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 2021-22 Educator Impact Fund (EIF) 

CFE’s 2021-22 Educator Impact Fund (EIF) aims to furnish school communities with the digital learning tools, physical equipment, and other classroom supplies necessary to support high-quality instruction and engagement. CFE plans to again support school communities in Chicago’s most disinvested, economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods through this initiative. Educator teams of 3 or more are encouraged to submit requests of up to $5,000, identifying specific supplies and equipment for broad staff use. Schools that were awarded during this year’s Relief Fund are still eligible to receive EIF awards in 2021-22.

  • Request Form Available: August 16–October 11, 2021
  • Committee Consideration of Submissions: October 15-24, 2021
  • CFE Connection with Requesting Schools’ Administrators: October 15- 24, 2021
  • Tentative Distribution of Funds:
    • Round #1 in November 2021
    • Round #2 in January 2022
    • Round #3 in March 2022

Fund for Teachers

Teachers are most effective, and improve in their practice, when they are problem solvers and innovators, who take risks, learn, reflect, and collaborate. Teachers who pursue Fund for Teachers’ transformational learning experiences catalyze these problem-solving experiences for themselves and students, ultimately changing schools and communities. Fellowship proposals that prioritize teachers seeking solutions to their own, genuine problems of practice will be best aligned to grant goals. In addition, proposals that have the potential to center students as changemakers for problems in their communities are highly encouraged to apply. Individuals may apply for up to $5,000 and teams may apply for up to $10,000 (while team members may be from different schools, districts or states, all members must meet the eligibility criteria). 

  • Applications open: TBD (likely late Fall 2021)
  • Award notifications: TBD (likely early Winter 2021)

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; music and general education 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.

National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) Awards

The National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) was established as an independent, sister organization to the National Art Education Association (NAEA) to provide support for a variety of art education programs. A variety of Foundation grants are made only to NAEA members, including student and retired members, state/province associations, and recognized affiliates. Download the previous year’s NAEF Grant Guidelines here.

  • Updated NAEF Grant guidelines posted: September 1, 2021
  • Next deadline for NAEF Grant submissions: October 1, 2021

P. Buckley Moss Foundation Teacher Grants 

The P. Buckley Moss Teacher Grant program provides funding for art supplies for teachers. These grants are given annually and may be up to $1,000.00 each. The purpose of the Teacher Grant is to support a new or evolving program that integrates the arts into education in the school classroom setting, with a special focus on those who learn differently.

  • 2021 applications open: July 2021
  • 2021 applications due: September 30, 2021

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 SY22 is now closed. Read the RFP for 2021 here.

  • Applications for SY23 open: February 2022 (estimated)
  • Applications for SY23 due: Spring 2022 (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 and Freebies

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.

CTU Member Discounts
A list of businesses and concerns that offer special discounts to Chicago Teachers Union members.

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.

National Teacher Appreciation Month Discounts & Freebies
CPS’s Office of Educator Engagement curated this list of discounts and freebies offered to teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Month; it also includes a list of teacher offers that are available all year.

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.