top of page

The Definitive Guide to get your STEM Classroom Funded

This is the ultimate guide to getting your STEM classrooms funded in 2022.

And let me be clear about something: This is NOT your average “5 tips to get funded” clickbait.

Yes, I’ll cover the most important lessons for finding and securing grants.

But, you’re also going to see concrete written examples and be given resources to customize them to your needs.


So if you’re looking to bring STEM innovations to your classrooms, you'll love this updated guide.


In the education world, grant opportunities are abundant with many organizations eager to support educators who are working to make the world a better place with innovative ideas, projects, and learning programs. From non-profits that support new teachers to community foundations that focus on specific geographic areas or fields of study, there is no shortage of potential sources for funding.


However, applying for grants as an individual or organization can be challenging. Schools must meet specific criteria for eligibility, follow specific formatting guidelines, and most importantly write persuasive arguments about why their project should be funded.


These challenges increase exponentially when you add in the fact that writing a grant about bringing innovative technologies like CRISPR to your classroom require you to have a basic understanding of what CRISPR is, how it works, and how your students can benefit from the knowledge.


Nevertheless, with proper research, preparation, and a little guidance from CRISPR Classroom, anyone can successfully find and secure funding to bring innovations to their classroom.  

Kris' headshot.jpg

Kristina Tatiossian, PhD


CRISPR Classroom

Cover image - Linkedin-2.png
Image by Oleg Laptev

Free Proposal Consulting &
Application Review

Want to bring our CRISPR curriculum and scientists to your classroom(s) but need funds? Our grant experts are here to help!


Nail Down Your Goals

 <30 minutes 


Before you even think about where and how you are going to get funding, you need to identify exactly what your goals are. 

In this section, we're going to get the brainstorming started and I'm going to show you exactly how to put together a compass to guide the rest of your funding journey. 

Let's dive in. 

Anchor 1

Calibrate your compass

Before you even think about where and how you are going to get funding, you need to identify exactly what your goals are to improve your STEM classroom.


Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Why am I applying for a grant?

  • What do I hope to accomplish with the funds I receive?

  • What impact do I want my project to have on my students and community?

  • What am I trying to teach my students with the project I am proposing?

  • What is the larger point I want my students to walk away with?

  • Are there any other campus groups I could also include in the grant to increase my program's impact?

  • Am I bringing technology into the classroom with the hopes of sparking students’ interest in a particular career path they may not have considered?

You need to be able to clearly articulate not only the “what” but also the “why.” 

Untitled design-39.png

Don't spend too much time on this step; Don’t worry about being articulate or elegant with your writing, simply jot down notes for yourself to act as a compass. You know you’re ready when you can state your goal in one simple sentence.

Exercise 1

Build the compass

Fill in the blanks to generate your 1 sentence goal.

   project name    will introduce    who will benefit?    to    what   , helping them to      secondary goal    and ultimately     primary  goal  .

Example 1

 CRISPR Classroom  will introduce   middle and high school biology students throughout the USA   to    CRISPR technology , helping them to   better understand this recent scientific advancement  and ultimately   presenting them with a new career path: genome engineering .


Arm Yourself with Data

 1-2 hours 


Funders are attracted to innovative projects that meet the needs of underperforming or disadvantaged populations. 

Use data to prove your students are underperforming or disadvantaged in some way related to the program you intend to implement. 

In this section, we'll talk about different types of data and how you can leverage the data to create highly persuasive arguments. 

Anchor 2

Numbers are compelling, use them

Funders are attracted to innovative projects that meet the needs of underperforming or disadvantaged populations. 

And the best way to create persuasive prose to get funders attracted is by presenting data, but not just any data – choosing the right kind of data matters. The data you choose to highlight in your proposal should illustrate the specific need for enhanced STEM curriculum for your student population and also be relatable to the funder’s mission and goals.







The trifecta statistic: When a descriptor of the student population matches the funders goals to impact real world problems

Example 2

Rydell High School is 75% Hispanic students, Hispanic people make up only about 8% of all STEM jobs despite being about 20% of the total US population and the funders mission is to make STEM careers more accessible to underrepresented minorities. 

Example 3

The students at Rydell High School are majorly (>75%) low-income and they spend less than 50% of their time with hands-on science activities per week, a striking 20% below the national average for similarly low-income schools and 35% below the national average for high-income schools. The funders mission is to improve access to STEM majors for low-income students. 

Exercise 2

Gather your student's stats

Answer the following questions:

  • What percentage of students in your school or district come from low-income families?

  • What is the racial and ethnic makeup of your student population?

  • How many of your students get accepted to college every year?

  • How many of your students pass standard examinations?

  • What other features of your student population might be used to help you build a case for funding? 

You are more likely to get funded if you use data to highlight the need for your proposed STEM curriculum. And don't rush this step - In the same way that researching your target funder will help you to tailor your project to their interests and funding priorities, doing research on your student population will also be essential in deciding what data to include in your grant proposal.

