Grantee FAQs

Do I need to be a member of the National Education Association to apply for your grants?

Yes. Lead and partner applicants for COVID-19 response grants must be current members of the NEA.

Are there types of projects that are more likely to be funded?

Yes. Particular attention will be given to projects that identify and address pertinent educational equity and opportunity gaps exacerbated by the pandemic.

Are educators who are not members of the National Education Association allowed to assist in the implementation of the grant project?

Yes. Although the educators assigned as the lead and partner must be NEA members, non-members can certainly take part in the project.

Am I eligible to apply for your grant programs?

If you are a current NEA member who is a U.S. teacher, specialized instructional support professional, or education support professionals* employed by a public school, including public higher education institutions, then you are eligible to apply for a grant from the Foundation. NEA members in the Department of Defense school system are also eligible to apply. Full time administrators, such as principals, assistant principals, and school district staff, are not eligible.

* Education support professionals include: para-educators, school bus drivers, maintenance and custodial staff, food services staff, school nurses and student services workers, clerical and office assistants, school security officers, and technicians.

*Specialized instructional support personnel (SISP) include professionals such as school counselors, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, library media specialists, speech pathologists and others.

I want to start my project before the official notification date. Can I apply for a grant and use the funds to reimburse my expenses?

No. Grant funds may not be used to reimburse expenses, so we can’t award a grant for events or activities before the notification date. Applications that include activities or expenses scheduled prior to the notification date will not be considered.

When should I send my grant application?

COVID-19 Rapid Response grant applications will be reviewed in 3 phases. You may submit an application at any time between April 23 and June 11, but if you want your application to be reviewed for a specific notification date, then you must submit your application by the posted deadline.

COVID-19 Response Student Success and Learning & Leadership grant applications must be submitted by July 15, 2020.

The posted notification date has passed and I haven’t heard anything from the Foundation. What should I do?

We notify all lead grant applicants via the email submitted on the application. If you haven’t received an email the Foundation by the notification date, please contact us at

For COVID-19 Rapid Response grants please note that we are not able to provide individual updates to applicants. All applicants will be notified no later than June 29, 2020.

I need materials for my classroom. Do you have any grants to help pay for supplies or materials?

COVID-19 Response Student Success grant funds may be used for resource materials, supplies, equipment, or technology. However, the proposed work and related materials should focus on supporting creativity and individuality in student learning, while clearly responding to student needs that have emerged or worsened because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If your budget includes materials, they must play a central role in deepening student knowledge and habits of inquiry. If you have a proposed project that does not meet these criteria, we encourage you to visit our grant resources page for resources that support materials-centered projects.

Does my budget for a non-Rapid Response Grant have to total exactly $2,000 or $5,000?

Yes. Your budget must account for the full grant amount. We do not award partial grants. You must also plan to spend all of the funds within 12 months of the notification date.

Does my budget for a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant have to total to an exact amount?

No. The budget should indicate the total amount requested (any amount between $1,500 - $5,000) and the basic costs of the proposed project.

If I have received a grant from the NEA Foundation in the past, can I apply for another grant?

Yes. As long as you have submitted all of the required reports for your previous grant, you may apply for the Foundation’s grant programs as many times as you like. However, you must submit a unique proposal; we won’t consider identical applications.

Current NEA Foundation grantees are not eligible to apply.

Do I have to designate a fiscal sponsor?

No. If you do not designate a fiscal sponsor, we award the grant to the lead applicant. In that case, the IRS may consider the grant personal income and therefore taxable. Fiscal sponsors are usually non-profits, schools, districts, or local unions that can accept the funds without tax liability.

Before you designate a fiscal sponsor, make sure you know the organization’s procedures for dispersing funds. You will have to abide by these procedures and should be sure you are comfortable working with that system. Find more information on fiscal sponsors.

How many grants will the Foundation award?

With many being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, like many other foundations, we expect to receive more worthy applications than we can fund. The Foundation plans to award up to $50,000 in COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants.

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