable arm of the National Education Association, the largest professional organization of educators in the U.S. Established in 1969, the organization aims to “improve public education for all students,” through its extensive grantmaking, fellowship and awards programs. The foundation’s initiatives are the improvement of teaching and learning in public schools, the broadening of educators’ and students’ perspectives, the recognition of excellence in teaching, the implementation and improvement of STEM learning programs, and the publication and distribution of multicultural literature. The organization offers student achievement and learning and leadership grants to educators and provides support for STEM and school breakfast programs to public school districts. NEA also runs global learning fellowship program—a year-long professional development program that involves seminars, on-line coursework and an international field study experience.

NEA’s student achievement grants support teachers’ efforts to foster critical thinking and problem solving by providing funds for equipment, supplies, technology, or transportation for  learning experiences. One middle school teacher in Tennessee used a grant to develop a hands-on aeroponic farming unit that required students to use critical thinking while meeting state science standards. Learning and leadership grants, in contrast, support professional development for both individual and groups of teachers. Emphasizing STEM learning and global competencies, teachers generally use these grants to attend conferences, institutes and seminars, or to develop collaborative study and research groups. At the district level, the foundation’s STEM grants help districts “build and expand” hands-on programs of high quality. Past grantees have used funding to train teachers and pilot interdisciplinary projects in urban farming. The NEA also participates in the Breakfast in the Classroom initiative, which provides a morning meal to students in their classrooms as a means of improving academic and behavioral outcomes.

Over one hundred student achievement and learning and leadership grants are awarded in the amounts of $2,000 or $5,000 to educators or groups of educators who are members of NEA each year. A grantee archive provides descriptions of previously funded projects. The foundation’s STEM grants are awarded to school districts in the amount of $150,000. Breakfast in the classroom grants are available to schools that meet need-based eligibility requirements in eight participating states.

The NEA Foundation runs an open application program for its educator grants. General inquiries about district STEM grants may be made by email. The Breakfast in the Classroom collaborative program maintains a separate website with eligibility requirements and application materials.

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