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The Grant Helpers Blog is a resource for educational entitities, municipalities and related service firms, non-profits, and businesses that are interested in proposal development and securing grant funding. Our blog can help you get started, but if you have questions or need assistance, feel free to contact us for a free grant writing consultation.

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Outdoor Recreation Grants


recToday, more than 80 percent of families live in urban areas and lack easy access to outdoor spaces. In response, President Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative will soon help address the situation. Starting in September for the 2015-2016 school year, all fourth graders will be given a pass that will allow them and their families free entry into every National Park for an entire year. There is no application necessary. Annual family passes normally cost $80.

The president’s initiative also includes the renewal of the National Park Foundation’s program that provides grants to help schools pay for transportation to bring kids to visit parks, public lands, and waters. Schools that have the most need are favored in this grant program. The President has also requested new funding in his FY 2016 budget to support transportation for school outings to parks for students from low-income areas.

While we wait for this exciting opportunity, there are other grants that will help fund more local, community-based outdoor recreation causes. Grants for outdoor recreation activities are often very competitive. There are several things you can do to make your proposal competitive.

  • Partnerships are often favored in grant applications, so a municipality, educational unit, and community group working together to better a town could increase the appeal of a request.

  • Outdoor recreation opportunities that reach everyone from children to senior citizens, and anyone in between, can give you a leg up.

  • Projects that have a wide range of activities involved, from sports to exercise to conservation, could be a plus for grantors.

Below are a few grant opportunities we have hand-picked to get you started. There are often a lot of grant opportunities available for outdoor recreation projects. If you don’t see a grant that applies to your project below, get in touch with one of our experts who will help you find a grant that suits you.

The KEEN Effect

KEEN Footwear is hoping to preserve the great outdoors through its KEEN Effect grant program. This year, the company will give $10,000 grants to 10 non-profit organizations that are dedicated to responsible outdoor recreation and participation. KEEN defines outdoors as any place that does not have a ceiling so the opportunities are endless. Special consideration will be given to projects that introduce new audiences to the outdoors. Applications must be submitted by March 1 to be considered for the Earth Day grantee cycle. Applications received after that date will be considered in the second cycle, to be announced on National Public Lands Day on Sept. 26.   

L.L. Bean

Non-profit organizations can apply for funding from L.L. Bean. The clothing and shoe retailer has given more than $14 million to local, state, regional, and national conservation organizations in the last 10 years. Under its conservation and outdoor recreation program, L.L. Bean funds projects that protect and maintain natural resources or encourage children to participate in outdoor activities. Proposals are accepted at any time throughout the year. There are no maximum or minimum grant amounts.

Shade Structure Grant Program

Being outside is not always fun when the sun is beating down on you. If your outdoor recreation area needs some shade, look no farther than the American Academy of Dermatologist’s Shade Structure Grant Program. Schools and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for funding to construct a permanent shade structure for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun. Each Shade Structure Grant is valued up to $8,000, which includes the cost for a shade structure and installation. This year’s grant cycle is already over. To apply for the 2016 cycle, have your applications submitted between Sept. 1 and Nov. 25.

American Alpine Club Cornerstone Conservation Grant

This grant program aims to create healthy climbing landscapes and empower local rock climbing communities. To do so, the American Alpine Club, partnered with REI, will award organizations grants ranging from $1,000-$8,000. All projects must impact rock climbing efforts, accessibility, or environments. Past AAC projects include new trails and human-waste management policies at Utah’s Castleton Tower and Indian Creek climbing areas, a new human-waste management system in Grand Teton National Park, and new trails and waste-management systems in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Lumpy Ridge climbing area.


There are many different grants available to help fund your project. Let us help narrow down the choices to those that specifically fit your needs. Contact us today for a FREE consultation to get you started on the road to grant success.


Photo Credit: Kelvyn Skee reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

Three Ways to Justify Grants for School Gardens


In an ongoing effort to help you think outside the box when it comes gardento funding, we have compiled a list of three different ways to justify funding for school gardens. Now is the perfect time to stratetize for funding for school gardens as spring, and grant deadlines, are right around the corner. We have included a potential grant for each funding theme to help you get started.

