How do I find English as a Second Language Funding for an African University?
November 4, 2010 8:09 PM   Subscribe

I am a volunteer for an organization building a nonprofit university in Angola. I am tasked with finding funding for English as a Second Language education--all students who do not speak English will take year long intensive course in English. I'm looking for whatever help I can get in finding funds.

A little history on me: this summer, I did volunteer grant research for a couple of organizations in my area for their established programs, so I have some experience searching for domestic grants.

Some info on the organization: Angola University. Please note that the university is not open yet; we are planning to break ground in a couple of years or so. The first element will be constructing/staffing what is called the Access Academy, where all students who don't speak English (pretty much all of them) will take a year long course in English. The university itself will conduct all of its classes in English. We're looking for the 50-100k range.

What I'm looking for:

* Are there any better sources of funding information than Google? I've never looked for international funds before, so I don't know if there is anything else out there.
* Any general tips?
* My supervisor thinks there should be leads through English-as-a-Second-Language associations, as they would know how to get funding for their member-teachers. I have not found much on the TESOL site (I searched: " funding") except for some handbook.
* Any leads for me? :)

I have what I think is a pretty good research process: I have a document with a list of the search terms I have used in Google and a list of brainstormed search terms to look through, and I have a spreadsheet with the names of organizations I've ID'd, their url, and whether they are an active lead or they don't fund what I'm looking for.

If you have any general advice on the research process, I am all ears.

Thanks so much.
posted by wires to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Try -- but a subscription is required. It covers international, national and local grants, both government and private. Well worth the cost. Otherwise, for national grants, state websites for state grants (get on their public notification email list), and Google for private.
posted by northernlightgardener at 8:39 PM on November 4, 2010

Sometimes the US State Department funds English as a second language students or programs, so you might try some searches at
posted by bluedaisy at 8:59 PM on November 4, 2010

Why is a university in Angola conducting all its classes in English? Can you guarantee sustainability in terms of English-fluent instuctors? Even if you can, why are you doing this in a country where the official languages are not English?

That's going to be the type of unkind questions that grant evaluators are going to ask. Your grant proposals are going to need to address these questions in serious ways -- don't dismiss these questions, instead you will want to confront them head-on. The TESOL thing is largely (though not exclusively) based on student fees -- that is, students who want to learn English paying fees to learn it. Grants to fund this are harder to find.
posted by Forktine at 10:33 PM on November 4, 2010

Forktine, there are many English-language universities overseas, all over the world, in all sorts of countries. I don't think that's actually much of an issue at all for folks who work with international education--English is a very valuable language for people to learn, no matter where they are.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:35 PM on November 4, 2010

Forktine, there are many English-language universities overseas, all over the world, in all sorts of countries.

I know that they exist -- my points are that the justification will need to be a major part of the grant proposals, and that the sustainability question is not trivial.
posted by Forktine at 10:39 PM on November 4, 2010

Here's how you do it:

1. Figure out your delivery costs to one student based on time, staff fees, facility rental, debts, etc., normal program pricing per person.
2. Figure out your target for growth.
3. Come to an annual cost for ESL basic and full service, which would include whatever other packages you reasonably sell.
4. Start there to begin writing for grants. A budget is very necessary. I am sorry you have to do this as a volunteer, because you may not be in-country. But, you will need to organize this information before you can actually proceed. God save you if they don't have an annual report.
posted by parmanparman at 10:39 PM on November 4, 2010

There's a database and book called the Foundation Directory. Check for it large libraries.

posted by bluedaisy at 10:59 PM on November 4, 2010

Grant Station is great. For the best price on it (and I realize time isn't your friend right now, but for in the future), get a membership at TechSoup. Several (2-4) times a year they have yearlong memberships for 1/3-1/2 cost.

Awesome work by the way. Keep it up.

And---What about
posted by TomMelee at 7:44 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would second the Foundation Directory as a good source of information, with the caveat that its funder list is primarily American (although my understanding is that they're working to expand this). It won't give you a good picture of grants available from sources outside the US, but it will give you a great idea of sources available within. It does cost a subscription fee ($20/month at the low end, ~$200 at the high end -- and you may very well want the high end, since it makes searching much easier).

Do you know of other schools or local organizations (other than ones covering ESL programs) that have done similar things, or might have? You might want to contact other universities -- looking at where they got grants from could be another way to broaden your search.
posted by cjelli at 8:16 AM on November 5, 2010

Thanks so much for all the help, everyone! I have access to a Grant Station account through a local university, so I'm going to do some hunting there.

I'm in a bit over my head, but at least it's not boring.
posted by wires at 11:17 AM on November 10, 2010

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