Explore opportunities to obtain grant and crowdsourced funding for arts initiatives at your school, and browse organizations that offer free/cheap arts supplies and equipment and/or educator discounts.

Grant Funding Opportunities

Chicago Foundation for Education Small Grants
These grants fund the implementation of classroom and school-wide curricular projects that respond to the specific academic, social, and emotional needs of a student population. Grants of up to $500 are available to fund books, supplies, materials, field trips, or any other items that will deepen student engagement and promote active learning. 

  • Applications open: August 2019 (now closed)
  • Applications due: November 4, 2019 (now closed)
  • Award notifications: Week of December 9, 2019
  • Award implementation: January through June 2020

Crayola’s “Champion Creatively Alive Children” Initiative 
Creative leadership teams at selected schools receive $2,500, plus $1,000 worth of Crayola products to develop an art-infused, creative capacity-building, professional development program. Note: Principals from applicant schools must be NAESP members.

  • 2020 applications open: December 2019 (now closed)
  • 2020 applications due: Summer 2020 (estimated)
  • 2020 award notifications: TBD

Fund for Teachers
This fund provides educators, possessing a broad vision of what it means to teach and learn, the resources needed to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. FFT grants are used for an unlimited variety of projects; all designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students and their school communities. Individuals may apply for up to $5,000 and teams may apply for up to $10,000.

  • Applications open: October 1, 2019 to January 30, 2020 (at 5pm CST) (now closed)
  • Award notifications: April 2020 (estimated)

Little Kids Rock 
This nonprofit partners with public school districts in economically disadvantaged communities with the goal of ensuring that all students have access to music education. Teachers apply to be trained in the Little Kids Rock methodology; after training is complete, they receive a donation of curricula, instruments and other resources to launch Modern Band music programming at their schools.

  • Applications open: Training workshops are held throughout the year; teachers can apply here to join an upcoming workshop.

Lang Lang International Music Foundation
Lang Lang’s awards include the music-intervention program Keys of Inspiration™ and a Young Scholars Program.

Moss Foundation National Teacher Grants 
Awards of up to $1,000 to support a new or evolving program that integrates the arts into educational programming. The purpose is to aid and support teachers who wish to establish an effective learning tool using the arts in teaching children who learn differently. The 2019 application window is now closed.

  • 2020 applications open: Summer 2020 (estimated)
  • 2020 applications due: Fall 2020 (estimated)

NEA Art Works 
The principal grant program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Art Works funds artistically excellent projects that celebrate America’s creativity and cultural heritage, invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups, and enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society. Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000.

  • Application Period #1 open: February 2019 (now closed)
  • Award Notification for Period #1: November 2019
  • Application Period #2 open: July 11–23, 2019
  • Award Notification for Period #2: April 2020

Social Emotional Learning Innovation Fund 
Grants of up to $5,000 (for teacher-led projects) and $25,000 (for district projects spanning multiple schools) are given to individual educators, teams of educators or district leaders seeking to improve systems that foster social and emotional skills in fresh, inventive or innovative ways.

  • Applications open: February 2020
  • Applications due: Spring 2020 (estimated)

Target Field Trip™ Grants 
Grants of up to $700 to fund learning opportunities outside the classroom. The 2019-20 application window is now closed.

  • Applications for 20-21 open: August 1, 2020
  • Applications for 20-21 due: October 2020 (estimated)

Crowdsourced Funding Resources

How to Make an Amazon Classroom Wishlist 
An EdTech tutorial on setting up a public Amazon wishlist to share with potential givers.

A platform that connects teachers in high-need communities with donors who want to help. Download a tutorial on how to create a compelling Donorschoose proposal, created by CPS teacher Amy Ellifritz.

The Fundraising Authority
A clearinghouse website with lots of solid fundraising information and advice for nonprofit organizations of all sizes. Start with their fundraising basics.

A free crowdfunding platform that allows people to raise money for events.

Resources for Free or Cheap Art Materials and Supplies

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange
A nonprofit working with local and national businesses to source surplus materials for teachers and other nonprofits. They also offer creative reuse programming such as workshops, webinars, and exhibitions.

Creative Pitch
Arts teachers, art therapists and other arts professionals can apply to receive free graphic design supplies including crayons, pens, paper, paint, brushes, canvas, glue, scissors, rulers, clay and more.

Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse
This organization sells a range of salvaged building materials, including cabinets, lighting fixtures, appliances, doors, windows, flooring, tiles, and more. They also offer events, workshops, and workforce training.

Online forums where people can give and get items for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers. Membership is free. Link to the Chicago Freecycle Network forum.

NAEIR Teacher’s Program
Individuals who join this program pay nominal processing and handling to receive products like arts and crafts items, pens and pencils, highlighters, scissors, stickers, and more. In most cases, members pay less than a third of what they would pay at deep discount stores, and shipping is free.

ReBuilding Exchange
Chicago nonprofit that carries a large selection of reclaimed building materials, including reclaimed old-growth and new-growth lumber, doors, cabinets, windows, lighting, plumbing fixtures, furniture, appliances, and more.

ReStore Chicago
Located on the Northwest side and operated by Habitat for Humanity Chicago, this store sells new and gently-used furniture, appliances, cabinets, home accessories, building materials, and more. Proceeds provide funding to Habitat for Humanity.

SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) is an environmental education non-profit in Glen Ellyn that collects school/art supplies, furniture, and books and gives them away to educators and non-profit organizations or has them recycled. Their three main projects are the Book RescueTools for Schools, and Super Crayons.

Upcycling Colors
Chicago organization that rescues leftover (used/new) art, craft, and school supplies, upcycles them by cleaning and sorting, and distributes them to underserved communities around the world.

The WasteShed Chicago
Chicago storefront that sells reclaimed art supplies at very low prices. They also hold workshops on mending clothes, making crafts and more.

Zero Landfill Chicago 
Provides surplus and outdated architectural and interior design samples, including interesting fabric, wallpaper, tile, glass, metal, carpet, laminates, binders, books, matboard, foamcore and more.

Educator Discounts

Blick Art Supplies
CPS educators receive 20% off all individual purchases. NOTE: This discount also applies to items purchased by your school. Your clerk/finance manager should validate items and pricing with Blick.

Joann Fabrics
All educators receive 15% off any individual purchases with a Teacher Rewards membership.

All educators receive 15% off items purchased for the classroom. Some restrictions apply, so check with the sales clerk/manager.

Party City
Schools receive 10-20% off (depending on the amount of purchase) in-store. Purchaser must bring a signed letter on school letterhead, and all purchases must be paid by check or credit card in the name of the school.

We Are Teachers: Discounts and Deals
Browse ongoing, up-to-date lists of discounts, deals, and giveaways for educators, generated by We Are Teachers.