Apply for a Grant

The NEF funds grants that will benefit the students or staff in the Needham Public Schools. We look for creative ideas in any curriculum area that fall outside the ordinary school budget and augment the curriculum or further the district priorities in a meaningful way. Innovation is a priority, so we do not offer repeat or ongoing funding for a program at the same school. 

Note: Professional development (PD) for new programs or innovative teaching methods – including cost of tuition, registration, economy travel, room and board at NPS rates, and the purchase of materials and supplies – will be considered. Applicants must be NPS employees. NEF recognizes that a group attending the same PD could have a greater impact. If a group seeks to attend the same PD opportunity, they should apply together on one application.

Large Grants ~ up to $15,000

NEF’s Large Grants support innovative and collaborative programs that will have a significant positive impact on students and/or staff, including either a broad or deep impact, and a lasting effect. Large grant recipients are eligible to request a second year of funding, for a total of $30,000 over a 2 year period. Applicants must fill out a new application for the second year and approval is not guaranteed.

Please note that the NEF typically only funds a few large grants per year and therefore has higher expectations for these projects.

Before submitting a Large Grant application, please contact Sarah Winig, the Administrative Director, 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. 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.

Contact Sarah Winig, the Administrative Director, at to confirm that the grant you would like to replicate is eligible for an Express Grant.

Three Grant cycles per school year ~

  • Apply for any type of grant in any of the three grant cycles per year:
    • Fall applications due in October; award notification in November; funds available in December
    • Winter applications due in January; award notification in February; funds available in March
    • Spring applications due in April; award notification in May; funds available in June (note: the Spring cycle should be used for projects starting in the summer or following fall, not the current school year)
  • To see a preview of the grant application, click on Sample NEF Grant Application. Note: only applicable sections need to be filled out.

Which type of grant do I choose?

The primary difference between large and small grants is the anticipated impact of your project. The NEF expects Large Grant applications to have significant positive impact on students and/or staff, including either a broad or deep impact, and a lasting effect. See below for examples of small and large grants. 

The other difference is that unlike Small Grants, which are not eligible for repeat funding, Large Grant recipients are eligible to apply for a second year of funding, though funding is not guaranteed.

Small vs Large Grants

Examples of Small Grants – author visits, performances, expert workshops, professional development, innovative materials, equipment, or technology.

Examples of Large Grants – innovative remaking of school spaces (Pollard Fitness Center, Mitchell & NHS Libraries), large-scale professional development (Project Based Learning), new or expanded curriculum (Navigation Games, Low Ropes Course, Interpreting Digital Communication, Interdisciplinary Arts Integration), large scale technology (iPad pilot, Planetarium, Virtual Realty, Padcaster Video).

Not sure about your grant idea?

We encourage applicants to contact any board member or Sarah Winig, 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, including the Grant Application Checklist, before starting an application.
  • 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

By 5:00 p.m. on

Fall 2023: October 13th

Winter 2024: January 12th

Spring 2024: April 5th

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.