Many schools have started water programs with very little funding. Many repurpose supplies used by other programs (e.g., using sports teams’ water coolers to serve water during lunchtime) and by recruiting water champions who are passionate about students’ health. In some cases, students take initiative to start water projects at their school with the support of teachers and staff. This section describes: potential partnerships and funding sources to support water projects

Funding Opportunities

District or School General Fund

Most school districts and schools have a General Fund, a portion of the budget that is unrestricted (available for general purposes). Talk to your School Board, Superintendent, or Principal about whether the school or district’s general fund could help support your water program. Additional funding opportunities in schools may result from:

  • School Nurse or Wellness Office
  • Food/Nutrition Services
  • Facilities Department
  • Athletic Department

Parents and Parent Groups

Parents at your school may be interested in supporting the water program. Parent Teacher Associations may have funding available for programs, or may be able to assist you in organizing a fundraiser specifically for the water program. Parents can also volunteer to help with programs or speak to school officials to advocate for funding.

Governmental Organizations

Federal, state, and local governmental agencies sometimes have grants available specifically for local groups. You might consider looking for grants or other support from the following organizations:

  • City Council or Board of Supervisors
  • Public Health Department
  • Municipal water supplier (e.g. Public Utilities Commission, Water Department)

Non-Profit and Community-Based Organizations

Local non-profit and community-based organizations may also have monetary or in-kind resources Potential partners in this area include:

  • Organizations focused on health promotion
  • Organizations focused on children and youth
  • Healthcare providers or organizations (e.g., local hospitals, healthcare groups, or community clinics)
  • Faith-based organizations and after-school programs
  • Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, and other service organizations


Both private and corporate foundations often fund programs and projects. Foundations differ greatly in their scope and goals, so you will need to identify a foundation that is a good match for the goals of your water program. For example, you might search for foundations that are interested in preventing childhood obesity.


Securing funding is often a necessary first step to getting your water program started. Grants usually have fixed timelines and budgets, and once the money is spent or the grant period ends, your funding will end. To continue your water program beyond this initial period, you will need to either continue applying for new grants or work toward longer-term funding solutions. Long term funding solutions can include getting a line item for your water program written into the school budget, or working with school administrators to develop a long-term capital-improvement plans, which stipulate long-range plans for the repair and modernization of district facilities to make water access part of these plans.