Kellogg & Rural Trust helping rural schools compete for $650 mil. in stimulus grants

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, April 1 –  Facing a May 11 deadline to apply for Investing in Innovation (i3) federal grants, rural schools will get extra help to guide them through the application process. On April 1, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced a $1.4 million grant to the Rural School and Community Trust to help rural schools in high poverty regions compete for the stimulus funding.

NOTE: Today, April 1st, is the deadline to e-mail your "Intent to Apply" notice! For details, go to:

The Rural Trust will provide on-site workshops and other outreach efforts to ensure that rural applicants are informed of the i3 requirements and application process. The Rural Trust will also assist rural school applicants in identifying promising innovations, completing applications, and building long-term capacity to apply for competitive grants in the future.

“This support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation comes at a crucial time for rural schools and communities,” said Dr. Doris Terry Williams, executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust. “Our partnership with the Kellogg Foundation will provide vital support to strengthen rural districts’ capacity to secure funding for innovations aimed at reducing dropout rates, increasing graduation rates, and improving teacher and principal quality in high-needs schools.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2007-2008 school year, 19% of U.S. public school students were designated as living in rural areas. This includes more than 25,000 schools and 9.2 million students, of which 41% are economically disadvantaged as measured by free and reduced school meal rates.

“We believe that every student – including those in rural communities – should have access to the finest education available,” said Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “The funding allocated as part of the Investing in Innovation i3 effort provides an unusual and exciting opportunity for rural students, but the application requirements at first glance could have some districts deciding not to participate. We have partnered with the Rural Trust to help remove obstacles and provide the support necessary to make the application process easier and doable. We would strongly encourage rural schools to seize the opportunity to apply for i3 funds.”

To learn how your school district can receive support, go to: To learn about other education and learning programs the Kellogg Foundation supports, go to:

The Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and provides competitive grants to applicants (schools, school districts, and partnering nonprofit organizations) with a record of improving student achievement and expanding the implementation and investment of innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan welcomed the partnership between Kellogg Foundation and the Rural School and Community Trust. “Rural schools and their partners know what works in their communities,” Duncan said. “I have seen examples of great innovations happening in rural schools, and we want to see these ideas shared and replicated. The Department has reached out to the philanthropic community to discuss ways to increase support for high-need schools. We must work together to ensure all schools can compete for the millions in federal discretionary grants that are available to grow programs that work regardless of their size or location.”

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and community program to help vulnerable children achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. For more information on the Foundation, go to:

The Rural School and Community Trust is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rural schools and communities. To read more about the Rural School and Community Trust which grew out of the 1993 Annenberg Rural Challenge funded by the Annenberg Foundation, go to:

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