• Dear Colleagues –

    As our buildings continue to navigate challenging Covid-related circumstances, the Foundation's donors and Trustees are committed to providing continued funding your creative ideas in the Arts, Academic Enrichment, Literacy, School & Community Engagement and STEM areas during the 2021-2022 academic calendar.

    Again this year, our priority is connecting the Decatur Public Schools to funders like our partners at ADM, and Caterpillar, and Tate & Lyle, and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and each of the private family funds and individuals who support our students and teachers. Our mission is simple: offer students in District 61 educational enrichment opportunities on par with what young people enjoy in any other school district in the country – no matter the size, no matter the affluence.

    As ever, I encourage you to call or email me directly with ideas for enrichment projects. I am always pleased to talk through a concept before you ever begin a request. We want you to enjoy a positive application experience that ends in successful funding, and are happy to coach you up on specifics before you put in a great deal of work. If we are unable to fund your specific proposal, we can frequently connect you to outside funding sources who can!

    Please take a moment to look over our general guidelines for applying. Keep in mind that these are flexible and that the staff is always happy to talk about how to adapt for your formal proposal. But the format will give you a feel for the kind of projects we frequently underwrite.

    DPS Foundation Grant Guidelines

    Again for 2021-2022, you will have access to 4-H curriculum offering a wide array of options, and it is not necessary to establish a full-time club to benefit from this proven program model. View this year’s online Project Guide to FIND YOUR SPARK here:


    The Macon County Extension Office is a great collaborator, and will send 4-H educators to visit, facilitate and support you to implement meaningful projects in your classroom. 

    Feel free to call our Extension office directly at (217) 877-6042 and ask for Trinity Johnson.

    For all other applications, You will find our clickable, download-able, fill out-able, printable application documents below.

    The First-Year Teacher application is HERE

    The Mini-Grant proposal form (for projects under $500) is HERE

    The General Grant proposal form (for projects from $501 and up) is HERE

    The Grant Report document is HERE

    The Victory Fund application form is HERE

    The Ellen Spycher classroom form is HERE

    Don’t be shy about typing or calling or dropping by PDI to discuss your idea before submitting a proposal. It will give us an opportunity to guide you and you the best chance for success.

    AS A REMINDER for those who are granted project funding for this year, each project requires a Grant Report, which is due back electronically to the Foundation Office via zshields@dps61.org by Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

    Please type this way or call the office with any questions. You will find the Reporting Form below.

    PLEASE REMEMBER TO SAVE your report with the name of your project, so that the Foundation office staff maintains its (relative) sanity. Very few things are less fun than sorting through a hundred proposals named some variation of “Foundation Grant Application…”

    All our best wishes for a great year!

    Zach Shields

    Executive Director
    Decatur Public Schools Foundation
    (217) 362-3042