Government grants abound! Grant availability, while determined by multiple issues related to income tax and other economic factors remain a viable option for those qualified entities and, in some case, individuals who want to access government grants. Equally important: government grants are awarded at the federal, state, county and city levels. Each can provide a significant source of funding, and should be investigated thoroughly!
Who or what qualifies for a government grant? Although there is a great deal of discussion of government grant availability, such grants (at whatever level) have a set of criteria that determines eligibility. At the federal level, eligible entities include: a state or unit of general local government; public housing authority, public or private nonprofit organization or intermediary, including institutions and area-wide planning organizations; or Indian Tribes, for profit organizations, or a combination of any of the above that apply jointly. This is a fairly comprehensive list.
Generally speaking, state grants are awarded to entities such as a county government that, in turn, provides funds to non profit organizations (most often public charities), schools, and other agencies that provide health and human services. Additionally, state grants help students from low-to-moderately low income families pay for educational expenses at eligible colleges and universities. Some states provide grants to certain municipalities and non profit organizations for historic preservation of programs that are listed on the National or State Registers of Historic Places. State government grants fund the acquisition, development, rehabilitation and maintenance of recreational trails, and trail-related projects. The State of Illinois provides grants to local government units for public improvements on behalf of businesses with major renovation projects that will, in turn, generate employment. The Illinois Department of Agriculture offers grants to individuals and agribusinesses for the purpose of enhancing or expanding agribusiness in the state. And these are just a few examples.
City grants, when they are available, are often made to small non profits or to local businesses. However, city grants are becoming fewer and fewer as the economic downturn continues.
Federal grants are literally in a class by themselves. They run the gamut…from affordable housing, environmental concerns, women’s health, children’s wellness and nutrition, to numerous other issues that require significant funding.
Both federal and state government grants can include: job training and re-entry for the long-term unemployed; fish and wildlife management; cancer cause and prevention research; cyber-security; farm workers training; neighborhood stabilization; transitional housing, and other estimable causes.
Government grants for individuals, while available, are highly restrictive. Restrictions include income levels, resident requirements, and other elements that satisfy the criteria of the government grant.
Despite the seeming array of government grants available, and the criteria established, such funding opportunities are important components to funding worthwhile programs and projects. To overlook these grants is to overlook sources of funding that are much-needed at this time.