Christa Geraghty | 

Teacher Grants 101: How to Get Help Paying for School Supplies

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We know it happens every year: Teachers spend money out of their pockets for their classrooms and students. So this year, we’re trying to help teachers reduce their work-related expenses by securing teacher grants (aka, free cash awards). These 11 grants for teachers can ease the financial burden and even help fund classroom and school projects that may have been financially impossible.

A teacher spending survey from Adopt A Classroom shows that, on average, public school teachers spent $750 on school supplies during the 2020 – 2021 school year, with 30% spending $1,000 or more. Overall, teacher spending has jumped 25% since 2015, when first surveyed educators.

If you’re a teacher, you understand the strain these extra expenses can cause, which is why teacher freebies are a total lifesaver. Because teachers rock and we’re obsessed with helping you save money and live your best life, we’ve found several organizations that offer teacher grants, including grants for elementary schools. Learn all the details, including how to apply for these teacher grants.

Staying up-to-date on everything back to school is easy when you download the KCL app.

Note: For each grant, additional eligibility requirements may apply.

1. The NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grant

NEA Foundation female teacher helping student book

Courtesy of the NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation grants help educators from districts facing limited funding participate in professional development programs.

  • Application Deadline: Sept. 15, 2022
  • Amount: $1,500 – $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: Must be a teacher, education support professional, or specialized instructional support personnel and be a current NEA member.
  • How to Apply: Fill out an online application.


2. The National Science Foundation Discovery Research Grant

A student in a science lab looking through a microscope.

Kitima Petsub / Dreamstime

The National Science Foundation offers research grants to fund pre-K – 12 STEM programs.

  • Application Deadline: Oct. 5, 2022
  • Amount: Varies based on projects and duration
  • Eligibility Requirements: pre-K – 12 teachers
  • How to Apply: Submit a full grant proposal that addresses challenges facing pre-K – 12 STEM education.


3. Association of American Educators Foundation Classroom Grant

art teacher classroom students painting easels

Pressmaster / Dreamstime

The AAE Foundation Classroom Grants can be used on various projects and materials, including books, calculators, art supplies, software, and audiovisual equipment.

  • Application Deadline: Autumn Oct. 8, 2022 (extended this year), March 1, 2023
  • Amount: $500
  • Eligibility Requirements: Full-time teachers who haven’t received a grant or scholarship from AAE in the past two years.
  • How to Apply: Fill out the online application for the national grant. If you work in a state that holds its own competition, you must apply on the state’s AAE website:


4. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Enhancing Student Mathematics Learning through the Use of Tools and Technology Grants

female teacher diverse students classroom tablet

Rido / Dreamstime

NCTM grants are awarded to proposals that convey with passion why a project should be funded and adheres to the grant guidelines.

  • Application Deadline: Nov. 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023
  • Amount: $1,500 – $24,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: pre-K – 12 Current and prospective math teachers
  • How to Apply: There are 20 different grants with a deadline of Nov. 1, 2022, each with individual requirements and available through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. For the May 1, 2023 deadline, you can find 14 additional teacher grants.

Where to find free school supplies for teachers and how to get them.

TIP: As an educator, you may be eligible to deduct up to $250 ($500 if married and your spouse is also an educator) on your taxes. You may be able to deduct things like books, supplies, computer equipment, and more. For more details, read about this topic on the IRS website.

5. Casey’s Cash For Classrooms Grants

Casey's convenience store storefront

Courtesy of Casey’s

In 2021 Casey’s awarded over $1 million through 99 grants to the K – 12 public, nonprofit, and private schools.

  • Application Deadline: Nov. 30, 2022, opens Oct. 1, 2022
  • Amount: $3,000 – $50,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: Must be a school in a state with a Casey’s location:
    • Arkansas
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Missouri
    • Nebraska
    • North Dakota
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • South Dakota
    • Tennessee
    • Wisconsin
  • How to Apply: Submit an online application.



6. ALDI Cares Community Grants

ALDI storefront

Courtesy of ALDI

ALDI supports programs that focus on improving Children’s Health & Wellness, Food Insecurity, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

  • Application Deadline: Dec. 15, 2022
  • Amount: $100 – $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: K – 12 public or private school in communities with ALDI locations
  • How to Apply: First, find which ALDI Division you are located in, then you can fill out an online application.


7. Walmart Local Community Grants

Walmart store exterior

Courtesy of Walmart

Walmart offers grants to schools that have a project proposal that benefits the surrounding community.

  • Application Deadline: Dec. 31, 2022
  • Amount: $250 – $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: Public, nonprofit private, charter, junior/community college, state/private college or university
  • How to Apply: Submit an online grant application.


8. American Association of School Libraries Innovative Reading Grant

female teacher reading books kids library

Monkey Business Images / Dreamstime

AASL Innovative Reading Grants support innovative programs that motivate and encourage reading, especially for students that struggle with reading.

  • Application Deadline: Feb. 1, 2023, opens Sept. 1, 2022
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Eligibility Requirments: You must be a personal member of the AASL and a K – 9th grade educator
  • How to Apply: Present a reading project that illustrates the potential to improve reading in K – 12 students. The project/program must promote the importance of reading, advance the student’s literacy development, and follow reading research, practice, and policy.


9. Snapdragon Book Foundation Grant

A child with French braids, facing away from the camera, looking at a bin full of books that other children are looking through.

Irina Velichkina / Dreamstime

The Snapdragon Book Foundation Grant helps school libraries pay for library books, reference materials, magazine/newspaper subscriptions, and vendors’ processing or cataloging fees.

  • Application Deadline: February 2023, opens November 2022
  • Amount: $300 – $20,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: Must be a school librarian that serves disadvantaged students
  • How to Apply: Submit an online proposal

Yep, we’ve got even more ways to get free school supplies.


10. Sonic Limeades for Learning Grant

Sonic Drive-In fast food

Courtesy of Sonic

The Sonic Limeades for Learning campaign, in partnership with DonorsChoose, helps fund projects submitted by K – 12 teachers.

  • Application Deadline: year-round
  • Amount: varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: Full-time public educators
  • How to Apply: Sign up as a Sonic teacher on (see instructions here), create/submit a project request, and share it on social media.

If you’re having trouble finding free school supplies, check out these places to buy cheap school supplies.


11. The Awesome Foundation Grant

girl in volunteer shirt holding books donations

Aaron Amat / Dreamstime

The Awesome Foundation supports projects through micro-grants. Projects can focus on arts, technology, community development, and more.

  • Application Deadline: year-round (every month)
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: none, other than you need an idea that needs funding
  • How to Apply: Fill out the application with details about your project idea



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