PE Grant Guide


Once budget season rolls around, it’s very common for educators and administrators to hold their breath.

Unfortunately, PE is often one of the first departments to get cut from the budget in dire situations—unless you can do either of two things: secure grant funding that ensures not only your program’s existence, but its vitality and success; and create a PE environment that uses few financial resources, reducing its visibility in the budget.

Below, you’ll find examples of both. First, we’ll look at two grants that can help your school or organization come up with the funds it needs to provide quality education to youth.

Next, we’ll look at an example of the kind of PE program you should implement to greatly increase your chances of landing a grant, even if that grant isn’t specific to PE. Many programs are free to join and cost very little.

After all, there is a veritable treasure trove of research out there that proves how helpful physical activity is when it comes to learning, retention, and comprehension. A solid PE program could have your underperforming school turned around before you know it.

Innovative Ideas Challenge

  • Highlights: $4 million available, deadline to apply: September 1, 2012

The California Endowment, a private statewide health foundation, has offered up to $4 million in funds to organizations across California through the Innovative Ideas Challenge (IIC). If your organization is not already under the umbrella of the Building Healthy Communities plan, this grant will get you out of the rain.

The California Endowment seeks to “support innovators who can rapidly engage in work that will promote fundamental health improvements in the health status of all Californians. This can be through new ventures or expansions of already existing efforts. Special attention will be paid to proposals that are public/private partnerships.”

This program will reward your organization based on new, creative, and successful ideas related to reversing childhood obesity in California and improving the wellness of our youth.

Race to the Top

  • Highlights: Potentially billions of dollars available, split among states and further split among individual organizations as decided by states.

Race to the Top provides billions of dollars to states as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Money is awarded to states that have “success in raising student achievement and have the best plans to accelerate their reforms in the future.”

Once you find out if your state has been awarded grant money, ensure your organization’s vision aligns with the following criteria, according to the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Makes substantial gains in student achievement.
  • Closes achievement gaps.
  • Improves high school graduation rates.
  • Ensures student preparation for success in college and careers.
  • Implements ambitious but achievable plans.

Once Race to the Top funds are disseminated to states, you must contact your individual state department of education to find out application deadlines and requirements.

Of course, there are many, many more grants available for your school or organization.

Now, here’s an example of a PE program that’s easy to implement, and comes with the backing of private and public entities.

Fuel Up to Play 60

  • Highlights: Free to join. Rewards and prizes are available for various challenges. While not technically a grant, up to $4,000 per year in funding is available for qualifying K-12 schools enrolled in the program.

This partnership of the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council (NDC) also works with the United States Department of Agriculture to encourage kids to eat healthily and play for an hour each day.

This program is free for K-12 schools and for students to join. Fuel Up to Play 60 offers the kind of program that many grant-giving organizations (including IIC and Race to the Top) want to see implemented in your organization.

From their website: “Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools and inspiring their friends to do the same.”

The program uses the Internet to encourage students and schools to meet challenges and track their progress online. It’s a way individuals, entire classrooms, and even entire school districts can work together for the well-being of kids, tweens, and teens.

Schools can apply for funding through the program, and students/schools can win prizes for accomplishments along the way.

Next Steps

In order to put your organization in the best possible position to grab your share of grant funding, you’ve got to show that you’re on the right path to positive change and long-term success; think proactive vs. reactive. Our website has tons of resources and information about how to set your organization on the right path, and feel free to contact us for help!