How to find funding?

Andy Haefner

Active Member
Feb 23, 2018
Buffalo, NY
As many know, funding coming from a school district is few and far between it seems sometimes often with the arts falling by the wayside (as it is in my school district) We recently did a capital project renovation (which didnt turn out very well) and my thoughts were "if the district isnt willing to fix it themselves, wouldnt outside prescence of the funding necessary sway their opinion?" So my big question is, has anyone come across similar situations and been able to locate funds (via local supporters i.e. "the wealthy/patrons of the arts/buisnesses" ) in order to fix what was wrong/ renovate the right way?


Well-Known Member
Jun 26, 2012
Upstate NY
As a student, this is probably something you don’t want to hear, but it will likely take years to re-do something that was just “done”. My experience is this is a hard sell. Sure there are occasional gifts here and there, as well as the unpredictable fundraiser. The fact is, large grant opportunities and other philanthropists generally look at the bottom line of an organization. A public school district basically has the resources to do any project and raise capital they want, as supported by the community.

Most of the large grants out there are for utilities savings, which if you just did an upgrade, you likely don’t qualify for.

I will share horror stories on your other thread when I have time to write a novel, but I have spent the last 8 years overcoming our last “upgrade”. Did it by some fundraising, and getting the district to match funds, with and outside donor here and there. I also did a LOT of research, wiring and modifications to existing setup myself (with the help of district electrician). Really took about 3 years before things became good. In the meanwhile, I have been using the skills I learned to upgrade a little at a time, and keep things in tip-top working order. There are still a few major needs we can’t overcome. As an employee of the district, I have more time, flexibility, and authority than a student will have to make changes.

Our high school is now selling “seats” - basically you get your name on a plaque on the back of a seat for donating to the cause. I think it is something like $300 per seat, but I think it should be more like $1k. What happens when they run out is seats and nobody built up a sustaining budget? Probably start putting plaques on urinals...

Good luck, and keep asking questions!


Well-Known Member
Sep 18, 2009
Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
K-12 schools tend to rely on tax revenue or parent driven fund raising. If you need a fairly small amount then fund raising is best, anything from outright begging for money to some sort of service/product in return. The school my kids went to does a huge parent show, complete with advertising in the program and tons of stupid jokes. They pull in over $100K a year!

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