Archive for April, 2011

How to Qualify for a PEP Grant

Friday, April 29th, 2011

While any school or community-based program is qualified to apply for a Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, only applicants who follow traditional grantwriting standards and address the goals and requirements of the PEP Grant program are likely to be awarded PEP Grant money.
PEP Grants are awarded to organizations to help them initiate, enhance, or expand physical education programs for K through 12 students.
• Programs must help students work toward meeting state standards for physical education requirements.

Outline a detailed program with clear goals. The program you plan to implement should be discussed extensively in your proposal. Proposals full of generalizations and vague program descriptions are not convincing, so try to be as specific as possible about the program you plan to implement. Discuss your reasons for implementing your program and the goals you plan to meet through that program.

Prove a need for the program you plan to implement. Your grant proposal will not be seriously considered if you don’t show that your school or organization has a real need for the program you’ll be using the grant money for. In order to show need, you should plan to cite reliable research sources and statistics. The statistics you use can range from local data taken by your own school, organization, or county to state and national statistics about children and physical activity.

Show a need for the grant money in order to implement your program. Once you’ve outlined your program and established need, you’ll want to discuss how the PEP Grant money you’re asking for is necessary to make it all happen. Discuss how your current program could be improved (including adding new programs) and how the PEP Grant money will make those improvements possible.

Address PEP requirements in your objectives section. Since PEP Grant money is intended for programs that help children meet state physical education requirements, you must discuss how the program you plan to improve or implement will help children work toward meeting those requirements. In order to do so, you’ll need to outline the physical education requirements specific to your state.

PEP Grant money is also meant to help students meet one or more additional initiatives:
• Helping students understand, improve, and maintain physical well-being
• Enhancing physical, mental, social, and emotional development through instruction in physical activities and motor skills
• Development of cognitive concepts about fitness and motor skills that support healthy lifestyles
• Education in healthy eating habits and nutrition
• Professional development for physical education teachers to stay current on physical education research, issues, trends, and programs
You should plan to discuss any of these initiatives that your proposed program is working toward and how your program will meet these goals.

Propose a detailed plan for evaluating the effectiveness of your program. An important part of winning grant money is being able to show the organization that funded your program that the money they gave you was used effectively. You must present a plan for program evaluation that will prove your program met it goals, and you will be expected to prove that you followed through on this plan.

An effective plan for evaluation will also impact your ability to receive future grant money. If you receive PEP Grant money one year but then fail to follow through on your program evaluations, it will be very difficult for your organization to receive grant money a second time because you will not have proved that their money helped meet the objectives it was intended for in the past.

Show how your program will provide lifelong benefits to students. Programs that help students create a dedication to fitness that lasts into adulthood are more likely to receive PEP Grants. The PEP Grant Program gives special attention to programs that will help decrease the cost of medical care related to inactivity, obesity, and poor nutrition – conditions that medically affect more adults than children, but that start in childhood. Your organization should plan to prove that its program has real, lasting benefits.

Include plans to implement a SPARK PE program in your proposal. Schools that chose to apply for PEP Grants in order to implement a SPARK program were more competitive in the grant winning process. SPARK programs have already been proven to work, are aligned with state and national physical education standards, and come with assessment programs to evaluate their success and effectiveness, addressing the key requirements necessary to win PEP Grant money.

10 Physical Education Grants for California School Districts

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

With budget cuts taking its toll on the education system in California, the physical education and health education programs are usually the first to go out the door. There are thousands of motivated individuals and groups with innovative ideas to keep physical education a priority on their campus but the public funds aren’t always available. Numerous grant programs exist to help schools get their initiatives off the ground and keep their kids healthy and fit. Here are ten grants California schools can apply for to help give them the financial jump start they need.