Possible Theme: Funding for Creative Curriculum

Teachers are always looking for innovative ways to integrate their curriculum into unique projects. School gardens could be used by physical education teachers to teach about healthy nutrition. Science teachers could use fruits, vegetables, and flowers to conduct experiments on the water amounts needed to maintain healthy gardens, or the effects of different soils. Gardens can provide valuable lessons in math as well. An example of this type of funding would be the NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants. These grants aim to improve the academic achievement of students in any subject area. The work must involve critical thinking, problem solving, improving student’s habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection. The grant amounts available are $2,000 and $5,000. Deadlines for applications are February 1, June 1, and Oct. 15. 

Possible Theme: Funding for School Beautification

Gardens don’t have to be limited to fruits and vegetables. School gardens can feature beautiful flowers and native plants so as to be educational yet beautiful as well. The gardens can provide a setting for outdoor classrooms, a serene setting for quiet thinking, or even a bright spot for students and teachers alike to enjoy during down time. In 9 years of funding schools, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program has awarded $35 million to more than 8,000 schools across the United States. The program prefers funding requests that have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor) as well as landscaping/clean up type projects making it perfect for school gardens. The spring 2015 grant cycle is closed, though the fall 2015 cycle will open in August. Applications are then due Oct. 15. Funding requests must range between $2,000 and $5,000.

Possible Theme: Funding for Health and Wellness

Gardens are also a natural way to teach children about good nutrition. Children can learn about the wide variety of fruits and vegetables by planting, harvesting, and eating them. Teachers could show students a variety of ways to prepare these different healthy foods by providing recipes that the students can then make at home with their families. The students could also learn what makes each food healthy by learning what nutrients it provides. The CVSHealth Community Grants: Wellness & Prevention grant program could help fund the nutritional aspect of school gardens. Programs, including those in public schools, that focus on building healthy habits and wellness initiatives are funded. These grants are by invitation only, so interested parties are encouraged to contact a CVS community relations expert to inquire about application. can help with a wide array of grant services from strategizing to finding grant opportunities to ensuring you have a strong proposal. See a list of our services here. Don’t see what you had in mind? Contact one of our experts for a free consultation to get started.


Photo Credit: US Department of Agriculture reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

Funding for At-Risk Youth--Three Major Areas Receiving the $$


At Risk Youth resized 600Continuing in our series on special-interest groups, this blog addresses funding for at-risk youth programs. Many grants are aimed specifically at 1) educational programs, 2) community outreach programs, or 3) municipalities. In your search for funding opportunities, use keywords including these areas. And in your proposal, emphasize how your program addresses the area of greatest interest to the funding agency. Below are examples of grants for at-risk youth. Think of how your effort could fit into one of these areas to improve your successful funding of at-risk-youth programs.

Education Grants for At-Risk Youth

The education field is ripe with opportunities to help at-risk youth. The U.S. Government is particularly concerned with this area and offers several grants addressing youth behavior. Understanding what the government wants to fund, and tailoring your program accordingly, is an important step in securing one of these grants. 
  • The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funds programs to reduce juvenile crimes and train people who are working with at-risk youth. Last year alone, more than 45 grants were issued totaling $262,604,665—a list of them is available on the website. Knowing what was funded can help in determining what will be funded in the future. The website also gives specific goals for young adolescents, teens, and communities for each grant. 
  • The Department of Health and Human Services funds the Adolescent Family Life_Demonstration Projects that are aimed specifically at aiding youth 17 and under who are unmarried and pregnant or parenting. This grant funds care services and pregnancy prevention programs. The website lays out very specific criteria that can aid in developing a proposal. 

Community Grants for At-Risk Youth

You may have noticed the ever-increasing push to get kids healthy by getting them involved. When it comes to grants for communities, both The U.S. Soccer Foundation and Build-A-Bear are ready with funding. 
  • The U.S. Soccer Foundation awards grants of up to $50,000 for communities looking to buy equipment and fund youth soccer programs. This foundation also provides grants of up to $60,000 for communities to create a “Safe Place to Play” by offering grants for lighting, turf, and irrigation systems. Grant application deadlines are February 6th for spring sports and June 5th for summer programs. Take advantage of the comprehensive information available on the website when planning your community’s program and application. 
  • The Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation funds three different programs. One program, Bear Hugs, provides an average of $1,500 per grant, but can award as much as $5,000 to aid in “the areas of health and wellness such as childhood disease research foundations, child safety organizations, and organizations that serve children with special needs.” When applying for this grant, tell them exactly much money you need and how many children you can help—they like grant proposals that are specific and can show past success. Another Build-A-Bear program promotes literacy and education through “Paperback Pup” sales. This program supports organizations providing books for schools, libraries, and homes. (The third grant supports domestic pets.) Information about the 2015 grant deadlines is not yet on the website, so check frequently for new postings. 

