Grants Program Overview


ALL of our grants are awarded to projects that align with one of our two themes, DEEP LEARNING or EXCELLENT TEACHING, as outlined below.

The Foundation typically receives more proposals than can be funded in a grant period. The information below provides a roadmap to submitting a strong grant application. Grant monies are for one year only.

Preschoolers visit the Springfield Museum of Art with their grant funding.
The Foundation’s support has been seed money, like an early investor, in a program that allows us to work with Springfield preschool teachers on how to teach creatively. It has enabled us to dream big and take risks.
— ANN FORTESCUE, Director, Springfield Museum of Art, Open Grant Recipient - “Artful Play”

Two funding themes


Every successful grant application clearly outlines a project that employs the characteristics of DEEP LEARNING and/or EXCELLENT TEACHING.

Young boy and girl working with telling time.

Characteristics for a

  1. The work of the project takes place DIRECTLY with students.

  2. There is thoughtful evaluation of the outcomes and lasting impact on student learning.

  3. Students are:

  • actively and deeply drawn into their learning

  • engaged in multi-step learning projects with multi-faceted analysis

  • inspired towards new thinking and behaviors, and encouraged to be self-directed, critical thinkers

  • collaborating, debating and discussing ideas with peers

  • expressing creativity and connections across disciplines

  • experiencing self-satisfaction and intellectual curiosity

    (excerpted from Deeper Learning by Jensen, Nickelsen & Nickelsen)

Teacher working one-on-one with a student.

Characteristics for an

  1. The work of the project takes place DIRECTLY with teachers.

  2. There is a plan for guided implementation, coaching, or professional collaboration, as well as a structure for formative or summative reflection.

  3. The activities of the project promote the growth and development of their skills in:

  • presenting an intellectually challenging and globally-aware curriculum

  • being thoughtful, creative and caring, ensuring access for every student

  • managing the classroom well and promoting high expectations

  • inspiring a life-long love of learning

  • connecting concepts with personal experience

  • using technology as a tool to further learning

  • collaborating and communicating with colleagues and parents

    (excerpted from the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession)

Tips for success

The guidelines below apply to ALL grant applications.

The Foundation looks to fund innovative, creative ideas that will impact the quality and depth of learning in Ohio.

Be innovative. Be creative.

The Foundation seeks fund projects that have a clear element of originality. The grant application should reflect creative, innovative, and/or effective use of practices, tools, personnel, or other resources to achieve desired outcomes.

Include very specific plans and how they all work together toward the theme.

Outline the specifics.

We look for thoroughly detailed proposals where a step-by-step plan and budget is outlined to either engage students in deep, multi-step learning, or to engage teachers in growing and developing their craft, expanding their skills. The steps of the project should be clear to any reader, and each budget item should clearly relate to the objectives of the project.

Target the specific theme of deep learning or excellent teaching and build around it.

Stay on theme.

Most often, only ONE theme, excellent teaching or deep learning, is truly the focus of a project. It is not advantageous to list “both” if only one population is the target of the specific project that will take place (students or teachers). It must be clear about what the specific project and funding will accomplish as it relates to the theme.

Work directly with your target population in an engaging way.

Engage your target population.

The central focus of Deep Learning projects should involve work with students and should apply to grade-level objectives.

The central work of Excellent Teaching projects should involve work with teachers that relate to teaching practices (i.e. not general strategic planning, surveying or non-teaching committees, etc.).

Define specific steps in your timeline of plans.

Have a clear timeline.

The foundation provides funding on a year-to-year basis, and the project’s activities must take place during a one-year period after the grant is awarded. Please detail each step of the project and what is to occur at each step. Make sure your projected timeline is reasonable and achievable. Also allow enough time for our grant review process to take place - the dates for the review cycles are listed out on the grant category page you choose below.

Measuring Grant outcomes is an important step of any funded project.

Plan outcomes, then measure up.

The outcomes you envision are most powerful when there is a direct connection to the theme chosen, and every budget item clearly supports the intended outcomes. Also include a plan for how you will assess and measure the outcomes of the project using research-based data once it is complete.

A note on your budget…

The Foundation seeks to be a partner in funding, not the sole funder of a project so that it’s continued success into the future is evident.

We believe in transparency
and shared responsibility.

A stellar budget plan is one where it is crystal clear that the budget supports the plan, resources are used wisely, everything listed lines up consistently with all other parts of the application, and it is evident why the budgeted items are necessary for the success of the project. Other sources of funding should be listed, including school or district participation, so that the Foundation knows there is broad support and the potential for sustainable impact is evident.

Download Budget Templates

What we do not fund…

The Foundation will generally not fund capital improvements, indirect costs, overhead, travel expenses, endowment campaigns, school bus transportation, field trips/admission fees, facility fees, storage units, incentives, curriculum writing, time for participating in staff development, school supplies, refreshments, awards or t-shirts.

Technology must be used only as a tool within a broader plan to implement the project.

Equipment? Technology?

The Foundation does not consider obtaining technology, equipment, books, materials, etc. a deep learning or excellent teaching project. The Foundation will only consider funding these items when there is a direct connection to the project, and its use is clearly illuminated as a tool to execute PART of the plan as outlined in the project description. Please read this blog post for grant application examples that illuminate what the Foundation will, and will not, fund.


Which grant program is right for you?

MHJF helped fund a youth orchestra program working in connection with the public school system.

Open Grants

Who can apply?

  • Public school districts in any county of Ohio

  • Non-religious private schools in Ohio working in conjunction with public schools

  • 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations that assist PK-12 public schools in Ohio


  • The typical Open Grant is $15,000.

  • Open Grant requests must be for one year only. While providing a picture for the larger scope of the work is helpful, the Foundation only approves funds for one year. An organization may re-submit a proposal for continued funding based on the final evaluation report responses.

Teacher giving lesson on telling time


Who can apply?

  • Any PK-12 teacher or administrator in Ohio’s non-religious, public schools.


  • The Grants-to-Educators program encourages individual educators to try innovative, smaller-scale activities within their classroom, school, or district.

  • The maximum grant is $3,000.

  • Grant monies must be used within a one year period.