After school programs are a valuable resource for American children. They not only provide child care at times when school is out and parents are often at work, but also build on the learning experience offered in traditional classrooms and provide a wide range of activities that engage our youth. Studies show that kids enrolled in after school programs have lower drop out rates, higher test scores and are less likely to get involved with drugs or commit juvenile crime.
Programs are considered to be after school if they occur in the mornings or afternoons, on holidays and weekends and during the summer months. Some focus on strengthening academics. Others involve team sports and recreation. After school is a fairly broad term and a wide assortment of activities provided for children fall under that heading.
The federal government provides a majority of funding for after school programs, but there are private foundation sources and corporate giving programs that support this as well. Federal funding is usually passed down to states that address their local communities and needs. Other support is usually more focused on specific types of after school activities.
Government Funding for After School Programs
The U.S. Department of Education funds after school programming through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. It is the only federal grant program solely focused on after school funding. The money is distributed to states through a formula grants process, passing the decision of how to best spend the money to the local level. Most states then host a competitive grants process allowing providers of after school programs to apply. Funding is then provided to a wide array of projects that work with children across many areas of focus. Here are examples of the types of programs this grant usually funds:
- Academic enrichment
- Reading and literacy
- English proficiency
- Math and science
- Art and music
- Drug and violence prevention
Many other government programs indirectly support after school programs. One example is the Child Care and Development Fund. While the program actually funds child care so that low-income parents can participate in training and education programs, the end result is that the money filters down to many early childhood education and after school programs. Another is the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. While this program actually provides family assistance, states can choose to use up to 30% of grant funding from the program to pay for child care. This also increase the funding available to after school programs. If you are interested in applying for any government funding for your after school program, contact your state’s Department of Education. A full listing of state agency contact information can be found at this link.
Other After School Funding
Private funding for after school programs are also provided by both foundations and corporations that donate to after school program providers. When searching for this funding in your local area, understand that many of these opportunities often target their efforts locally. The Foundation Center offers a free basic search where you can find foundation support for your local area by city, state and zip code called the foundation finder. Here are a few examples of corporate and foundation support of after school programs.
Mott Foundation Pathways Out of Poverty
Through this initiative, Mott seeks to reinforce education especially through community partnerships. Recent grants have gone to support various statewide networks and non-profit organizations that provide after school programs and support. Those seeking grants should send a letter of inquiry rather than submitting an unsolicited grant request.
RBC After School Grants Project
RBC Wealth Management provides a grant program that supports after school activities in the areas it serves and where its employees call home. Funding is available to groups that support academic achievement. To be eligible, the after school program must operate 5 days a week and provide a program during the afternoon hours. It does not fund morning, evening or weekend programs.
Category: Education Grants