What is AthFest Educates?

AthFest Educates is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to sustain and advance music and arts education for young people in Athens-Clarke County.  In order to fulfill its mission, AthFest Educates produces two annual fundraisers, the AthFest Music & Arts Festival and the AthHalf Half Marathon. The proceeds from these two events fund the organization’s bi-annual grant-making efforts. Awards are issued in September and January of each academic calendar year. AthFest Educates and its Board of Directors have identified its three funding priorities, in no particular order, as: 

  1. Music and arts non-consumable equipment 
  2. Music and arts programs and experiences
  3. Art-based and music-based professional development for educators and/or youth development specialists

Who is Eligible to Receive Grants from AthFest Educates?

In order to be eligible for AthFest Educates grants, individuals must be:

  1. Employed by, or partnering with, a nonprofit with a 501(c)(3) status, Clarke County School District (CCSD), or a local or state government agency  
  2. Serving Athens-Clarke County youth in grades K – 8 who attend CCSD public schools

While music and arts educators have historically received the largest number of AthFest Educates grants, the organization firmly believes in the power of music and arts to develop and deepen a young person’s understanding of all core subject areas including language arts, math, science, and social studies. Therefore, applicants planning to use music and/or arts as a teaching and learning mechanism for these core content areas are strongly encouraged to apply.

AthFest Educates does not award grants to private or parochial schools or church-based programs. 

How does AthFest Educates Define Quality?

AthFest Educates is committed to funding high-quality and meaningful programs, and it refers to the following organizations to identify current teaching and learning best practices: 

  • National Art Education Association
  • Music Teachers National Association 
  • National Association for the Teaching of Drama 
  • National Dance Education Organization 
  • Georgia Department of Education

What Information Must be in Every Grant Application?

  • The anticipated total number of young people benefiting from the grant
  • The anticipated demographics of the young people served by the grant including age, gender, and free/reduced lunch rate
  • The name of the elementary school(s) the young people attend
    Note: nonprofit and government agencies should identify the anticipated schools the program participants attend
  • Program description (maximum of 300 words) 
  • The learning objective(s) the grant will support
    Note:  Applicants are encouraged to provide the correlating Georgia Performance Standard (GPS) most closely connected to the project (if applicable). Please list the unique GPS identifier and its description  
  • Description and/or link to the resources/curriculum the applicant will use to implement the program
  • Description, or copy, of the evaluation tool or process the applicant will use to assess youth learning as a result of the funded project 
  • Detailed and itemized project budget
    Note: If you are applying as a Clarke County School District (CCSD) employee, please be sure to calculate your program expenses based on costs from a CCSD-approved vendor.  You will need to use these vendors to order your materials. 
  • Applicant resume and/or brief description of applicant’s professional experience

What’s the Maximum Amount of Each Grant?

AthFest Educates is focused on the quality of the programs we fund and not the number of programs we fund, therefore award amounts will vary based on the type of project and the unique needs of that project.  Simply stated, some programs are more expensive to operate than others. We ask that you submit a real, and efficient, budget with your application while bearing in mind that we award a combined total of up to $25,000 per grant cycle.

If you are applying as a Clarke County School District (CCSD) employee, please be sure to calculate your program expenses based on costs from a CCSD-approved vendor.  You will need to use these vendors to order your materials. 

How Does AthFest Educates Score Each Application?

All applications will be screened to make sure the program and its participants meet the eligibility criteria.  Applications meeting the eligibility criteria will then be evaluated based on the stated learning objectives, how well the described program aligns with the stated learning objectives, and how well the evaluation tool or process will measure the youths’ progress toward the learning objectives.  Lastly, the AthFest Educates Grants Committee will then evaluate the proposed budget to determine if the budget submitted is complete and if the funds requested are sufficient to achieve the proposed learning objectives.   Each application will be reviewed by three members of the Grants Committee and a combined average score will be assigned to each application.  The applications with the highest scores will be awarded grants.

