What are Grants?
Grants are funds that individuals and organizations apply for, and once received the money does not have to be paid back. These are free money donations from the government and private sector businesses or organizations designed to create jobs, improve communities and essentially stimulate and maintain a strong economy.
There are thousands of foundations that have been established within these three groups to aid in the administration and distribution of these funds. The amount of money obtained through grants varies widely and can fall anywhere from $200 to $500,000 or more depending on the cause and the under solicited.
Grants are available to any US citizen who pays their taxes and they can be applied for at any time of the year. Although, keep in mind, each grant has its own deadline date, so if there is one in specific that you would like, make sure to submit your completed application on time.
What Types of Grants Are Available?
There are many types of grants available. First things first you need to decide where you want to solicit the funds from in order to increase your chances for approval. Applying to the wrong foundations and grant offers is not only time consuming, it can be very disheartening when your request is denied. This process can be facilitated by the use of grant kits or consultants that aid in the process of finding grants and filling out the applications. In fact many of these have free trials, so the additional help doesn’t even cost you anything. However, if you are ambitious and willing to go it on your own, there is a wealth of information on the internet regarding available grants and filling out the grant applications.
There are essentially three types of grant groups: government, corporate, and non-profit organizations.
The US government, on its numerous authority levels, offers the public grants for a variety of different causes. Most common are Small Business Grants, Grants For College, Grants For Minorities, Home Grants, and Women’s Grants.
Many corporations, both large and small, offer funds for business ventures, community initiatives, and education, among others. This money is often donated as a PR stunt, in hopes of strengthening the company reputation within the community, and of course for the associated tax breaks. Nevertheless, they are a great source of funds and should not be overlooked.
Lastly, are non-profit organizations. These groups give grants often with money donated from their subscribers to help the community, environment and social welfare programs.
After deciding which umbrella group you would be best off with, there now comes a sub group that outlines the specific reasoning for funding. Some of these groups are:
Small Business Grants, Education Grants, Research Grants, Minority Grants, Housing Grants, Personal Grants, Religion Grants, Sports Grants, Disability Grants, Social Wellness Grants, and Women’s Grants
Several of these subgroups can fall into more than one category and that should be taken into consideration as well. For example, people applying for Education Grants may find it beneficial to apply to government foundations offering education grants, as well as corporate foundations offering education grants.
Every foundation has a specific agenda and a cause that they are advocating and supporting, so find out what your grant foundation’s is. Perhaps you have something in common with one specific foundation that can increase your chances. Do your homework and investigate!
Is there a specific template for applying?
Each specific grant applied for will have its own unique list of qualifications for eligibility and an application package. Often times this includes, but is not limited to, application forms, essays, list of community involvement, etc… It is important to fill these forms out accurately and completely, as errors will cause your application to be returned without review.
How long does it take to process?
The processing time of an application varies from foundation to foundation and grant to grant. Some grants are being rewarded within several weeks of applying, while others take several months to obtain a response.