Innovation Fund Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When are proposals due?

Proposals are due by 5:00PM, Eastern time, on Monday, June 30, 2014.

How should I submit my proposal?

Proposals must be submitted electronically to innovationfund@thefundky.org. We will not consider proposals that are not submitted electronically.

Who may apply?

Any of the following may apply:

  • Teachers:  either individually or as a collaborative group
  • Administrators:  either individually or as a collaborative group
  • Nonprofit Organizations:  either individually or as a collaborative group
  • Community Organizations:  either individually or as a collaborative group

I am a teacher. What do I use for Organization Budget?

Please submit a copy of the budget for your school.

What may Innovation Fund grants be used for?

Grants from the Innovation Fund may be used for:

  • Conference attendance directly related to the project or specific research purpose described in the proposal
  • Travel to visit other classrooms, schools, organizations
  • Supplies directly related to the project described in the proposal
  • Technology—software and/or equipment—directly related to the project described in the proposal
  • Training and/or professional development directly related to the project described in the proposal
  • Teacher stipends
  • Costs of substitutes to cover teacher time out of the classroom for conferences, training and/or professional development
  • Student field trips directly related to the project described in the proposal

Grants from the Innovation Fund may NOT be used for:

  • Supplies and/or technology not directly related to the project described in the proposal
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • To cover a shortfall in a school or district’s standard budget

Who is on the Review Committee?

The members of the Review Committee are:

  • Barbara Bellissimo, Executive Director, The Fund
  • Renee Boss, Initiative Director, The Fund
  • David Cook, Director of Innovation and Partner Engagement, KDE
  • Paul Leather, Deputy Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Education
  • Marty Park, Deputy Director of Technology, KDE*
  • Cindy Parker, Office of Next Generation Learning, KDE*
  • Susan Patrick, CEO, International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)
  • Linda Pittenger, COO, Center for Innovation in Education
  • Jenny Davis Poon, Innovation Lab Network (ILN) Manager, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
  • Jim Rickabaugh, Executive Director, Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1 – Wisconsin
  • Don Siviski, Senior Consultant, Maine Department of Education
  • Lee Todd, Former President, University of Kentucky*

* invited, not yet confirmed

How will the Committee decide which grants are awarded?

The Committee will develop a rubric which will be used to review each proposal. Key components of the rubric will include:

  • Fit with at least one of the four components of KDE’s strategic plan:
    • Next Generation Learners
    • Next Generation Professionals
    • Next Generation Support Systems
    • Next Generation Schools/Districts
  • Clear demonstration of innovative thinking, concepts and/or practice.
  • Well-defined and measurable Measures of Success

How many grants at each level will be awarded?

We will not know the answer to this question until we receive all the proposals. We will award as many grants as possible, given the funds available and the quality of the proposals.

What if teachers from different schools apply for a grant together? 

Please select one teacher/school to act as lead, and submit supporting documentation from that school (budget, leadership, etc.). Any grant payments awarded will be paid through this lead entity.

Another option is to create a collaborative and apply through a fiscal sponsor organization. Local community foundations like the Blue Grass Community Foundation or the Community Foundation of Louisville are already set up to provide this service for groups/organizations that do not have their 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.

Could collective groups of teachers apply for funding for their network if their network is not an established non-profit (for example, the #kyedchat group)?

Yes. Such collectives will need to submit their application through a fiscal sponsor. Local community foundations like the Blue Grass Community Foundation or the Community Foundation of Louisville are already set up to provide this service for groups/organizations that do not have their 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.

What is a fiscal sponsor, and why might I/we need one?

The Fund will only award grants to schools, districts or officially IRS-designated 501(c)(3) organizations. If you are an individual, group of individuals or organization that does not fit into one of these categories, you will need to apply through a fiscal sponsor.

A fiscal sponsor is an officially IRS-designated nonprofit organization that will receive funds on behalf of another individual, group or organization. The most common type of fiscal sponsor is a local community foundation. Most fiscal sponsors charge a small fee for their services, usually a small percentage of funds received. If you feel that you will need to submit your proposal through a fiscal sponsor, you must have an agreement in place prior to submitting your proposal, and include the fiscal sponsor’s contact information on your Proposal Cover Sheet.