Small Districts Fund

College Spark understands small school districts and rural communities know best what is needed to improve the college readiness of their low-income high school students.  Applicants are invited to propose plans and projects that are the best fit for their high schools, school districts, and communities. Some of the strategies that have shown promise at improving college readiness for low-income students include:

  • Reform to school discipline policy and practice, including alternatives to suspension
  • Data-driven attendance campaigns
  • Improved access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses or other methods of earning college credit in high school coupled with improved supports for low-income students in those courses
  • Professional development opportunities that are well-defined, sustained, and collaborative

College Spark Washington is inviting small school districts, and eligible partners working with them, in Washington state to submit requests for grant funding to improve the college readiness of low-income high school students in those districts.  College Spark Washington encourages projects that are based on research, best practices, or successful examples.  College Spark Washington expects to disburse approximately $300,000 in new grant funding under the Small School Districts Fund each year.  The maximum grant request is $50,000.

Applying for Small Districts Funding

School districts in Washington state with K-12 enrollments under 2,000 students and Free and Reduced Lunch Program enrollment rates over 40% are eligible to apply for Small School Districts Fund support.  Funding must be used for work supporting students in high school.  Other eligible applicant organizations must apply with a letter of support from a Principal and/or Superintendent in a qualifying school district, and must also be:

  • Organized and operated for purposes described in IRC Section 501(c)(3), but excluding Type III Supporting Organizations; or
  • A university, college, school or other institution described in IRC Section 170(c)(1); or
  • A Public agency, unit of government, tribal government, or tribal program under IRC Section 7871.

Application Process and Timeline

Eligible applicants may apply for funding by completing an online proposal at any time. The Small School Districts Fund has a rolling application process with no deadlines.

  • Funding requests under $20,000 will be considered and applicants notified of approval or denial within 30 days.
  • Funding requests between $20,000 and $50,000 will be considered and applicants typically notified of approval or denial within twelve weeks.

If you have questions, need technical assistance to complete your application, or would like to discuss project proposals, please contact Rachel Clements, Program Officer, at any time throughout the grant application process.