Fund your CHARACTER COUNTS! program

Learn how to raise money for your activities

Each year grant-makers award more than $350 billion.  In addition, working within your local community to find support can pay dividends over a longer period than grants, which typically are annual and require re-applying each year.

Resources for Grant-Seekers

Reach out to Local Merchants and Corporations

Many businesses have generously supported both local and national CHARACTER COUNTS! activities. They have underwritten training services via our Student Development Workshops (SDW)Sportsmanship Workshops and other types of character education activities in schools and youth organizations, particularly those larger corporations which have a vested interest within the community based upon the headquarters location or primary business locale.

Set a goal to seek early and consistent involvement by local merchants (or statewide/nationwide businesses) in your planning and implementation. And be sure to clearly identify specific needs (money, publicity, materials, food, an activity site, etc.) and your likeliest fundraising targets, asking directly and publicly thanking supporters. Your efforts will help bring your community closer together while helping provide the resources needed to transform your school climate.

Share in the Comittment with your Partners

When you’ve received a firm commitment of support, make sure everyone in your organization knows about it!  Also, it’s a good idea to have the young people who benefited from the donation write thank-you notes with a brief description of why they appreciate the sponsor’s support. (You could turn this into a character-building exercise in itself!) Of course you also should write a thank-you note to them.

Give credit — publicly, if possible — to businesses for helping. To simultaneously acknowledge the donor’s generosity and boost public awareness, you might consider giving your supporters a set of CHARACTER COUNTS! posters, a stack of wallet cards for their employees or business to share with customers, pins or other display items which are available in our online store. We also sell banners which can be personalized to be displayed either at your facility or theirs to share in their support.


Ideas for getting local businesses involved

We often associate the word “instigator” with someone “causing problems” when in reality instigators are simply those who rebel against the “status quo” that has been established or, in this case allowed to persist or exist. Our society and country was founded on such enthusiastic instigators for change and, if you feel as strongly as we do about the improvement of the moral fabric of our society, then we ask that you become an instigator for positive change within your community.

There are many ways to get local businesses involved!  Below are a few great examples of how you can work within your community to find business partnerships which may lead to larger initiatives down the road, instigating a change within your schools, your area and your community.

  • Ask them to sponsor one or more members of your staff to attend a Student Development Workshop (SDW). This is an ideal way to begin your program and is great for teachers, administrators and other youth-influencing adults to attend. By sending several participants at once to an open enrollment training, you’ll be able to better leverage your shared learning and more easily determine an implementation plan that best meets your needs, goals and timeline.

  • Ask them to sponsor a Pursuing Victory With Honor – Sportsmanship Seminars for your coaches, athletic directors and others involved in amateur athletics. Sports can play a vital role in the development of many strong leadership traits in children and it’s important that student athletes learn the proper character traits like winning and losing gracefully and respect for others. This starts with your leadership team having the tools to walk the talk and behave themselves as well.
  • Ask them to help build community awareness and contribute to your learning environment by donating funds to be used for purchasing banners, posters, personalized apparel and other awareness products. Be sure to make them aware of and possibly include sponsors in big events like CHARACTER COUNTS! Week, which occurs the third full week of October each year.
  • Solicit the support of local stores, restaurants and any other merchants who could offer prizes that children and young adults would enjoy or discounts to parents for services in support of any of your character contests or competitions.
  • Ask large businesses with a large presence or headquarters within your city or state to underwrite a specific activity or character education program or help via a matching fund. We’ve setup a Razoo fundraising page to help you more easily fundraise for your character education project. Simply create your own subpage and tell your story, provide specific details about your efforts and set specific goals to reach. All of the monies raised can be used towards any of the services we provide. And remember to let businesses know that their contributions are also tax-deductible on your behalf! Usually there is one person in charge of corporate giving. Find out who this person is and what the company’s guidelines are for giving before you send your letter.
  • Ask a local newspaper to provide free advertising for your upcoming event or ongoing activity especially during CHARACTER COUNTS! Week — a perfect time to gain support within your community. Plan ahead and let them know that CHARACTER COUNTS! is the only national character education program officially proclaimed each year by both parties of Congress and the President of the United States.
  • Ask a print shop or copy shop to donate its services to reproduce and bind materials to make a collection of essays students create on the Six Pillars of Character. An office supplies store may donate materials (e.g., paper, notebooks, pens) for the activity. This is a great way to help celebrate CHARACTER COUNTS! Week each year and have students leave a piece of themselves for display within their school.
  • Ask local grocery stores and restaurants to make contributions to run a food drive which is great for involving students and business alike in Citizenship activities to help support the community as a whole and teach caring for others as well.
  • Ask office and art supplies stores to contribute materials for arts and crafts projects focusing on The Six Pillars of Character. A great school or community exercise is to transform a wall or visible area within the community into a shining example of the Six Pillars for everyone to see and share as an example of what can be achieved when people work together towards common goals and use positive energy towards change.
  • Ask hardware stores, car/truck rental lots, and refuse haulers to donate materials for community service endeavors such as school painting and other maintenance projects, park cleanup projects and recycling activities.


Familiarize the staff of a community supporter with your group’s activities and your need for support by having the management place an informational sheet about The Six Pillars of Character and something more specific to your activity plans in each employee’s pay envelope. Or, when soliciting the support of a business for a given activity, you might provide tips from this website and suggest that they share these with employees who, in turn, can take them home or to youth organizations to which they belong.

Another key strategy is to identify the person who could authorize the contribution you seek and speak to him/her directly if possible, avoiding some of the layers in between in order to reach key decision makers. Follow up with a compelling and clearly written letter spelling out the nature of your request and why your activity warrants their sponsorship. After a few days, give a friendly reminder call back to check on the status of your request. Persistence is a value which can pay dividends in the end if politely used.