  1. Chargers Champions Grant Program – The San Diego Chargers are highly involved in their community, especially when it comes to promoting physical health and education. The grant is only available to San Diego County schools, so if your program is in the area and needs extra funding to get jump started, this is the perfect opportunity. The grant is open to both private and public schools, and a Chargers player will make an appearance at the official opening of the project. 82 schools in San Diego have received grants in the past for programs ranging from SPARKS equipment to outdoor fitness trails and weight rooms.
    1. Award Amounts: Elementary School – $30,000, Middle School – $40,000, High School – $75,000
    2. Deadline: 2011 application deadline TBD
  2. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Grants Program – Kaiser Permanente is a leader in the development of our youth’s health and physical education and has an established grant program to help give low-income communities the extra financial help they need. Reducing obesity is one of their main concerns and supports both community health initiatives and low-income families through the grant.
    1. Award Amounts: Vary
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  3. One by One Campaign for Children – Amway Corporation created this grant to help disadvantaged children to LIVE (basic needs), ACHIEVE (building potential), LEARN (education), and PLAY (having fun). The One by One Campaign has helped over 8 million children worldwide and continues to offer grants to help local communities and their kids.
    1. Award Amounts: Vary
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  4. Helping Hand Fund – The All Stars Helping Kids organization offers grants for pre-k through 12th grade students in San Francisco and Los Angeles that promote academics, health and fitness, and life skills. The grants are for less costly programs that still need a helping hand financially. If you are looking for a little help to get the SPARKS gear and program onto your school, the Helping Hand Fund is a great way to get started.
    1. Award Amounts: $250-$3,500
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  5. Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant – Although not specific to California, the U.S. Department of Education has one of the most robust grant programs to help schools jump start their physical education initiatives. The K-12 grant program aims to help initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs. They award anything from an individual Boys and Girls Club to an entire school district.
    1. Award Amounts: $100,000-$600,000
    2. Deadline: 2011 application deadline TBD
  6. Small Grant Program in Southern California – The Weingart Foundation created a small grant program to address a wide range of needs in Southern California. The focus of these grants is on small community-based organizations and large institutions serving the local area. Grants are awarded to groups focused on health, human services, and education. The requirements are fairly broad, making the grant a perfect opportunity for k-12 schools to gain financial support for their Physical Education projects. Highest priority is given to organizations addressing issues in economically disadvantaged and underserved communities.
    1. Award Amount: $1,000-$25,000
    2. Deadline: April 20, 2011
  7. Responsive Grants Program – The Sierra Health Foundation created the Responsive Grants Program to support projects improving health and quality of people living in North-Inland California. At least 30% of the grants will be awarded to rural areas and the rest will be mixed between urban and rural organizations in their 26 county funding region. With $1 million in grants available this year, the Responsive Grants Program could be a great jump start for schools in low-income communities looking to improve their Physical Education programs.
    1. Award Amounts: Up to $25,000
    2. Deadline: June 27, 2011
  8. The Phyllis Blatz Promising Professional Scholarship – The CAHPRED Foundation created a small grant and scholarship program to help improve the opportunities for female physical education teachers and female coaches in public education. The foundation also offers several awards recognizing top physical education programs, students, and teachers. If you or someone you know are looking for the extra help to become a female physical education teacher or coach in California, send in an application to the CAHPRED Foundation.
    1. Award Amounts: $500
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  9. Cheney Foundation Grants – The Bob B. Cheney Foundation is available to private, non-profit organizations in California, Oregon, and Washington. This grant is a good choice for private schools interested in creating an innovative health and physical education program. The foundation awards grants to a large variety of projects, but they mostly want to see how the project will impact the community in an innovative way.
    1. Award Amounts: $10,000
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  10. Healthy Generation Grants: Signature Program – The WellPoint Foundation & Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association created the Healthy Generation Grants to help improve the lives and health of people in their communities. Their goal is to reduce health care costs by investing in programs that help in preventative health care, such as health and physical education initiatives that have a specific goal of reducing the body mass index (BMI) of a target population.
    1. Award Amounts: Vary
    2. Deadline: May 13, 2011 and September 2, 2011

What is a PEP Grant?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

The PEP Grant, also known as the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, is a federally funded grant program designed to award money to local education agencies and community-based organizations, including religious organizations, to help them initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs for K through 12 students. In 2011, the PEP Grant will award schools and community-based organizations anywhere from $100,000 to $750,000 for programs that help students work toward meeting state standards for physical education.

