Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is GAF?
    GAF is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that funds grants to teachers, schools, or organizations. The grants must enhance the educational experience of students in the Geneva Community School District #304. In addition, GAF awards $500 college scholarships to two Geneva High School seniors.
  2. When and why was GAF formed?
    GAF was formed in 1987 by a group of parents in order to purchase computers for the schools. The school district did not have the money in their budget for computers, so the parents decided to raise the funds themselves. This was the start of the Geneva Academic Foundation. In the early years, the main focus was funding grants related to technology items. Later the focus switched to any item that enhances the education of the students.
  3. Who can apply for GAF grants?
    Any teacher, principal, or school in the Geneva Community School District #304 can apply for a GAF grant.
  4. What are some examples of GAF grants?
    GAF has awarded grants for a large variety of items. Initially, the grants were all technology based. Later, they were expanded to any item that enhances the educational experience of the students. Grants have been given for computers, software, document cameras, Starlab, microscopes, skeletons, books, reading aids, and many other items. For a more complete list, visit the Scholarships & Bencini Memorial Grants page.
  5. Who is on the GAF Board?
    The GAF Board is comprised of people in the community who care passionately about Geneva schools. If a member of the community is interested in serving on the GAF Board, they only need to contact the GAF President. All GAF Board meetings are open to the public.
  6. Who decides what grants GAF will fund each year?
    The GAF grant applications are voted on by the GAF Board in early November.
  7. Where does the GAF grant money come from?
    The money that GAF uses to fund the grant applications comes from donations by community members and fundraisers that GAF holds each year.
  8. What criteria are used to award the GAF grants?
    The grants are awarded based upon multiple criteria that include: the number of students that will benefit from the grant, is it a one-time purchase or will it need to be repeated annually, how long before the item will be obsolete, is it in alignment with the Geneva School District goals and mission, and are existing programs unableto meet the need. A more complete list of criteria is available on the Grant application.
  9. What are some GAF fundraising events?
    GAF holds fundraisers each year. For the past several years, GAF has partnered with the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission to host ‘Dancing with the Geneva Stars’. In addition, there is an annual online auction of reserved front row seats for the GHS Graduation and Geneva Middle Schools Promotion Ceremonies. Other fundraisers have included Viva Geneva, a shopping and entertainment event in partnership with the downtown Geneva merchants; Viva Geneva 5K run; a silent auction; and the Mighty Viking Boat Race.
  10. How much money has GAF raised since 1987 and awarded as grants?
    GAF has awarded over $1,100,000 in grants to the Geneva schools since its 1987 inception. The money that is raised from January 1st to December 31st of each year is given out as grants the following year. In addition, two college bound seniors from Geneva High School are awarded $500 scholarships each year.
  11. What is the dollar goal of the Endowment campaign?
    GAF hopes to raise $1,000,000 for the Endowment fund. The purpose of this is to provide a more stable source of funding for the grants.
  12. How has the Geneva School District budget been affected in these tough economic times?
    As the Geneva School District #304 budgets become increasingly tight, teachers will have a harder time finding the resources for supplemental materials for their classrooms. GAF helps to provide the supplemental materials that enhance our children’s education.
  13. What is the GAF grant schedule?
    The GAF grant applications are available in August and they must be submitted to GAF by mid-October. The GAF Board reviews and votes on the applications in early November. The GAF grants are awarded at the Breakfast in Education meeting in late November. The exact dates are on the application for each year.
  14. How is the GAF grant money awarded?
    The GAF grant money is paid to the Geneva School District who serves as a middleman on the grant purchases. The Geneva School District then distributes the money to the individual schools.
  15. How can I get a GAF grant application?
    GAF grant applications are available on the Geneva School District server. Each teacher in the Geneva School District has access to the applications.
  16. What is the difference between GAF and the PTO?
    GAF funds items throughout the Geneva School District, not just one particular school. GAF grants can be very large—there is a $500 minimum for each grant—whereas the PTO’s can fund much smaller items at each school. Some of the GAF grants are for items that will be used by several different schools, such as Starlab which can be used by all of the schools. GAF tries to fund grant items that will have a ‘long life’ and enhance the education of as many students as possible.