Apply for a Grant

Large Grants ~ up to $15,000

NEF’s Large Grants support innovative and collaborative programs that have the potential to make a broad and lasting impact on Needham public school students. Large grant recipients are eligible to request a second year of funding, for a total of $30,000 over 2 years. Applicants must fill out a new application for the second year and approval is not guaranteed.

Please note that the NEF typically only funds one to three Large Grants per year and therefore has higher expectations for large grant projects.

Before submitting a Large Grant application, please contact us at to confirm that the project you have in mind is appropriate for a Large Grant.

Small Grants ~ up to $5,000 (or $3,000 per school)

NEF’s Small Grants support programs that are smaller in scope. These grants are not required to have a broad and lasting impact. They are typically one-time programs that can benefit multiple schools, an entire school, or a specific population within the system.

In addition to standard Small Grants, NEF also offers two specialized types of Small Grants:

Multi-school Grants ~ up to $3,000 per school

Multi-school Grants promote cooperation among Needham public schools, particularly the elementary schools, and ensure that the $5,000 Small Grant award limit does not create an impediment to that cooperation. For example, a terrific cultural arts performance that is planned for one school may be of interest to other schools as well. Coordinating the same program at multiple schools often improves efficiency and results in cost savings.

Multi-school Grant applicants submit a single grant application, authorized by each principal. Each school is eligible for up to $3,000 (for example, four schools could receive a total grant of $12,000).

Express Grants ~ up to $5,000

Express Grants facilitate the replication of successfully implemented small grant programs from one school to another school. For example, if NEF funds a successful author-in-residence program at Broadmeadow Elementary School, the grant application process will be streamlined for those interested in bringing the same experience to Mitchell Elementary School. Though the process is simplified, Express Grant funding is not guaranteed, particularly if the total grant requests in a grant cycle exceed our budget.

Contact us at to confirm that the grant you would like to replicate is eligible for an Express Grant. Applicants will need to provide feedback from the initial Small Grant program and explain why the requested program is a good fit for their school.

Three Grant cycles per school year ~

  • Apply for any type of grant — small or large — in any of the three grant cycles per year:
    • Fall grant applications due in October; award notification in November; funds available in early December
    • Winter grant applications due in January; award notification in February; funds available in early March
    • Spring grant applications due in April; award notification in May; funds available in early June
  • To see a preview of the grant application, click on Sample NEF Grant Application. Note: only applicable sections need to be filled out.

Which do I choose?

The primary difference between large and small grants is the anticipated impact of your project. NEF expects Large Grant applications to have the potential for broad and lasting impact. Unlike Small Grants, which are not eligible for repeat funding, Large Grants can support one- or two-year programs. If your grant will have broad and lasting impact and you might want a second year of funding, consider applying for a Large Grant, even if the amount requested is below $5,000. Keep in mind, though, that we have higher expectations for Large Grant projects. 

Not sure about your grant idea?

We encourage applicants to contact any board member or our Administrative Director to discuss potential grant ideas and whether they are appropriate for an NEF grant.

Ready to Apply?

To apply for an NEF grant, you need to create an account in our grant system.

  • You may preview a Sample NEF Grant Application before creating an account.
  • Make sure you have reviewed the Guidelines for Success.
  • Note: The person who applies for the grant will serve as the NEF’s primary contact for the duration of the grant process.

Grant Application Deadlines

Fall 2021: October 19th

Winter 2022: January 18th

Spring 2022: April 12th

Guidelines for Success

We want to make the grant process as easy as possible while ensuring we fund quality projects. Get some tips on writing a successful application.