Who Gives Out Grants? Have you ever been to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream? There is a flavor for every taste imaginable. Grants are that way, every kind of flavor for all kinds of tastes: non-profit grants, hospital grants, grants to help small businesses, grants for education, grants for playground equipment, and the beat goes on. And like ice cream you can get grants served up differently. Waffle cone? Whipped cream and cherry on top? Milkshake? Grants typically come from corporations, governments and foundations and they all are attempting to make some specific thing better. Learn more in our Knowledge Base.
So imagine yourself walking in to that Baskin-Robbins. Eliminate the stuff you don’t like (no sorbets, no nuts, no tropical fruit for me). How do you want your ice cream? (I’ll take a milkshake.) What flavor? (Chocolate but I want it made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup NOT chocolate ice cream – too chocolaty.) What size? (Medium because I like fooling myself into thinking I’m cutting back on sweets.)
While that may only sound like I’m a high-maintenance ice cream connoisseur, it’s really what grants are like. They are specific and detailed. They serve a very focused clientele.
Unlike Baskin-Robbins grants are not open during regular business hours. And just as soon as you get your mouth ready for that milkshake you’ll see they only serve those on the 5th Monday of every 3rd month.
Grants to help small businesses and grants for non-profits are out there but they won’t always be open during regular business hours and you may have to wait for your milkshake. Finding the right grant at the right time is part of the puzzle for successful grant writing.
Here are some local “ice cream shops” where you might want to look for your favorite flavor:
The mothership for government grants is the website http://grants.gov You can find almost any flavor and size and scoops you want here but keep a couple a things in mind:
- Well over 90% of these funds will go to governments and non-profits (except for things like student loans and some home repairs).
- There are WAY more rules for these funds than there are from other grant sources.
- Many of the grants will require matching funds so don’t expect a lot of “free money”.
These groups are non-profit themselves and are in the business of giving out funds. They typically raise their money from a host of groups and businesses but most likely got their start with an endowment. Here are some hints when seeking grants from foundations:
- They are very focused. You won’t likely find a grant searching for terms like “grants for small businesses” or “grants for education” because that is too broad. If you hone in on terms like “K-12 grants for STEM education” you’ll be much more successful in finding a foundation.
- Because most of these foundations have a lot going on, the windows for applying are most likely open during a specific time frame. You’ll see deadlines like “grants for hospitals are open for 2015 June 15 – August 15”.
Corporations create their own non-profits and donate their own funds to their foundations. These are a bit easier to locate because the foundation’s interests are typically the corporation’s interests. For example:
- The Reebok Foundation promotes physical fitness and not lowering teen pregnancy.
- The Kroger Foundation fights hunger not illiteracy.
- The Lowe’s Foundation builds play grounds it doesn’t dig water wells in Africa.
Here are a few places to watch for information about corporate grants and foundation grants:
The old adage is when you’ve seen one grant application you’ve seen one grant application, be sure to dig deep and find out all the details you can.
And don’t forget to check out grants at Baskin-Robbins