A while ago I surveyed our group for information on how VA FLL teams are funded. Here’s what I heard:
- The most frequent source of funds is parental contributions (40% of respondents). All teams had some parental contribution.
- Many teams have found funding from Sponsors (25%) or educational grant programs (15%)
- Those funded by grants seem to have relatively healthy budgets (> $2k/yr).
- Some teams are fully funded by their PTA (10%) or school board (10%) but it’s the exception rather than the rule.
- There is a wide range of funding levels for teams, some get by on $500 or so per year, others have more like $2,500
- Teams that are starting up are sometimes bootstrapped by the school or PTA, or may charge higher parental dues in order to get equipment.
- Many schools field multiple teams; 2 or 3 is not uncommon. One respondent has 8 teams!
- Some PTAs will pay for permanent, reusable equipment (computers, software, NXT kits, etc.) but not one time fees (e.g. registrations)
- Tee shirts and food are typically provided by parents, though some teams have found corporate sponsors for this.
- One respondent mentioned that their school board paid all the expenses when their team went to the state tournament!
My sense is the more experienced teams have found ways to work all this, particularly getting access to grant funds and finding corporate sponsors. Perhaps some of them would like to share tips with the group?
Hope this helped!
Here’s a quick breakdown of the detailed information, one line per respondent:
1. School paid registration and tournament fees, parents everything else
2. Middle school: 100% parent-funded
3. First year PTA boot strapped w/ $1,000, after that Parents paid $75/child. Fundraisers covered the rest
4. 8 teams! $60/child registration. PTA sponsors but the money flows thru.
5. 3 teams; 20 students: $1,800 budget - $1,200 from corporate sponsors, $500 from parents; $100 donation
6. 75% parents, 25% sponsor donations
7. Parents pay fees and incidentals; company provides the NXT kits, computers and field kits.
8. $1,100 donated by sponsors/donors
9. 95% sponsor companies; 5% grants
10. Annual budget: $850 - $350 from parents, $500 from sponsor/benefactor
11. Magnet school: Parents pay $10/yr dues plus provide snacks; School initially paid registration and setup kits; sponsors provide t-shirts, etc. qualifying tournament used as fund raiser.
12. 15% parents, 85% grants (including 4-H).
13. 100% PTA funded: $500 annual budget; do-it-yourself tee shirts. School board pays registration & travel for state tourney
14. $2,000 budget funded fully by educational grant.
15. 6 members on team; $540 budget, Fully funded by parent contributions.
16. 12 students. Parent contributed kit to get them going – looking for $750 industrial funding
17. $2,500, 100% funded by grants.
18. Funded by parents @ $100 each plus some donated goods.
19. Parents: snacks, shirts. PTA robots & registration fees. School: use of facilities.
20. $60 each annual fee, balance paid by school extracurricular budget. Parents pay for t-shirts
21. Team still starting up (second year): 2 teams this year. Fully Parent funded @ $120 each to cover kits, etc. computers donated by local company.