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Watch out for “Hidden” Grant Requirements: Part Two

  
  
  
  

As promised in Part I of this series, this blog points out some clues that might indicate a purportedly open Request For Proposals (RFP) is not so open after all. Sometimes a fundrequirementsing agency has a particular recipient in mind for an award, and writes the RFP to favor that participant in the selection process.  Agencies may do this to comply with (and at the same time skirt the intent of) administrative requirements.  Agencies may also issue such RFPs to identify any applicants that might provide even better results than the providers they’re currently aware of.  Whatever the reasons, RFPs with a foregone recipient in mind are often called “wired proposals,” and if you spot one of them you may be better off not to apply.  Here are some indicators to watch out for:

Highly Specific Requirements. I’ve seen technical requirements so tightly defined that they could have been met only by a single organization.  A hypothetical example might read something like this: “Applicant must provide the 8 outreach programs listed in Appendix A to 400 underserved youth between the ages of 13 and 15 in a community whose population has fallen below 20,000 within the last two years.”  Highly specific requirements are the most common sign of a wired proposal.  At times, they take the form of geographic or historical restrictions, e.g., “Applicant must have an office within 20 miles of the assisted living center, and must have a 10-year history of successful engagement with the target population.”

Assumed Knowledge. Esoteric jargon that only insiders would understand, references to existing programs without adequate explanations, requirements mentioned but not fully described...these are all warnings that the funding agency has a specific recipient in mind whose familiarity with the program is taken for granted.  If the grant maker has a formal Q&A process, you can word questions carefully so that responses provide additional information about the funding agency’s openness.  One example question might read something like, “Page XX of the RFP requires that ex-offenders be provided job search training in weekly, two-hour group sessions.  Are alternative schedules acceptable if they meet the end objectives?”

Unrealistic Timeframes. Believe it or not, I once reviewed an RFP with a submission deadline of September 30 and a start date of Oct 1 the same year. Obviously, time for considering more than one proposal was not part of the schedule! This is an extreme case, but short proposal deadlines can be a red flag. The problematic timeframe can be compounded if proposals require lots of supporting paperwork and certifications, thus precluding participation by organizations not already aware of the upcoming opportunity.

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We can review an opportunity if you are suspicious about its legitimacy.We’ll take a quick look as part of a free consultation, or we can provide a more thorough review and recommendations with our Opportunity Review service, described in our services list and available on our online store.

 

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What to Do When the Funds Dry Up

  
  
  
  

Our company is based in Illinois, a state whose budget woes are getting budgetnational attention. Many of our municipal contacts are faced with a disheartening situation: state funds that have been reliable sources of support for many years suddenly are no longer available. Although such funds are never guaranteed, they have in the past been steady enough to build budgets around them. Now those budgets are in jeopardy. As a result, our consultations and strategy sessions often revolve around replacement funding.

The question is often phrased something like “How can we get the same money from another source?” I call this the replacement mentality, and it’s an obvious response. However, the replacement mentality places limitations on the kind of thinking and planning needed to meet shortfalls. Instead, we encourage our state-strapped clients (municipalities are the most common), to ask different types of questions. Thoughtful, well-considered responses to these questions can lead to improvements, born of necessity, in the organization’s grant strategy. In some cases, responding to the questions prompts an institution to develop an expressed grant strategy for the first time. That in itself is valuable.

Here are some examples of questions whose responses can reveal sources of funding not immediately obvious at first blush—sources that a replacement mentality would likely obscure.

What are our over-arching goals-our most critical objectives? Funding sources usually cannot be developed overnight, so the immediate timeframe may require reduction of activities.  Sometimes state-funded programs are so vital it is more prudent to cut other areas and shift funds to the previously state-funded programs. In the longer term, keeping the mission and priorities at the forefront of planning can help determine which areas are worth the investment of proposal development.

Which of our activities are the most fundable? Replacement funds may not be available for a particular program area, but there may be funds available for other areas not previously supported by grant funds. A replacement mentality could easily overlook such opportunities. 

How can we position our activities to be more fundable? Here is a terrific opportunity for thinking outside the box. Quite often, the project you have in mind can be adjusted to meet one or more funding trends. We get many consultation requests for Parks and Rec grants. Park districts tend think in terms of facilities. But funders tend to think in terms of programs and impacts. So, for example, to better attract grant funds, a park district might list “youth fitness” as a priority, rather than, say, “swimming pool.” As another example, public transportation could be funded by transportation programs, energy conservation programs, safety programs, emergency managment programs, economic development programs, assistance for older Americans, and more.

