With support from the Simons Foundation, ASTC is pleased to offer a new funding opportunity to support science education and engagement around the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse.
Total Eclipse 2024 will award fifty (50) gifts of $10,000 each to U.S.-based science centers and science-focused institutions situated directly within the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse.
We will be looking for proposals that leverage dynamic educational programming, activities, and events to engage the public in scientific learning and discovery around the eclipse.
Example activities may include (but are not limited to): interactive demos for children and their families, live interviews with scientists, hands-on workshops to make pinhole projectors, and/or eclipse viewing parties. Activities may be part of a larger event or festival your organization is planning for the eclipse.
Eligible institutions are invited to submit proposals through our portal starting on September 6, 2023. Applications will close at 5pm ET on October 20, 2023.
Watch the recording of an informational webinar learn more about this funding opportunity. Download the slides.
Questions? Contact email@example.com
U.S.-based science centers, museums, and other science-focused, public-facing, informal learning organizations situated directly within the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 eclipse are eligible to apply. ASTC membership is not an eligibility requirement.
Your organization must:
- Be situated directly within the path of totality*
- Be a science-focused, public-facing, informal learning organization
- Provide eclipse-related educational programming to engage the public with science around the eclipse, including on April 8, 2024 (Note: The definition of programming is intentionally open-ended to allow for flexibility in proposals. Please see the FAQ below for more details.)
* The path of totality for this eclipse crosses thirteen (13) U.S. states: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. However, please note that not all cities or museums within these states fall within this path. See below for a map showing the precise path of totality in the U.S. You can also view the map on a new page by clicking here: https://tinyurl.com/ASTCeclipse.
What do we mean by science-focused?
Science should be central to your educational mission, operations, and programming. We will consider proposals from aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), natural history museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.
For the purposes of this opportunity, art or history museums are excluded from our definition of “science-focused.”
If you think you might qualify as a science-focused organization but do not fit into one of the categories listed above, please reach out to us to discuss your eligibility at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- September 6, 2023: Applications open
- September 15, 2023: Informational webinar for interested parties
- October 20, 2023: Application deadline
- November 17, 2023: Awardees notified; grant agreements shared
- December 1, 2023: Awardee kickoff webinar
- December 8, 2024: Funds released to awardees who have returned all paperwork
- January 15, 2024: Awardee check-in webinar to share plans and ideas
- January 9, 2023 – April 8, 2024: Implementation of program funding
- April 30, 2024: Activity summaries and financial statements due
- Focus on science programming specifically related to the 2024 solar eclipse.
- Demonstrate community engagement around your eclipse programming.
- Host or partner in the facilitation of a free event or gathering on April 8, 2024 for members of the public to view the eclipse.
All proposals must include:
- Scope of work: A brief narrative describing any programming both leading up to and during the eclipse, and how it will educate and engage the public around the eclipse. This should include a list of activities and intended outcomes. (750-word maximum per section: pre-eclipse programming and day-of programming)
- Audience: A description of the target audience for your program, including who you intend to reach and how you will reach them. (250-word maximum).
- DAIE considerations: A statement addressing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DAIE) considerations related to the design and implementation of your events and/or activities. (250-word maximum)
- Community context: A brief description of any other eclipse-related programming you are aware of happening in your broader community. This should address how your proposed activities might supplement, complement, or connect with other offerings from partners, schools, libraries, etc. to make an impact. (250-word maximum)
- Budget: A project budget that includes expenses aligning with the scope of work (indirect costs and capital expenses are not allowable; please see the Budget section for further details and to download the budget template).
- Timeline: A project timeline showing significant milestones.
Note: There is no evaluation requirement for this funding nor will providing evaluation plans affect the assessment of your proposal.
All funding recipients will be required to:
- Sign an award agreement with ASTC prior to receiving funds.
- Plan media engagement (blog posts, news articles, social media posts, etc.) to share news of their funding, mentioning ASTC and the Simons Foundation.
- Include logos and credits, as provided, in marketing materials for funded activities and events.
- Submit a brief report by April 30, 2024. ASTC will provide a template for the report; the following information must be included.