Municipal Funding for At-Risk Youth

Municipalitieswishing to reach at-risk youth have additional grant opportunities. From designating school police officers to sponsoring community events, there is money available to help programs working for the betterment of all children.
  • In 2014, approximately $123 million was awarded to schools by the COPS program, in part to help put police officers in schools, according to School resource officers are becoming the norm in American high schools, and grants are available to help make this a reality for your police department or school. The website lists yearly awards back through 2009; although the 2015 dates are not yet posted, keep an eye out for new information. TGH previously highlighted this grant in a May 22nd blog; this is one to keep an eye on. 
  • Through its Target and Blue program, the Target Corporation is working to build stronger communities. Each year Target awards grants for community events, public safety, and just general fun for all. Target boasts grants in all 50 states and works locally through its stores. More information on these opportunities can be found on its website or by visiting your local Target. 

Tips for Securing Grants:

  1. Understand what the grant program is looking to fund and tailor your proposal to show how you accomplish what’s important to them.
  2. Look at what has been funded in the past to better predict what will be funded in the future.
  3. Study the grant application and information; many will list specific criteria for funding.
  4. Have data available to support your organization’s past successes.
  5. Be specific in your request. Exactly what will you do? How much do you need to help how many people? 

Granting organizations want to help programs that will do the most good; building stronger children builds a stronger future. Tailoring your proposal for a specific program is not always as simple as it sounds. That’s where we can help. Contact to see how we can work with you to create an application that attracts the funds you need.

Photo Credit: Kris Duda reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

Grant Funding Requests in FY 2016 Federal Government Budget


President Obama recently released his $4 trillion Fiscal Year 2016 federal budget, documenta wish list of items he wants to pursue in his last full year in office. It’s only a wish list because it must be passed by politicians on both sides of the aisle. After that, any approved amounts have to be turned into funding programs and announcements.  So while this budget is anything but definite there are several points of interest for the grant world. Theoretically, you will have plenty of time to prepare for any resulting requests for proposals. FY 2016 is from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016.  

With this time frame, you might wonder what to do with this information now. In a word: alignment. Although FY2016 funding programs will not be announced until later this year, you can be aware of trends in funding, and prioritize your programs that are more likely to lie in the funding stream. With that in mind, we offer the following gleanings from the budget proposal, so you can be moving programs toward fundability.    


Department of Agriculture

  • The USDA may have a change in one of its biggest grant programs, according to the budget. $30 million has been allocated for a new grant program, the Rural Business Development Grant Program. This new program combines the Rural Business Enterprise and Opportunity programs into a single entity. The USDA said that this change will increase the effectiveness of the program as well ensuring communities have access to technical support and economic development funding.

  • Municipalities looking for funding to build facilities can look forward to the $50 million slated for the Community Facilities Grant Program.

  • Allocated funding has more than doubled for Rural Economic Development loans and grants in the proposed budget.

  • The budget includes $550 million in competitive research grants. This includes two new multidisciplinary agricultural research institutes dedicated to nanocellulosics and biomanufacturing research. 

  • The budget also proposes to double the amount of current funding for broadband grants, ensuring rural households have access to high speed internet.

  • A new competitive grant program at land-grant institutions will help address food and agriculture challenges at both the regional and national levels.

Department of Education

  • This budget includes a proposed increase of $1 billion for Title I Grants to school districts, for a total of $15.4 billion.

  • There is another step toward preschool for all children with $750 million proposed for Preschool Development Grants Program. This is to help states develop and expand preschool programs.

  • Grants to states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) would receive an increase of $175 million in the proposed budget. This grant program supports special education and related services.

  • The budget also includes $773 million, an increase of $36 million, for English Language Acquisition grants for English Learners.

  • The Teacher Incentive Fund, which supports states and school districts to implement comprehensive human capital systems that develop, support, reward, and advance teachers and principals based on evaluations and student learning, may be expanded. There will be an additional $350 million for that program.

