According to an analysis by the Associated Press, the National Rifle Association gave schools a reported $7.3 million in grants between 2010 and 2016. Most of the money has gone to supporting programs like ROTC and competitive shooting. Even if a school wanted to use the grant money to pay for things like new books, new computers, or subsidizing lunch so that students don’t accumulate debt at school, they probably couldn’t.
The NRA’s grant program was initiated in 1992. While organizations don’t typically raise money via a grant program, only to then write themselves a grant with that money, about half of the money raised is funneled back into the NRA’s headquarters while the other half is written out in the form of grants. The NRA doesn’t directly collect the money though, it’s raised through an offshoot called Friends of NRA which is technically separated from the organization. Beyond that, half of the money directed at schools goes to the aforementioned ROTC programs. Of the money that doesn’t go back into the NRA, about half is given to youth-driven programs.
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting, several businesses like Delta Airlines and Metlife have cut ties with the NRA. This is largely due to the fact that, through lobbying firms and a bevy of campaign contributions, the NRA does a lot to make sure that gun legislation does not get passed in Congress.
Broward County school district, of which Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a member, was the first school district to cut ties with the NRA. Nikolas Cruz, the teenager who carried out the shooting, was a member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas rifle team which was sponsored by the NRA. Unlike several businesses that have been quick to disassociate themselves with the organization, many schools are still reluctant to do so.
According to the Associated Press, an overwhelming majority of the schools that received NRA grants are in counties that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016. Beyond that, most are in isolated rural counties where competitive shooting is an activity that students and spectators engage in more widely.