Funding for education is a major topic for most schools, districts and communities. Issues of funding are amplified for private, nonprofit Christian schools, which charge tuition rather than receiving revenue directly from local taxes. However, nonprofit Christian schools can still operate successfully outside the public school system with help from grant funding.
Most private schools, including those with Christian religious affiliations, are nonprofit. In addition, most religious organizations are eligible for nonprofit status. To be eligible for most relevant grants, a nonprofit, private Christian school needs to have 501(c)(3) exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. This status is available to organizations that apply for it and have educational or religious purposes. A 501(c)(3) school can't solicit private investments, unreasonably compensate its leaders or create a profit for its governing body, such as a church or Christian denomination.
Types of Grants
With 501(c)(3) status, a Christian school can apply for and receive several types of grants. Federal and state education departments offer grants for all types of nonprofit schools, including those with religious affiliations. Church organizations and nondenominational religious education agencies also provide grants for Christian school startups and continuation. Most require schools to have nonprofit status and deliver funds based on financial need, planned use of funds and a school's academic performance record.
Christian school grants are generally competitive, with legitimate funding needs at nonprofit, private Christian schools in many communities competing for the same limited funds. Aggregator websites, such as Christian Foundation Grants, charge fees to Christian schools and give them access to grant opportunities sorted by denomination, amount, eligibility and other criteria. Nonprofit, private Christian schools can also learn about grant opportunities from their own leaders, who may have experience leading other religious organizations or educational programs. A grant-writing committee, composed of school leaders with experience applying for grants, can help a Christian school monitor available grants and ensure timely application submissions.
Spending Grant Money
Private, nonprofit Christian schools must account for the grant money they receive and spend. In some cases, grants provide funds for specific purposes, such as textbooks or religious education programs. Other grants are general purpose and allow school leaders to determine how to spend them, whether it's on building and grounds maintenance, teacher training or student recruiting. When a nonprofit Christian school applies for grants it has received in the past, it may need to describe past uses of grant funds, which is where exact figures and examples are useful. Schools may also need to provide documentation of grant funding and use to a school board or church council.
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