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Shelby County teachers can apply for a $500 grant for school supplies. Here's how

The Burroughs Foundation is giving 20 "mini-grants" to Shelby County Pre-K to 4th-grade teachers. The deadline to apply is August 19.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Parents aren't the only ones starting to stock up on pens and notebooks. Teachers are doing it too and it's not cheap. 

The vast majority of teachers spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars of their own money to make sure students have what they need to succeed. To help some teachers out, Shelby County teachers can apply for mini-grants to help buy school supplies for their students. 

Amanda Eddington, a Hillcrest High School teacher, said she isn't required to spend one cent on her students, but it's necessary. On average, she spends about $1,500 a year on supplies. 

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"When a child doesn't have what they need and the children around them do, it's going to automatically create this dehumanizing effect," she said.

For that very reason, Eddington said that's why the Burroughs Foundation mini-grant opportunity is a big deal. 

The Memphis-based nonprofit is awarding 20 Shelby County Pre-K to 4th-grade teachers $500 to buy school supplies.

"That is an amount that can really change a classroom," Eddington said. "It's an amount that may be challenging for a teacher to bring directly out of their check at the beginning of the year."

According to AdoptAClassroom.org's national teacher survey, for the 2020-2021 school year, teachers spent on average $750 or more out of pocket on their students. 

While Eddington said most districts provide teachers with materials or a stipend, it often doesn’t last them the school year. 

"We step up because that's why we are here," she said. "No one becomes a teacher simply for the pay." 

To be awarded $500, here are the requirements:

  • Submit a completed grant application by Aug. 19, 2022. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Submit a proposal for how the funds will be used and how students will benefit. 
  • Awardees must provide a copy of the receipt(s) detailing purchases as indicated on the application

Educators working in the Memphis-Shelby County School System are preferred. Teachers may use the grant to purchase school supplies, curriculum, and/or technology resources for students. The original deadline to apply was August 3 but it has been extended to August 19.

Click here to apply.

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