The Montana Office of Public Instruction is pleased to announce the Montana Afterschool Grant. The $3.8 million fund was designated by the Montana Legislature through House Bill 362. Leveraging the State's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding, the Afterschool Grant is intended fulfill the afterschool plans articulated in the State’s ARP ESSER Plan to enhance and expand student access to quality afterschool programming across the state. 

Teacher and student reading


Grant Purpose

As Montana students and families work to recover from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montana Afterschool Grant seeks to support and empower young learners across the state through a coordinated, comprehensive, and consistent community approach. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the personal and academic challenges many Montana students face. Helping them overcome those challenges requires not only the efforts of Montana educators within the confines of a school day but also the efforts of student-focused afterschool programming. The Montana Afterschool Grant is an opportunity to address students’ personal and academic needs, ensure parents and guardians are able to rejoin the workforce, and ultimately continue to strengthen Montana communities. The grant seeks to: 

  • Provide Montana students with a comprehensive, out-of-school time experience that builds upon a student’s formal school day instruction to provide the continuity necessary to meet their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Provide Montana students a safe and healthy environment after school employing practices to prevent COVID exposure to students. 
  • Provide Montana students and their families with a deeper connection to their community allowing them to understand the full breadth of supports and opportunities available to them.

Grant Goals

Expand and enhance afterschool programs throughout the State.

GOAL 1: Expand daily/weekly afterschool services to increase the amount of academic, social, emotional, and mental health support available to students as they navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A minimum 40 hours per month and/or demonstrated ability to meet community needs. 
  • Providers partner together to maximize contact hours with students. 
  • Increase services explicitly dedicated to social, emotional, and mental health needs so students are better able to engage in academic enrichment opportunities provided by afterschool providers and LEAs.

GOAL 2: Providers will expand daily/weekly after-school service capacity or “footprint” to more students and increase accessibility for at-risk student populations to engage in after-school supports.

  • Providers partner together to maximize contact hours with students. 
  • New providers partner with established programs to build a sustainable model of after-school supports for students. 
  • Recommend providers eliminate engagement barriers such as fees, transportation, etc.

Grant Eligibility

Applicant Requirements:

To create optimal opportunity for efficient and successful implementation of the type of comprehensive afterschool/summer experience discussed above, application for this funding will be limited to established non-profits and schools (defined below) as their experience and stability will allow them to immediately apply funding to serve the needs of their communities.

Established nonprofits with existing afterschool programs

  • Programs/Projects should expand the scope of the nonprofit’s services and/or the nonprofit’s capacity/reach in their community.

Established nonprofits without an existing afterschool program

  • Programs/Projects should expand access to afterschool programs.
  • Programs/Projects should demonstrate that services are not duplicative of similar programs that exist in their community.
  • Programs/Projects should consider partnering with an established afterschool program where/when possible.

Schools with no identified afterschool program available in their community

  • Programs/Projects should expand access to afterschool programs.
  • Programs/Projects should demonstrate that services are not duplicative of similar programs that exist in their community.
  • Programs/Projects should consider partnering with an established afterschool program where/when possible.

Other Source Funding Considerations:

The Montana Afterschool Grant should not replace existing funding sources. These funds are intended to enhance and grow Montana’s capacity for afterschool services. Grantees are also responsible for understanding and adhering to supplement and/or supplant requirements of their existing funding sources.

Current 21st Century Program recipients are not eligible for the first year of funding. 21st Century programs may apply in the Fall of 2022. 

If an organization that is a current 21st Century Grant recipient is proposing a new site that will in no way be funded by 21st Century funds, the recipient may apply for the Montana Afterschool Grant for the new site in year one. 

Afterschool program components must include:

  1. COVID Prevention, Preparation, and/or Response
    1. Grantees must demonstrate how their intended program will help prepare for, respond to, or prevent COVID’s adverse impacts on students’ holistic wellbeing.
  2. Evidence-based Interventions and Strategies
    1. Grantees must emphasize evidence-based, Social Emotional Learning to help students navigate the stressors exacerbated by the pandemic, so they are more prepared to engaging the learning process at school.
    2. Grantees should also engage evidence-based strategies for any learning support or enhancement interventions provided such as tutoring, study halls, or any other academic supports.
  3. Consistent Service Level
    1. Grantees must ensure more Montana students will have access to the frequent, consistent afterschool supports.
    2. Grantees must endeavor for service availability of 4-5 days per week.
    3. Grantees must strive for average student participation of 4-8 hours per week.

Targeted Student Population:

The Montana Afterschool Grant shall provide funding to reach students who lack the type of supports necessary to overcome the personal and academic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic Consideration

  • 40% of students in service area are considered low income according to at least one of the following indicators:
    • Data on student eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).
    • Data from the E-rate program administered by the Federal Communication Commission (47 CRF 54.500, 54.505(b)).
    • Data from a different source, such as scholarship or financial assistance data. 

Age Range

  • Programs that serve school-aged students with encouragement for programs to consider serving middle and high school students.

Grant Cycle and Awarding

The Montana Afterschool Grant is made possible through Federal ESSER funds originated in the American Rescue Plan. The grant is a three-year grant that is renewed annually and adjusted to reflect actual grant usage and impact. The state will be utilizing its E-Grants

Management System for budget and cash management purposes and will also be provided a system to manage reporting requirements.

Grant Awards

OPI will be distributing $3.8 million over three years. Awards will be given based on an allocation formula that considers program location, students served, and community need met. Grant amounts will vary based on the number of applicants, but the OPI anticipates that minimum grant award will be at least $25,000 and likely will increase from there based on number of applications and the allocation formula considerations.


Approximately, October 22, 2021 – Grant Intent-to-Apply Form Available on OPI website

Approximately, November 12, 2021 – Intent-to-Apply Form Due

Approximately, November 19, 2021 – Grant Application Available on E-grants

Approximately, December 10, 2021 – Grant Applications Due in E-grants

Approximately, December 22, 2021 – Awarded funds available for draw down

August 1, 2022 – Award renewal due with data report

August 1, 2023 – Award renewal due with data report

September 30, 2024 – All allocated funds must be obligated

November 11, 2024 – All allocated funds must be expensed

Grant Reporting Requirements

Federal reporting guidelines for use of ESSER funds is still be finalized. The OPI expects that grantees will need to provide data on students engaged in the program at least annually if not every six months. The type of data OPI anticipates includes but is not limited to: Student demographic information: 

  • Types of SEL and academic support activities provided Numbers of students (and possibly names of students) engaged in Social Emotional Learning and academic support activities 
  • Frequency of student engagement in SEL and academic support activities 
  • Average weekly attendance of afterschool programming, average number of weekly hours afterschool program is available to students

Montana Afterschool Grant FAQ


Applicant Information and Resources


Questions? Contact