The Learning Links program offers grants up to $800 per teacher to public schools in order to provide "hands-on" creative learning projects to their students. The goal of this program is to increase students' enthusiasm for learning and staying in school, ultimately through graduation.
These grants are made possible by the Ben W. and Dixie Glenn Farthing Charitable Endowment Fund and the Cherokee County Schools Foundation Endowment Fund.
Learning Links projects must:
- Involve students in projects of a "hands-on" nature. It is desirable that these experiential learning activities take place in settings beyond the classroom or in a learning environment that is unlike their normal daily classroom instruction.
- Implement innovative, imaginative and creative approaches to teaching that enrich the educational experience.
- Be aligned with the classroom's current curriculum.
- Directly relate to the academic improvement of students.
Strong applications include:
- Clearly defined and realistic project plans and activities. Do not use educational or technical jargon. Be as specific as possible about how the funds will be used.
- Specifics regarding how the project will be implemented, necessary materials, time frame, people involved and completion date.
- A detailed budget that is reasonable and logically tied to the project description.
Successful projects in the past have:
- Involved parents and/or community volunteers
- Been led by a dedicated teacher or team of teachers
- Integrated curricula or involved various age groups
- Served a single classroom, grade level, or entire school. (Individuals can apply for up to $800 only. Group projects are allowed and can apply for up to $800 per teacher/classroom). A group project is a team project that will serve the same group of students in a classroom, set of classrooms or school-wide activity or club. Please note there is no maximum restriction on requests to fund the same project. Projects that have been funded previously will be reconsidered on their own merits each year they are submitted.
- There is no limit to the number of applications that may be submitted from each school. Each application form must be submitted by the lead teacher/project coordinator and approved by the school principal in order to be considered for funding.
- All field trips must include before-trip preparation and after-trip use of the information.They should also include all students the project is intended for (an individual classroom, a grade level, or school-wide activity or club).
- Grants may be made to compensate experts who come to work with students but may not pay teachers or staff. These experts must submit resumes or credentials to justify the requested expense.
- Funds may not purchase equipment, videos/dvds or furniture, unless these items are essential to the project and cannot be obtained otherwise. Additionally, grant funds cannot be used to cover the cost of items normally included in the school’s budget.
- Items that are not typically funded include refreshments, rewards, or incentives.
Deadlines and Dates
The deadline to apply is the last Friday in September. Funded projects must take place between January 1 and June 1. Grant funds should be totally expended by June 1.
Learning Links grants are offered to public schools in the following Western North Carolina counties: Avery, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford and Swain.
What We Do Not Fund
Learning Links grants do not support anything other than "hands-on" creative learning projects for public school classrooms in the counties specified above.
How to Apply
1. Access Community Foundation Staff Assistance
If you would like to discuss your proposal or have questions regarding eligibility, contact Lezette Parks, Scholarship Officer, by email or at 828-367-9909.
2. Submit a Grant Application
Begin the online application process to submit a grant application. The online application is available beginning in mid-August and must be completed by 5 p.m. on the date of the deadline. For technical assistance with the online grant system, please contact Diane Crisp, Senior Grants Manager, by email or at 828-367-9904. The online system notifies applicants by email upon receipt of their application.
3. Review Process
Staff screens applications for completeness, clarity, and compliance with eligibility requirements. Grant proposals are evaluated by a volunteer committee, and funding recommendations are approved by CFWNC. Funding decisions are announced in November.
Applicants must submit an online end-of-grant report verifying use of grant funds and results. Instructions will be included in the grant award letter. We may also require additional reports or site visits.
For additional information, download Recent Grants.
Have a question? Download our Frequently Asked Questions for Learning Links.