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Perspective | Apply now: Mebane Foundation offers 35 $1,500 classroom start-up grants to first-year teachers grades K-3

Setting up a classroom is expensive — ask any veteran teacher who has spent years scouring thrift shops and yard sales looking for books, educational toys, craft items, and decorations to turn an empty classroom into a warm and inviting environment that fosters learning.

Young teachers straight out of college who are entering their first classroom have to purchase their own supplies — everything from books to learning stations to visual aids for the walls —  before receiving their first paycheck. Although eager to make a difference in the lives of their students, their plans may be limited by what they can afford.

To help reduce that financial burden, the Mebane Foundation is offering $50,000 in classroom grants for the 2020-2021 school year. North Carolina’s first-year teachers who will be teaching kindergarten through third grade are invited to apply for one of 35 one-time grants of up to $1,500 to furnish their classrooms with reading/literacy support materials or to receive literacy-related professional development.

“We’ve made a couple of classroom grants to teachers over the years, but in most situations, these grants were made in conjunction with larger school-system grants,” said Larry Colbourne, president of the Mebane Foundation. “Over the years, I’ve learned that these smaller grants can be invaluable to potential grantees who may not have the capacity to prepare a full-blown grant request. These smaller grants many times produce some of the strongest results because they allow grantees the freedom to experiment and not to be inhibited by the rules and regulations encumbering larger grants.“

“We hope that these $1,500 grants will give enthusiastic young educators the opportunity to practice innovative approaches to literacy they may have learned in school or to explore their own ideas without struggling to pay for the supplies. Who knows what exciting new techniques may be born!”

The application can be found on the homepage of the Mebane Foundation’s website, The deadline to apply is July 1, 2020.

Jeanna White
Jeanna White is a writer for the Mebane Charitable Foundation in Mocksville. Ten years as a substitute teacher for students from preschool through high school has given her a unique perspective and passion for education. White graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism.