grants, State grants , Local grants
first place to look for federal grants is the government, which
provides the largest number of grants to businesses and other
organizations. An excellent and comprehensive place to begin your
search for a federal grant is the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance, or CFDA. This catalog offers 15 different types of
federal domestic assistance, including formula grants and project
grants. Formula grants are given to states "in accordance with
distribution formulas," and project grants provide funds for
"specific projects . . . [which] can include . . . research
grants, training grants, . . . technical assistance grants . . . and
site also gives information on how to apply for federal assistance.
Essentially you use the search engine to find programs which will
meet your needs. It will give you information on what the program
offers and what you need to do to apply. It gives information for
contacting the agency offering the grant so that you can find out
directly from the source if your grant proposal or project proposal
meets their parameters for funding, if there are funds available at
the current time, and answers to any other questions you might have.
If everything seems to match well, the next step is to apply for the
grant. There is a standard form 424, called the Application for
Federal Assistance that you will usually use, although certain
agencies may have other forms you will need to fill out as well. The
CFDA also gives help with writing the grant itself, and explains all
the parts of a grant proposal.
should also check out Grants.gov. This website lists all types of
federal grants that the government offers. It offers a search engine
that you can use to find grant opportunities, and you can also
download an application for writing a grant proposal here as well.
addition to the government, another place to look for grants is
foundations and non-profit organizations. There are a couple of great
websites that offer a lot of information about grants available
through foundations and non-profits. One is The Foundation Center.
One especially unique and useful feature of this site is a listing,
both in a book form and online version, of Foundation Grants to
Individuals. This lists, all in one place, grants for individuals
rather than non-profit organizations. There is a small subscription
rate for the online service, and the book is available for purchase
materials are also available at cooperating libraries. Additionally,
they offer online courses in grant writing and how to research grant
opportunities. As you might have noticed, some for-profit
corporations also have foundations that sometimes provide grants. One
well-known case in point of this type of funding would be Bill Gates
of Microsoft Corporation who also has the Gates Foundation, which
gives grants for educational purposes, for one example from among
many of their beneficiaries.
useful site is USA.gov. Here they list USA.gov for Nonprofits. You
might not currently be a non-profit, but you could either become one
or you could become affiliated with one in order to become eligible
for grant monies, so it doesn't hurt to take a look around this
website. It offers many opportunities for grants and their
eligibility requirements and application deadlines.
might not find the grant you wanted through the government, but
that's okay. There are other avenues available such as foundations
and non-profit organizations that might be able to help you find the
money you need.
can they be used for?
grants can be applied for and used predominantly by organizations and
non-profit organizations, but usually not individuals. The amount of
grant money awarded varies by each individual grant, and you must
follow their guidelines for using the funds. On the federal level,
the government tends to offer more loans than grants for individuals
who would like to use the money to start a business. There are some
federal grants available that can be used to help and enhance already
established small businesses. For instance, if your business deals
with a field of science based on plants or animals, there is a Small
Business Innovation Research Program that provides a project grant
for small businesses to do research that will "stimulate
technological innovation and the national return on investment from
research through the pursuit of commercialization objectives"
This is simply one example out of many available that pertains to how
federal grants can be used.
can't they be used for?
general, federal grants tend to be given to organizations and
non-profits rather than individuals. These organizations are usually
located at the state and local levels, so then the money typically
filters down to individuals through state and local organizations.
However, there are a few exceptions, such as the Foundation Grants
for Individuals, as mentioned earlier.
grant money might be awarded as a project grant for use in completing
a project. This would cover project expenses, but would not cover
things like start-up costs for your business, or your personal living
expenses while you worked on the project. If you are looking for
grant money to take care of your living expenses, or health expenses,
there is another website called www.GovBenefits.gov,
which offers assistance in these areas.
