What Principals Need to Know About Grants and DonorsChoose
- Approval before submission. Grant projects must be approved by the school principal and submitted to the Grants Acquisition Office prior to submission for review and approval.
- Reporting outcomes. The result of grant applications must also be submitted to the Grants Acquisition Office.
- On-demand web-based support. The GCS Grants Acquisition website is a 24/7 resource for you on grant approval and reporting requirements, grant development resources, and how to handle grant partnership requests from community nonprofits and universities.
- Where to find approval and outcome forms. Teachers and staff should use the GCS Grant Project Approval Form and the GCS Grant Project Outcome Form to submit grant information to the Grants Acquisition Office. GCS Grant Project Approval and Outcome forms are found on the Grants Acquisition homepage under Site Shortcuts.
- Good News submission vs. Grants Office reporting. Submitting a Good News item on a grant does not mean you have reported it to the Grants Acquisition Office. Please follow the process described above.
- Individual consultation. The Grants Acquisition Office provides technical assistance to teachers and staff preparing grant submissions. Grant developers can schedule 30-minute consultationson the home page under Site Shortcuts.
- When additional approval is required. Projects that involve alterations to school facilities or school grounds, significant technology purchases, or additional staff are subject to additional reviews to assess budgetary implications. The Grants Acquisition Office provides guidance in these instances.
- Grant award agreements. Grant agreements should be sent to the Grants Acquisition Office for review prior to signature. The district legal counsel, in some cases, will need to review agreements prior to any GCS signature.
- Grant award publicity. Do not communicate grant awards publicly until grant agreements with funders are fully executed. District Relations should be included in communications and publicity prior to releasing award information. Funders often have publicity requirements. Review award agreements for details.
- Develop a system in your school to track grant awards. Maintain a file in the front office of awarded grant projects, including grant award letter, so when staff members transfer out of your school, you have a ready record of grants still being implemented in your school.
- Close out grants! Work with your staff to ensure at the end of the year funds are expended for grants and all required reporting is completed.
- Eligibility and approvals. Teachers and staff who spend 75% of their time directly with students are eligible to participate in DonorsChoose, the district’s only approved crowdfunding platform. Teacher and staff DonorsChoose projects must be approved by the school principal.
- DonorsChoose is NOT a grant. DonorsChoose crowdfunding projects do not involve receipt of funds. Instead, teachers’ funded projects allow them to purchase materials and supplies from a DonorsChoose vendor list online. Materials are shipped to the school usually.
- Who owns DonorsChoose supplies and materials? The supplies and materials received through DonorsChoose are property of the school, not the teacher, per DonorsChoose policy.
- Technology received through DonorsChoose must be inventoried and imaged by GCS Technology Services to ensure compatibility with the district network. This process is posted on the Grants Acquisition website under the DonorsChoose Technology Guidelines link.
- NEW FOR FY 2021-22: Teachers and staff interested in participating in DonorsChoose must attend a one-hour virtual DonorsChoose training once a year prior to posting any projects. Please check the Grants Acquisition website for current calendar.
- One training = one year of DonorsChoose eligibility. After completing the training, teachers and staff have approval to post projects for that school year.
- No GCS forms. Teachers and staff who complete training no longer have to complete GCS project approvals and outcomes for DonorsChoose projects.
- No student photos. Board of Education policy prohibits photos of GCS students on DonorsChoose.
- On-demand support. The GCS Grants Acquisition website is a 24/7 resource for you on DonrosChoose approvals, project development resources, and project technology guidelines.