Available Grants

Rural School District Educator Development 2024 Grant


Rural schools are the home to one of a community’s most important natural resources — its young people. Everyone knows the impact an excellent teacher or staff member can have on a student’s life and educational outcomes. However, rural school districts can face challenges in recruiting, training, and retaining high-quality educators. Rural districts must do more with less funding. Sometimes, that means stretching resources by asking teachers to cover classes outside their primary training field. Sometimes, it means not being able to offer clear support for educators’ professional development. And sometimes, it means losing the brightest educational lights to districts with better funding. 

Strong schools serve a vital role in any rural community. Not only are they one of a community’s biggest employers, but they also help shape its identity, sense of pride, property values, and perceptions about its future. By supporting educator development, school administrators can help their communities and students achieve the best possible outcomes. 

For these reasons, the Patterson Family Foundation is pleased to announce the Rural School District Educator Development 2024 Grant. The goal of this grantmaking program is to help rural districts develop the capacity of their current employees to fill needed roles.

These competitive grants offer funding assistance to school districts that want to help paraprofessionals, substitutes, and other district employees receive education, training, and licensing to become fully certified teachers. Grant funds may be used to help currently unlicensed staff pursue a bachelor’s degree in an education field, cover fees for certification and licensing costs, or other related costs. Funds may also be used to provide allowances or reimbursement for existing licensed teachers who want to pursue additional certification in high-need, hard-to-fill positions teaching subjects such as special education, math, science, and kindergarten education. Awards for selected schools are anticipated in the range of $10,000 to $100,000.  

Interested school districts will first need to register through the Patterson Family Foundation Grants Portal and then submit an application to be considered for this funding. Applications will be received from April 11, 2024, to May 17, 2024.

Please read on for more important details.

• Please note that this is a competitive grant process. Applications with the strongest data demonstrating the district’s precise need, how funding will be used, and the outcomes the grant will enable for both staff and students will have the best chance of being selected.
• If your district was awarded a Rural Educator Development Grant from the Patterson Family Foundation in 2023, it is not eligible for this opportunity. Please help us spread the word to districts who may be eligible!
• We understand that some districts may need approval from their school board to apply for grant funding. If your school board's schedule does not align with our application deadline, please reach out to us. 

Program Details


If your district was awarded a Rural School District Educator Development Grant from the Patterson Family Foundation in 2023, it is not eligible for the 2024 opportunity. Please help spread awareness to districts that have not received funding under this grantmaking program in the past year!

Applying organizations should:
• Be a public school district.
• Be located in and serving a county or community within the Patterson Family Foundation's Kansas or Western Missouri catchment.

There is a limit of one application per school district for this program. Applicants who are not in the position of superintendent or assistant superintendent must have the superintendent’s approval to fill out the application on behalf of the entire district.

Grant Award

This is a competitive grant opportunity. Awards for selected schools are anticipated in the range of $10,000 to $100,000. The Foundation will determine award winners and amounts based on school size, demonstrated need, and project quality.

Use of Grant Funds

Awarded grant funding may be requested for:

• Reimbursement for tuition, fees, books, and/or curriculum at an accredited college or university for existing district staff pursuing initial certification and/or licensure as a teacher.
• Reimbursement for tuition, fees, books, and/or curriculum for currently licensed teachers pursuing additional certification and/or licensing in select high-need programs, including: Special Education, Elementary Education, Math, and Science.

Funding may not be used for:

• Salary or bonuses for existing staff.
• Educator training, certification, or degrees outside of areas of Education.
• Tuition costs from non-accredited universities.
• Travel expenses.
• Fees and administrative costs for individual grant beneficiaries.

Please note:

• Individual grant beneficiaries must have been employed with the awarded school district for at least one year.

• All education, training, or licensing must occur after grant funds are awarded. Funds cannot be used to cover or reimburse the cost of past education, training, or licensing.

Supporting Documentation

At the time of application, grant applicants should be ready to share their school district's general budget.

How to Apply

Interested and eligible organizations may apply via the Patterson Family Foundation Grants Portal between April 11, 2024, and May 17, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. CST. In order to be eligible to apply for this grant, applicants must register for the PFF grants Portal by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, May 15th.

Before you can begin your application, you will need to sign in or register for an account in our Grants Portal. If you have not registered as part of a past grantmaking program, you may register at any time. We will review and verify that organizations meet the eligibility criteria before confirming access to fill out an application in the portal.

All applications must be complete, including required attachments such as budget documentation.

Please be prepared to answer application questions about:

• Vacancies in positions for educators and other staff.
• Positions that are challenging for your district to hire and retain.
• Staff positions you anticipate using funds for, if awarded.

Notification to Grant Recipients

Award determinations will be sent to all applicants in July 2024. School districts selected for funding will be sent an Award Letter outlining the terms of the grant agreement. We ask that all grantees sign and return their Award Letter within one week of its receipt.

Reporting Requirements

We are committed to the ongoing success of our grant recipients.

We request that our awardees submit two follow-up reports:

• An annual report outlining how grant award funding was used, after each year of funding.
• A comprehensive report with outcomes and deliverables at four years post-award.


Grant funding will be disbursed to awardees in July 2024. The payment will accompany a Contribution Acknowledgement form. We ask that all awardees sign and return their Contribution Acknowledgment within one week of receipt.


If you have any questions about this program, please contact:

Adam Erickson, Program Officer
Patterson Family Foundation


Public school districts located in and serving Kansas or Missouri counties within the Patterson Family Foundation's catchment are eligible to apply. If the school district has a 501(c)3 education foundation, please note that within the application. Please see Eligibility above for details. Note: If your district was awarded a Rural Educator Development Grant from the Patterson Family Foundation in 2023, it is not eligible for this opportunity.
Information submitted either on or related to this program's application is accessible only to the Patterson Family Foundation staff. The Foundation will not release any identifying or sensitive information gathered during this process unless approved by the applicant.
Awarded grant funding may only be used for purposes outlined in the above “Use of Grant Funds” section. For complete information on approved use of funds, please reference the Program Details section. The purpose of this grant is to support workforce development for educators and specific staff positions in the rural school districts of Kansas and northwestern Missouri. The Patterson Family Foundation reserves the right to suggest changes to funding use in the event there are concerns regarding distribution strategies.
Applications will be submitted via the Patterson Family Foundation Grants Portal. (See How to Apply above.) The application takes an average of 30-45 minutes to complete. Before starting, applicants should ensure access to the school district's general budget, as they will be asked to upload it at the time of application.
Funding opportunities from the Patterson Family Foundation are listed on our website. For inquiries unrelated to the Rural Educator Development Grant Program or other open programs, please contact us using the link at the bottom of our webpage.
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