Grant Watch: Funding Tips from Grant-Winning Teacher

by Abby @ Quaver on December 13, 2012

in At Quaver HQ,Grant Watch

Today we are joined by Ben Sexton, music teacher at Ellijay Elementary School, located North of Atlanta, Georgia. Ben has a successful history of winning grant money for his school’s music program, and is here to share some tips for your funding search!


Take it away, Ben!


Funding Tips from Grant-Winning Quaver Teacher

I came across the Quaver program while I was reading through a NAfME journal back in late 2011.

Being a curious person, I decided to go to the website and check it out. I was very impressed by what I saw, but didn’t really have time to try and comb through the website at length to discover what all of the hubbub was about. All of that changed when my wife and I were invited to attend a “Crepes with Quaver” event in Atlanta. During that event, I was AMAZED by what I saw and how it fit with my ideas of what a music curriculum should be for children in the technology age. On the way back home, my wife and I agreed that I HAD to have this program in my classroom, even if we had to pay for it out of our own pockets.

Fortunately, we never had to shell out a dime.

Our elementary school had recently consolidated with two other existing schools, and I was determined to bring these three groups of students together in my classroom. I knew right away that Quaver’s Program would be the “hook” that I would need to bring the children of three different schools together seamlessly.

My Grant Approach:

I had success the previous year with writing grants to help fund our production of Schoolhouse Rock: Live, so it was only natural to write a grant to fund my Quaver purchase. I turned my attention to our local Wal-Mart Supercenter and sent them our application for funding the purchase of Quaver’s Ultimate Box Set.

In our application, I made sure to emphasize the program’s technology component, but most importantly, its INTERACTIVE component.

Knowing that students need the benefits of immediate success and feedback, it was easy to enlighten the grant committee about how Quaver’s Program provided both short-term and long-term success for students and that their experiences with Quaver would spill over into other areas of the curriculum. I also included information that I found from other successful grant writers at that listed higher-order thinking skills and their development in students who participate in music on a regular basis.

We applied for the grant in April and were awarded funds to buy the full program in early June!

Quaver in My Classroom:

I am extremely pleased with how well our students have taken to Quaver, but I am also pleased with the feedback that I have received from parents. One parent stopped me on a Monday morning before class and said,

“My daughter invited me to listen to a song that she had made in class on Friday. I was prepared with my usual, ‘that’s great, sweetheart,’ until I heard what she played for me. I was FLOORED! I asked her to play it again. It sounded like a REAL song! And then she started to show me all of the different things that she could do to the song and make new ones! I wish they had something like that when we were growing up!”

Don’t we all?!

As you search for funding to bring Quaver’s Marvelous Resources to your classroom, I’d like to share a few tips I have adopted along the grant-writing path:

  • Be specific and honest about what you want to do with the money!
  • Demonstrate just how many students the resources will touch – and be sure to make that as many students as possible. Grant makers want their funds to go as far as you can stretch them.
  • Make the materials that you purchase with the grant available to other teachers within the school, and show how you can use them year after year. Many grant makers are not terribly interested in one hit wonders.
  • Be sure to thank the grant maker! Send them more than just a generic form that answers their questions about what you did with the money. Send them pictures, thank you cards from the kids, and if possible, a video. We sent copies of our production of Beauty and the Beast to each of our grant donors last year and ALL of them were very thankful. This will help them to remember you more favorably if you ask for another grant in the future.
  • Search out unusual sources for grants that most people wouldn’t think about. True story: I watch a lot of golf on TV and I pay attention to what companies the pro golfers are wearing on their clothing and bags. I was able to get funding from a couple of those companies because I offered them the chance to have their name marketed in a new location and to a new group of potential clients!
  • Don’t give up! Keep trying and your perseverance will be rewarded. Ask for help from the Quaver team and other teachers!

Don’t forget to check out for more tips and sample language you can use in your grant search!

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