Here are more important checks before submitting an SFE grant application:
Student participation is essential
A fundamental focus of our program is to encourage hands-on learning through active engagement of students in all phases of the project. Projects conceived by adults, and those that use children only as manual labor (rather than as co-creators of a vision and its realization) will not receive grant awards.
It can be useful to review Dr. Roger Hart’s ‘Ladder of Participation’ to stimulate your thinking about how your project can engage students throughout the project. This page, from Cornell University, is a great starting point if you are first encountering this concept.
Bring the students’ voices to the application
Keep in mind that, in the SFE grant application, we prefer the authentic voices of the students who are visualizing and planning the project. We focus on grass-roots projects and grant awards under $500. While professional grant writers may be helpful for applications to other funding sources, they unlikely to improve an applicant’s chances for funding by the SFE grant program.
Site sketches must be submitted
“Before” and “after” site sketches (questions 9 & 10) are essential components of an application. They must show the project site in relation to nearby buildings, sidewalks, and similar features. They must clearly indicate the cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) so judges can visualize the patterns of sun and shade throughout the day. Each year we are forced to reject some applications that do not meet this requirement.
Sketches prepared by the average adult or high school student are sufficient. You may use a computer program, or as ink on paper. We prefer Adobe PDF format; many commercial copiers can scan to this format, and most office supply stores can do this for less than $2 per page. Please make sure your sketches are legible when printed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
By double-checking these key items, you are averting common problems, and helping to assure that the application can be evaluated by our judges. Thank you!