Funding for AED Programs in Schools

As many as 7,000 children are struck down by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) every year. SCA can occur in classrooms, athletic fields, gymnasiums, and in hallways; and can happen not only to students, but also teachers, administration, and even visitors.

According to the American Heart Association, defibrillation within 3 minutes of SCA raises the chance of survival to 70 percent. The critical factor? Having an Automated external defibrillator (AED) within reach.

The importance of equipping schools with life-saving AED technology is clear. Yet many schools still don't have them in their budget. Some AED programs are funded through local agency or community budgets. The police chief, mayor or town council may simply decide to include AED program implementation costs in the budget because the need to improve early defibrillation capabilities is recognized as a top priority. In some communities, though, it is necessary to pursue additional funding sources.

School Health Can Help

We understand the challenges schools face in getting funding for AED programs. We've worked with many elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities to put live-saving AED programs in place, even in times of tight budgeting. We can provide you with tools and ideas to persuade superintendents, athletic directors, school nurses, and other key people about the importance of putting an AED program in place.

Contact School Health for more information. We can meet with you to determine your needs and put together a plan to fund your AED program.

Funding Sources to Consider

Local Corporations and Businesses

Corporations may donate to charitable causes through corporate giving programs, company-sponsored foundations or both. Corporate giving often is directed to programs that benefit employees and their families or the community.

Businesses can be one of the best funding sources for AED programs, for example large retailers, insurance companies, public utilities, corporate headquarters, grocery stores, car dealerships, hospitals, cardiologists, etc.

Local Civic Organizations

Rotary clubs, Elks clubs, Lions clubs, Kiwanis clubs, American Legions, VFWs, and hospital foundations/auxiliaries generally have funds available for community service initiatives and are very approachable. Often, a letter or presentation in a meeting may be all that is necessary to general funds. Look in the phone book or check with the Chamber of Commerce for local civic organizations.

Private Foundations

Foundations are nongovernmental non-profit organizations with funds maintained to serve the common good, primarily by providing grants to other non-profit organizations. In select libraries around the country you can access the Foundation Center's Database on CD/ROM. There are over 70,000 foundations and 200,000 grant opportunities nationwide. Some of these are Medtronic Heart Rescue Program, Tenet Healthcare, Bridgestone/Firestone, Ford, Allstate, Bank One, Wells Fargo, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Public Charities

Public charities derive their funds from the general public. Their goal is to enhance the quality of life in the local community. Look for community foundations in your area, such as the Minneapolis Community Foundation and the Denver Community Foundation.

Government Grants

The federal government spends about $1 trillion a year on domestic programs. The money filters through state agencies for redistribution at the local level. Grant funds can be found at the federal or state level. Typically, funding for EMS programs can be found in these agencies: Department of Health, Department of Transportation, Department of Justice, Department of Public Safety, Office of EMS, Department of Education, Federal Emergency Management Agency. Check the Catalog of Domestic Assistance for grant opportunities at (moved to


Some communities raise money for AED programs using traditional fundraisers. While such effort can be time consuming, they do work. Some examples might be a CPR marathon, letter campaign to area businesses, raffle donated items, sell something, hold a breakfast or dinner, sponsor a holiday event or a refreshment stand at local sports events, a golf tournament, bingo, games, etc. You might also contact the PTA or PTSA to see if they can help with a fundraiser.