Sponsored by the home-improvement chain, Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation distributed more than $20 million in grants to almost 5,000 schools between 2005 and 2011. At the time of publication, the Lowe's Toolbox for Education Program, which includes grants for outdoor classroom areas, serves as the company's signature grant initiative.
Lowe's Toolbox for Education grants focus on basic, one-time projects that have permanent impact, including the improvement of both indoor and outdoor educational facilities. Grants also fund landscaping and cleanup projects for school grounds. These grants strive to enhance the educational process via improving facilities. Lowe's also aims to bolster parent and community involvement in local school systems.
In cooperation with “National Geographic Explorer” magazine and International Paper, Lowe's offered an Outdoor Classroom Grant Program from 2005 to 2010, doling out awards of up to $20,000. Though Lowe's no longer offers this specific grant, Toolbox for Education grants can be used for outdoor classrooms; it is up to the applicant to create and propose a project. Lowe's suggests ideas for outdoor areas could include reading gardens, vegetable gardens, school nature trails and physical fitness areas.
Grants from the Lowe's Toolbox for Education Program range from $2,000 to $5,000. Individual amounts vary on a per-project basis. In 2010, Lowe's donated $5 million to more than 1,000 public schools and parent-teacher groups across the country. Grant money may not be used for salaries, memorials, stipends, field trips or scholarships.
Applicants must download and complete a pre-application checklist, create a project proposal and submit it to Lowe's via an online application form at Toolbox for Education's website. Grants can be given to individual nonprofit K-12 public schools. Parent-teacher groups with independent tax identification numbers and 501c(3) status may also apply.