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Frequently Asked Questions


What kind of grants does the Needham Education Foundation fund?

NEF supports innovation and enrichment in Needham Public Schools. We seek applications for creative programs that connect with current curriculum or the district goals in meaningful ways but are outside normal and expected public funding.

We have three regular grant cycles per year, in the Fall, Winter and Spring. Both Small Grants for up to $5,000 and Large Grants for up to $15,000 are available during each grant cycle. Please see NEF Grant Programs for more information about our grants.

In addition to our regular grant programs, we also work with the school district on Collaborative Initiatives, projects of a larger scope, expense, and time-frame. Unlike regular grants where we simply receive an application, Collaborative Initiatives are projects that are developed by both NEF and NPS representatives. See About NEF Initiatives for more information.

How much do you provide in grants?

Our annual grant-making totals depend on the number of grant applications received, the size of our sustaining fund, and the result of our annual fundraising campaigns. Historically, our total grant making is between $100,000 and $150,000 annually for both large and small grants combined. Collaborative Initiative expenses vary.

How do I apply?

All applications are submitted online. Please see NEF Grant Programs for more information about our grants or to apply.


How do you raise money?

All of our funds come from the Needham community. Individuals, businesses, and community organizations contribute principally through three vehicles: our direct appeal in the fall, our NEF Gift for Education Card program, and our annual Spelling Bee. We also welcome and receive donations from foundations, estates, gifts, and corporate-matching programs.

How is it spent?

The vast majority of our expenses are the grant applications we fund. For more detail, see our financial summary.

About NEF

Who is on your board of directors?

Our board consists of 35-40 Needham parents, teachers, and community members. Each school is represented by at least one teacher. Board members serve three to six year terms on a staggered basis to ensure continuity. All board members are volunteers. We also employ a paid part-time administrative director.

How are they selected?

New board members are nominated by current board members. Typically we strive for a balance from all of Needham’s eight public school communities. Because our board is a working board, we often seek people with specific skill sets, such as finance, marketing, and fundraising.

How can I help?

We frequently seek community members to serve on grant committees. If you’re interested, please contact us at Please also consider becoming a NEF donor. See our website for more ways to get involved.