Scholarships & Fundraising
We appreciate your commitment to the Cal-Wood program and wish to support your efforts in making the program a reality!
To that end, we offer these ideas and sample request letter to assist your fundraising efforts. Many of these ideas are tested and used by schools that have been attending Cal-Wood for several years, and we hope that this will help schools that are struggling to raise enough money to continue the Cal-Wood tradition. If you have any questions, please feel free to email our development team.
We try to provide scholarships to as many students as we can through our BRIDGE Scholarship Fund but understand that it still requires fundraising on the part of the school and students.
Direct Outreach to Businesses & Organizations
Use local connections! Approach the places where you shop or businesses owned by people connected to your school.
Do your research to find how the business/organization values align with those of your school and/or the Cal-Wood field trip. Some Ideas: ‘give where they live’; environmental education; STEM; breaking down achievement & opportunity gaps for low-income children. The sample letter includes language that could help you tell this story!
Sources that typically contribute:
School District Foundations
Major Retail Stores
Service Groups (Rotary, Kiwanis)
Any major corporation in your area
Additional suggestions for your outreach:
- Try to have a personal conversation with the main contact person- preferably in person. They will often provide advice on the kind of information they look for in their decision making process.
- Send the letter with as much advance notice as possible, as the process takes time.
- Use school letterhead and have your principal sign the letter.
- Provide as many specifics as possible, especially regarding your financial situation and Free & Reduced Lunch numbers.
- Student testimonials and/or pictures are very effective additions.
- Make sure to follow-up by phone or in person after you have sent the letter.
- Send a thank you (tax receipt) letter and include pictures! You can customize this sample thank you letter.
Many restaurants have community programs where they will donate a portion of the sales from one day – and then you can invite your community on that day! It can range from 10% to 50% of the sales (avg seems to be 20%). Sometimes they have limitations where the diners have to indicate that they are with your group, and sometimes, they let you set up a booth/information area to let the other diners know about the fundraiser.
Some examples of past restaurants that have supported schools in fundraising:
Backcountry Pizza (Boulder)
California Pizza Kitchen
Cold Stone Creamery
Native Food’s (Boulder, Glendale)
Next Door Eatery (Boulder, Denver, Stapleton, Longmont, Ft. Collins)
Noodles & Co.
Reuben’s Burger Bistro (Boulder)
Urban Thai (Longmont)
Grants can be time-consuming and some times, schools/parent organizations are not eligible. Make sure you read the details!
- Private/Family Foundations in your region (or a family at your school!)
- Local Community Foundation
- Local governments often have a Youth Committee that gives small grants
- Local Corporate Foundations – many businesses ‘give where they live’ so research the businesses in your region!
- Target has a field trip grant
- Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grants (STEM Focus)
- Lucky’s has a partnership program – where you can apply to receive their bag credits
- Century Link has a Teachers & Technology Grant (due 1.12) for STEM projects.
Contact Cal-Wood’s development team if you need grant support, including sample language!
Engage the whole school in an event and create the culture of supporting all the students of a certain grade each year – and then parents of students in other grades will know that they will benefit in the future!
Pancake Breakfast or Spaghetti Dinner
Silent Auction (can use the sample letter to request product donations – and the Silent Auction can be online or as part of an event)
Dance-A-Thon or Color Run
Teacher concert or ball game
Ice Cream Social, Bake Sale, or Potluck
Movie Day at school
Book Fairs – Boulder Book Store (in school and at Pearl St. store), Barnes and Noble (online and at any store), Scholastic (in school)
- Set up a Go Fund Me campaign – Incorporate Cal-Wood’s School Program video into your campaign!
- Offer parents a chance to make payments in installments
- Ask a parent to sponsor another child that can’t afford the tuition
- Parents Night Out: offer an evening program for children at school and let the parents pay for a “date night”
- King Soopers/Safeway Cards – if your school isn’t already doing this, you can set up grocery cards for your school. If your school is doing it, perhaps they could direct one month of profits to your Cal-Wood trip.