VASE Equipment Grants


If you are looking for grants to cover in-class STEM teaching, please see our K-12 Outreach page for information on VASE K-12 Equipment Grants

VASE HOST Grant Program (Due September 30, 2019)

(VASE Hands-On Science and Technology)



This VASE HOST grant is a program introduced in 2017 and continuing this year:  Made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor, these grants are intended to provide funding to support project-based technical learning and experimentation.

The total amount of funds available for grants this year is approximately $10,000. 



Eligible Recipients: 

Grants may be made to teams, clubs, schools, or other non-profit organizations engaged in hands-on, project-based technical learning.  Organizations must be located in Vermont and conduct their activities primarily within Vermont.  Participants may be of any age.  Grants will not be made to individuals, only to organizations.  Examples of eligible recipients include:

  • Public entities, such as schools and municipalities.

  • Incorporated 501(c)(3)organizations.

  • Local chapters of national organizations, such as 4-H, Boy or Girl Scouts, etc.

  • Unincorporated groups (such as robotics competition teams) are eligible, but these must have a “fiscal agent” that qualifies as tax exempt, or associate with some other eligible organization in order to receive funds.

Groups that have been funded in the past are not restrictedfrom applying again.  Each year's grants will be awarded to the best proposals in that year.  



Eligible Activities:

VASE HOST grants are intended to support hands-on cooperative learning, preferably project-based, outside of a traditional school classroom setting.  (The complementary VASE Small Equipment Grants for teachers support classroom activities.)  Where appropriate, grants may be made for an activity that could eventually lead to a commercial product.  Projects should be primarily of a technical, engineering, or manufacturing nature, rather than artistic, performance, literary, etc.  Examples of activities/organizations that will be considered include:

  • Robotics teams engaged in local, state, national, or international competitions.

  • School-based but extracurricular activities such as robotics teams, technical challenges, or other special projects.

  • Projects within “maker” organizations.

  • Clubs and organizations involved in technical pursuits. 


Uses of Funds: Funds may be used for materials, supplies, software, tools, space costs, event fees, travel expenses in connection with a supported activity, and/or general support of the organization or activity.  Grants may include occasional stipends to instructors or mentors where appropriate, but the intent is not to support long-term salaries of teachers or other staff.

Proposal and Administration: Proposals detailing grant requests will be accepted and reviewed annually, with the next deadline of September 30, 2019  Grants will typically range from $500 to $1500, but larger grants may be made in unusual circumstances, if funds are available. Proposals should be made electronically in the form of an email attachment.  Please adhere to the Format for Grant Applications.  Applications will be evaluated according to the Evaluation Considerations for VASE HOST Grants.  Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to:

Reporting:Grantees must submit a brief written final report summarizing project outcomes within 90 days after the conclusion of the project.

Grantees will be invited to attend the Spring VASE meeting in the year following the grant and give a presentation on the outcomes of the project (e.g., demonstration, video, poster, or PowerPoint loop of slides).

We encourage grantee teams to prepare a brief (few minute) creative YouTube video of their project.



Format for Grant Applications

Grant applications should be in the form of a single PDF file as described here:

(a) Cover Page:Please include the following on the first page of the proposal:

  • Name of primary applicant,

  • E-mail address of primary applicant,

  • Title of project,

  • Name of organization, non-profit status, and federal EIN number,

  • Town or city where organization is located,

  • Funding amount requested,

  • A brief abstract of the project: a single paragraph summary, no more than about 200 words.

(b) Description of and motivation for your program: Please include the following points on the subsequent pages:

  • Describe in sufficient detail the program for which support is requested.

  • Brief description of the organization: what is its mission, approximate number of participants, ages and demographics of its members, previous history,

  • Provide a budget, including equipment or supply purchases, software, tools, travel, or other expenses for which support is requested, along with a rationale. Describe other potential funding sources with projected amounts. 

  • Describe specific activities that the grant will support.

  • Provide other information to indicate how the application will meet the Evaluation Considerations.