  • The proposed budget sets aside $13.9 million for the proposed Teacher and Principal Pathways program which will award grants to institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations to improve teacher and principal preparation.

  • School technology would also get a line in the budget with $200 million set aside for an improved Education Technology State Grants Program.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • A total of $2.5 billion will be used for the Homeless Assistance Grants Program if the budget is approved. This program aims to end chronic homelessness and homelessness among veterans and families. This includes $309 million to support 15,000 additional families through rapid rehousing and 25,500 new units of permanent supportive housing targeted to the chronically homeless.

  • A new housing program is mentioned in the budget as well. $300 million has been earmarked for the new Local Housing Policy Grants Program. These grants will be awarded to municipalities to increase economic growth, access to jobs, and housing affordability.

Department of Transportation

  • Funding for transit and passenger rail programs could increase to $23 million when approved.

  • The budget also focuses airport grants to support smaller airports that do not have access to additional revenue or other sources of capital.

  • Approximately $6 billion over six years has been allocated for a competitive grant program designed to create incentives for state and local partners to adopt critical reforms in a variety of areas, including safety and peak traffic demand management.

  • The competitive TIGER grant program has been given $1.25 billion once the budget is approved. The program helps states and communities with transportation projects.

  • $6 billion over six years has been set aside for a competitive grant program, Fixing and Accelerating Surface Transportation, designed to create incentives for state and communities to adopt critical reforms in a variety of areas, including safety and peak traffic demand management. reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

Grants from the Gridiron


The Super Bowl is just days away. Hostesses are prepping the chips and dip. footballFootball fans are preparing for the biggest game of the year. Players and coaches are game planning. The media is talking about the amount of air in the footballs.

At the we want to take this opportunity to share with you grant-making foundations led by current and former NFL players as well as coaches. These individuals are making an impact on the field and off the field as well. Take a look at some of these foundations when you are planning your project or program.

Like most foundations in general, NFL player’s foundations also have specific causes they fund. Don’t make the assumption that the professional athletes only fund sports activities. Most do fund youth sports. However, a lot of them also fund other topics including those that focus on overall community well being.  

One unique aspect of these foundations is that they are usually focused on specific geographic locations. The athletes mostly support their hometowns, college towns, or community where they are currently playing or have played. Seek out local athletes, or those from your area, when looking for grants from these foundations.

Wes Welker Foundation

Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Wes Welker is dedicated to supporting and encouraging at-risk youth. Through his foundation, Welker awards grants to schools and non-profit organizations within Oklahoma City or the geographic limits of the Oklahoma City Public School District. The grants must be used to serve high school-aged youth or younger. There is no maximum or minimum grant amount. Applications are accepted twice a year, before Sept. 15 and Feb. 15.

Justin J. Watt Foundation

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was a college football player at the University of Wisconsin when he realized not every child had access to athletics. That was the beginning of his foundation. Schools and organizations that provide athletic opportunities to middle–school-aged students (6th-8th grades) during or after school can apply for these grants. The funds must be used to purchase uniforms or equipment for the athletic programs.  Applications are reviewed quarterly (January, March, June, and September). There is no minimum or maximum grant amount. The foundation has awarded over $600,000 in grants since its inception.

Jason Taylor Foundation

Non-profit organizations in south Florida (Miami Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties) can apply for funding from the Jason Taylor Foundation. Taylor is a former Miami Dolphins defensive end. The foundation funds creative, innovative projects that fill an observed need for children in the south Florida community. Projects focused on improved health care, education, and quality of life initiatives are preferred.  Past projects have included reading rooms, school supply donations, and learning centers. Grant amounts depend on the organization’s project budget. Current deadlines are unavailable so check the website for updates.

Kelly Cares Foundation

The Kelly Cares Foundation, founded by Brian and Paqui Kelly, supports health, education, and community through its grant-making foundation. Brian Kelly is the head coach of Notre Dame football. The health component funds breast cancer awareness, prevention, and research. The Foundation supports education at all levels and capacities. Additionally, the Foundation supports projects and initiatives that encourage the engagement of individuals in their local communities. Eligible organizations must be non-profit. The deadline for grant applications is Dec. 31st each year. There is no maximum or minimum grant award. The Foundation has distributed more than $1.2 million in financial support since 2009.

