Unlike loans, grants are essentially “free money" that never needs to be repaid. Whether you're an individual, a business, or a nonprofit, there can be grants out there that can help you with the funding you need to meet your basic needs or advance to the next level.
Getting a grant requires preparation, planning and following through, but grants allow many people to pursue projects and go after goals they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to achieve. Grants are generally categorized by type and who is eligible.
Applicants need to meet the criteria for what the grant makers are looking to fund. Some grants might fall under a number of categories at the same time, such as disaster relief aid for schools, or grants for day care, stem, arts programs, after care and health care for underprivileged populations.
Here are some popular categories and some opportunities.
Social Programs and Education Oriented Grants
Grants support many other social programs, such as environmental improvement projects, literacy centers and helping people with disabilities. Many corporations invest funds in such programs at home or abroad, as the Chronicle of Philanthropy website says. Often a program must have nonprofit status, be a government institution, or be affiliated with a school to receive such a grant. These grants help communities to grow stronger and take care of those in need of assistance.
Grants to USA nonprofit organizations and government agencies in eligible states and counties for reading and educational programs for K-12 children. Funding is intended to support programming to prevent summer reading loss for K-3 children as well as to promote K-12 instruction of environmental, engineering, and energy-related subjects. Counties in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina that are served by the Foundation are eligible to apply.
With security issues as they are, and disasters unfortunately being so frequent, preparedness is of top priority. These grants allow towns, cities, schools and community centers, faith-based organizations and other entities to prepare for emergencies. Funds may support training and equipment that facilitate preparedness, or pay the salaries of emergency workers. Such grants help communities to stay safe and give people a sense of security.
These grants allow individuals and communities to recover following floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, acts of war and other natural disasters, airplane and train crashes. Such grants assist impacted individuals, communities, schools and more.
Grants to Improving Facilities - Capital Funding
Some grants help schools, nonprofits and other entities to improve their facilities when they don't have the funds to complete repairs and renovations on their own. Grants often provide funds for rebuilding or renovating damaged structures, weatherproofing buildings, making structures more environmentally friendly, or adding additional structures to serve the needs of a growing population. These are often called capital campaigns or capital funding.
Education and Technology Grants
Some grants provide funds for technology, books and other crucial materials in schools and community centers, as well as professional development for teachers, or for students to go to college or for adults to go back to school. Others provide funds to enrichment programs like summer camps to support economically disadvantaged children who wish to participate.
Numerous grants for environmental and health concerns from associations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSH), the USDA and other institutions support groundbreaking academic research. Others are available through academic institutions and state utilities like electric or gas companies. Through this funding, researchers learn how to overcome diseases, environmental ills, social disparities and other major concerns. Some researchers use grants to travel to study in other countries to learn from them or find out the different problems and conditions there that need to be addressed . Institutions of higher education depend on research and research grants to develop and maintain reputations for excellence in scholarship.
Prizes of up to $25,000 to USA, Canada, and International architects, urban planners, engineers, landscape architects, designers, and students for designing an energy efficient recreation center on a California university campus. All applicants must first register before the final deadline. The purpose of this competition is to demonstrate and promote net-zero energy building projects.
Grants fund artistic endeavors as well, supporting visionary projects that may help people to see the world from a new perspective. The National Endowment for the Arts and many foundations provide such funding. Like research grants, these sources of funding help colleges and universities build their reputations, and students and professors advance.
Grants starting at $50,000 to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Florida, and Massachusetts nonprofit organizations for projects, operating, and capital support that will benefit underserved communities. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application. Focus areas include arts and culture, education, the environment, health, and welfare. Collaboration and joint applications that bridge two or more areas of interest are encouraged.
GrantWatch.com can help you find grants in these and other categories.
About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch.