Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Early Literacy Initiative - How to obtain funding - Government funding
How to obtain funding
    Successful grant seeking
     - Government funding
            Jump to Finding government grants
            Jump to Recommended strategies for applying
            Jump to Government grant sources
     - Private/corporate foundations

Finding government grants
Federal grants
There are two sources are particularly helpful in locating federal grant opportunities:
Grants.gov is a relatively new site that allows organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all federal grant-making agencies. As of November 2003, all federal agencies are required to post grant opportunities online at this website. You can browse by category, agency, or use advanced search capabilities to identify potential programs and/or link to grant applications posted online. You can also use the CFDA number, included below in Government grant sources, to search for specific grant opportunities. Finally, you can also register to receive grant opportunity notifications.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
The online Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance provides access to a database of all federal programs available to state and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally- recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals. When a grant program opens, requests for proposals (RFPs) are published in the Federal Register. You can use the CFDA number, included below in Government grant sources, to search for specific grant opportunities.
When searching on these sites, consider searching by government program (e.g. No Child Left Behind), by category (e.g. education), or by agency (e.g. Department of Education). The following keywords or any combination thereof may also prove useful: literacy; Head Start; early childhood; parent education; reading; children + families.
The following departments and divisions are particularly fruitful sources of federal grants. More detailed information is posted on each individual agency’s website, most easily found through the federal government’s portal, Firstgov. The grant programs particularly worth considering are included below.

State grants
Oregon.gov, the state's web portal to all of its services, provides your best source for grant information. State funding sources are more limited than federal source but generally may be more specific in scope and do not have as many applicants. In particular, check out grant opportunities from the following agencies:

Recommended strategies for applying
Consider following these steps to better your chances of successfully receiving government grants:
  1. Register to receive notification of federal grant funding in each category of potential interest.
  2. Contact (by phone or email) the program contact person to confirm the lead applicant’s eligibility for the grant program.
  3. Request or download the RFPs (Requests for Proposals) from a federal website.
  4. If available, obtain a copy of a past successfully funded proposal.
  5. Receive permission to proceed, analyze the application guidelines, set up a timeline for the process (which may also include submitting a letter of intent to apply), and develop a list of questions that must be answered to complete the application.
  6. Work with the project’s grant seeking team to submit proposals. (It can take up to a year to receive notice of an award from a state or federal funding agency.)

Government grant sources
You can also download this list as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF document.

