National Gardening Association Grants Plant Seeds of Change for Schools

December 8, 2010

Source: National Gardening Association (NGA)

NGA has found that small investments in school gardens have a big impact on students and their communities. The school projects funded by NGA have measured increased attendance, decreases in disciplinary actions, and positive community responses as a result of gardening. With a proven, positive impact on mental, physical, and psychological health, a gardening project might be great for you and your students!

In partnership with donors, NGA offers a variety of grants to teachers and schools. Home Depot, Jamba Juice, Subaru and other corporations provide funding to bring the benefits of gardening to millions of students.

Secrets to Success

Amanda Wiggins, grants administrator for the NGA, advises applicants to be genuine. “We encourage all applicants not to make assumptions when answering questions they are presented with, but rather be true to the program or prospective program and discuss it thoroughly,” Wiggins said.

The more complete the applicant is in describing their program, the better sense evaluators have of how the program will benefit students. Evaluators should understand how the program operates, is managed, and ultimately, how the garden will impact youth and the community. Winning applicants, according to Wiggins, often propose programs that use gardening as a teaching tool.

An evaluation team of skilled educators and gardeners develop the evaluation criteria and scoring for each NGA grant program. After an initial round of review, the top 15-20% of applications enter a second phase to determine the winners.

Share Your Bounty

There is nothing more satisfying to a gardener than to see a flower bloom, a tree grow, fruits and vegetables ripen. Like most grant givers, NGA looks forward to a final report on the results of the project they funded.

“Our favorite part of grant-making is notifying the grant winners and receiving the year-end reports that detail how the grant helped the gardening programs grow!” Wiggins said. “We receive thousands of pictures, thank-you notes, and detailed descriptions of the many ways the award helped the program, the school, and the community.” These reports help NGA document results and secure donations for future programs.

Grow a Peace Garden

The next deadline for an NGA grant is December 5, 2014 for the Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden grant, sponsored by Yum! Brands and the Mohammad Ali Center. This grant focuses on using edible plants to raise awareness for global hunger and teach the value of nutrient-rich foods. To be eligible, schools must plan to garden in 2014 with a minimum of 15 students and have a student body in which 50% or more are eligible for free or reduced lunch. A total of 50 award packages will be given, and prizes include a raised garden bed, gardening tools, and a composter.

To start your application, go to Yum! Peace Garden Application

To learn more about the benefits of gardening and other NGA grants, visit the Kids Gardening.

Looking for more gardening grants? Search the Afterschool category on Grant Wrangler.

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Grant Wrangler® is a free grant listing service offered by Nimble Press™. We make it easier for educators, school libraries, and parents to find school funding. We list grants for teachers, school grants, and money for arts, history, mathematics, science, technology, literacy, and more. We also help education foundations, community foundations, corporate foundations, and other grant-giving organizations more effectively promote their grants and awards to teachers and schools. To learn more about our grant management software, visit Nimble Net™.