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Through community support, we provide the students of Grand Rapids Public Schools access to the best educational opportunities and experiences so they can learn, develop and thrive.

The Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation is the strategic fundraising partner of the Grand Rapids Public Schools. Our organization works with the help of 23 volunteer board of directors, three ex-officio board members, five staff members, and countless volunteers.  Established as an independent non-profit organization in 1993, the Foundation started as a vehicle for private funding to support athletics.  Today, the Foundation has grown to support programs and projects that impact every aspect of a student’s education.

Our goal is that ALL students within the Grand Rapids Public Schools leave school as educated, self-directed and productive members of society.

How the Foundation Works


General Fund Grants

Through our general fund, the Student Advancement Foundation makes grants to the Grand Rapids Public Schools (or partnering agencies) from unrestricted gifts to the Foundation.  The Foundation has identified five areas of impact, that we believe are critical to helping all students to succeed in school.  Those five areas of impact are:  Arts Education, Environmental Education, Literacy, Math Science & Technology and Physical Wellness.   All grants are reviewed annually each summer by a grant panel comprised of SAF board members.

Interested in applying for a General Fund Grant?  

The Student Advancement Foundation does not accept grant proposals from outside agencies or individuals.   All grant proposals must be approved and submitted by the Grand Rapids Public Schools.   If you are interested in support from the Foundation for your project or program with Grand Rapids Public Schools, please contact the school district.

All requests must be received in the summer prior to the school year in which the program or project will be completed.   Decisions are made on grants prior to the start of the school year. Most grant funding will be allocated to programs within the Foundation’s recognized impact areas.

Donor Advised Grants

The Foundation also has a variety of special grantmaking efforts tailored around special projects identified by a specific donor.  These grants are made from restricted gifts to the Student Advancement Foundation and given to GRPS or to a designated program provider.

  • All programs or projects must be approved by the Grand Rapids Public Schools.

  • Minimally, 90% of the students involved in the program or project must be currently enrolled in the Grand Rapids Public Schools.   (Exceptions must be approved by the Student Advancement Foundation Executive Board)

  • The Foundation will collect a 5% administrative fee for managing the grant, unless another agreement is negotiated with the funder and/or Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Special Initiatives

From time to time, the Student Advancement Foundation will identify and approve a program or project of special importance and/or interest.  These initiatives will involve dedicated staff and volunteer resources to raise restricted funds and other resources for the special initiative.

Current Special Initiatives of the Foundation:

Named Funds

Named funds are term gifts to the Student Advancement Foundation that provide long-term, multi-year support to GRPS and to address specific needs of the district or its students. Named Funds can be endowed or not at the discretion of the donor. A minimum gift of $50,000 is required to start a named fund at GRPS.  Learn more here.

  • No grants are made to individuals.

  • As appropriate, opportunities for this fund should be reviewed and approved by GRPS.