spark tank grant

Spark a learning adventure

Along with our student scholarship program the centerpiece of Irving Schools Foundation’s mission to uplift Irving students and teachers is the ISF Spark Tank, a competitive grant program that awards funds for innovative, enriching, and out-of-the-ordinary classroom projects and learning experiences for students of all ages across Irving ISD. Since 2013, ISF has funded over 303 projects representing over $1 million and 180,000 students, teachers and staff impacted. 

How Spark Tank works

Every month (excluding July and August), the ISF Spark Tank Committee (the Programs Committee) meets to evaluate Spark Tank grant proposals from Irving ISD teachers, counselors, librarians, coaches, administrators, or other Irving ISD employees.

Each application includes an informal presentation (of no more than seven minutes), followed by a five-minute period of follow-up questions from the committee. The applicant will then be asked to step out of the room while the committee deliberates. Some funding decisions are made immediately (with applicants notified on the spot or the following day), while other applicants may be notified that further deliberation is required. Funding may be awarded in part or in full, based on both the availability of funding as well as the evaluation committee’s discretion.

Elements of a successful grant application:

Preparation: Grant presentations don’t have to be “fancy”, but they should be thorough and include as much detail as possible.

Creative: The committee is most interested in applications proposing learning experiences that are creative, innovative, out-of-the-ordinary, or inspirational.

Clear: Be sure to clearly communicate the intent or purpose of your proposal, the need to provide this kind of experience for your students, your budget, the educational impact of the proposed experience, and information about the student population that will benefit from the opportunity. The amounts you submit in your application must be exact and match the supporting documents and quotes. Please do not round up or down. Additionally, your amount may not change between the time of submitting your application and presenting to the committee (unless decreasing).

Dates: Spark Tank applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the school year—however, applicants should bear in mind that the Spark Tank committee only meets once a month, and that we typically take a break in July and August. We recommend that applicants seeking funding for time-sensitive projects submit their application at least two months in advance of the event date or program kickoff.


important dates

Deadline of Application: 10th of each month (September to June)

how to apply


Access the application form via the links on this page. Note that all required documents must be submitted in PDF form.


Spark Tank funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so feel free to apply as early as possible (at least two months prior to your event or program launch date). You are not required to use funds during the same calendar year in which they are awarded; however, be aware that funding implementation is always subject to the oversight of the ISF Spark Tank Committee.


The amounts you submit in your application must be exact and match the supporting documents and quotes. Please do not round up or down. Additionally, your amount may not change between the time of submitting your application and presenting to the committee (unless decreasing).


Include as many details as possible—the better the committee understands the potential positive impact of your proposed program, the better your chances are of receiving funding.


Turn-around time for approval varies. Most applicants receive a decision after the completion of the Spark Tank presentation, while others may require further deliberation of up to three weeks.


Please allow up to two weeks for funding (check disbursement) of approved projects.


If your project requires transportation and is happening locally, you are required to use Irving ISD buses. If your project is not local, please submit three quotes from bus or transportation companies as part of your proposal.


Have a question about the process? Please contact us at [email protected] or at 972.600.5018.

how to get help

Looking for guidance on how to submit a successful proposal, or have a question about the process? Contact us at [email protected] or at 972.600.5018.

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Bethlyn Fisher

Programs Assistant

Randy Randle

Board Member

Bethlyn is a native to the Wise County area and holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in Elementary Education from Tarleton State University.

Bethlyn comes to Irving Schools Foundation with a background in teaching. Prior to her time with ISF, she taught in Irving ISD at Elliott Elementary for 6 years. She also has experience in Irving ISD as a swim instructor for the district’s Swim Safe program. Bethlyn’s main passions include helping the community and teaching others.

Bethlyn lives in Bedford with her husband, Dillon, and 2 cats, Gadget and Gizmo. Her hobbies include swimming, reading, baking, crafting, exercising, and caring for her plant collection.

Adriana Colunga

Development Manager

Adriana Colunga

Development Manager

Margie Stipes

Director Emerita

Margie Stipes

Director Emerita

Margie Stipes has been an Irving resident since 1955. She and her late husband, John, raised three children together, Randy, now deceased, Larry, and Stacie. Margie worked 30 years as a secretary at American Airlines, receiving the company’s Customer First Award.

She has been active in schools and the community, serving on several bond program committees and with the city’s Charter Review Committee. Margie was president of the Nimitz High School Booster Club for several years and has been a longtime member of both the Keep Irving Beautiful Board and the Irving Schools Foundation Board of Directors.

Margie’s accolades include the High Spirited Citizen Award, Greater Irving Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award, Irving Schools Foundation Gala Award, and multiple local and national PTA awards for extended service. In 2014, she was inducted into the Irving Sports Hall of Fame. Margie is honored to be a namesake for IISD’s John and Margie Stipes Elementary School in south Irving.