you begin reading each individual grant, you will see important
information that you can use to determine if you should apply for the
particular grant and for what it can and cannot be used. One feature
that you will find in each specific grant entry is the average grant
size awarded. This will help you when you are working on a budget for
your project, and you can determine if the grant offered is an
appropriate size for your project. If there are any restrictions
placed upon who is eligible to apply, you will see it in the grant
entry. Perhaps the grant is limited to people who live in a certain
state or a certain city or area of the country. You might also see a
listing of sample grants, where you will get to look at current
recipients of grants from a particular organization. This information
can help you determine if your proposed project has any similarities
and if it will be a good fit for the foundation or the grant-making
organization. Each entry will also go through application procedures,
so you will know exactly what you will need to do to apply for the
matter where you live, each state offers a selection of grants to
people living in the state. At the state level is where you will
likely find grants for attending school. This might be a pre-start-up
cost for you if you require some training before you begin your new
business, so this is an indirect advantage of grant money available
at the state level. Although many of these programs are focused on
providing state grants for low and middle-income students to attend
college, there are some grants available for businesses.
example, did you know that on the Governor of Texas's website they
list procurement opportunities? If your business sells furniture, or
if your business provides services such as computer programming and
service, maintenance and repair, moving services, or temporary
personnel, then your business might be eligible to "procure"
the contracts and you would make the money for them. This is not a
grant per se, but it does offer the opportunity for a business to get
money that does not have to be paid back.
you are in New York, the state's Governor's Office of Regulatory
Reform site offers tax credits for businesses that operate and are
certified in the Empire Zone. This will save your business money, and
make it easier for you to stay in business and put your money toward
expanding the business rather than paying taxes. New York also offers
low-rate loans for existing small business expansion.
you want to relocate a business to New Jersey, the state offers a
grant in the form of tax credits to offset your business taxes. The
grant can be as high as eighty percent of your taxes, so it
definitely pays to look into these types of opportunities at the
state level. There are also grants available for employee training in
job safety and health and basic literacy skills.
you live in Connecticut, according to the state's office of Policy
and Management you may be eligible for a grant for $10,000 if you are
an individual or company with less than 30 employees that has created
a renewable energy technology that has not yet been sold. You can use
the money for such purposes as product development and testing,
developing your business plan or meeting your payroll, among others.
is just a small selection of what type of business assistance is
available at the state level, but it gives you a jumping off point of
some of the places in your state where grant money might be
available. It also is wise to remember that, in terms of state
grants, many foundations and non-profit organizations give grants to
people living in a particular state, but mostly those people have to
be a non-profit organization or affiliated with one and not an
individual in order to qualify.
they can be used for
grants are primarily for funding business expansion rather than for
start-up costs. There are some exceptions, one being if your new
business will be located in an economically depressed area and you
will hire local people to work for you. Another is if you want to
start a business that will improve the environment in some way, such
as a recycling business of some kind. If you are looking for state
grants that would provide for a reduction of certain taxes you would
normally have to pay, they are available as well because states want
to encourage new businesses to form within their states to provide
new business and jobs to the area.
they can't be used for
grants tend to not cover start-up costs for a new business. You
usually will not be able to go out and rent a building or buy
machinery or advertise your new business with this type of funding.
This sort of funding is often more available at the local level, as
we will take a look at next.
can also find grant money available for small businesses to access
and use at a more local level. You will want to see if your city or
nearby cities has or have an Economic Development Council. These
councils offer a wealth of help for new local businesses. They all
vary a bit, but likely here is where you can find out what the
business climate and the demographics are for the town in which you
will want to do business, which will assist you in writing your
example of this is the Thurston County Economic Development Center.
They offer grants through the Washington Technology Center's Research
and Technology Development Grant Program, for applied research
projects to make their way out of the lab and into the marketplace.
Another type of financial assistance they make available is the
Community Development Block Grant Float Loan Program, where the city
applies for a grant and with that money makes available short term
loans to private businesses that will create jobs for lower-income
can also sometimes find business grant money from your local
government. In the Seattle area, among others, if you are planning a
larger new business that will employ 150 people and will require
building, you can receive King County Green Building Grants if your
project will be LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design, certified, which is building for conserving resources.
local Economic Development Administration might also provide you with
resources to start a business. If you are a non-profit organization
or an affiliate of one, you might be able to apply for an economic
development grant that can be used by the nonprofit for expenses
related to planning for lessening unemployment and improving incomes
in an economically distressed area, which can make your business plan
stronger and increase the chances of your business on paper becoming
a reality. http://www.downtowncamas.com/edrguide.htm.
