Apply for Summer Learning Initiative Grants

The Summer Learning Initiative will provide grants for innovative summer learning programs that increase reading proficiency for pre-K - 3rd graders in Arkansas. 

2016 Grant Recipients

Who's Eligible?

The applicant should be a nonprofit community based organization or a local public school and/or district.  If a non-profit is the applicant you must submit the proposal in partnership with a local public school and/or district. Applicants should have a successful track record of offering quality out-of-school time programming in their community.

The program should target children entering pre-K through 3rd grade; however, the program could include children entering 4th – 6th grades, especially if the partner school houses those grades. 

Each request is considered on its own merit. However, the following types of requests generally are not considered:

  • Support for annual fundraising campaigns
  • Support for capital campaign
  • Projects that address sectarian religious purposes
  • Projects that are political in nature or have a political bias
  • Multi-year proposals
  • Scholarships or fellowships for formal education at any level
  • General operating support outside the specific project or proposal
  • Support for organizations that do not qualify for tax-exempt status


If you have questions about whether your funding request meets our guidelines, contact Program Officer Jane Jones at

Where We're Currently Making Grants

All geographic sections of the state are eligible to apply for funding. We are  not currently accepting proposals for this grant cycle. 

What We're Looking For

Your proposal should demonstrate that your program will:

  • Provide an intentional structure and program design that follows the Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks and evidence-based practices for quality summer learning programs.
  • Include a focus on literacy. Other areas of focus (such as STEM) are encouraged but not required.
  • Integrate other activities to create a fun and engaging program (for example, physical activity, nutrition/wellness, art/music/theater, cultural diversity and inclusion, service learning, mentoring, family and community engagement or other enrichment activities).

We’ll give priority consideration to programs that:

  • Have a strong nonprofit/school partnership (including financial and/or in-kind participation from the school/district, such as personnel, space, transportation, meals, etc.)
  • Serve a partner school at which 50 percent or more of the students receive free or reduced price lunch.
  • Address the nine quality domains developed by the National Summer Learning Association in their guide entitled “Summer Starts in September: A Comprehensive Planning Guide for Summer Learning Programs.”
    - Purpose
    - Sustainability
    - Planning
    - Staff
    - Partnership
    - Individualized assessment and instruction
    - Intentional use of research-based instructional methods
    - Integration of academic and social/emotional development strategies
    - Summer culture that is different from the school year

Grant Funding Range

Grants will be up to $30,000. 

How to Apply

We are  not currently accepting proposals for this grant cycle. We expect to accept another round of proposals in fall 2019. 


Get tips for your application. Watch a recording of our informational webinar or download the presentation slides


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the maximum grant amount?

A: The maximum grant amount is $30,000.

Q: When should the program begin and end? 
A: Grant decisions will be made in February. The program can begin as soon as the grant agreement is signed and can continue for a year.

Q: Can a school be the applicant and partner with a non-profit?
A:  Yes 

Q: Can the partner be an approved summer provider such as a Boys and Girls Club, with a reading focus? Can a partner be a Head Start program?
A: You can have multiple partners including nonprofits and schools. The most competitive proposals will include both a community based organization and a school.

 Q: Does partnership require that funding be provided by the school/district?
 A: Funding is not required, but applications that include funding from the school/district will be the most competitive.

 Q: What age do you consider pre-K?
A: Three and four-year olds

Q: What percentage of the grant can cover salaries?
A: There are no limits. Your budget should cover what you need to implement your proposal and achieve the outcomes you propose. 

Q: Are there specific measures preferred for documenting growth in literacy skills for Pre-K - 3rd grade

A: We don't have a particular instrument for documenting literacy growth in mind. It is up to the nonprofit and school to determine.

Other resources: 

NSLA Summer Starts in September guide can be found here.
Information on quality standards can be found here
Information about the Youth Program Quality Initiative can be found at the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality site.

Our affiliate offices work locally in every corner of Arkansas. Find the affiliate near you.

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