Data tip

Statistical data should be from within the last 5-10 years 

Anecdotal data, like quotes, should be from authoritative sources (like school or district leaders)

Both forms of data should resonate strongly with the problem your program will solve and the funder's mission

Ultimately, proving the needs of your student population with data is what will help give your reader a reason to invest in your project.

Once you have the data, you’ll create a story with the facts to appeal to the hearts of the funders; I'll show you how in chapters 5-8.



Identify Your Funding Options

 2-3 hours 


There's no denying it: 

STEM education is a high-demand, high-opportunity field but keeping up with the quickly evolving space can be challenging for educators. 

So for those eager to find grants to fund innovative STEM programs for your students, the next thing we'll do is identify the funding sources that align with you, your students, and your initiatives. 

Anchor 3

Make Google & your local library your best friend

First and foremost, don’t assume you don’t have the money! Many schools and school districts set aside capital in their budget to be used throughout the year that you can access (sometimes without even an application) to bring innovative programs to your classrooms. Therefore, a good starting point is to go to your school or district administration and ask them about internal funding opportunities from within the approved budget. When you approach administration be specific about the program you would like to implement and why you want to do it.  You might be happily surprised by their response! 

Second, many districts, especially the larger ones, have internal grant programs you can apply for. Turn to administrators and district officials to learn more about district level grant opportunities for your classroom or school. 

Third, look for grants from foundations and organizations. Internet searches are a great way to find organizations that offer grants to teachers which align with your objectives. But, internet searches are by no means the only research channel you have available. In fact, about 90% of US Foundations don't have websites. Therefore, you can also look into contacting organizations directly in your city/district/state or visit your local public library’s reference section and ask for the "Foundation Directory". Some public libraries offer free online access to the database. It lists thousands of American foundations by state, including all the initial information you need to know, such as contact information, how to submit an inquiry, areas of geographic or curriculum focus, etc. For a fee, you may also access the Foundation Directory online

And check out our curated list of over 100 funding sources below. 

Fund selection tip

The more your project and student population has in common with a foundation and its goals, the better.

Foundations come in many types, including family endowments, community foundations, corporate-giving programs, and company-sponsored foundations. Before selecting a foundation, make sure your project matches their objectives because foundations are most likely to invest in programs with similar philosophies and missions. The more your project has in common with a foundations the better. Commonalities between your program and the foundations may include content area (like STEM), geographical affiliations, religious affiliations, and others. Eventually, in the application itself, you'll want to highlight all the similarities between what you want to bring to your classroom(s) and the funders needs. 

👇🏼 Check out over 100 potential STEM funding opportunities 👇🏼

Know of a grant we don't or have a question about one of the grants listed here?


Research the Funders

 3-4 hours 


All funders, whether it be at the school or district level, internal grants or external foundations, have their own motivations for wanting to give out money. 

Untitled design-40.png
Anchor 4

To win the game, understand the players

All funders, whether it be at the school or district level, internal grants or external foundations, have their own motivations for wanting to give out money. Learning those motivations will allow you to better align your proposal with their needs and therefore, will help your chances of getting funded. 

Example 4

Your district leaders have a $5,000 budget per semester to award to applicants from within their district. You want to fund a program where you can invite scientists to your classroom, like CRISPR Classroom’s STEAMmates.


In the first draft of your proposal, you write that such a program can help students learn more about diverse scientific disciplines like nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.


But after speaking with district leaders, you learn that they have an initiative to improve college and career preparedness. As a result, you change your argument to focus more on how meeting scientific professionals humanizes the scientific discipline and helps students learn about diverse scientific careers like project management and medical writing.


Ultimately, it’s the same program – STEAMmates – but the way you formulate your story is now more in tune with the funders needs.

7 key factors to review for each grant

1. Geographic location

Do the funders exclusively or prefer to fund projects within a specific geographic region? Geographic limitations are usually very obvious on fund websites and/or fund descriptions (often it's even in the name). 

2. Stated fund mission

Do a quick check of the funds mission upfront. Can you tell the story of your students and program in a way that strongly ties to the fund's mission?

3. Field of interest

Some funders exclusively or prefer to fund specific content areas, like STEM; sometimes even specific subdomains like robotics, 3D printing, or biotech. The more closely your intended program relates to the content area of interest, the better. 

4. Prior funding activities

To fully understand a funder’s motivation, look at their previous giving history and priorities. For schools or districts, contact administration to learn what initiatives are currently considered high impact. Try and learn to whom grants were given in the past, and for what reasons. Extra credit if you can actually get one of the successful proposals from prior years. 


For foundations, look at 990 forms to see previous awardees. These forms can be accessed by setting up a free account at Look for foundations that have previously given to projects similar to yours. Note previous award sizes, so that your request is reasonable

5. Size of award

Most grants have an upper limit to the amount of funds you can request. Ensure at least a rough budget of what you require is in line with what the funding organization is willing to offer. 