- A short description of eclipse-related events/activities (200–300 words suggested; 500-word maximum).
- A general estimate of how many people your event/activities reached (e.g. number of attendees at a funded event; number of downloads of a printable resource, etc.).
- Photos and videos of funded events/activities.
Detailed Budget Requirements
Applicants are required to provide a brief project budget that aligns with their scope of work. They must include:
- Name for each expense category (e.g., supplies, staff time, printing, partnership support)
- Total amount in each category
- Brief explanation of expenses included in each category
Allowable expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Activity materials
- Event production and implementation costs
- Graphic design and print production costs for project-related materials
- Staff time directly related to producing and implementing project deliverables
Funds may NOT be used for:
- Fundraising or development
- Indirect charges/administrative overhead
- Capital expenditures
- Computer hardware not for public use (e.g., servers, computers for staff)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Passthrough payments to an external partner, group, subgrantee, or consultant
- Admission fees
- Purchase of stock photos
Note: If programmatic components are included in your project plan, they should be provided at no cost to participants. Programs that are free with paid admission are acceptable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You do not need to pitch a separate project to apply for this funding; instead, you may choose to apply the $10,000 toward a larger endeavor like an eclipse-related science festival or the purchase of a new telescope. Funds may not be used for indirect or capital expenses.
If you are a subgrantee of the Eclipse Community Ambassadors program (receiving $1,000 plus supporting materials from another museum), you are still eligible to apply for this opportunity.
If you are a primary recipient of eclipse-related funding directly from the Simons Foundation, you are not eligible for additional funding from ASTC, though we invite you to join our free Community of Practice to share your ideas and plans. View the Community of Practice. To create a free account, click here.
Although proposals may include activities to be delivered in the days/weeks leading up to the eclipse, we ask that you also incorporate or contribute to programming on April 8, 2024 during the eclipse itself.
You do not have to be the primary host on April 8; you may be an active partner in broader community engagement efforts instead.
For example, if your museum will be closed on April 8, 2024 during the eclipse, you may instead dedicate staff and resources to facilitating workshops, programming, or other engagement activities offsite as part of a community event.
While we do require that you participate in programming on April 8, 2024 during the solar eclipse, events and programs can be offsite at a partner facility, part of a larger community gathering, or even virtual. Please be sure to clarify your plans and rationale in your proposal narrative. (e.g. your institution is typically closed on Mondays, your community is discouraging in-person gatherings on the day of the eclipse due to traffic or weather concerns, etc.)
Note that if programmatic components are included in your project plan, they should be provided at no cost to participants no matter where they occur. Programs that are free with paid admission to your museum or a larger event are acceptable.
Science-focused, public-facing, informal learning organizations are eligible for funding through ASTC’s Total Eclipse 2024. Building on the definition of a museum supplied by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), we will consider proposals from aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), natural history museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.
For the purposes of this opportunity, art or history museums are excluded from our definition of “science-focused.”
If you think you might qualify as a science-focused organization and do not fit into one of the categories listed above, please reach out to us to discuss your eligibility.
If scientific programming is new to your organization, we’re thrilled you’re interested in getting involved! Check out our list of resources and join ASTC’s Total Eclipse Community of Practice (it’s free to create an account!) to connect with funding recipients, as well as other science centers and museums across North America. Click here.
Yes! Science-focused public engagement institutions are eligible for this funding regardless of ASTC membership status, as long as you are located directly within the path of totality.
To see a map showing the path of totality, click here.
Sorry! Only institutions located directly within the path of totality are eligible for this funding. See a map here.
However, we encourage you to join ASTC’s 2024 Eclipse Community of Practice to share program ideas with funding recipients and other science centers and across the United States. ASTC membership is not required. Join the conversation.
Only institutions whose main operating headquarters are located directly within the path of totality are eligible for this funding.
If your official address does not fall within the path of totality, you are not considered eligible—even if you propose to run an event off-site within the path.
We hope you still choose to run an event on your own, and encourage you to check out our resource list to aid in your planning! For more ideas, and to connect with informal educators around the globe, join our online Community of Practice. Access both here.