Money from PEP Grants may be used to purchase physical education equipment, provide support for students, provide training and education to teachers and staff members, bring in programs and teachers from outside the school or organization, and to initiate new physical education programs. Applicants are required to create a new program or improve an existing program that helps students make progress toward meeting state physical education AND one or more of the following initiatives:

  • Helping students understand, improve, and maintain physical well-being
  • Enhancing physical, mental, social, and emotional development through instruction in physical activities and motor skills
  • Development of cognitive concepts about fitness and motor skills that support healthy lifestyles
  • Education in healthy eating habits and nutrition
  • Professional development for physical education teachers to stay current on physical education research, issues, trends, and programs

Examples of Physical Education Programs

Past PEP Grants have been awarded to schools and organizations to implement programs ranging from innovative playgrounds to short-term auxiliary programs and after school programs. Some types of programs that have received PEP grant money in the past have included:

  • Evidence-Based Physical Education Programs
  • Community outreach programs
  • Integrating technology into PE
  • Purchasing equipment such as pedometers and heart rate monitors
  • Implementing “lifetime activities” rather than individual and team sports
  • Bringing in specialty organizations that help schools implement innovative PE lesson plans and programs
  • New, different, and innovative activities
  • Ropes courses
  • Adventure programs

Schools and organizations that are competitive in the application process include programs with elements that provide long-term benefits for students by encouraging a lifelong commitment to fitness that will decrease the costs of medical care associated with inactivity, poor nutrition, and obesity. Programs should include activities for all students, including those with disabilities. Competitive organizations and programs make a connection between physical activity, mental or academic performance, and general well being.

Over 150 PEP winners have chosen to implement SPARK Physical Education or After School programs in their schools. To see why so many schools successfully win PEP grants when they include SPARK as part of their proposal, Click Here.

PEP Grantwriting Information and Tips

If your school or organization does not have a grant writer on staff, consider hiring a professional grant writer with experience writing federal grants. If you use teachers or other staff members to write the grant, an outside consultant can help improve the grant by reviewing it and asking important questions about the essential elements of your grant. There are several websites and online documents available to assist you specifically with the PEP grantwriting process.

In your grant proposal, you must clearly outline a specific program, the goals of your program, and the steps your organization will take to reach these goals. It is essential to address how the program you plan to implement with the grant money will help students benefiting from the program to meet state standards for physical education. This should include a discussion of the PE standards in your state and how your program will help students work toward meeting these standards.

Assessment and evaluation are another significant part of the grantwriting process. Without a plan to evaluate the progress of your students, you will be unable to prove that your program actually met its goals. Having a way to assess the effectiveness of your program is the essential element of receiving current and future PEP grants. In your grant proposal you must outline a plan for the assessment of student progress that will show students met the goals of your program, and you must be prepared to implement this plan alongside the PE program you initiate.

In order to receive PEP Grant money, you are required to establish a need for that money within your proposal. This should include statistics your organization has collected that are specific to your school district, geographical area, or state. You will want to use statistics and data that prove there is a need for your organization’s program and that students will benefit from your fitness program on physical, social, mental, emotional, and/or developmental level. As a supplement to your local data, you may choose to use national research and statistics and professional literature.

  • For additional tips on preparing and submitting your 2011 PEP Grant Click Here
  • For Sample Text for PEP Grant Writers Click Here

To access the 2011 Carol M. White PEP Grant application Click Here.

SPARK Early Childhood Selected as 2011 Head Start Body Start Preferred Provider!

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Good news for all Head Start Centers: SPARK has been selected as a 2011 Preferred Provider for Head Start Body Start!

Nearly $2 million in Play Space Grants will be awarded to Head Start Centers across the country this year by HSBS to improve their outdoor play spaces.  Grant recipients will be able to purchase uniquely designed value-added packages created by the HSBS Preferred Vendors at a minimum discount of 20% off the retail price.

SPARK has included five (5) Value-Add Equipment Packages for Grant Applicants to choose from. Each equipment package includes a 25% discount from catalog list price & free shipping!

Please contact us with any questions about these equipment packages, and we look forward to continuing our work with Head Start Centers to support physically active and healthy lifestyles among Head Start programs nationwide.

Why Choose SPARK?
  • SPARK equipment packages have been selected by content experts specifically to meet the developmental needs of children ages 3-5 years old.
  • The items are age-appropriate and are designed to enable success for all skill and ability levels.
  • Combined with the Head Start Body Start program, SPARK’s specially designed equipment packages will increase physical activity, leading to the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of young children, with the long-term goal of reducing childhood obesity.


Package 1: SPARK “Shining Star” Outdoor Equipment $3,505.63

Package 2: SPARK “FUNdamentals” Equipment Package $1,411.30

Package 3: SPARK “Dance with Me” Equipment Package $393.14

Package 4: SPARK “Have a Ball” $788.05

Package 5: SPARK “Balance & Scoot” Package $1,275.93

Next Steps:

Contact the SPARK office at:

800-SPARK-PE (772-7573)  or