When Can I Apply and When Will I Know if I was Awarded a Grant?

                                             For the Fall 2016 grant cycle:                    For the Winter 2017 grant cycle:

Applications open:                July 11, 2016                                         November 7, 2016

Applications are due:            August 19, 2016                                     December 16, 2016

Awards are announced:        September 19, 2016                                January 23, 2017

Checks are mailed:               September 26, 2016                                January 30, 2017

*Grant reports are due no later than 30 days after program completion and no later than June 30th of the academic calendar year.

What Must the Grant Report Include? 

All grantees are required to submit a completed grant report within 30 days of the project’s completion and/or no later than June 30th of the academic year – whichever comes first.  Each applicant will be sent a one-page grant report template to complete along with their check.  The template will ask the grantee to:  

  • Confirm the demographics of the youth served (Note: Nonprofit and government agencies must identify the individual schools the participants attend and the number of students from each school that participated in the program) 
  • Submit receipts and/or invoices that correlate with the original program budget 
  • Describe the youths’ progress toward the pre-identified learning objectives
  • Identify how the project can be further developed or improved upon in the future

How Do I Know Which Funding Priority Aligns with My Proposal?

In order to ensure your application is scored using the appropriate evaluation criteria, it is important that you apply for your grant under the correct funding priority .  The funding priorities are listed below in no particular order.  If, after reading the descriptions below, you are unsure which funding priority to apply under, please contact AthFest Educates at (706) 548-1973.

Priority One:         Music and Arts Non-Consumable Equipment 

Description:          Equipment that can be used by multiple young people throughout the duration
                              of the year and possibly across future academic years.  The equipment is not connected to  
                              a particular project - it is equipment needed for the general functioning of an arts or
                              music program

Requirements:       Identify how the equipment will be used and why it’s necessary to have in order
                              for students to achieve the stated learning objectives

Examples:              Class set of a particular instrument; a video camera; materials to build a
                              permanent stage; computer software; etc. 

Priority Two:         Music and Arts Programs and Experiences

Description:         On-going programs or one-time experiences that give young people exposure
                              and access to the social, emotional, and academic benefits of music and/or arts 

Requirements:      Identify the learning objectives of the program/experience and how this
                              program/experience will enable students to achieve the stated learning

Examples:             Class trip to an art museum or musical performance; youth production of a play, dance, or    
                             musical; poetry slam afterschool program; etc. 

Note: Lunchtime performances fall into this priority and grantees will be required to coordinate both the artist and equipment needed for the performance.

Priority Three:     Art-based and Music-based Professional Development for Educators and/or
                              Youth Development Specialists

Description:        Professional development opportunities that build an educator’s or youth
                             development specialist’s ability to incorporate music and arts into a classroom
                             or program setting

Requirements:     Identify how the skills gained during the professional development opportunity
                            will be incorporated into the classroom and how the skills are expected to
                            enhance youth learning 

Examples:            Attending the NAEA national conference; completing an on-line course on using
                            music to teach math; substitute fees to allow for job shadowing of highly-effective music/art          
                            education professionals; designing and delivering a professional development workshop(s)  
                            for Athens-Clarke County K – 5professionals wanting to learn how to use dance to  
                            enhance storytelling skills; etc.

Grant Application Checklist: 

 Did I: 

  • Indicate the funding priority area for my application?
  • Make sure I meet the eligibility requirements? 
  • Include the demographics of the young people served (i.e., number, gender, grades, school(s) attended, free/reduced lunch rate) by the grant?
  • Provide a program description no longer than 300 words?
  • Identify the learning objective(s) for the young people? 
  • Provide a description and/or link to the resources/curriculum I will use to implement the program?
  • Describe the evaluation process or tool I will use to assess the youths’ progress toward the stated learning objectives?
  • Include a detailed and itemized program budget? 
  • Include my resume or a brief description of my professional experience?