Below, is a short list of funding opportunities specifically for STEM education. This is not a comprehensive list of available funding sources, but rather some of the larger pools of funding available nationally. For local and state funding opportunities, check with your Statewide Afterschool Network.
National Science Foundation
The Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program seeks to: advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and develop understandings of deeper learning by participants.
Who’s eligible: See here who has been funded with this grant.
What it funds: The AISL program supports six types of projects: (1) Pathways, (2) Research in Service to Practice, (3) Innovations in Development, (4) Broad Implementation, (5) Conferences, Symposia and Workshops, and (6) Science Learning + Proposals. The solicitation provides a full description of each project.
How to apply: Active solicitations are posted on the program’s website. Supplementary resources for submitting a proposal are listed on informalscience.org.
National Institutes of Health
The Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA) program is designed to improve life science literacy throughout the nation through innovative educational programs.
Who’s eligible: The awards are intended to encourage partnerships between biomedical and clinical researchers and K-12 teachers and schools and other interested organizations. Particular importance is given to applications that target students in preschool through grade 12 and/or informal science education (ISE)/media topics that may not be addressed by existing curriculum, community-based or ISE/media activities.
What it funds: Classroom curricula, mobile laboratories, workshops, films, software and websites that give K-12 students, teachers and the public a better understanding of the life sciences.
How to apply: The SEPA awards are currently on hold.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
B-WET is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant experiential learning in the K-12 environment.
Who’s eligible: Funded projects provide meaningful watershed educational experiences for students and related professional development for teachers in support of regional education and environmental priorities in seven areas of the United States as part of a competitive funding process that promotes Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). The program focuses specifically on supporting individuals to understand, protect and restore watersheds and related ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems.
What it funds: Programs with a focus on meaningful watershed education that incorporate classroom learning with field experience; sustained activity aligns with the general standards of education.
How to apply: Refer to the regional funding opportunity announcements for specific priorities. Check the resources page for specific grant information.
National Science Foundation
The NSDL program aims to establish a national network of learning environments and resources for STEM education at all levels.
Who’s eligible: This program provides educational opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students and K-12 educators.
What it funds: The program has four tracks listed in the synopsis on the website that differentiates the use of funding between proposals for large grants and technology-intensive projects that use small grant support.
How to apply: Proposals to NSF must be submitted electronically via either the NSF FastLane System or Grants.gov.
National Science Foundation
The ITEST program supports the research and development of innovative models for engaging K-12 students in authentic experiences that build their capacity to participate in the STEM and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future. There are many afterschool and summer projects under this program.
Who’s eligible: Universities and colleges; nonprofit, non-academic organizations; for-profit organizations; state and local governments; and more. See NSF’s Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter I, Section E for details.
What it funds: ITEST supports projects that: (1) increase students’ awareness of STEM and cognate careers; (2) motivate students to pursue the appropriate education pathways for STEM and cognate careers; and/or (3) provide students with technology-rich experiences that develop disciplinary-based knowledge and practices and non-cognitive skills (e.g., critical thinking and communication skills) needed for entering STEM workforce sectors. Successful ITEST projects will engage in foundational or model-based design applied research that seeks to understand conditions and contexts that improve K-12 students’ STEM learning pathways and STEM-focused career preparations and mentorships.
How to apply: Active solicitations are posted on the NSF ITEST website. Visit the STELAR (STEM Learning and Research Center) website to read about past and active ITEST projects.
U.S. Department of Energy
The LEDP was established by the Department of Energy to grant surplus and available used energy-related laboratory equipment to universities and colleges in the United States for use in energy-oriented educational programs.
Who’s eligible: Participation in the LEDP is limited to accredited, post-graduate, degree granting institutions including universities, colleges, junior colleges, technical institutes, museums or hospitals, located in the U.S. and interested in establishing or upgrading energy-oriented educational programs in the life, physical, and environmental sciences and engineering.
How to apply: After confirming that the eligibility requirements of the program have been met, the application can be accessed on the program’s website.
STEMconnector® is both a resource and a service, designed to link “all things STEM” through a comprehensive website that connects national, state and local STEM entities. The STEM Directory contains profiles of more than 3,700 STEM-related organizations, including federal funding programs.
Profiles contain a general overview of the federal funding agency and descriptions of its STEM education initiatives. For example, the Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (NIFA) page provides a clear four-step plan that the program uses to enable colleges and universities to provide the quality of education necessary to produce baccalaureate or higher degree-level graduates capable of strengthening the nation’s food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce as their primary focus within the STEM field.
The Toyota USA Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of K-12 education by supporting innovative programs and building partnerships with organizations dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of mathematics, science and environmental science.
Who’s eligible: Applying organizations must be tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and be located within and serve people in the United States. Applying organizations should promote diversity and inclusion, be financially sound, and have an established record for delivering high-quality education programs.
What it funds: Grants, of a minimum of $50,000 per year, are provided to support the development and implementation of programs.
How to apply: Toyota Grant Application Proposal
Innovation Generation (STEM) Grant
Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships and fostering innovation.
Who’s eligible: Awards will be granted to programs that provide engaging hands-on activities and spark interest in STEM careers among students in kindergarten through the university level. Priority is given to programs that focus on girls and minorities underrepresented in STEM careers.
What it funds: A list of Innovation Generation (STEM) 2014 Grant recipients can be found on the foundation’s main website page under the heading “Innovation Generation (STEM) Grants in North America.”
How to apply: General grant application
The AHF program focuses on meeting the needs of American society in the areas of youth and scientific education by awarding grants to nonprofits, while strategically assisting communities in deriving long-term benefits.
Who’s eligible: Nonprofit charitable organizations classified as a 501(c)(3) public charity by the Internal Revenue Service, a public school district, and private/public elementary and secondary schools as listed by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.
What it funds: Youth education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training and literacy.
How to apply: Any questions regarding funding can be answered on the FAQ page and the online application can be accessed as a PDF or online.
STEMconnector® is both a resource and a service, designed to link “all things STEM” through a comprehensive website that connects national, state and local STEM entities. The STEM Directory contains profiles of more than 3,700 STEM-related organizations, including corporations that provide funding. Profiles contain a general overview of the funding organization and descriptions of its STEM education initiatives.
The program gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, and other nonprofit and not-for-profit places of learning in the United States with a site available for a stewardship project.
Who’s eligible: Teachers who have developed projects to enrich the learning environment and provide aesthetic and environmental benefits for their students.
What it funds: The program encourages teachers using the funding to create learning opportunities by enhancing their schoolyards with nature trails, butterfly gardens, prairies, woodland wildflower preserves, and other similar projects to inspire valuable life skills like patience and teamwork.
How to apply: SFE Application
STEMconnector® is both a resource and a service, designed to link "all things STEM" through a comprehensive website that connects national, state and local STEM entities. The STEM Directory contains profiles of over 3,700 STEM-related organizations, including foundations and philanthropic organizations. Profiles contain a general overview of the foundation and a description of its STEM education initiatives. For example, afterschool and summer and extended learning time are two of The Wallace Foundation’s key areas for which their organization provides funding.
STEMworks at WestED helps companies, states, and individuals invest in STEM programs. Check out their emmber profiles to learn more about what sorts of programs these companies support.
Grantmakers for Education is an organization of public and private philanthropies that are committed to improving education for all students. See their list of members to learn more about their priorities for giving and grant opportunities.
The After-School Corporation based in New York City provides resources and tools for afterschool programs including this funding database searchable by opportunities specific to STEM.