places to look for local grants are at your town or city's Chamber of
Commerce. Sometimes they might not offer a grant to a business, but
they do offer grants to non-profit organizations, so your business
could work with a local non-profit to develop a program that would
meet the grant's qualifications.
a Chamber of Commerce you might also find that a particular city
offers a grant to qualified businesses equal to a percentage of their
investment in the first year of the business's existence if the
company is located in a particular area of the city.
you belong to a business organization or association you might find
local grants available through these resources, as well as small
private foundations and family foundations that are located in your
area and which might fund local projects. There are many business
organizations and associations available, ranging from the Arizona
Bioindustry Association to the American Philosophical Association and
the Computing Technology Industry Association, to name a small number
of business associations out there. These types of organizations
often offer help and support to a new business through education,
perhaps a mentorship program, and sometimes grants.
can they be used for?
uses of local grant money can be as varied as the number of different
grant programs you explore. Many grants from higher levels up at the
state and federal level are bestowed on cities. There are often grant
departments that function within a local city government, and their
job is to find grants that can be used to fund city projects that
will benefit all the citizens of the city. This can help a business
because the city can get grant money to pay for the construction of
roads that will bring customers to your business more easily, or they
might pay for improving a downtown area to attract more people and
customers to the downtown sector of a city or town where your
business might be located, for example.
might also find local grant money available to help you attend a
trade show in the United States or even in other countries. This will
assist your new business in finding customers and introduce your
products to new markets, which would help your new business to grow.
avenue of resources is grant money that is bestowed on a local
organization, usually a non-profit one or a foundation, and then the
local non-profit makes various types of resources available for
people who want to start a business. Often these resources are given
to whoever is the focus of the non-profit foundation. It could be
children and education. Or it might be women or minorities, or other
types of beneficiaries. Sometimes money is available if your new
business is located in an economically depressed area of a town, and
if your new business will hire local people who come from an
economically depressed background, then you will find many incentives
available from a city or town to help bring your new business there.
you are a professor affiliated with a local college or university,
there is grant money available for research projects. Many of the
research projects tend to be oriented toward the science fields, such
as biomass energy and other types of technology, as well as
environmental concerns such as renewable fuel research, and
you want to start a business that has a science and environmental
focus, there is grant money available for individuals who partner
with a university or other organization and work together on
developing new types of products, typically with a renewable energy
focus. The purpose of these types of project grants is to develop a
product which can then be introduced to the public. In addition, at
the local level you may find grants available for educational
pursuits that would give you the skills you need to start a new
can't they be used for?
with local area grant opportunities, they often cannot be used for an
individual's business start-up costs. What is available at the local
level are tax incentives, which can be sizable, and low-interest
loans based on grant money that your local city or town received from
the state or federal level. Local grants are also not usually
available to for-profit corporations. Local grant money is often more
available to non-profit corporations.
grant opportunity has specific parameters that must be met for
applying for the grant, and if you are selected to receive the grant,
what it can and cannot be used for. If you are awarded a project
grant, then the money is usually used for funding the project, and
not other expenses, so it pays to read the grant announcement
carefully for all the details.
that you know the differences in the types of grants and their
various uses, let's take a look in greater detail about where you can
To Find Grants
you understand from the previous chapter, there are grants available
for businesses at the federal, state and local levels that can be
used for a wide variety of purposes. Now we will take a more in-depth
look at some of the places where you can begin your search for grants
that will meet your specific needs.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
is the largest, and likely, the single-best reference on where to
find grants at the federal and state levels of the grant pipeline.
website is a portal to a database of all types of Federal programs
that would benefit state and local governments, Indian tribes, public
and private for-profit and non-profit groups, special groups and
individuals. This database gives you information about specific
grants, and then you can contact the specific office that is in
charge of the grant to learn how to apply for it.
can narrow your search by looking at their Assistance Programs
listings page, or you can do a wide sweeping search of all the
programs they have listed. Each topic, for example the Agricultural
Research-Basic and Applied Research topic, has a corresponding
program number that precedes it, which refers to the federal
department that is in charge of the particular grant and the
numerical order of grants. They will list the type of assistance
offered, in this case project grants, and they will tell you how you
can and cannot use the grant money. They will list the eligibility
requirements, in this case a non-profit university or college or a
non-profit research organization.