Program Name Parent Agency Comments
National Leadership Grants For Libraries
CFDA No. 45.312
Institute of Museum and Library Services Advancing Learning Communities category supports new opportunities for libraries and museums to engage with other organizations to meet the educational, economic, and social needs of learners of all ages. Projects will support learning throughout the lifetime, whether that learning takes place in communities, in schools, or in the workplace. A learning society requires a new vision in which learning is seen as a community-wide responsibility, supported by both formal and informal educational entities. IMLS will support programs based on current research in cognitive science; learning and literacy partnerships among early, adult, and community learning providers; development of innovative learning technologies using library and museum content; and exploration of new ways to integrate digital and physical services and programs. Deadline: Feb 1 (Annual Cycle)
Early Reading First
CFDA No. 84.359
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education This program supports local efforts to enhance the oral language, cognitive, and early reading skills of preschool-age children, especially those from low-income families, through strategies, materials, and professional development that are grounded in scientifically based reading research. Eligible applicants are (a) one or more local educational agencies (LEAs) (b) one or more public or private organizations or agencies (including faith-based organizations) located in a community served by an eligible LEA; or (c) one or more eligible LEAs, applying in collaboration with one or more eligible organizations or agencies. Closing date: May 8, 2006.
Striving Readers Program
CFDA No. 84.371A
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education The purpose of the Striving Readers program is to raise the reading achievement levels of middle and high school-aged students in Title I-eligible schools with significant numbers of students reading below grade level. The program supports new comprehensive reading initiatives or expansion of existing initiatives that improve the quality of literacy instruction across the curriculum, provide intensive literacy interventions to struggling adolescent readers, and help to build a strong, scientific research base for identifying and replicating strategies that improve adolescent literacy skills. Deadline for 2005 was November 14. No info on next funding cycle yet. 2005 applications were available in August. Consider a program with teen parents in high school and their young children.
Reading First State Grants
CFDA No. 84.357
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education Reading First is a focused nationwide effort to enable all students to become successful early readers. Funds are dedicated to help states and local school districts eliminate the reading deficit by establishing high-quality, comprehensive reading instruction in kindergarten through grade 3. Last funding cycle: 2002. To ensure that every student can read at grade level or above by the end of third grade. The Reading First program will provide assistance to States and districts in establishing reading programs for students in kindergarten through third grade that are based on scientifically based reading research. Reading First also focuses on teacher development and ensuring that all teachers, including special education teachers, have the tools they need to effectively help their students learn to read. The program provides assistance to States and districts in preparing teachers to identify specific reading barriers facing their students. Eligibility: State Education Agencies from the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  Beneficiary Eligibility: Kindergarten through third-grade students, their teachers, and their parents. Consider for a partnership with SMART program, to reach younger siblings and parents.
Innovative Programs
CFDA No. 84.298
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education Funding may be used for the following purposes: to support local education reform efforts; to provide funding to enable state education agencies and local education agencies to implement promising educational reform programs and school improvement programs which rely on scientifically based research; to provide a continuing source of innovation and educational improvement, including support programs that provide library services and instructional and media materials; to meet the educational needs of all students, including at-risk youths; and to develop and implement education programs to improve school, student, and teacher performance, including professional development activities and class-size reduction programs.
Early Learning Opportunities Act (ELOA) Discretionary Grants
CFDA No. 93.577
Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department for Health and Human Services May apply only to children of pre-school age. In general, Local Councils may use Early Learning Opportunities Act (ELOA) funds to pay for developing, operating, or enhancing voluntary early learning programs that are likely to produce sustained gains in early learning. Deadline is unclear from announcement.
Challenge Grants
CFDA No. 45.130
National Endowment For The Humanities NEH challenge grants help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements in and support for their humanities programs and resources. May be used for literature-based programs and/or literary arts activities (e.g. Family Reading Nights; Kids Book Discussions; etc.)
Cultural Partnerships For At-Risk Children And Youth
CFDA No. 84.351B
Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education This program makes demonstration grants to eligible entities for the development of school-community partnership programs designed to improve the educational performance and future educational potential of at-risk children by providing comprehensive, coordinated, and educational arts programs and services. Eligibility: LEA, acting on behalf of an individual school or schools, in partnership with at least one—institution of higher education, museum, local arts agency, or cultural entity that has a history of providing quality services to the community. Funds flow from the federal government to the local educational agency (LEAs), who then distribute the grant funds to their project partners. Youth development initiatives should partner with the applicable LEA and community arts entities to access these funds.
Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers
CFDA No. 84.287
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education To create community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children. Eligibility: Formula grants are awarded to State educational agencies, which in turn manage statewide competitions and award grants to eligible entities. For this program, eligible entity means a local educational agency, community-based organization, another public or private entity, or a consortium of two or more of such agencies, organizations, or entities. States must give priority to applications that are jointly submitted by a local educational agency and a community-based organization or other public or private entity.
Improving Literacy Through School Libraries
CFDA No. 84.364
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education Objectives: To provide students with increased access to up-to- date school library materials, a well-equipped technologically advanced school library media center, and well-trained, professionally certified school library media specialists to improve literacy skills and achievement of students. Applicant eligibility: Local educational agencies (LEAs) with a child poverty rate of at least 20 percent are eligible.
Even Start Family Literacy Oregon Department of Education Even Start provides learning opportunities to families with children age birth to 8. The program integrates early childhood education, adult basic skills education, GED preparation, job training, and parenting support. Even Start programs must include all four components: adult basic skills and/or English as a Second Language; early childhood education; parent education and support; and interactive literacy activities. No information for 05-06. Senate action expected early September 2005 on whether to continue funding, but no new information was posted.
Reading First Oregon Department of Education Awards are to school districts. No evidence of partnerships with other entities. Mainly focused on K-3. Most recent information on web seems to be 02-03.
Ready For School Initiative Oregon Department of Education Not a grant program at this time. Focused on kindergartens.
Positive Youth Development Oregon Commission on Children and Families Oregon is one of nine states awarded a five-year grant. The youth development approach suggests that helping all young people achieve their full potential is the best way to prevent them from becoming involved in risky behavior. Youth development strategies focus on giving young people the chance to build skills, exercise leadership, form relationships with caring adults, and help their communities. Further, the youth development approach acknowledges both that youth are resources in rebuilding communities and that helping young people requires strengthening families and communities.
Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Programs
CFDA No. 45.313
Institute of Museum and Library Services Objectives: To support efforts to recruit and educate the next generation of librarians and the faculty who will prepare them for careers in library science, and to support research related to library education and library staffing needs, curriculum development, and continuing education and training. Priorities for 2006 include: (1) master's-level programs, (2) doctoral programs, (3) pre-professional programs, (4) research, (5) programs to build institutional capacity, and (6) continuing education and training.
Ready To Read Grant Oregon State Library The purpose of the Ready to Read Grant program is to “establish, develop, or improve public library services for children” ages 0-14. Any legally established public library in Oregon is eligible to apply for the grant. 2006 deadline expected to be sometime in August 2006.
Library Services And Technology Act Grants Oregon State Library Projects do not need to be innovative; a good project from another state or area can be replicated.  The list of projects from Oregon is available. Some electronic copies of proposals and applications are available from the main LSTA page. Projects should utilize local resources first, and be sustainable. Annual Cycle: Proposals due in April; if invited, grant deadline is in mid-August.
Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program
CFDA No. 84.349A
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education The purpose of the ECEPD program is to enhance the school readiness of young children, particularly disadvantaged young children, and to prevent them from encountering difficulties once they enter school, by improving the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators who work in communities that have high concentrations of children living in poverty. 2006 Deadline: Apr 07.

Early Literacy table of contents

• Early Literacy home
• About the Initiative
• Why Early Literacy?
• What libraries can do
• What libraries are doing
How to obtain funding
• Additional resources
• What's next?
• Contact us