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

Non-profit organizations and schools in New England, New York, New Jersey, Southern California, and select parts of Canada that provide services, education, and advocacy for children with autism spectrum disorder can apply for grants from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation. Flutie was a quarterback in the NFL for several years. Grant guidelines are posted on the website every July. Applications are accepted from the time the guidelines are posted until the end of September. The maximum grant award is $20,000.

NFL Foundation

The NFL Foundation also provides grants to support youth football programs, health and safety initiatives for young athletes, and community programs. The Foundation has nine different grant programs. Some of the money is funneled through the individual NFL teams though the foundation directly offers several grant programs to community organizations and athletic programs as well.

Additionally, the NFL provides grants to organizations in the city where the Super Bowl is played. This year six non-profit organizations received a combined $600,000 in legacy grants through this program. Funds awarded helped with the purchase of athletic equipment, the placement of athletic trainers at local tournaments, student mentoring, protecting the water supply and restoring forest health, full-time coaches in schools, and nutrition education. So whatever the final score of Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona charities are guaranteed a win.

There are many, many more NFL players and coaches that have grant-making foundations. If you don't see your geophraphic location or grant focus above, contact us. We can help pair you with the right foundation.


Photo Credit: Tim Donovan reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

Three Ways to Justify Grants for Bike Lanes


A municipality wants to add bike lanes to several stretches of local bikeroadways. Local funding is limited so the decision makers want to explore possible grant opportunities. Finding grants that specifically fund bike lanes is the obvious place to start. However, there are several different ways to validate the need for bike lanes.

Think of all the different benefits that might result from the bike lanes.  Each one of them can turn into a potential funding avenue.  The bike path might help all citizens be healthier.  It might do good things for the environment. It might further the cause of bicycling in general.  By way of example, below are funding sources for each of these approaches.


Possible funding theme: Health and Wellness

Even a relaxing bike ride at 10 mph will burn 281 calories, according to NutriStrategy. Thus, adding bike lanes to a community will provide a safe way for people to get exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Applications to health and wellness agencies could include statements from local health and wellness experts about the chance to increase exercise opportunities with the addition of bike lanes. One available grant for this funding theme is from Aetna. This grant program supports projects that identify causes of obesity and potential best practices for addressing obesity, specifically the impact of our neighborhoods and on the “built environment” for promoting population health and weight loss. Grants that serve under-served, low-income, and minority communities will receive special consideration. Specific dates for the 2015 grant cycle have not been released yet though it is expected applications will be accepted beginning in April. Awarded grants will total either $25,000 or $50,000.

Possible funding theme: The Environment

With dedicated bike lanes, community members may be more likely to ride their bike to work or to run errands. That would mean more cars are left parked in the garage, thus reducing the impact on the surrounding environment. Grants that support environmental projects or aim to reduce pollution would be another great theme for the construction of bike lanes. The Energy Foundation would be a great resource for this subject. The Climate Program, The Public Engagement Program, and the Transportation Program, all through this foundation, would be possible avenues for funding. The Foundation strongly encourages first-time grant seekers to send in a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a full application. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Grants awarded in 2014 ranged from $10,000 to $3 million.

Possible funding theme: Bike Lanes

Never overlook the obvious. Bike lanes can be funded by grantors looking to increase bike traffic and bike projects. The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program would be a great place to start. This grant program provides funding for projects that encourage bicycling in communities across the country, specifically bicycle infrastructure. Non-profit organizations, city and county governments, or state and federal agencies working locally are eligible to apply. PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, and equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs. The maximum grant award is $10,000. The spring grant cycle ends soon, on Jan. 30. Don’t fret. The next grant cycle begins June 15.


Photo Credit: Till Krech reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

School Physical Education Grant Opportunities


Did you know the average school budget for Physical Education is only $7PE64 per year?  And that 48% of all high schools have no PE? Plus, despite an increase in obesity in children, there is no federal law requiring physical education to be provided to students in the American education system. Often, physical education departments in schools have to look for outside funding like those found in grant opportunities. Below is a list of just a few of the grants designed to help schools get and keep kids active.    

Fuel Up to Play 60

Part of the Play 60 NFL Program, the Fuel Up to Play 60 grant program awards grants to K-12 schools to improve physical activities in schools. Up to $4,000 per year is available to qualified K-12 schools to encourage healthy changes. The next deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 16. Funds awarded will be used in the 2015-2016 school year. The focus for this year’s grant program is on several different areas to improve physical education including in-class physical activity breaks, dance activities, and recess improvements that could cover physical playground improvements.  

