Mini Grant Guidelines
The mission of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. (MAC) is to promote agricultural literacy among educators and to provide them with the skills and support to integrate agriculture into their classroom.
Founded in 1984, MAC has helped more than 13,000 teachers and educators bring agriculture to life for their students by making connections between everyday foods, fibers, and other agricultural products and their agricultural roots. We also assist educators in finding creative ways to tie agriculture-related lessons to the MA Curriculum Standards.
Each year MAC funds a number of agriculture-related project proposals from teachers, schools, and farms working with schools. Because we are a small, nonprofit organization, those projects that most closely fit our mission receive priority in the decision-making process.
Grants are awarded two times a year. Deadlines are April 1 and September 1.
Most awards are between $300 and $500. The maximum possible award is $1500.
Since 1994, MAC has given more than $266,000 to nearly 400 projects planned and carried out by educators across the state. These have included reading programs focused on agricultural themes, projects that explore new technologies, writing and video projects, school-wide agricultural days trips to farms, purchase of books and classroom materials such as incubators to support agricultural lessons, and more.
Goals of the Mini-Grant Program
The mini-grant program aims to fund agriculture-related education projects that:
- Connect students to the local and sustainable food movement
- Provide students with hands-on experience of good agricultural practices including in the school garden
- Develop instructional materials and methods for teaching science through the lens of agriculture
- Enable students to see connections between agricultural practices and human health, nutrition, environment, community, and sustainability
- Integrate sustainable agricultural literacy into science, math, social studies, language and literature, and arts curricula
- Promote an understanding of the challenges faced by present-day farmers
- Introduce ideas in creative ways that promote agricultural literacy both inside the classroom and beyond it
- Increase knowledge and understanding of the contributions of agriculture in Massachusetts to the people of the state, the nation, and the world
In addition, Mass Ag in the Classroom may release special mini-grants with specific criteria in addition to our regular mini-grant award cycle.
Criteria for Application and Procedure
MAC mini-grant awards will be considered from schools, after-school programs, farms working with schools and youth gardening organizations. Projects that involve cost-sharing and/or collaborative ventures are strongly encouraged.
MAC does not fund individuals or non-profit organizations. Mini-grants may not be used to fund salaries or honoraria, computer equipment or overhead expenses. Because we do not fund projects on a long-term, sustainable basis, an organization may receive funding from MAC a maximum of three times.
A proposal that did not receive funding the first time may be resubmitted in a later grant cycle.
Applications must be submitted through our online form. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applications must include the following:
- Title of project
- Person responsible for the project and grant money
- Name of school/organization that will receive the funds
- Contact information including; name of project leader (if different from the applicant's name, mailing address, email address, phone number, amount requested in proposal, and total cost of project
- Abstract (Please describe the project in 150 words or less.)
- Objective of the project
- What/whom the project will benefit
- Number of students and age level that will be reached by the project
- Start and end date of the project
- A project time line
- Co-sponsors and/or project partners
- How the project will be sustained over the long-term
- The applicant's qualifications for success with this project
Explanations regarding how:
- The project addresses the goals of MAC and the goals of the mini-grant program
- The project promotes a better understanding of agriculture, farming and the role of farmers in the 21st century and Massachusetts
- The MA curriculum frameworks are integrated into the project (Provide examples.)
An itemized budget statement which includes:
- Amount requested from MAC
- Anticipated total cost of the project
- Matching funds, if any, obtained from other sources
Deadlines for submission of proposals: April 1, September 1
To be considered, a proposal must be received by the deadline for the cycle for which the application is being submitted.
Preference will be given to projects which meet one or more of our guidelines and mission. Submission of a proposal does not guarantee the award of a mini-grant, the grants are on a competitive and availability basis.
Every item on the list of application criteria must be clearly addressed in the proposal.
The Mini-Grant Committee will review all grants, make funding decisions, and notify applicants within eight weeks from the date the mini-grant is submitted.
Each mini-grant award-winner will be assigned a MAC or Mass State Grange board member liaison if possible. The liaison will provide assistance as needed for the duration of the project.
Each award is made in two parts. 60% of the total is sent out when the award is announced. The final payment of 40% is sent out only after a final report has been received by MAC.
All projects must be completed in the 12-month period subsequent to receipt of the grant.
Upon completion of the project each grant recipient must:
- Submit a final report to Mass Ag in the Classroom at email@example.com. The final report should be a written evaluation that includes a descriptive summary of the project. Photographs or other audio/visual materials should be included in the final report.
- Use the MAC logo on all publicity about the project.
- Include the statement "Program funded in cooperation with Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc." on all project documents.
- Furnish copies of curriculum designed (or used), if applicable.