SD365U: Tibbott administrator displays grant writing prowess

BOLINGBROOK – John R. Tibbott Elementary School Library Media Center Director Erin Preder is a grant writing guru.

The author of almost $54,000 in successful grants since 2004, Preder says she really caught “the grant writing bug” in 2007 during her quest to make sure that students at the Bolingbrook elementary school received the best education possible.

Heading into the current school year, Preder has received 21 Valley View Educational Enrichment Foundation grants, as well as grants from Target, Best Buy, BP, Fun Again Games, and Out of the Box Games. Additionally, she has raised in over $21,000 in books and supplies through various book fairs.

The BP grant ($10,000!) was partially used to purchase solar powered cars and books on renewable energy and on solar power.

“Since 2010 it’s been much harder to get funds because money is tighter and harder to come by,” said Preder, who is considering countering the tighter funding by using online services like Kick Starter, Go Fund Me and Donors Choose.

Preder collaborates with other teachers at various Valley View schools, assisting with writing their own grants.

For Preder, inspiration comes from several outlets.

“I get an idea that I think my kids would benefit from, but I can’t afford to pay for on my own," Preder said. "So, I have to find a way to pay for it.  Many of my ideas come from going to conferences and some come from talking to teachers. But mostly they come from going to conferences.”

Among Preder’s successes are grants for board games, video cameras for a living museum, and GPS for Geocaching, etc. as well as a recent veteran’s grant that she wrote because her father was a veteran.