Coca Cola Foundation

Applications for grants from the Coca-Cola Foundation are accepted year round. The foundation supports several community priorities, including active healthy living. There is no maximum grant award. Only online applications are accepted. Since its inception in 1984, The Coca-Cola Foundation has given back more than $650 million to communities around the world. 

Finish Line Youth Foundation

Schools could partner with non-profit organizations to apply for a grant from the Finish Line Youth Foundation. This foundation supports youth athletic programs as well as sports and active lifestyle camps. Camps that serve disadvantaged and special needs children are given special priority. Grants may cover programs or projects as well as scholarships to help youth attend camps. Grants normally range from $1,000-$5,000. Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis. The next deadline is March 31.  

Healthy Schools Grants

Elementary and secondary schools in 32 counties in northwestern Wisconsin are eligible for this grant program from the Security Health Plan Foundation. To see the eligible counties, visit the webpage linked above. Although this program is targeted toward a limited geographic area, the amount available ($25,000) makes this worth mentioning. These grants can be used to start new projects or to improve programs already in existence. Programs geared toward behavioral and dental health, or those that seek to extend health coverage to uninsured students, will be given special consideration. Security Health Plan Foundation will award $150,000 in grant awards this year. Letters of intent are due Feb. 27.    

Additional information

  • The U.S. Department of Education normally awards millions of dollars in funding through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education and nutrition education programs, including after-school programs, for students in grades K-12. However, no new grants are being awarded for this school year. New grants will be awarded for the 2015-2016 school year. The deadline for applications has not been announced although it is expected applications will be due in April. Check back here for deadline announcements.

  • The Presidential Youth Fitness Program is technically not a grant program but instead provides the FITNESSGRAM assessment, training, and awards for students. Schools chosen to receive the program will not receive a check since resources are sent directly from the supplier. This is a three-year program. A generous donation of $10 million from the General Mills Foundation (the largest donation in the foundation’s history) has been committed over six years to help implement the Presidential Youth Fitness Program in schools nationwide.


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Grants for Environmental Projects


In 2010, the City Council of Asheville, North Carolina adopted a goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20% over five years. They adopted a broad range of ienvironment2nitiatives with the largest project replacing all 9,000 of the city’s street lights with energy efficient LED fixtures. Of the 17 environmental projects totaling over $10 million in project costs, over half were funded through grants. . For example, the community used funding from The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program from the U.S. Department Energy for phase one of the street light project. The grants totaled over $4 million, 42% of the city’s total costs In the end, the community is expecting to save over 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide just by changing the street lights. Additionally, the environmental projects will also save the city millions of dollars in energy reduction.  

Asheville is just one example of a community focusing on energy savings and protecting the environment. If your municipality or non-profit organization is hoping to do the same, check out these grants below. 

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

The Environmental Protection Agency offers this grant program for local environmental and public health issues in a community. The deadline for this fiscal year is January 9 so it may be prudent to begin planning for next year. The main goal of the program is to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental risks, especially issues involved in climate change. Underrepresented communities, small and/or impoverished, are favored in this program. Maximum grant award is $30,000.  

Wells Fargo Foundation

This bank foundation has two environmental grant programs. One program, Environmental Solutions for Communities, puts the focus on environmental concerns in communities. This program includes sustainable agriculture, forestry, water quality, land conservation, and support for building health ecosystems.  Municipalities as well as non-profit organizations and public school systems are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted from September through December each year. The second program, Clean Technology and Innovation, hopes to partner with universities, colleges, labs, and entrepreneur accelerator programs to develop new clean and innovative green technologies. This is an invitation-only program, though you can send an email to be considered for a formal invitation if you have a worthy topic in mind. Both programs favor projects that can involve Wells Fargo employee volunteers, as well as projects that deliver long-term, measurable results.  

Patagonia Foundation

The Patagonia Foundation wants to support local environmental groups taking on a local issue. Eligible entities must be able to produce measureable results with specific goals, objectives, and action plans. Non-profit organizations and municipalities are eligible to apply. One priority area for this foundation is protecting and restoring native fish populations and their habitat. Other environmental projects, such as protecting wildlife, restoring watersheds, defending forests, and more, are also funded. Applications are accepted twice a year, before April 30 and Aug. 31. The maximum grant award is $12,000.  

