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 2020 Relief Fund
CFE’s 2020 Relief Fund aims to furnish school communities with the digital learning tools and physical equipment necessary to support high-quality virtual instruction with students. Via this responsive relief funding initiative, CFE plans to support several school communities in Chicago’s most disinvested, economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods. Educator teams of three or more are encouraged to submit requests up to $5,000, identifying specific supplies, equipment, and/or online resources for staff use and student impact.

  • Request Form: Now Available
  • Request Form Submission Deadline: October 12, 2020
  • Committee Consideration of Submissions: Oct 13–Nov 2, 2020
  • CFE Connection with Requesting Schools’ Administrators: Oct 13– Nov 2, 2020
  • Distribution of Funds: November 9, 2020

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: November 1, 2020
  • Award notifications: April 2021 (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 2020 application window closed on September 30.

  • 2021 applications open: September 2021 (estimated)
  • 2021 applications due: Fall 2021 (estimated)

NEA Arts Education Grants
NEA Arts Education funding is focused on students. Projects are for pre-K-12 students (Direct Learning), the educators and artists who support them (Professional Development), and the schools and communities that serve them (Collective Impact). All students are served when each level of the system is supported. Applicants should consider what role their proposed project plays within this system, and the impact their project has on students. Competitive projects will:

  • Increase access to arts education through the use of innovative strategies or scaled up proven methodologies.
  • Have national, regional, or field-wide significance. This includes local projects that can have significant impact within communities or are likely to demonstrate best practices for the field.

Arts Education projects may be in any artistic discipline. Application periods for 2020 are now closed.

  • Application Period #1 open: February 2021 (estimated)
  • Award Notification for Period #1: November 2021 (estimated)
  • Application Period #2 open: July 2021 (estimated)
  • Award Notification for Period #2: April 2022 (estimated)

SEL in Action Awards 
These awards from the NoVo Foundation, in partnership with Education First and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, aim to seed projects that foster social and emotional competencies in students in grades PK-12. Grants for educator-led projects are a maximum of $7,000 each. District-level grant awards are a maximum of $25,000 each. They also award a small, select number of two-year grants. The application window for 2020 is now closed. Read the RFP for 2020 here.

  • Applications open: February 2021 (estimated)
  • Applications due: Spring 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.