Personal Grants

Are there personal grants available as so many internet sites claim? The answer is somewhat more complicated than either just a simple “yes” or “no.” Overall, however, the federal government does not provide grants to individuals although there are exceptions such as fellowships for highly specialized areas of study. If one goes to – the clearinghouse for all federal grant announcements – it states clearly that this website does not provide personal financial assistance. If one is looking for such assistance, then the individual is re-directed to Government Benefits, Student Loans, and Small Business Start-ups.

Personal assistance takes many forms, and includes basic human services such as food, clothing, and shelter. Non-profit organizations assist in these areas as well often providing the most direct “hands-on” assistance to those in need.

The real issue here: Need. The federal government, through its many agencies and departments, provides services to states, counties, cities, other government entities, and non profits to help low-income individuals and families secure housing, food, clothing, utility payments, rental assistance, transportation assistance, job training and placement to name but a few. Most housing and medical assistance is provided by the state. Medicaid assists children and individuals with medical care, food stamps to feed people, and temporary financial assistance, generally on a monthly basis, to help families and individuals re-establish themselves after encountering difficulties. In order to receive such assistance, individuals must apply at their local Health and Social Services Department.

Families needing subsidized day care, or single parents needing the same service, can apply for subsidies at their local department of human services. While the subsidy is based on family income and size, they are available and should be sought after for those who are in need of them.

Of course, there are numerous education grants for minorities and women. Included in this is the Federal Pell Grant Program administered by the Department of Education (DOE), a program established to ensure that those with demonstrated financial need have the opportunity to attend college. Financial assistance for most college-bound students is conducted by the DOE, and those seeking help need to complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Requirements are primarily based on financial need, but all who seek federal assistance for college must complete and submit the FAFSA.

Overlooked, often, are non-profit organizations that readily help individuals. The Coleman Foundation offers Personal Grants that directly benefit Coleman clients living in Ohio. These grants provide a wide array of daily living needs. Foundations in other states have missions that represent their concerns and primary focus areas, and should be utilized by individuals needing such personal help.

Identifying such foundations other than the more highly visible non- profits such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, can be difficult. But if you are individual in need then know that there is personal assistance available.

Begin with local agencies, and then identify non-profits that provide personal assistance. They are numerous, and they are there for you!

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