Grants for Difference Makers

If you received a $500 grant to make a difference in your community, what would you do with the money? This is a thought-provoking question to ask your students. Tyler Bergquist, a second-grade student at Colchester Elementary School in Connecticut, wanted to take care of children who needed school supplies, clothes, and food. Inspired by Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree,” Bergquist dreamed of building a tree to shelter donations. With help from his mother, he applied for the Disney Summer of Service Grant and received the funds to build his tree.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News learned about the project and surprised Bergquist with a donation of  $500. “My heart is full and I’m not so worried about the future thanks to some inspiring students,” News Reporter Nicole Nalepa tweeted after meeting Bergquist and his helpful friends.

Click here to watch the story and learn more about the caring community at Colchester Elementary School.

Children can start applying for The Disney Summer of Service Grant in June. Youth Service America developed this grant with Disney to inspire children to volunteer in their communities.

Here are more grant opportunities for students who want to make a difference.

The Captain Planet Foundation 

The Captain Planet Foundation awards grants and kits that support student-driven STEM projects. The foundation’s website includes resources to facilitate environmental stewardship. Use the refine tool on the grant page to see what is available now.  Bookmark the resources page if you want to grow a school garden. Schools in Georgia and California can apply to participate in Captain Planet’s Project Learning Garden.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards 

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognizes students who are making a difference in their communities. The most distinguished award includes $5,000 for the winner to donate to a nonprofit charity of their choice.

The Toshiba America Foundation 

The Toshiba America Foundation offers $1,000 grants to support math and science projects. Colchester Elementary School received the grant to fund a composting project that paid for a field trip to a trash museum, books, and composting supplies for the school.

What are the difference makers in your school doing? Please share their stories!

Work Cited:
NicoleNalepaTV. (2017, April 26). Just finished shooting #SurpriseSquad…My heart is full & I’m not so worried about the future, thx to some inspiring students.


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher:

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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