The Fall 2011 mini-grant application process is now closed. Mini-grant recipients will be notified by Monday, June 6, and will be formally announced in August 2011. Activities must be completed by December 31, 2011, or the end of the Fall 2011 semester, whichever is later.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School funds a local $1,000 mini-grant program that supports the goal of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, which is to enable and encourage children to safely walk and bicycle to school. SRTS programs are implemented nationwide by parents, schools, community leaders, and local, state, and tribal governments.
Mini-grants may fund activities ranging from the nuts and bolts that help start or sustain a program to new ideas that explore the range of benefits of safe walking and bicycling. The National Center invites student and adult leaders to consider their school's needs and interests and to propose solutions that are also part of a broader safe walking/bicycling to school effort.
The National Center is not currently accepting applications. Please bookmark this page or sign up for our newsletter to stay informed of future mini-grant application cycles.
Who can apply for a mini-grant?
Eligible applicants include:
- Adult-supervised elementary or middle school groups or clubs;
- Adult-supervised high school groups/clubs that wish to partner with a nearby elementary or middle school;
- Faculty, staff, or parent volunteers at elementary or middle schools;
- Local governments;
- Tribal governments; and/or
- Community-based or private non-profit organizations that will work with a school to improve safety and/or increase the number of children who safely walk or bicycle to school
Ideas for getting started
Selected mini-grant proposals will fit a school's identified needs and interests. It may help to engage a variety of student and adult leaders to decide what kind of changes the school would like to accomplish and the types of activities that could support these changes. The goal of this program is to support schools' and communities' needs related to walking and bicycling programs, as well as to involve students' creativity and leadership at an age-appropriate level. There are many right answers, and creativity and innovation are encouraged.
Looking for examples of school goals and activities that can help to reach them?
Go to minigrants.saferoutesinfo.org/eligible_activities.pdf to see examples of the many reasons to conduct safe walking/bicycling programs as well as the types of activities schools have chosen. Whatever the identified needs or interests, using students' service-learning projects or community service requirements can be additional ways to engage students in safe walking/bicycling activities.
For examples of activities that have been funded in the past, please see the press releases for the previous three rounds of mini-grant awards — Spring 2010, Fall 2010, and Spring 2011 — at minigrants.saferoutesinfo.org. These press releases contain a brief summary of each recipient's proposed activities.
Finally, International Walk to School Day will be celebrated in the U.S. on Wednesday, October 5. Consider organizing a Walk to School Day event at your school as a way to build excitement and galvanize support for the proposed mini-grant activities. Schools can register events and get ideas at www.walktoschool.org.
Collecting student travel data can be a great way to get started.
While it is not required, applicants may want to collect student travel data as part of their application in order to have more information about current rates of walking and bicycling to school. This information may help inform what you choose to do. For more information about data collection, and for student travel tally forms, please see www.saferoutesinfo.org/data.
What can recipients do with the money?
The mini-grant funds are federal funds, and there are rules about how federal funds may be spent. Below are examples of items that can and cannot be purchased according to federal regulations. Please note that these lists are not exhaustive. Because of the small award size, these restrictions may differ slightly from spending guidelines associated with State SRTS grants. If you have questions about funding eligibility for specific activities or items, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes! Federal funds CAN be spent on items like these:
- Promotional materials*
- Educational materials*
- Safety items (e.g., reflective vests and bands,
- bicycle helmets, bicycle lights)
- Bicycle racks
- Bicycles that benefit groups of students
- Bicycle rentals
- Digital camera rental
- Video camera rental
- Helmet camera rental
- Professional services (e.g., safety trainers)
- Food and refreshments
- Staff salaries
- Stipends for volunteers
- Fund-raising activities
- Gift cards
- Contests, prizes, and incentives
- Bicycles for specific individuals
- Digital camera purchase
- Video camera purchase
- Helmet camera purchase
* Modest-cost promotional/educational materials with the broadest reach are more likely to be competitive in the application process.
Activities must be completed by December 31, 2011, or by the end of the Fall 2011 semester, whichever is later.
What information should applicants provide?
The National Center seeks clear, well-thought-out application responses that:
- Propose activities that can address the school's particular situation or interests and that have the potential to have a broad reach and lasting impact;
- Demonstrate a reasonable connection between activities and desired outcomes, and include a plan for measuring those outcomes; and
- Include a clear description of how funding will be used for these activities.
As a group, the applications that are selected for funding will represent a broad geographic distribution and a diversity of community characteristics.
What happens once applications are selected?
Mini-grant recipients will be notified by Monday, June 6, 2011, and will be formally announced in August 2011. To accept the award, recipients complete a form accepting these funds for the proposed activities. Checks are disbursed approximately six weeks after receipt of the form. Activities must be completed by December 31, 2011, or by the end of the Fall 2011 semester, whichever is later.
The National Center requires that mini-grant recipients submit two reports:
- An informal report on activities midway through the implementation period; and
- A final report in February 2012 that describes activities and budget expenditures accompanied by at least three digital pictures.
Mini-grant recipients may be asked to complete a brief questionnaire after the grant period.
For more information
Additional information about the mini-grants is available on the National Center's website, minigrants.saferoutesinfo.org/faqs.pdf (PDF, 117 KB). Questions can also be emailed to email@example.com.
About the National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support, resources, and online registration for U.S. Walk to School Day, and facilitates worldwide promotion of and participation in International Walk to School Day. The National Center for Safe Routes to School is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.
Mini-grant recipients will be notified by Monday, June 6, and will be formally announced in August 2011. Activities must be completed by December 31, 2011, or the end of the Fall 2011 semester, whichever is later.