How to Fund a Lockbox

Read about 5 ways to get free locks and other lockbox supplies for your classroom, without spending your own money. Get started with free, printable sample letters and other templates.

So, you are ready to take the plunge and try a Lockbox Challenge in your classroom, but the cost of materials is preventing you from doing so? You’re not alone. It is one of the most frequent comments I hear from teachers about using lockboxes in the classroom. The cost of a complete lockbox setup can cost in the range of $60-$100, depending on the options you select. Here, I will share 5 ways that you can obtain funding for your locks and other materials, without spending your own money.

Often times, funding for classroom resources is available if you are not afraid to ask for it. Local education foundations, businesses, and even many parents are willing to contribute towards teaching tools that will directly impact student learning and achievement. What works in one school community, may not work in another, so read over the following ideas and choose one that seems to fit best with the dynamics of your school community. I have even included some free printable letters and forms that will help get you started.




Option 1: Write a grant! {Don’t be intimidated…it’s easy.}

When it comes to grants, there are many sources to consider. Start close to home. Does your school have a parent-teacher organization that awards grant money? Are there any local corporations that offer grant money for teachers? Does your community have an education foundation that provides funding for grants? If you are not sure, ask around! Also, try an Internet search, using the specific names of local companies, followed by the word “grants”. If local sources are not available, check out these grant opportunities from Walmart, Chick Fil-A, and Lowe’s.

Most grant applications are usually only a few pages in length. In most cases, you will need to include a description of your proposed project, along with a rationale, a list of requested supplies with prices, and a description of the impacted population. The bigger the impact, the more likely you are to get funded. You may want to work together with another teacher or a group of teachers to write the grant. Request funding for several lockboxes and locks that can be shared amongst your team. That way, the grant funding will impact more students and thus be more appealing to the providers.

Here is some wording that you may want to include in your grant proposal for lockbox materials:

  • Lockbox Challenges promote critical thinking and problem solving skills that help students become better thinkers.
  • Lockbox Challenges give students an opportunity to practice perseverance.
  • Lockbox Challenges foster collaborative teamwork and cooperation.
  • Lockbox Challenges are highly motivating, even for students who are not easily motivated through other traditional methods.
  • Lockbox Challenges stimulate creative, “out of the box” thinking.
  • Lockbox Challenges are an innovative teaching tool.


Option 2: Display a giving tree. {The results will surprise you!}

This option works well if you will soon be hosting a parent event in your classroom, such as back-to-school night or open house. Many teachers will post sticky notes with items for parents to donate such as tissues, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, etc. Why not ask parents to help by contributing a lock for your classroom lockbox? If you are giving a presentation, explain how a Lockbox Challenge works and discuss the benefits for students. Display an “apple tree” on your board, with “apples” for parents to “pick” if they would like to contribute. If you are excited, the parents will feel your enthusiasm, and in most cases they will be happy to help if they have the means. It is helpful to explain that some of the locks are easiest to find and purchase online through Amazon. Others can be found at stores such as Walmart and Home Depot. Click here if you would like to download a free set of printable apples with lock pictures (shown below) to use in your own classroom.

Get free locks for your lockbox with this free set of printable apples.



Option 3: Try Donors Choose. {It really works!}

Donors Choose is a free site for educators that was founded by a teacher, with the goal of bringing educational resources and learning opportunities to students through online donations. The service is for public school or charter school teachers in the United States. It is free to participate, and it only takes about 30 minutes to create a project! Once your project is approved by the Donors Choose team, it will be posted on the site and can remain on the site for up to four months. If your project is funded, the Donors Choose organization will order and ship your items to you! The good news is that 70% of projects are fully funded. In fact, more than a million projects have already been funded. Maybe your lockbox materials will be next!


Option 4: Hold a bake sale. {Yum!}

Sometimes it pays to think outside the box. Consider holding a bake sale to fund your lockbox! Bake sales are a great way to raise money quickly for a good cause. Before organizing a bake sale, be sure to check with your principal to get proper permissions. If possible, try to coordinate your sale with another school event that draws a crowd. Could it be held during a sporting event or book fair? Here is a sample letter to help you get started. Use it as is, or make something similar that suits your needs. Tell families about your cause and ask for donations of baked goods. Involve your students in making posters and fliers to let shoppers know about the event. Recruit parent helpers to assist students with sales at the table. Then, use that money to set yourself up with everything you and your students need for your first Lockbox Challenge!

Get free locks for your lockbox with this free sample letter for a bake sale.


Option 5: Just ask! {You’ll be glad you did.}

So, this idea is just as simple as can be. Literally, just ask for it. This may not be the best option in every situation, but there are some school communities with parents just begging to make donations to the classroom {#luckyyou}. Click here for a letter you can print and send home to families. Before you send the letter home, build excitement in your classroom by telling your students all about Lockbox Challenges. Show them pictures of a lockbox and locks. Help them understand your intentions of collecting supplies so you can give it a try.

Get free locks for your lockbox with this free letter that you can send home to parents.

It is my sincere hope that one of these methods will help you build a lock collection for your classroom. I’m cheering for you! I want every teacher and student to have an opportunity to try a Lockbox Challenge, without money being an obstacle. If you use one of my suggestions, I would LOVE to hear about it! Tag me in a picture on Instagram, send me a message through Facebook, or come back to leave a reply right here on the blog.


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