SELCO Community Credit Union has begun taking applications for its annual SPARK! Creative Learning Grants with an aim to help educators meet unprecedented challenges in the 2020-21 school year. 

The grants award as much as $1,000 each to K–12 educators to fund projects across the 27 Oregon counties that SELCO serves.

“In its 27th year, the SPARK! Creative Learning Grant program has long sought to bridge funding gaps for educators with the belief that funding should not be an obstacle for educational projects that excite curiosity, deepen understanding, and encourage new ways of learning. And never has innovative thinking been more important,” said a SELCO press release. 

This year, SELCO has made some modifications to the program in order to help educators, including a later application window — which will remain open through Oct. 31 — to offer applicants additional time to identify project needs.

“Educators across the state are looking for unique and creative ideas to help their students overcome the significant obstacles that this school year will bring,” said Craig Carpenter, SELCO’s senior vice president of lending and business solutions. “SELCO’s mission with the SPARK! program has always been to make sure that a lack of funding never gets in the way of a great idea,” Carpenter said. “The need for fresh ways of reaching students will be imperative, and we are eager to help support educators’ as they work to meet these challenges.”

SPARK! Grants for the 2019-20 school year helped fund a wide array of projects, from a Revolutionary War reenactment day for fifth-graders in Culver to an underwater robotics class in Portland to a stop-motion animation STEAM class in Dallas.

SELCO’s SPARK! committee reviews applications based on project originality, proposal clarity, number of students who will be affected, skill development, and diversity and impact of projects, including to schools that have never received a SPARK! grant before.

For more information about SELCO Community Credit Union’s SPARK! Creative Learning Grants or to view a student-produced video from a past project, or to apply, visit www.selco.org/spark. For questions, email spark@selco.org or call 541-686-5382.

For more information about SELCO Community Credit Union, visit selco.org or call 800-445-4483.

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