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Table of Contents page for How to Start and Promote a Parenting Education Group


Finding Funds

It may be much easier than you think to locate funding for your parenting education program. Many organizations, from the government to the private sector, have put aside money specially for projects such as yours. All you need to do is ask, in the form of a grant proposal or sometimes just a letter.

You could receive one lump sum from a source to cover all your costs or funding from different sources for different aspects of implementation. Or you might ask local businesses to donate their services (such as printing) for free or for a discount.

The following are some basic sources of funding for your parenting education mission:

Grants are the most common source of funding. There are two types of grants that people frequently refer to: formula grants and competitive grants.

Formula grants are a set amount of funds that a federal agency gives to a state (the amount of money depends on the number of children or students who will be helped by the program). To qualify for this money you must submit an application that identifies your program as being in the category denoted by the fund (such as a drug-free curriculum or child-abuse prevention). Once your application has been accepted, you must submit a proposal. The people who give the grants often specify what information you need to put in the proposal. If they haven’t, just refer to one of the many books on grant proposal writing.

Competitive grants are offered by public- and private-sector agencies and organizations (such as foundations and corporations) who submit a Request For Proposals (RFP). To attain these grants, you must write a proposal to prove that your program best meets the grant's criteria.

Grants through Education Sources

Federal Sources:

When applying to these sources, remember that federal grants are increasingly requiring some percentage of matching non-federal funds. The following sources will give you information about funding agencies and grants:


State Sources

You can use your school's allotment of money in these grants for parenting education programs:

  • Goals 2000: Educate America Act. For more information on this school-improvement act, call the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-USA-LEARN ( www.ed.gov ).
  • Title 1. These are federal grants for school districts with high concentrations of low-income children. If your school doesn't qualify as low-income, a school nearby might. Call your local or district school offices for more information.
  • Title 2: A fund system similar to Title 1, but these funds include programs for youth at risk, acquisition of instructional materials, or training and professional development equipment. Again, call your local or district school offices.

Also try the following:

  • Drug-Free Schools and Communities
  • High-Risk Youth Shelter Grants
  • State education foundations
  • State-wide systemic initiatives
  • Drop-out prevention funds
  • Child-abuse prevention
  • Student assistance programs
  • Teenage pregnancy prevention projects
  • Family support center grants
  • Runaway/homeless youth grants
  • Juvenile delinquency prevention grants
  • Adolescent family life grants


Local Sources

  • Your school district: Ask your district grant officer for information on grants.
  • Community education foundations: Your school superintendent or local board of education can tell you about these independent, non-profit foundations that supplement school budgets and raise money for teacher mini-grants and education programs.
  • School district-initiated foundations: Call your state school board association or Department of Education for information on these state-legislated community foundations.
  • Local education funds: Independent community foundations make small grants to teachers for innovative projects.
  • IMPACT II–The Teachers Network: Call this organization in New York (212-966-5582; www.teachnet.org ) to see if your school is in one of IMPACT's 26 sites in 17 states.

Grants through Private-Sector Sources

You may not need to turn to Uncle Sam for funding. Many non-profit and for-profit businesses set aside money just to fund programs like yours.

  • Foundations: These are public or private non-profit agencies usually endowed with fixed grants. Local private foundations are your best bet for small grants; for larger ones, contact the Foundation Center (see above) for appropriate sources.
  • Local businesses and organizations: Many corporations require only an informal application for a grant, such as a letter. Target department stores, for example, have grant applications right in the store. Hospitals are also great funding sources.

Try: hospitals, movie theaters, discount stores, utility companies, fast-food establishments, large corporations, grocery stores, banks, pediatric practices, mental health facilities, police departments, churches, Rotary Club, PTA/PTO, Jaycees, Junior League, United Way, Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis or the American Legion.


Fundraising the Old-Fashioned Way:

Do you need just enough money to buy your parenting education program and put up some posters? Try these time-tested methods:

  • bake sale
  • car wash
  • special drawing
  • raffle
  • spelling bees

You might also want to consider charging the participants for their books or for the class. This approach has two benefits: it establishes full commitment from the parents through a financial investment, and it frees up money for future classes.

Further Reading

Boyan, S., and Termini, A. M. Cooperative Parenting and Divorce Discussion Program. Active Parenting Publishers, Inc., Marietta, GA.

Chambers, D. Solo Parenting: Raising Strong & Happy Families. Fairview Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Clarke, J.I. Who, Me Lead a Group? Parenting Press, New York, NY.

Fenwick, E. & Smith, T. Adolescence: The Survival Guide for Parents and Teenagers. DK Publishing, New York, NY.

Giannetti, C. & Sagarese, M. The Roller-Coaster Years. Broadway Books, New York, NY.

Levinson, K. First Aid for Tantrums. Saturn Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Nolte, D.L. & Harris, R. Children Learn What They Live. Workman Publishing, New York, NY.

Palmer, N.S.; Palmer, W.D.; & Strom, K.M. The Family Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together. Piñon Press, Colorado Springs, CO.

Severe, S. How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too! Greentree Publishing, Tempe, AZ.

Tureen, E.A. The Grant Seeker’s Primer. SEK Publications, Washington, DC.

Tureen, E.A. The Grant Seeker’s Resource Guide. SEK Publications, Washington, DC.

Wilmes, D.J. Parenting for Prevention: How to Raise a Child to Say No to Alcohol/Drugs. Johnson Institute, Minneapolis, MN.

Leader training

Active Parenting Publishers offers Leader Training Workshops in English and Spanish throughout the year all over North America. Some training classes are also available online. Participants come away with valuable information about how to facilitate parenting education programs. Ownership of the Active Parenting program kits is not required.

Trainer training

Learn to train other parent educators at Active Parenting's annual Training of Trainers weekend workshops. Held every summer at one or two locations in the United Sates, the Training of Trainers is three days of learning, skill-building and networking. Click here for information about the upcoming Training of Trainers.