Your Essential Primer to COVID Relief Funds
Find out what it is, what types of funding are available, how much funding is available, and ways to use it to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on your students, staff and faculty.
- ESSER - Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief
- CARES Act - Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
- CRRSAA - Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CARES Act II / ESSER II)
- GEER - Governor's Emergency Education Relief
- More Sources of Assistance - Foundation and Corporate Grants
- Download Your COVID-19 Relief Funds Buying Guide
How Districts Can Use ESSER Funds
Districts have the flexibility to use the ESSER funds on any "activity authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act." Here are some of the ways California educators are using relief funds:
> Furniture and Equipment to Create Social Distancing
> Interactive Solutions for Hybrid Learning Models
> Wellness Center Furnishings
> Sanitation Products to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19
> Faculty Training & Development
> Mobile Devices to Address Learning Loss
Funds Can Also Be Used For Capital Expenditures with a Pre-Approval Application for ESSER, ESSER II, and GEER
The federal standards found in the CARES Act indicate that the ESSER Fund and the GEER Fund be subject to the Uniform Grants Guidance program management regulations. Additionally, under the CRRSA Act the ESSER II Fund is also subject to the Uniform Grants Guidance. Those regulations contain a requirement that capital expenditures for general purpose equipment, buildings and land, including material improvements thereto, are allowable as direct costs only with prior written approval of the federal awarding agency or pass-through entity, as found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in 2 CFR 200.439(a). Similarly, special purpose equipment are allowable as direct costs, provided that items with a unit cost of $5,000 or more have prior written approval as found in 2 CRF 200.439.
Click here for the application: Capital Expenditures Pre-Approval Application Form (PDF)
CARES Act & CRRSAA - An Overview
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CARES Act II / ESSER II)
This relief package provides states with both funding and streamlined waivers to give State educational agencies (SEAs) necessary flexibilities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act & the CRRSAA are the two main funding sources are the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Funds) and the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Funds). The ESSER fund accounts for approximately $13.2 billion of funding for all states and California's allocation is $1,647,306,127. The GEER Fund accounts for approximately $3 billion of funding for all states, and California's allocation is $355,227,235.
GEER - An Overview
Governors' Emergency Education Relief
The CARES Act authorized approximately $3 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. The GEER Fund gives state governors a flexible source of federal funding to meet local educational needs resulting from the pandemic. GEER grants can be awarded to districts, higher-education institutions, and/or other educational entities, such as nonprofits, libraries, and state agencies.
Governors have wide discretion when it comes to allocating funds and can give GEER grants to districts that the state “deems to have been most significantly impacted by COVID-19,” so these districts are able to continue providing educational services to both public and nonpublic schools.
More Sources of Assistance - An Overview
Foundation and Corporate Grants
Foundation and corporate grants can infuse new revenue sources into your school or district. Education grants usually fund specific program areas such as technology, literacy, summer programs, enhancing teacher practices, or diversity and equity. Many large corporations have established foundations to lead the company's philanthropic giving, and these grants may be focused on the geographic area where the company has employees or customers. Communities may also have local education or school foundations to support public education initiatives in their district.
For all grants, carefully review the funding priorities and eligibility criteria to determine who can apply for funding. The resources below can help you find funding. They are not affiliated with D&D Integrated Solutions.
Honda America Foundation • Deadlines: February 1 and August 1 (new applicants). The foundation supports projects with a focus on STEM and the environment.
International Literacy Association Grants • Deadlines: Varied. The ILA offers several grants and awards for administrators, teachers, and graduate students.
JetBlue Foundation • The foundation supports communities where JetBlue flies and projects focused on aviation and STEM education. It does not fund unsolicited proposals.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics • Deadlines: November and May. NCTM offers a variety of grants for mathematics educators.
National Education Association Foundation Grants & Fellowships • Deadlines: Varied. The NEA provides partnership funding to state and local affiliates to support specific projects.
National Geographic Society • Deadlines: Rolling. The COVID-19 Remote Learning Emergency Fund for Educators supports educators in creating instructional resources to “effectively teach in in-person, remote, or hybrid learning environments during this pandemic.”
SC Johnson Foundation • Deadlines: Varied. Education grants fund “programs that emphasize student academic achievement, with a focus on academic enrichment and advancement, such as early childhood education, K–12, post-secondary, technical and vocational schools.”
Toshiba America Foundation • Deadlines: Varied. The Foundation supports Grades 6–12 teachers who want to bring innovative ideas for improving STEM to their classroom. Projects must be for project-based learning, not requests for equipment or technology.
Verizon Innovative Learning • Deadlines: Varied. The foundation aims to increase access to technology so students have the skills they need to be college- and career-ready.
Walmart Foundation • Deadlines: Varied. Funding focuses on creating opportunity, advancing sustainability, and strengthening community. The foundation invites proposals directly and also publishes requests for proposals and accepts letters of inquiry.