With K–12 Educators Facing Unique Challenges, Annual Program Seeks to Help Fund Innovative Projects — 56 Grants Totaling $47,238 Awarded in 2019-20
SELCO Community Credit Union will begin taking applications today, September 15, for its annual SPARK! Creative Learning Grants with an aim to help educators meet unprecedented challenges in the 2020-21 school year. The grants award as much as $1,000 each to K–12 educators to fund projects across the 27 Oregon counties that SELCO serves.
In its 27th year, the SPARK! Creative Learning Grant program has long sought to bridge funding gaps for educators with the belief that funding should not be an obstacle for educational projects that excite curiosity, deepen understanding and encourage new ways of learning. And never has innovative thinking been more important.
SELCO has made some modifications to the program this year to help meet the significant challenges that educators will face. The changes include a later application window — which has been moved back to September 15 and will remain open through October 31 — to offer applicants additional time to identify project needs.
“Educators across the state are looking for unique and creative ideas to help their students overcome the significant obstacles that this school year will bring,” said Craig Carpenter, SELCO’s senior vice president of lending and business solutions. “SELCO’s mission with the SPARK! program has always been to make sure that a lack of funding never gets in the way of a great idea. The need for fresh ways of reaching students will be imperative, and we are eager to help support educators’ as they work to meet these challenges.”
SPARK! Creative Learning Grants are awarded to educators with innovative classroom ideas and a need for materials or other resources to get those ideas off the ground. In the 2019-20 school year alone, SELCO awarded $47,238 to 56 educators across Oregon, a record for the program.
SPARK! Grants for the 2019-20 school year helped fund a wide array of projects, from a Revolutionary War reenactment day for fifth-graders in Culver to an underwater robotics class in Portland to a stop-motion animation STEAM class in Dallas.
SELCO’s SPARK! committee reviews applications based on project originality, proposal clarity, number of students who will be affected, skill development and diversity and impact of projects, including to schools that have never received a SPARK! grant before.
For more information about SELCO Community Credit Union’s SPARK! Creative Learning Grants or to view a student-produced video from a past project, or to apply, visit selco.org/spark. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-686-5382.