The South-Western City Schools Educational Foundation has awarded 32 grants totaling $24.815.37 for the 2019-20 school year.

The foundation board approved the grants at its Nov. 12 meeting.

The foundation received 44 grant requests this year, said Adam Slane, vice chairman of the foundation board and chairman of the grant and scholarship committee.

"We always wish we could support every grant request, but the number of grants and total dollar amount we did approve is a little bit higher than normal," Slane said. "The grant awards cover 19 (of 32) schools we have in South-Western and impacts students at all grade levels. We try very hard to make sure that our grant awards are balanced and that we spread the funding around all areas of the district."

Several of this year's grants will help fund field trips or bring groups to visit a school, he said.

Grants will support a visit by the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium classroom outreach program to Stiles Elementary School, Opera Columbus' Opera Goes to School program to Buckeye Woods Elementary School and a field trip to the Columbus Museum of Art for third-graders at Highland Park Elementary School.

"For me personally -- and I think the committee, as well -- it's always like approving a grant that can bring a program to a school or send students on a field trip where they get to see things or learn about things they're not always exposed to," Slane said. "We support a lot of STEM-related grant requests."

The foundation's grant and scholarship committee reviews applications submitted by teachers and other district personnel and makes recommendations based on criteria that includes the objective of the grant proposal, how many students will be affected, the anticipated outcome and budget, Slane said.

"We're looking to support innovative projects and ideas that are going to have the most impact possible," foundation chairwoman Kacie Waugh said. "That can be because of the number of students the grant proposal will directly impact or because the grant will support a project or equipment that will be durable and long-lasting or it will be a program that teachers at other schools will be able to adopt and use in their classrooms."

Since it was established in 1988, the foundation has awarded more than $350,000 in grants and more than $1.1 million in scholarships.

Scholarship recipients are announced each spring.

"The foundation is able to have such an impact on our district and our students only because of the great support we get from the community," Slane said.