Please reach out to us if you think you might be eligible for this opportunity! Eligible ASTC members have been notified directly—but if you’re not part of ASTC, we may have missed you in our effort to reach a wide range of other eligible institutions. Contact us at email@example.com.
In order to streamline the application and funding process all awards will be for $10,000.
We encourage you to get creative with your project proposals! If $10,000 feels like more than you can manage for a single event, consider also running workshops or demonstrations in the days or weeks leading up to the eclipse. Research what events are occurring in your community and imagine how your programming could be complementary. Materials for programmatic activities are allowable expenses!
No. These funds are intended to support you in delivering your own programming for and within your community, connecting with them directly. We ask that you do not plan to pass funds through to an external group, subgrantee, or consultant for this particular project.
Please keep your proposal focused on what YOU will be delivering for your community.
Although we encourage and celebrate partnerships with local organizations, many public libraries and schools will be receiving resources from NASA and other funders. Please don’t include these types of organizations as subgrantees in your proposal, particularly since they may already be receiving support from elsewhere.
Please check with potential partners and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions.
These funds are intended to support the creation and delivery of eclipse-focused science engagement activities and the purchase of related materials for your local communities.
Although some marketing and a web presence may be needed to help raise awareness of planned programming, we ask that you keep web and communications costs to a minimum.
Furthermore, please note that this funding is intended to support your local communities. While we realize that activities will be open to the public and not just nearby residents, please do not plan to advertise specifically to tourists.
Funding recipients will receive customized, branded materials from ASTC and the Simons Foundation. The majority of funds should therefore remain dedicated to programming.
Yes, you can use funds to cover staff time for your own employees. Clearly describe how requested funding for staff time is directly related to your programming for the eclipse.
No, these funds are gifts and do not need to be repaid.
No, you are not expected to build any type of evaluation into your proposal; nor will doing so strengthen your application.
We encourage evaluation as an important part of educational offerings and programming. However, in order to broaden the reach of this opportunity to institutions that may not have the capacity to incorporate evaluation on a tight timeline and with limited funds, we will not be taking it into consideration on this occasion.
Funds should remain dedicated to developing and delivering quality events/programming for your audiences.
Yes, but ASTC will provide a straightforward template for the report, which will include:
- A short description of the eclipse-related events/activities you ran (200– 300 words suggested; 500-word maximum).
- A general estimate of how many people were reached by your event/activities (e.g. number of attendees at a funded event; number of downloads of a printable resource, etc.).
- Documentation of events and activities with photos and videos.
We’re glad you asked! Funding recipients will receive the following:
- a communications toolkit with customized, branded materials from ASTC and the Simons Foundation for use on websites, in emails and newsletters, and social media
- storytelling training materials (e.g. guidance around how to take high-quality photos and videos with a smartphone)
- guidance on sharing post-project updates with the ASTC and Simons Foundation eclipse community
- access to branded posters and postcards from the Simons Foundation
Although not requirements, strong proposals may include:
- Strategic use of existing, free or purchasable resources.
- Incorporation of hands-on activities to engage audiences leading up to the eclipse (e.g. making pinhole projectors).
- Handouts and/or digitally disseminated resources (e.g. hardcopy mailed or print-at-home activity guides) to support audiences in learning about and safely observing the eclipse from their own homes.
- Describe planned partnerships with local experts or organizations also working to support knowledge-building and safe observation around the eclipse, such as local astronomical associations.
Note: Special consideration will be given to programs that serve under-resourced audiences and/or demonstrate clear dedication to diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity (DAIE).
Applications for Total Eclipse 2024 funding will be reviewed by ASTC and the Simons Foundation staff. Funding recipients will be notified by November 17, 2023.
This program aims to serve a diversity of organizations in terms of institution size, type, geographical location (along the path of totality), and other aspects, with prioritization given to those demonstrating the most need.
Ready to Apply?
Thinking of applying? Please do! Follow the link below to submit your application.
This work was made possible by the Simons Foundation and is part of its ‘In the Path of Totality’ campaign.