can also give information about how to apply and what their
evaluation procedure is for the applications and how they award the
grant. You will also see what the deadlines are to apply, and how
long it will take them to get back to you and let you know if you
were awarded the grant or not.
grants also have requirements for after the time you have received a
grant, which can include things like reports and audits. You can also
learn how much money they usually award, and contacts to ask
questions. They helpfully also might list related programs. These are
other places where you will want to explore to see if your grant
proposal will work for these other programs because they are similar
to the one at which you are currently looking.
is another heavy-hitter grant website that offers over four hundred
billion dollars each year in Federal grant money. It is a government
requirement that all Federal competitive grants be listed on this
can search for grants by using a keyword search, or a category or
agency search, as well as the CFDA number. When you are ready to
apply for a grant here, you will discover that it can be done by
downloading an application package. Then you can work on it offline
and take the time you need to complete it. It can then be submitted
online when it is complete. You can also track your application
online as well, to see where it is in the process of evaluation and
you choose to apply for a grant at this website, you will need to
register with them as either an organization or an individual.
Individuals registered as such are only allowed to apply for grants
for individuals and not grants for organizations. If you are
registering as an organization, you will need to select someone in
your organization to be the authorized organization representative
who will register with a credential provider.
is also a helpful e-mail alert feature where they will send you an
e-mail describing new grant postings on the site. Here you will find
a glossary of the terms that you will see used at the website and a
list of frequently asked questions. They also offer an indexed User
Guide that takes you through the whole process of finding and
applying for a grant at this site.
and County Economic Development Offices
you type the above descriptor into a search engine, you will receive
a list of different offices. You will want to look for your state and
select that one. Each of these sites will usually have a search
feature, into which you will type "grants." You should then
get a list of what is available in terms of grants. It might be
listed as loans and grants. Many states also offer community service
block grants which might provide you with the funding you require.
Here you may also find energy efficiency grants, project grants and
low-interest loans, job creation tax credits, job creation grants,
grants supporting research and technology development, and
manufacturing equipment grants.
will also find links to various state agencies. This is a good place
to look at agencies that have something to do with your new business,
and see what kinds of assistance are available. Some of the state
websites might offer a business gateway, and there you can look for
grants as well.
related resource that will be useful in the grant-seeking process
will be your local Small Business Development Center. This
organization can help a new small business find funding sources.
you find that there are few grant opportunities available for your
proposed new business from the government, do not despair. There are
also grant monies available from private foundations. Often these
foundations are affiliated with a family, such as the Ford or
Rockefeller Foundations. Some foundations provide grants for an area
in which they have a specific interest. It might be health issues, or
help to children, or women, or minorities, or any number of
beneficiary types. There are a wide variety of grants available
through foundations, including some that will cover building costs or
start-up funds. In general, foundations tend to give money to
non-profit organizations, so if you are an individual you might find
more grant opportunities available if you become a non-profit entity
or if you affiliate with an existing non-profit organization.
you are looking into grant opportunities available from foundations,
one of the best websites out there is for The Foundation Center. They
have a complete database on U.S. foundations and the grants they
offer. They have five regional library-learning centers and many
cooperating collections where the public can access their useful
publications and information. This is a great website for individuals
who are seeking grants.
many of the other resources previously covered, the Foundation Center
provides help for individual grant seekers. They offer training and
tutorials about the basics of finding potential foundation resources
that will be a good fit for you. They also offer training about
finding a fiscal sponsor or affiliating with a non-profit
organization. If you are a non-profit or affiliated with one, there
is an Associates Program where there is a researcher on-call who can
give answers from all the Foundation Center's databases. They host
several message boards where you can post questions as well, and they
provide a bulletin in which grant makers request your proposals for
specific projects. At this website you can learn more about common
grant application format. This allows you to fill out one grant
proposal and submit it to several specific foundations, and is a real
that we have gone through some of the best resources for finding
grants in more detail, you are probably realizing that you have a
vast amount of material to read and process. Our next chapter deals
with focusing your attention on the areas that will have the most
benefit to your specific situation, and how to avoid some of the
pitfalls that can sometimes come with grant seeking.