Free Government Grants

Many government grants are available through numerous departments and agencies of both the federal and state governments. While most are “free,” in the sense that the entity receiving the grant does not payback the awarded funds, the stipulations and requirements to receive such government grants may make one wonder if the use of the word “free” is not somewhat misleading. Misleading because while there are numerous internet sites and printed materials that suggest that free government grants are available for just about everything, the reality is very different!

The reality is this: The federal and state governments do have funds available to those entities that qualify for funds. Occasionally, individuals, too, qualify for some government grants. However, free government grants come with “strings attached.” These “strings” translate into requirements. For each and every government grant, at either the federal or state levels, the requirements declare who or what can apply for the funding opportunity.

What are these requirements? This is an excellent question, and this is where one should start. Most government grants are awarded to several entity types including public and private non-profits, for profit organizations, recognized Indian tribes, states or local governments, institution of higher learning, etc. Many federal government grants are competitive. Some are not. As with all things federal, it is vital to read the Full Announcement to determine eligibility, requirements, and any other restrictions that apply.

Therefore, an individual seeking a home improvement grant may search with Housing and Urban Development (HUD), only to discover that he or she does not qualify because HUD does not fund individual requests. Of course, home improvements for families are available, but eligibility includes income and geographic restrictions. College-bound students can find government grants, too. But once again, income restrictions apply. Small businesses can access grant funds mainly at the state and local levels. The federal government does NOT fund business start-ups and expansions.

While eligibility is a key factor in government grants, it is equally important in understanding and adhering to all the requirements that pertain to the funding opportunity. And, it is here, where the issue of “free government grants” is misused.

Again, while grants generally do not have to be paid back, what is required is strict adherence to reporting and achieving the goals and objectives as outlined in the grant application. In other words, from the beginning, it is essential to complete each and every document required by the governmental source. At the federal level, this means completing and submitting not only the “Request for Federal Funding,” but ensuring that the lead organization (not person) has a Dun and Bradstreet Number. Further, it means that each required document from the Project Narrative, Budget Narrative, Budget Information for Non-Construction Program Forms, as well as all documents needed to satisfy financial reports and final results are completed thoroughly and on-time. States have similar requirements. Their paperwork is equally as comprehensive.

Free government grants. Think again…the work involved is arduous and requires strict attention to detail

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