Alternative Funding Sources
Will service organizations or clubs fund AT?
Service clubs & organizations are another source of funding for assistive devices. However, you may have to enlist help from more than one to raise enough money to buy what you need. Whether you need funding now or later, establish a dialogue with them. Know who they are and let them know what you do and how they can help. When you approach these groups it is generally helpful to have some ideas in mind and or suggestions of what you might be able to do together to raise the funds. For example: road races, athletic events, marathons (walking, running, cycling), fairs, raffles, auctions, garage sales, telethons, food parties (hot dogs, chili, wine), picnics, and bake sales. It is important to note that many of these organizations will only provide funding after public avenues of assistance have been unsuccessful. They often view themselves as a last resort. With a combination of these organizations, you may reach your funding goals.
The following types of groups may provide funding:
- ssociations that address specific disabilities such as: Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, vision impairments, hearing impairments, etc.
- Civic Clubs such as: Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, fraternal, and labor unions.
- Faith-based Organizations: Churches; Synagogues; Mosques and more.
Are there grants that are available to schools or classrooms that would help to fund AT?
Grants are often available to schools or classrooms; it takes some detective work to find these .Teacher Centers may be found in many school districts. Districts may be organized under another "umbrella" educational agency (such as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services-BOCES-in New York State). These bodies annually fund small demonstration grants, professional development grants, and research grants. Monetarily, they are often limited to under $500.
Foundations and corporate grants exist that may help to fund technology. Foundations generally fund organizations more readily than they fund individuals. Schools are often not included as candidates for these grants as it is commonly perceived that schools receive adequate funding for addressing most needs. Carefully reviewing requirements for grant proposals will indicate if schools are able to apply.
The Foundation Directory from the Foundation Center is found in most libraries. It is also available online for a subscription fee. It lists foundations and corporate donors as well as schedules for applying for each grant and contact information.
Local foundations often will sometimes fund demonstration projects that at the end of the grant period, leave hardware and software with the school or classroom that has been awarded the grant. For example, a high school special education class wrote a grant with the school's Art Club to interview local artists and to create a multimedia presentation at the end of the year featuring all of the artists using a computer and all related technology to produce the work. One of the students had a physical disability so an adaptive keyboard was written into the equipment list as well as a state-of-the-art computer. Once the project was completed and presented to the Foundation, the equipment that had been a part of the grant stayed with the class.
Local industry often has a related foundation and some communities may have a Foundation established by founding fathers: http://fdncenter.org/funders/