The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a $1.4 million grant to the Rural School and Community Trust to help rural communities with school districts that serve high-poverty populations prepare applications for the federal government's Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition.
The grant will help Rural Trust provide on-site workshops and other outreach efforts to ensure that applicants are informed of i3 application requirements while assisting them in identifying promising innovations, completing their applications, and building the long-term capacity needed to complete other competitive grant applications in the future. Without targeted assistance and grantwriting support, the districts are likely to face additional challenges in their efforts to educate a large and growing segment of the nation's children.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 19 percent of U.S. public school students lived in rural areas during the 2007-08 school year — some 9.2 million students, of which 41 percent are economically disadvantaged, as measured by free and reduced school meal rate.
"We believe that every student — including those in rural communities — should have access to the finest education available," said Kellogg Foundation president and CEO Sterling K. Speirn. "The funding allocated as part of the Investing in Innovation i3 effort provides an unusual and exciting opportunity for rural students, but the application requirements at first glance could have some districts deciding not to participate. We have partnered with the Rural Trust to help remove obstacles and provide the support necessary to make the application process easier and doable. We would strongly encourage rural schools to seize the opportunity to apply for i3 funds."