Although it takes careful research to find sources of grant money, the effort is well worth your time. Grants don’t need to be repaid and can provide a significant source of funding for obtaining a college education, buying a home, or starting a business.
The most well-known source of grant money is the federal government. Some of the largest grant programs administered by the federal government provide funding to help low and middle income students obtain a college education. Teachers, artists, law enforcement officers, and people in certain other occupations are also eligible for federal grant money. There are no grants from the federal government to start a business, although some programs provide funding to expand an existing business if it meets the necessary criteria.
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State and local government agencies also provide grant money for specific purposes. For example, your state’s economic development agency can provide assistance to help you start a small business. Some state programs are administered year round, while others only accept applications during a specific time frame. Many grant programs have specific income requirements.
Private foundations are another source of grant money. To maintain non-profit status, private foundations are legally obligated to give away at least five percent of their assets each year. The eligibility criteria for these programs are typically very specific. For example, there are organizations that provide grants to assist minorities in starting small businesses or to help women obtain a college education. Occasionally, you can find foundations that provide grant assistance for living or medical expenses.
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No matter what type of grant you apply for, the application process is quite extensive. Many grants can only provide funding to a limited number of applicants and require a written proposal. It can often take months before your proposal is reviewed and even longer to receive your money. Applications must be filled out completely and contain specific details about your project or proposal. If you are selected to receive grant money, you may be required to submit documentation to ensure that you’ve spend the funds in an appropriate manner.
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