The Georgia-Pacific Foundation is a Fan of Public Schools

The Georgia-Pacific Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the U.S.-based papermaking company, has a directive to “improve life in the communities where we live and work.” It focuses on four areas of "investment": education, the environment, community enrichment, and economic/workforce development.

In the realm of giving to K-12 education, the Georgia-Pacific Foundation differentiates itself by granting almost everything as general operating support—a terrific opportunity for your K-12 education program to procure some much-needed general funds. But be advised, general operating support does not mean that this foundation's goals are also "general." In fact, Georgia-Pacific is as rigorous as any other education funder in declaring its focus on results-driven programs.

But the Georgia-Pacific Foundation also likes to use the word "potential," so if you can partner rigorous measurements for your program's outcomes with an aspirational approach to how education improves community (as improving communities is this foundation's ultimate mission), you're in good shape to get this foundation's attention. That is, if you're in one of the areas where it's company does its paper business (in many locations across 34 states).

If you've ticked all those boxes, here's one more potential boon for you: The Georgia Pacific Foundation loves to directly support public schools—both individual K-12 schools and school districts. More than 60 percent of its K-12 giving in 2012 went these public schools and districts, all for general operating support. Grant amounts ranged from $250 to $27,500, with most in the $1,000-$5,000 range. In the world of public schools grabbing money from private foundations, that's a notable amount of possibility.

Better yet: The Georgia-Pacific Foundation has an open application process, with applications accepted between January 1 and October 31 each year.