Energy Foundation

The Energy Foundation supports six different grant programs. The Buildings Program aims to increase the efficiency of homes and businesses to reduce carbon emissions and utility bills. The Climate Program funds projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Organizations wanting to help move toward cleaner, more affordable source of energy should apply to the Power Program.  The Public Engagement Program seeks to build support for clean energy and strong climate policies. Projects focused on transportation efficiency and clean fuels can be funded through the Transportation Program. The final program, Energy Foundation China, is available only to Chinese organizations. Projects must be larger than a local community, so it is recommended that neighboring communities or several entities partner together. Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. The Foundation strongly encourages first-time grant seekers to send in a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a full application. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Grants awarded in 2014 ranged from $10,000 to $3 million.


Photo Credit: Mohamed Malik reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

Grants from Retail Foundations


Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. All the procrastinators are scrambling to Target, Walmart, and other retailers to finish, or start, their Christmas shopping. The stores are bringing in billions of dollars in holiday sales. Did you know that a lot of retailers use their revenuestores to fund foundations that also give out millions of dollars in grants? Below is a list of just a few of the stores that also support a variety of causes their foundations.

Walmart Foundation

In 2013, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $1.3 billion in cash and in-kind contributions around the world, surpassing 2012's total by more than $244 million. This foundation supports several causes: hunger relief and healthy eating, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, career opportunity improvements, veteran’s causes, and natural disaster recovery. The Walmart Foundation also has three different funding amounts. Non-profits operating on a national level can receive grants of $250,000 and above. Those operating on a regional/state level are eligible for $25,000-$250,000, while individual Walmart stores can award grants ranging from $250-$2,500 for local non-profit organizations. Only Letters of Intent (LOIs) are accepted for the national giving program. Applications for state-wide grants are accepted during designated periods that can be found on the website. Community grants for 2014 will be accepted until Dec. 31.

Target Foundation

School field trips, early childhood reading programs, and arts, culture and design initiatives in school, are all supported by grants from Target Foundation. The Foundation also has special support for arts and social service programs initiatives in its hometown of the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Early Childhood Reading and Arts, Culture & Design in Schools grant applications are accepted March 1- April 30. Target Field Trip Grants applications are accepted Aug. 1–Sept. 30. To be eligible for a grant, an organization must be a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, an accredited school, or a public agency located. Field trip grants are $700. Reading and arts/culture/design grants are $2,000.

Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation

This major home improvement store’s foundation focuses on education and community improvement projects in communities it serves. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has contributed nearly $200 million since it started in 2007. The company’s major education initiative, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, has helped 940 different schools in 49 states. Projects funded in this program include technology, safety improvements, library needs, and more in K-12 schools. Education grants can range from $2,000 to $100,000, with the large majority falling between $2,000 and $5,000. The spring application cycle will run Jan. 1–Feb. 13, 2015. Community improvement grants to non-profits and municipalities range from $5,000 to $100,000, with most projects falling between $10,000 and $25,000. These grants can support projects such as technology, building upgrades, and safety improvements. The spring application cycle will be March 30–May 29, 2015.

The Container Store Foundation

The Container Store Foundation supports non-profit organizations that promote women’s and children’s well-being and health. The support comes in the form of gift cards and product donations. Additionally, The Container Store provides storage and organization makeovers for non-profit facilities. This foundation also has a unique giving program in that every time a new store opens, the new store will donate 10% of all sales during its grand opening weekend to a local non-profit partner. Donation requests are accepted throughout the year from non-profits throughout the United States.

Best Buy Foundation

The Best Buy Foundation wants to ensure all teens have access to technology and opportunities to develop technology skills. In 2014, Best Buy donated $2 million in community grants to local and regional non-profit organizations to meet those goals. The average grant amount is $5,000, and grants will not exceed $10,000. Eligible organizations must be within 50 miles of a Best Buy store. This year grants were accepted in June, so plan ahead for 2015’s grant cycle.  


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Top Funding Sources and Strategies for Native American Grants


Many foundations place a priority on grants for special populations, for example, grants for at-risk youth, grants for older people, grants for traditionally under-represented groups, and more.  Over the next few months we’ll present occasional blog articles with strategies for successful grant proposals and leading agencies who fund grants for various special populations.  This article focuses on funding opportunities for Native American populations.