6. Connections

Use your connections! Is your school principal's cousin the wife of a fund board member? Use it! Fund leaders are often trained to not provide biasing information to familiar parties, but nevertheless, you can still use the connection to better understand the funds missions, it's purpose, or if you application was rejected - why that may be. 

7. Deadline

Finally, when is the grant deadline? Can you complete the application in time, with wiggle room for your friends/colleagues to do a quick review prior to submission? 

Exercise 3

Analyze your top funding options

Download and complete the form:


Create a Solid Outline

 3-4 hours 


Though different funding opportunities will likely have different specific requirements, there are common sections found in nearly all grants.

Anchor 5

Start with good bones - make an outline

Once you have identified potential funders, dig a little bit deeper into their websites and programs to find out exactly how they want you to present your project. 


Though different funding opportunities will likely have different specific requirements, there are common sections found in nearly all grants. 

The 4 major components to all grant applications -

The Need  ->  The Objectives  ->  The Activities  ->  The Evaluation

Each component should logically flow to the next. In strong grant applications, the needs identified set the stage for the project objectives. Activities should flow from those project objectives. Likewise, the evaluation of the program should use concrete data to reflect the impact the program had on the intended parties. 

Example using CRISPR Classroom's Genome Explorer experience for a hypothetical school with the following needs

Example 5


  • Less than 5% of our student's time is spent learning biotechnology

  • Our biotechnology curriculum completely lacks hands-on project based learning 

  • More than 90% of our students have never heard of CRISPR gene editing 

  • More than 80% of teachers do not feel comfortable researching and then teaching about biotechnological advances like CRISPR

  • CRISPR industry is currently blossoming and our students must learn about this technology because they will grow up in a world where they will be able to rewrite life itself. 


  • Increase the time students spend learning biotechnology to 5-10%

  • Incorporate hands-on, project-based learning activities in biotechnology curriculum 

  • By the end of the program, 80% of students will report improved understanding of CRISPR and associated careers 

  • By the end of the program, 80% of teachers will report feeling comfortable integrating biotechnology curriculum and kits


  • Classroom teacher will present slides and a lecture on the basics of CRISPR while incorporating CRISPR Classroom's short explainer videos to help students understand what CRISPR is, how it works, and how it's changing our world. 

  • Students will work with a paper model to describe how CRISPR cuts DNA

  • Students will work in groups of up to 4 to form a hypothesis and work through CRISPR Classroom's Delivery Dilemma challenge that features them genetically engineering single-celled organisms with classroom-safe tools and methods.  

  • Students will work together or independently to fill out the associated digital workbook guiding the scientific processes including hypothesis formulation, data collection, and data analysis/interpretation.


  • Can students describe what biotechnology is? 

  • Can students correctly reproduce how CRISPR works with a paper model?  

  • To what extent can students describe the purpose of the various experimental controls?

  • To what extent were students successful in completing the experiment while preventing sample contamination and other execution errors? 

  • To what extent were students able to successfully solve the Delivery Dilemma challenge?

In addition to the core components described above, grants may also include any or all of the following additional sections: 

·       Executive Summary 

·       Work plan/timeline,

·       Qualifications

·       Budget 

·       Your School or Organization Overview (mission, vision, etc.) 

Exercise 4

Build your outline

You can do it. 💪🏽





There's no getting around it. You've done all the preparation, and now it's time to sit down and write. I write best listening to piano music. How about you? 

Anchor 6

Make writing easier with a little help from AI

That's right, artificial intelligence, baby *finger guns*. 

Never ~ and I mean never ~ stare at a blank page again. I'll let you in on a secret, this article was written in collaboration with the AI from WriteSonic (we are not paid to endorse WriteSonic, we found it to be genuinely the best AI writing tool among a couple we tested). Check out WriteSonics free and paid plans

Use the AI for idea generation, phrasing, sentence expanding or contracting, and more. But keep in mind the AI can't do it all, ultimately it provides you a better jumping off point to start and edit but in the end you will still have written 80% or more of the final product. 





The hard part is over. But still, don't submit a first draft, use different strategies to improve your writing and your message before committing.

Anchor 7

Include the right people

Many people are tempted to write a grant proposal solo. This is a big mistake. You should have people review your work and give you feedback. This is especially true if this is your first time applying for a grant. 

Four strategies to get your writing reviewed


Use AI review tools (like WriteSonic) to improve clarity and grammar


Step away from the document for 1-2 weeks and return to review with a fresh and more unbiased perspective


Include people on your team who are knowledgeable about your project as well as your district or school’s grant administrators. Ask colleagues to look over your proposal and provide you with feedback on how to make it stronger by pointing out any missing pieces or places where you can improve your writing.


If your grant intends to bring CRISPR Classroom programs and curriculum to your school or organization, contact us for CRISPR-specific grant writing assistance or to review your written grant. We have helped teachers in the past and we can help you too with prewritten content, writing review, and expert guidance for free.  

Image by Oleg Laptev

Free Proposal Consulting &
Application Review

Want to bring our CRISPR curriculum and scientists to your classroom(s) but need funds? Our grant experts are here to help!

bottom of page