WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KETK) — The Whitehouse ISD Education Foundation (WISDEF) is hosting the third annual Wildcat Den on Saturday, April 2 starting at 9 a.m. at Whitehouse Junior High School Cafeteria. WISDEF said they will award up to $50,000 in the Shark Tank-style grant contest.

Launched in 2020, Wildcat Den expands WISDEF Grants beyond written applications that are graded by groups of judges. Applicants for Wildcat Den will complete an abbreviated version of the written application with the bulk of information is shared in a presentation to a panel of judges at Wildcat Den. Each applicant or group of applicants will give a six-minute presentation followed by a four-minute question-and-answer session from the panel of judges.

“For the past three years, our donors have generously allowed us to fund $100,000 annually in Whitehouse district initiatives, mostly in the form of grants,” said Kristina Wait, Whitehouse ISD Education Foundation Executive Director. “When our funding hit this level of annual giving, we incorporated Wildcat Den. This Shark Tank-style competition allows grant applicants the opportunity to share passion and enthusiasm that isn’t always evident in our standard written grant application. Through their presentation, applicants can persuade our panel of judges to fund their grant by demonstrating the impact it will have on Whitehouse ISD students.”

School officials said that one significant change between the fall grant cycle and Wildcat Den is that there is no cap for money requested. Typically, a grant is limited to $2,000 for an individual or $5,000 for a group.

At Wildcat Den, an applicant may ask for any amount between $2,000 and the entire amount available. The only requirement is that the grant aligns with the WISDEF mission statement for funding creative and imaginative ideas.

“Our fall grants allow us breadth across the district—almost every campus and many disciplines receive a maximum of $5,000. This year, we funded right at $50,000 in fall grants. Wildcat Den allows us depth within a campus or program. Since there is no maximum amount for a grant, we can fund incredibly impactful ideas,” Wait said. “In 2021, we funded a flight simulator for Whitehouse High School. The year before we were the first area education foundation to fund book vending machines at five of our campuses. Each of these grants impacts students in exciting ways.”

Last year, Wildcat Den funded seven unique projects, including You Wanna Build a Robot? Lego! that established a Lego Robotics Team on each campus, culminating in a competition at Trane Technologies earlier this semester.

Another grant funded was Children Grieve, Too that established support groups for students at Whitehouse Junior High School grieving the loss of a loved one. This curriculum was reportedly taught to other counselors across the district and has since been launched at Whitehouse High School.