Adequate funding is probably the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of sustainability and with good reason. Out-of-School Time programs can live or die by their funding and what you are able to accomplish in your program can largely be boiled down to the numbers. Ideally, your program should be funded through diverse funding streams so that you are not dependent on any one source. Funding streams can include federal, state and local governments, grants from private organizations, monetary donations, and fees collected from participants. Equally important are non-monetary resources which include in-kind donations such as equipment, supplies and space and services such as program facilitation. The value of these donations often accounts for a large portion of a program’s budget. Examine what is potential resources could be leveraged in your community and solicit accordingly.

Potential Funding Opportunities

Virginia Funding Opportunities

21st Century Community Learning Centers: (21st CCLC): The 21st CCLC (Title IV, Part B) program supports the creation of opportunities for academic enrichment during non-school hours for children. The program helps students meet state and local standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and mathematics; offers students enrichment activities that complement regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children. The 2018-2019 School Year RFP is now available. Applications for 21st CCLC competitive grant funds must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 13, 2018.  The application can be downloaded at

The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia: TCF provides grants to programs proven to have the most influence on students' long-term educational advancement and career preparation. This includes early school readiness, workforce programs, support for out-of-school time, a robust scholarship program and professional development awards for educational leaders.

FLEET STEM Grants: The American Society of Naval Engineers gives schools and organizations up to $1,000 to help them implement the free resources in their FLEET curriculum. FLEET is an engineering video game that allows students to design ships, experience forces, and work with a 100% accurate physics simulator. The grant windows open from August 1, 2018- September 30, 2018 and again from October 20, 2018-December 31, 2018. Grant moneys can support anything an organization needs to use these materials (e.g., technology, materials, professional-development time). The one-page application is available at, and you can direct questions to

Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth: Offers grants for the prevention of childhood obesity and tobacco use to youth-serving organizations in Virginia.

Federal Funding Opportunities

Afterschool Alliance: Search their database for current funding opportunities.

The Foundation Center: One of the largest databases of grants. The Foundation Center also provides a wealth of information on grant writing, fundraising, sustainability and leadership in philanthropy. 

GrantStation: For a fee, offers nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies the opportunity to identify potential funding sources for their programs or projects as well as resources to mentor these organizations through the grant seeking process. A database of the many grants that are available across federal agencies. Search on keywords that represent the types of educational opportunities that apply to your work to find relevant grants. 

The Wallace FoundationThe mission of The Wallace Foundation is to expand learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone. Grants are awarded through a competitive process. Projects funded are opportunities that develop important new insights and evidence in areas of interest, and real-world tests of innovative concepts.

The National Dropout Prevention Center: The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) at Clemson University provides cost-effective services that support the student achievement and graduation rate improvement efforts of schools and districts. NDPC will work with school and district personnel to incorporate services into grant proposals to strengthen a proposal.

Youth Service America (YSA): Youth Service America's mission is to help all young people find their voice, take action and make an impact on vital community issues. YSA coordinates Global Youth Service Day and Semester of Service, as well as, distributes grants for service and service-learning projects. 


Templates & Samples

Example Sponsorship OTRC








Both monetary and non-monetary in-kind donations such as equipment, supplies, space, and services often make up a large portion of an OST overall funding. Examine what is potential resources could be leveraged in your community and solicit accordingly, as business and community partnerships can serve as a wealth of in-kind support. It can help to develop a wish list of supplies or to solicit donations for a specific project or event, as a tangible contribution can be motivating to potential donors.


One newly available tool in acquiring funds is the use of Crowdfunding. This unorthodox method of fundraising allows individual or organizations to solicit funds over the internet via a crowdfunding website for a specific project. Typically, contributions come from small amounts of money from numerous of donations. For example, on Go Fund Me , a general crowdfunding site that has a section that supports extracurricular learning, one low-income high school wanted to start a Dungeons and Dragons club but needed supplies and the ability to live-stream sessions. The teacher proposing the project was sure to include data about the school itself and elaborate not only on the need but also how the club would support math, science and literacy proficiencies. The project raised over the requested $3,000.00. There are some crowdfunding sites set up specifically for education, however many of them are available only to school-day learning. Each crowdfunding site has it’s own terms and conditions and typically deducts a percentage of raised funds as a fee. Therefore, it is important to always review the terms and conditions before using crowdsourcing.

Resources on leveraging monetary funding and non-monetary resource development


End Games: The Challenge of Sustainability: From the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this report explores how funders and grantees think about sustainability, and how to best prepare and support promising projects for post-grant sustainability. 

The Road to Sustainability: This workbook from the Afterschool Alliance provides a comprehensive walkthrough of program sustainability including finding funding, designing a sustainability plan, advocating for support, building a collaborative network and more.

United Way: United Way can assist OST coalitions with focusing their sustainability strategies to develop multi-year plans to raise funds from a diverse group of investors. Also, United Ways can recruit and support volunteers who can lend their time, treasure & talent to help sustain quality programs. View their tips on finding sustainable funding sources and review learning modules. 

Snapshot of Sustainability: Profiles of Successful Strategies for Financing Out-of-School Time Programs: In this document, The Finance Project profiles 32 OST programs across the country which successfully developed and implemented financially sustainable programs. They provide an overall analysis of the profiles, identifying similarities in the strategies that program leaders used to sustain their work as well as lessons learned. Each profile typically includes an overview of the initiative, budget information, a summary of the financing and sustainability strategies employed, keys to success, and lessons learned. The last section includes additional resources for learning more about financing and sustaining out-of-school programs and initiatives. 

Grant writing

Afterschool Alliance: Provides tips on creating strong grant writing proposals. 

Replacing Initial Grants: Tips for Out-of-School Time Programs and Initiatives (pdf). Published by The Finance Project, 2002, this book is designed to help new program directors find longer-term funding by providing concrete tips and examples of ways other out-of-school time initiative leaders have succeeded in replacing initial seed grant money by creating a diverse portfolio of federal, state, local, and private funds. – org may be defunct now, website not working

The Grantsmanship Center
Offers trainings and publications to help organizations write logical and compelling grants. Additionally, they offer state-by-state funding data

Grantionary: The Grantionary lists grant-related terms and their definitions.