(c) Proposal Length and format:  The entire proposal should not exceed 5 pages; all text should be in an easily legible font of size no smaller than 12 points.

(d) Deadline:Proposals are to be submitted electronically by 5:00 PM EDT, Friday, September 30, 2019  as a PDF attachment to the e-mail address given below.  We expect to announce awards by early November 2019.  Project participants will be invited to report on the project at the Spring 2020 VASE meeting (usually scheduled in April or May).

(e) Evaluation Criteria:  See Evaluation Considerations for VASE HOST Grants below for criteria we expect to use for evaluating all proposals on a competitive basis.

Address for Submission or questions:


Evaluation Considerations for VASE HOST Grants

The following are criteria the award committee intends to apply in the awarding of grants.

Necessary conditions.(All grantees must meet these):

1.         The organization must be based in Vermont and must conduct its activities primarily within Vermont.

2.         The activity must be primarily a hands-on one (which might include making of software or programming). 

These grants are to support hands-on activities meaning those where learning happens through making something or doing something.  Preferred activities are those that are both hands-on andproject based, meaning that a machine, a physical object, software code is created, especially if this is a complex activity and occurs over several weeks or months.


3.         The funds must be utilized at the level of those actually doing the learning or making.

Thus, proposals for professionals to develop curricula, develop software tools, write instruction manuals, teach classes, conduct workshops, and the like will notbe funded; the learning does not happen at the grantee level.


Other considerations: Applicants need not meet all of the following criteria.  Grants will be awarded to applicants that, in the opinion of the award committee, best meet them, taking into account the particular circumstances of the applicant.  (For instance, a new organization will not have a history, but for existing organizations their history will be relevant.)

In the list below the word "should" means that it is desirable to meet the criterion, not mandatory. 


1.         The activity should include one or more technical problems that must be solved.

2.         The activity should lead to increased practical knowledge and skills among the participants in a technical, manufacturing, or engineering area.  The activity should make it more likely that participants will succeed in school, go to college, operate a business, or get a job because of this knowledge and/or skills.

3.         The activity should enhance collaboration among different members of the organization and/or among different age groups.  The activity should encourage support and/or participation of a wider community.

4          The activity should have a completion date in the near future (generally within one year). The organization should have a plausible plan for meeting that date.

5.         The activity should lead to a substantive result which can be evaluated.  Success and failure should be clearly distinguishable.

Try to be as specific as possible as to what will be attempted. We realize that an exact list of activities often develops as a project gets underway.  However, it would be helpful to have an idea about the kinds of activities you contemplate.  If the activity has occurred previously, specific examples of completed projects will be helpful.


6.         The organization should appear able to use the funds wisely.  It should be reasonably clear how the funds are to be used.

Sometimes the exact use of funds becomes clear as an activity develops. Thus, an exact or detailed budget is not required, but the overall proposed use of funds should be evident. Try to show how the requested funds will be used, how this grant would fit into an overall budget, what funds might be coming from other sources.


7.         The organization or activity should be reasonably independent and make its own decisions.

In this regard, schools are encouraged to apply for grants, but the activities must be extracurricular.  The strongest applications will be those where the activity is clearly independent of regular classroom instruction, makes its own budget decisions, includes parents or mentors from the community to assist teachers, and obtains funds from a variety of sources.  Weaker applications will be when the activity appears to be simply an extension of regular classes, has a budget under control of the department or administration, is conducted entirely by regular school faculty, and  receives most of the funding from the school budget. 

It would be helpful for school applicants to describe the relationship between the activity and the school.


8.         The participants should be willing to share their results and experiences with their wider community, other Vermonters, the world.

9.         The grant should support an activity that would not otherwise occur, or will clearly enhance a specific activity.  Grants should not “disappear” into the general overhead of an organization.  Exceptions may be made as appropriate.

10.      The activity should provide opportunities for persons who are financially, socially, culturally, physically, or educationally at a disadvantage.

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VASE President,
Dr. Grace Spatafora



VASE President,
Dr. Grace Spatafora