Ideas for getting local community groups involved.

There are many community groups that host speaking events — and they want to hear from people like you about what is happening in the community. Remember, you want to reach the entire community, and successful and effective presentations are not limited to conventional venues. For starters, contact your local chamber of commerce and United Way for a list of local community organizations.

Many organizations designate someone to arrange for outside speakers. Begin by contacting local organizations and then introduce yourself and explain CHARACTER COUNTS!. You may be asked to write a letter describing your topic in greater detail.

Assemble a group of speakers including student leaders and other young adults. The opportunity provides a platform for understanding the current impact and importance of The Six Pillars of Character to you and those whom you serve and the growth that has transpired from its use.

When a speaking engagement is set, arrive early to meet the program chairperson and/or the group’s president. Make arrangements to have props you need for your talk (e.g., an easel, overhead projector, slide projector, blackboard, etc.). Provide the organization with a biographical sketch so they may properly introduce you.

Possible speaking venues:

  • Chambers of commerce
  • Business & civic clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, etc.)
  • PTA meetings
  • School events
  • Religious functions
  • Community events (festivals, town meetings)
  • Groups that support youth causes

Recommended event management tools:

Eventbrite has a great set of tools that makes managing and inviting participants very easy and is perfect for promoting FREE events within your community as posts become available for others to see and join. Use this link to setup your own Eventbrite account and help CHARACTER COUNTS! in the process with your sponsored link referral.

Apply for Government Funding or Grants

Government grants come from cities, counties, states, and the federal level. Sometimes city, county, and state grants are “pass throughs” for federal funds and cannot remove any restrictions set by the federal government.

Government funding and grants

Many schools pay for character education materials and training with federal funding under Title I and Title II for professional development, or Title IV Safe and Drug Free Schools.You may also consider approaching a private organization, and check to see if the legislature in your state has allocated funds for character education. Check with your administrator or district to see if some of these could fund your CHARACTER COUNTS! activities:

  • Title I Funds – Schools receive Title I funds if a certain percentage of their students receive free or reduced lunches. Schools have used certain portions of their Title I funds for CC! activities.
  • Title II Staff Development Funds – These funds are allocated for professional development. Many schools have used them to attend Student Development Workshop (SDW) and in-service trainings.
  • Title IV Safe and Drug Free Funds – Title IV created a special set of funds for programs that address drug and violence prevention and promote student wellness. Many large federally administered grants come from these programs, but schools and school districts often receive Safe and Drug Free funds directly. Each state has different regulations on how these funds are used, but this is often a good starting place to look for funding.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) offers grants that can be used for character education. DOE grants are usually limited to Local and State Education Agencies (LEAs and SEAs), but some grants suggest or require involvement with partners in the community.

The following resources cover DOE grants that can be used for character education. These grants are particularly time-sensitive, and we suggest working with a grant-writer who has experience in writing U.S. DOE grants or at least state department grants.

Apply for Foundation Funding or Grants

Foundations support a variety of causes. Some, like Gates, Ford, and Rockefeller, fund diverse projects around the globe. Others target specific issues or are dedicated to a certain geographic region. There are also over 2,000 corporate foundations, many of which support educational and youth-oriented programs.

Foundations for Grants

  • AT&T Foundation awards cash grants to nonprofit organizations that are committed to programs promoting self-sufficiency with the intent to enable people to lead healthy, productive lives.  They give primarily to the following program areas: Education, Civic & Community, and Arts & Culture.
  • American Honda Foundation makes grants of $10-$100K to schools and youth-service organizations to support education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training, and literacy. The foundation says grantees exhibit the basic tenets of the Honda companies: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic, and innovative.
    Application deadlines (quarterly): February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1
    Learn more »   Download brochure »
  • Albertson’s Community supports projects that serve youth and education within the communities that they operate.
  • The Daniels Fund provides grants to nonprofits serving diverse areas of need, including Early Childhood Education, K-12 Education Reform, and Ethics & Integrity. The Daniels Fund will award $33 million in grants in 2012.
    No deadlines to submit grant proposals.
    Learn more »
  • Sprint Foundation Sprint Ahead for Education – National Grant Program for Character Education
    Awarding grants to school districts ($25,000) and individual schools ($5,000) to fund the purchase of resource materials, supplies, equipment and software that facilitates and encourages character education among K-12 students. With a national reach, the program is open to all US public schools (K-12) and US public school districts.
  • Starbucks Foundation helps young social entrepreneurs improve communities around the world through new ideas, volunteerism and civic action. Grants up to $1,000 are available to programs that help youth develop these skills.
  • Tiger Woods Foundation focuses on providing opportunities to children who are underserved.  The average grant range is between $2,500 and $25,000. Note: This foundation provides grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups. Public schools are therefore not eligible for funding.

Funding for sportsmanship programs

  • United States Soccer Foundation awards cash grants to projects and programs that develop players, coaches, and referees in economically disadvantaged urban areas encompassing populations of 50,000 or more.
  • Baseball Tomorrow Foundation supports programs in softball and baseball through generating matching funds for programs addressing youth between the ages of 10 and 16 years.
  • Tiger Woods Foundation focuses on providing opportunities to children who are underserved.  The average grant range is between $2,500 and $25,000. Note: This foundation provides grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups. Public schools are therefore not eligible for funding.
  • Future Innovators Scholarship Program provides equal access to education is one of the main pillars of StudySoup’s values. To further propagate access to education for all, StudySoup recently announced a $2,000 scholarship for outstanding students enrolling in or continuing to pursue education opportunities.

Questions about our program?
Email us or call us toll-free to speak to a CHARACTER COUNTS! specialist: 800-711-2670.

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