$100 Million+ Available In School Safety Grant Funding

March 31, 2021 / by The “I Love U Guys” Foundation

On Wednesday, March 24th, 2021, representatives from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) hosted a webinar led by:

  • Lindsay Burton
  • David Adams
  • Lynette Chambliss

The Funding School Safety: Department of Justice Grant Opportunities webinar highlighted school safety-related grants available to K-12 schools through the Department of Justice. 

Here’s a brief overview of what these representatives shared about available funding.

School Safety Grants

BJA and COPS created this webinar to help superintendents, administrators, school resource officers (SRO), and law enforcement to learn more about school safety funding opportunities available through the Department of Justice’s grant programs.

School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP)

The goal of SVPP is to provide funding for security on school grounds and facilities using evidence-based programs and technology. 

Chambliss shared that this year, $53 million is available for three-year funding terms through this grant, and the federal award maximum for individual awards is $500,000. For local programs, your award amount depends on your total project cost. 

Here are a few examples she provided of fundable categories:

⮕ Coordination with law enforcement — e.g., hiring a security coordinator that works with local law enforcement to develop school safety strategies. 

⮕ Training local law enforcement officers to respond to emergency situations in schools. 

⮕ Technology that expedites notifications and reduces the response time in the event of emergencies — e.g., radios or alert systems. 

Eligible organizations for SVPP school safety grants include states, counties, cities, sheriff’s offices, police departments, tribes, school districts, and independent school districts.

As you prepare your application, keep this information in mind:

⮕ This program will not fund the hiring of SROs or security guards. 

⮕ Your project proposal should include school safety planning efforts (e.g., safety drills or threat assessment procedures) required training, local and nationwide partnerships, and how your funding request will satisfy your security and safety needs. 

⮕ Understand and explain clearly how you’ll implement your community policing program effectively, and who’ll be responsible for the oversight.

⮕ Everything included in your request should connect to your budget to show how you’ll manage the program and funding rollout.

Community Policing Development (CPD) Micro-grants

Open to all local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies, COPS’ CPD micro-grants help develop the capacity of law enforcement to implement community policing strategies. 

When you apply for this grant, you’ll propose the project or program you plan to pilot to advance crime-fighting, community engagement, problem-solving, and strategies that support community policing. 

Topic areas, release dates and more information for these micro-grants are unavailable until the program opens — to learn new information right away, bookmark the COPS grants page.

BJA Programs

The SVPP and BJA’s Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Program are sister programs based on the 2018 Stop School Violence Act

While SVPP funds security on school grounds, the STOP School Violence program works to improve school security by providing students and teachers in K-12 schools with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence. 

For the 2021 funding cycle, Adams says up to $75 million is available — state agencies (including public institutions of higher education) can apply for up to $2 million of funding, and all other eligible applicants can apply for up to $1 million. 

These are two examples of eligible programs you can implement under this grant:

  1. Training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students that can improve school climates and prevent student violence against others and themselves. For example, evidence-based programs like mental health awareness or anti-bullying programs.
  2. Developing technology solutions shown to reduce school violence, like anonymous reporting systems. (Note: Target hardening solutions aren’t eligible under this grant, but they are through SVPP.)

This year, BJA grant applications have a two-step process that includes deadlines for each step. To learn more about required documents, forms (like the SF-424 and SF-LLL!), deadlines, and more, Adams recommends you visit the JustGrants application submission page

In your application, Adams says to be sure you include:

  • A 400-word statement.
  • A description of issues you hope to resolve.
  • The credentials and competencies of everyone working on the project.
  • A detailed budget worksheet that shows how you’ll allocate grant funds.
  • A memorandum of understanding when you work with law enforcement.
  • Thorough outlines of the roles and responsibilities of your threat assessment team(s). 
  • Your plan for collecting data, project design, and implementation.

Important Questions (and Answers!) — Applying for School Safety Grants

During the lively Q&A, many participants chimed in with valuable questions, like this one:

Q: What are some common application mistakes to avoid?

A: There are quite a few! Reviewers may render your application incomplete if you…

👉 Submit an incomplete application, even if it’s just one missing page or attachment. 

👉 Don’t apply at least 72 hours before the deadline.

👉 Include unclear goals and objectives. (Reviewers don’t want to infer, so details are key!) 

👉 Submit an application narrative that’s less than two pages and more than eight pages long.

👉 Submit a budget that looks like an invoice.

School Safety Grant Resources

The purpose of this webinar was to share information that’ll help us build more resilient school systems. As you figure out which grant is best for your school safety needs, check out these resources:

  • Sign up for Grants.gov email alerts and visit the BJA and COPS websites to stay on top of deadlines and open funding opportunities.
  • Visit this JustGrants page to sign up for webinars part of its Application Mechanics: Submitting an Application Webinar.
  • Make sure your application is complete with the DOJ Application Submission Checklist.

SchoolSafety.gov’s state search tool connects schools to school safety programs, and you can use it to access grants and state-level resources.

Learn more about The “I Love U Guys” Foundation, and follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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Written by The “I Love U Guys” Foundation

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