The Trust’s newest initiative, Mini Grants for sustaining School Employee Wellness (SEW) programs, launched last week. The new program is another way for OEA Choice Trust to support established, holistic school employee wellness programs in Oregon.
Just like the Trust’s School Employee Wellness grants, Mini Grants are intended to empower local schools and districts to design and implement a customized wellness plan. Mini Grant grantees will have one year to use grant funds to support their staff and program’s unique needs.
Applicants can request up to $5,000 to introduce new activities, enhance program offerings, provide professional development related to employee well-being and send staff to the Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference in Bend. Environmental changes, such as maintaining an on-site staff fitness center, installing hydration stations in staff rooms or creating a walking path on school grounds, can also be part of a Mini Grant proposal.
A soft launch of the Mini Grant program was conducted in the fall of 2018; this round was only open to past OEA Choice Trust grantees that have successfully completed the 3-5 year SEW Grant. Three organizations were awarded!
Current Mini Grant Recipients
- Baker School District – Baker School District’s Mini Grant plans include a biometric screening for staff, wellness baskets with healthy snacks and educational handouts for each building and equipment rentals from local recreation businesses. They will also be adding yoga, Zumba, cooking, and massage home care classes. Incentives will be purchased to boost participation.
- Corvallis School District – Corvallis School District will be launching a 21 Day Wellness Challenge and Celebration. This will be promoted with a video shown throughout the district and a Wellness Challenge Calendar for each staff member. Yoga will be offered during and after the challenge; challenge participants are eligible to win incentives such as chair massage, yoga equipment and water bottles.
- North Powder Charter School – North Powder Charter School will use Mini Grant funds to maintain their fitness center and add a TRX cable system and heavy bag. They’ll also be offering more classes for staff, including Zumba, weight training, mental wellness, healthy cooking and financial well-being. Additionally, they’ll be partnering with a local healthcare organization to provide health screenings for staff members.
Applying for a Mini Grant
The Mini Grant opportunity is open statewide to eligible public school districts, ESDs and community colleges. Applicants do not have to have to be past grantees of the Trust to apply.
To be eligible for a Mini Grant, applicants will meet the following criteria:
- District and building leadership is committed to school employee wellness and dedicates resources to the program
- An active wellness coordinator and/or employee wellness team is in place
- Staff wellness needs and interests are surveyed and used to plan a school employee wellness program that serves ALL employees
- An action plan is in place as a roadmap
- The organization is not currently receiving grant funds of any kind from the Trust
A Mini Grant webinar will be given on Thursday, January 17, 2019, to provide a walk through of the application process and answer questions. The webinar will also discuss details about how Mini Grant funds can be spent and provide tips for providing a clear, thorough and compelling proposal.
Register for the Mini Grant webinar
Even if you can’t attend the webinar next Thursday, we encourage you to register. All webinar registrants will be emailed the webinar recording as well as any supplemental materials from the presentation.
Additionally, the Mini Grant page on the OEA Choice Trust website has information about how to apply.
OEA Choice Trust strives to help school employees create healthy workplaces that support their health and well-being, and the Trust is excited to launch this new opportunity! Mini Grants will be offered twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. The closing date for this round of applications is February 15, 2019.