Big Idea Grants

Established in May 2020, the Appleton Education Foundation (AEF) welcomes opportunities to partner with the Appleton Area School District in support of initiatives that are:

  • Transformational,
  • Needle-moving,
  • Beyond a single classroom,
  • District-driven.

Ideas could also come from another community nonprofit organization when the district is a key collaborative partner.

Size & Scope of Big Idea Grants

  • One- to three-year financial commitment.
  • Grants may be up to $25,000/year, for up to three years.

Timing & Deadlines

  • There are no deadlines; however, typically only one idea will be selected to receive funding in one calendar year.
  • Ideas should be brought to AEF leadership early in development. Big Idea grants typically require a review and evaluation timeline of 2-4 months. If funding is required by a certain deadline, share that with AEF staff.
  • A final report is required. In the case of grants paid in one distribution, the final report will be due 90 days after the project end date.  For multi-year grants, satisfactory interim reports will be required prior to disbursement of additional funds.

If AEF makes a large multi-year commitment, it may not have the financial capacity to take on another Big Idea until that commitment is met. AASD is still encouraged to bring ideas forward for review and consideration.


  1. AASD Leadership Team member initiates a conversation with AEF executive director
  2. Select inquiries will be invited to complete Big Idea grant application in AEF’s grant portal
  3. Applicant/team may be asked to present their idea to the AEF executive committee and/or board of directors.
  4. Projects will be vetted by AEF’s executive committee and approved by the AEF board of directors.

What will AEF want to know?

  • What is the need?
  • What is the student population this initiative will address?
  • Is this a pilot? If yes, what program or research is it based on?
  • What will funds be used for?
  • Who are your other partners?
  • What is the full budget for the initiative?
  • What are the future funding needs and how will they be addressed?
  • What difference will this initiative make for students and/or staff?
  • What difference will AEF’s support make for this initiative?

Learn more

Contact Julie Krause, executive director, by phone (920-832-1517) or email.