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About SchoolGrants

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History of SchoolGrants

The Creator of SchoolGrants

Awards SchoolGrants Has Received


History of SchoolGrants
SchoolGrants launched in August 1999. It was unique at the time of its creation and remains unique today in that it offers a vast array of information to elementary and secondary school grant seekers at no cost. 
SchoolGrants was created when it became apparent to me that there were no sites like it for people from small, financially-strapped school districts. I had access at that time to expensive grant publications that I felt certain smaller districts were unlikely to be able to afford. There were not a lot of resources available yet on the Internet. So, combining a love for developing Web sites and my love for grant writing, SchoolGrants was born.
Over the course of years, SchoolGrants has enjoyed enormous support from other online and print publications that have publicized its existence. Because it is more a hobby than a full-time job and there is only a single person managing it, there have never been funds available to devote to paid advertising or other promotions of the site. It enjoys its popularity because folks who enjoy it and benefit from it tell their friends and colleagues about it. That support is invaluable to me and I thank each of you who has helped promote the site!
Much of the content on the SchoolGrants site - especially in terms of sample successful proposals - are available to everyone because generous individuals have shared their success with their colleagues by sending the proposals to me to be posted on the site. Sometimes grant writers are unwilling to share because they do not want to help their "competition" get an edge. My philosophy is quite different - as is that of those who have been so generous - the future of America depends on all of its children receiving a quality education. Grants help make that happen. By sharing how to write a grant proposal, by providing information about opportunities that are available, by giving access to previously successful proposals - we do our own small part in helping kids across this great land. If you benefit from the site, you are strongly encouraged to "return the favor" and become one of those who are willing to help your colleagues also enjoy success.
The first SchoolGrants newsletter was published in September 1999. There were ten subscribers. Since that time, the number of subscribers has increased substantially and I hear from quite a few who have received grants as a result of the information they have gained through the free newsletter. The newsletter was published monthly until November 2002. Time constraints necessitated a change to a bimonthly (every other month) format beginning in January 2003. 
Beginning in October 2000, publication of a comprehensive biweekly newsletter began. The newsletter ranges from 15-25 pages and is emailed to subscribers twice each month. The SchoolGrants Biweekly Newsletter helps grant writers keep up with relevant news around the country related to grants, programs that are working, and research that is available to support grant-funded programs. It includes grant writing tips, upcoming grant deadlines, and an array of current grant opportunities - some that don't appear in most publications - regardless of their cost. 
SchoolGrants also manages the Bring Home the Bacon listserv - an email list that is friendly and helpful and open to all who wish to subscribe and participate. Parents, large urban district grant writers, college representatives, vendors, new grant writers, teachers and those who have obtained millions of dollars in grants all participate. The list is semi-moderated and, most days, there are no more than 10 posts so it doesn't overwhelm its subscribers. The Bring Home the Bacon listserv, sponsored by Netpals, went online in May 2000.
In January 2001, in response to a plethora of questions from grant seekers, the SchoolGrants Let's Write a Grant CD became available. Experienced grant writers have added it to their libraries and new grant seekers have used it to learn the art and science of preparing a competitive proposal. The CD was widely distributed during 2001 in some of the southern states by a large telecommunications company. It also received an independent review by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
As the needs of the community that uses the SchoolGrants site and its resources are identified, I try to find ways to meet them. SchoolGrants was created for you and it is my desire to always provide you with the most relevant information I can at the best value possible.  Your comments, thoughts, questions, and even your criticisms are always solicited and welcome!  

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The Creator of SchoolGrants
Donna Fernandez is the "organization" behind the creation and maintenance of SchoolGrants.  I am uncomfortable using the pronoun "I" when referring to the site and its various resources because, without the assistance of many of you in its community, SchoolGrants would never have been possible. I am a strong believer that collaboration, cooperation and communication are the keys to success in any endeavor - and this Web site has done nothing but reinforce my convictions!  The credit for its success belongs to everyone who has shared and I am grateful for each of you!

My experience is broad and not entirely related to the education world. A friend and colleague once told me that I should promote myself as "an accountant by training and a fundraiser by nature." The first years of my career were spent as an accountant in for-profit corporations. I found my niche, what I love, when I joined the grants office at the Dallas Independent School District (DISD).

I worked for DISD in Dallas, Texas, for over seven years.  I began as the supervisor of their federal accounting department. When an opening became available in the Grants department of the District several months later, I jumped at the opportunity to "expand my horizons".  I had never seen a grant proposal before that time, but I quickly fell in love with everything that goes into grants - the projects themselves, researching and writing proposals, managing programs, designing and giving workshops to train others, following state and federal legislative activities...  The list is seemingly endless and always changing and generally challenging. 

In my time in the grants business, I have rarely been bored!  While at the school district, our department was responsible for bringing in from $40 to $65 million in discretionary and entitlement grant funds each year.  

Until November 2003, I directed state and federal programs for Texans Can!, a non-profit organization that manages charter schools in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston. Our schools, using a unique model that focuses on the whole child, give those high school students who have dropped out or are at high risk of dropping out a new opportunity at life by earning their high diplomas. We successfully applied for over $9 million in grants and e-rate discounts over three years for programs that help us better serve these young adults. In addition, I wrote proposals for school districts that were awarded for over $3 million for an early childhood program and a system-wide educational improvement program.

I have had the privilege, through my SchoolGrants connections, to present a number of hands-on grant writing workshops for a variety of organizations including Northwest Georgia RESA, BellSouth, PTO Today, Sandersville Technical College, and Performance Institute. It is incredibly rewarding to watch new grant writers become excited about the possibilities and to know that they can write successful proposals to help fund their coveted supplemental programs!

If you'd like to know more about my experience, SchoolGrants, or services I can offer in the way of grant-writing, grant review, or workshops, please contact me.


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Awards the SchoolGrants Site Has Received

USA TODAY Education Best 
Bet

The Busy Educator Award.  Click here to visit the Busy Educator site!

Copernicus Education Gateway award

Star 
Award
Top 1% in K-12 Education

Blue Web'n Site award

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Copyright (c) 1999-2010. Donna Fernandez
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