If your institution’s budget alone can not cover the cost of your StarLab Planetarium, you still have lots of options for finding funding. In this guide, we wanted to share some ideas and resources for locating funding opportunities at the state and national level.
The hardest part of the funding process is often just getting started. There are lots of grant programs and funding opportunities out there, but you need to know where to look.
To help you navigate the world of education funding, we’ve gathered a list of databases, non-profits, and other resources to connect you with the best funding opportunities for your institution:
- Grants.gov – Federal grants database
- Teach.com – Grants for teachers
- National Science Foundation – Funding database
- Space Foundation – Grant List for Teachers
- NEA Foundation
- United Philanthropy Forum – Resources for grantseekers
- STEMfinity – STEM Funding opportunities
- Donors Choose – Matches teachers looking for project funding with donors
- Candid – A database of funders and their interests
- Tech & Learning – 2021 Grants for Educators
When you apply for grants, your potential funders will want to know how StarLab will benefit you, your students, your institution, and/or your community. Here are some ideas for making your case in your application:
- StarLab will improve scientific literacy through an accurate and immersive representation of the night sky.
- StarLab will encourage curiosity and increase interest in scientific disciplines, including astronomy, geology, and meteorology.
- StarLab will increase scientific comprehension, helping students visualize abstract astronomical concepts such as eclipses, phases of the moon, and seasonal weather patterns.
- StarLab’s portability allows school districts and their communities to maximize their return on investment and utilize StarLab in a variety of settings — science nights, extracurricular enrichment, summer programs, etc.
- StarLab is a flexible teaching tool, opening up opportunities for educators to design their own lessons and help students make lasting, cross-curricular connections.
- The Starry Night and Layered Earth softwares align with current Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Reach out to our team for more info on standards alignment.
The International Planetarium Society also provides a free whitepaper on the Value of Education in a Planetarium, which you can view here.
COVID-19 Funding Options
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has authorized several federal funding programs to support schools and minimize learning loss. States, school districts, and schools now have extra resources available to implement evidence-based strategies to meet student needs.
These bills represent additional opportunities to receive funding for your StarLab planetarium. Here is what you need to know about utilizing COVID-19 funds to give your students the universe.
COVID-19 Funding Programs
|Title of Act||Release
|$13.2 billion||Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES)||March, 2020||September, 2021|
|$54.3 billion||Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA)||December,
|$122 billion||American Rescue Plan (ARP)||March, 2021||September, 2023|
States must use the three rounds of funding in the following ways:
- 90 percent of the funds must be distributed to local education agencies (LEAs). This LEA could be your school or school district.
- At least five percent of the funding must address learning loss.
- At least one percent must be used for afterschool programming.
- At least one percent must be used for summer learning and other enrichment programming.
Additional COVID-19 Funding Resources:
- What Congressional COVID Funding Means for K-12 Schools – a detailed explainer of the COVID-19 funding programs and their requirements
- Best Practices Clearinghouse – DoE site for reopening schools and supporting students and educators
- American Rescue Plan Fact Sheet
- DoE COVID-19 Resources for Schools, Students, and Families