Teachers, students receive $117,500 in grants for classroom projects

Each year, teachers and students from Grand Rapids Catholic, Christian and public schools have the opportunity to apply for Excellence in Education grants. These grants provide funds for projects that enhance learning, but are not necessarily included in the ever-tightening school budgets. This year, Grand Rapids Community Foundation is pleased to announce that 62 students and teachers are receiving Excellence in Education funding, an investment totaling $117,500.


“These grants truly help teachers and students do things that are above and beyond what is in the school budget. Some of these activities and projects are essential for understanding a specific aspect of curriculum or helping deepen a learning experience,” said Ruth Bishop, education program officer at the Foundation.

Excellence in Education grant awards can be as large as $5,000 for teachers and $500 for students. These funds can be used to purchase books, classroom equipment and materials; plan events, parent involvement programs and field trips; and support professional development opportunities. Here are examples of this year’s projects:

  • Lincoln School—$4,475 to allow students with physical and cognitive impairments to safely participate in swimming by purchasing specialized adaptive equipment and flotation devices for the disabled.
  • Millbrook Christian School—$920 to use GPSR (Global Positioning Satellite Receivers) to enhance student understanding of latitude and longitude.
  • Southwest Community Campus—$2,000 to purchase supplies that allow below grade level middle school boys to meet twice a week before school to read, eat and discuss books.
  • Union High School—$500 to purchase materials to report on the health of the forest by inventorying species.
  • West Catholic High School—$200 to purchase flash drives for engineering class so students can take homework and projects home.

Excellence in Education Award Celebration—March 11, 2008

This year’s Excellence in Education grant recipients will be honored at an event hosted by the Community Foundation on Tuesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. at WMU Conference Center at 200 Ionia Avenue SW in Grand Rapids. At the event, Community Foundation leaders and superintendents from the local school systems will recognize and celebrate grant recipients for their commitment to enhancing the learning experiences provided by Grand Rapids public and private schools. Media are welcome to attend this event.


The Excellence in Education program began in 1987. In the 21 year history of the program, a total of $1.3 million has been awarded to support teacher and student led projects at schools in the City of Grand Rapids.

This year’s grant awards are made possible through the generosity of the Community Foundation’s Mary I. and Robert C. Pew Donor Advised Fund, the Allan R. and Claudia A. Carlson Advised Fund, the Thomas J. and Margaret L. Jack Fund, the C. Robert and Patricia Muth Fund, and the Excellence in Education Fund.

For more information about the Excellence in Education program, please contact Roberta King at 616.454.1751.