A fundamental strategy for successful proposal development is to align and prioritize yourNative American Funding programs, and your requests to support them, with the priorities of the funding organization(s).  In our research, we have identified three areas that currently receive a lot of dollars in grant funding specifically for Native American populations: 1) housing, 2) education, and 3) health care. If you are looking for grants for American Indians and tribal authorities, you might want to focus on these areas first.

1) Native American Housing Grants

Some housing grants cover more than just building houses, extending to building entire communities and all that they entail.  There are several agencies that help fund these types of grants.  Here are some examples:

  • The Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program, supported by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency, will help fund a range of projects, from new construction to economic growth programs, but is primarily focused on helping people of moderate to low incomes. Therefore, consider how best to set up your project in order to most appeal to the grant’s criteria.

  • The Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program, enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 and provided by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency, is a formula grant.  (Before applying for any grant, you should know what type is being offered.Formula grants are awarded to tribal organizations through the state, and not just anyone can apply for them.  In addition, this program asks recipients to “submit an Indian Housing Plan, as well as an annual Performance Report on the progress of the funded project, each year to HUD.”  It’s important to keep records in a central location, not only for a specific grant but in general, to support multiple information needs over time.  Information should be systematically collected and stored so that, regardless of changes in leadership, the information is readily available whenever it’s needed, as it would be with the IHBG program. 

2) Education Grants for Native Americans

The sheer number of grants available for education is astounding.  That being said, landing the right grants for your organization’s needs is not so easy.  Although many grants are specific to post-secondary education, some are available for primary and secondary educational programs as well. 

  • One such education grant would be the NB3 Foundation grant, which is concerned with building leadership through sports while helping to fight type 2 diabetes by keeping kids active.  This grant, funded through the Notah Begay III Foundation, is interested in supporting the healthy growth of Native children through building healthier communities.  Among other accomplishments, the NB3 Foundations boasts that “from July 2012 through June 2013, NB3F served more than 4,600 Native American children and families in four states with NB3F programming.”

  • Another grant opportunity, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation - Head Start and K-12 Curriculum Implementation Grants program, is currently accepting letters of interest until December 15th for schools interested in implementing the Foundation’s Lessons of Our Land in one of more classrooms.  The U.S. Department of Education offers Native American schools grants for both school preparedness with preschoolers, and college preparedness programs.  Knowing the specific criteria of the grant is paramount in developing your proposal.  When looking for Native American grant programs, keep in mind the specific goals of your organization, but be flexible with how you approach these goals. 

3) Native American Health Care Grants

In addition to grants for professions in the medical field, grants are available for a range of health-related services.  Most are very specific, e.g. mental health, substance abuse, suicide prevention, childhood obesity, and so on.  Applying for the right grant is key to being awarded the cash.   

  • ANA (Administration for Native Americans), working through The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has announced grants for Native Americans wishing to go into the health care field.  Information for 2015 grants will be posted March 1st and applications will be accepted through April 2015.  This is only one of the many grants offered through this program.

  • The American Heart Association offers several types of grants through its “Voices for Healthy Kids” initiative.  This program, working jointly with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, works to help all kids eat healthier foods and be more active.  Applications are available now on their website.  At times, working with other community groups and creating relationships with other organizations might help to make your application more viable to an agency.

Summary of Tips for Successful Grants

Here are a few tips and suggestions as a summary from the information above:

1. Consider how best to set up your project in order to most appeal to the grant’s selection criteria.

2. Keep records in a central location to support multiple information needs over time.  Information should be systematically collected and stored so that, regardless of changes in staff, the information is readily available whenever it is needed. 

3. Knowing the specific criteria of the grant is paramount in developing your proposal.  When looking for Native American grant programs, keep in mind the specific goals of your organization, but be flexible with how you approach these goals. 

4. Working with other community groups and creating relationships with other organizations might help to make your application more viable to an agency.

5. Often getting started on the task of finding and writing grants can seem overwhelming, but many of these agencies also include a training manual on their website to help.

Overall, knowing what you need and being flexible with your approach will help when initially looking for grant opportunities.  There are agencies working specifically with Native American tribes to improve the lives of all people. has experts who can help you find and secure grants for Native American and other specific populations.  To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.


Photo Credit: Wolfgang Staudt reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.
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