Two important aspects of this approach are worth noting: 1) Planning requires a good sense of funding trends. Some organizations are aware of these; others need to build such awareness or find experts to work with. 2) Planning also requires thinking about grant funds earlier than often occurs, during strategy and planning cycles. It therefore entails a long turn-around time, but the odds of funding increase dramatically when you are positioned specifically for fundability.

Who will benefit?  Every type of beneficiary for an activity, program, or facility is a potential funding source. Community gardens are a great example of this. They can benefit students, and thus are eligible for education funding. They can benefit at-risk youth, attracting Department of Justice funding. Gardens can also help feed the hungry, an area that’s supported by many foundations.  They can improve neighborhoods and retain residents, especially in rural and underserved populations which is of interest to the USDA, HUD, and others.

If your project impacts youth, think about what corporations benefit from building a relationship with youth. Many foundations associated with corporations are actively trying to become the champion of tweens, in the hope of generating long-term loyalty. Seniors are also a sought-after audience. Pharmacies offer loads of services directed at older Americans, so would be a potential source of funding for a community project benefitting the older population.  Consider your audience and ask “Who benefits from their loyalty?”  Then search for funders with such an interest.

What other opportunities are there? The trauma of funding lapses, while unpleasant, can prompt the kind of thinking that uncovers possibilities otherwise not considered. New partnerships, new sources of funding, and an improved vision are possible by moving from a “replacement mentality” to an “opportunity mentality.”

 

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Watch out for “Hidden” Grant Requirements: Part One

  
  
  
  

Granting agencies usually have a list of requirements in order to apply hiddenfor a grant (“eligibility requirements.”) Most also have a list of factors they judge in rating proposals (“evaluation criteria.”) Frequently they also have a list of requirements once you get the grant (“compliance requirements.”) These requirements help assure the grant maker that recipient organizations will fulfill the grantor’s goals to the fullest.

In this blog series, we are going look at some of the less obvious grant eligibility requirements. We’ll also suggest possible ways to learn about and meet certain eligibility requirements.

Truly Hidden Requirements

The most difficult hidden requirements to meet are those that never appear in the guidelines.  One of our clients once received a rejection notice explaining that organizations in their first year are not likely to be funded. Sure would have been nice to know that before developing the proposal! Another client met four of six stated priorities, but was turned down in a letter saying these four were not the top two priorities. Yet the guidelines did not prioritize the priorities. (This was a federal grant, so we contacted the local US representative about the inequity. The congressman was similarly upset and did contact the funding agency, which didn’t help the client but may have improved the proposal guidelines the next round.)

Sometimes the only way to learn of these hidden priorities is to get rejected and read the feedback. But if you are able to develop a relationship with the funding organization (some like to do this; others don’t), it may help to ask if you should be aware of any other considerations beyond those publicized. Another way to determine unadvertised de facto requirements is to review lists of previous winners. Trends or commonalities among past recipients are good indicators of what’s important to the funding agency.

Eligibility Criteria

Examples of obvious eligibility criteria include grantee organization type (municipality, school, non-profit), geographic restrictions, and alignment with funder’s priorities. Quite often mature funding programs will list what types of efforts they will or will not fund. Less common eligibility factors may include demographics of the applicant’s board or staff, demographics of the target population, longevity of the organization (mentioned above), history of funding from the proposed or other funding sources, limits on partnering organization, any past or pending legal actions, any lobbying efforts, and more. In the space of a blog, we can advise to be alert for all such requirements. They may appear in a concise list in the guidelines, and some may be sprinkled less conspicuously throughout the document.

As for type of organization, quite often a bona fide partnership, where different organizations do indeed jointly perform proposed activities, allows any one of the entities to serve as lead fiscal agent. If you are interested in applying for a grant but are not among the organizational structures funded, you may consider leveraging a partnership with an organization that does meet the eligibility criteria, and having them serve as lead.  If you need to develop such partnerships, it may be worth the time investment to do so.

Sometimes a funder has a recipient in mind but posts a public request for proposals in order to meet competitive requirements. These proposals are often worded to give the preferred recipient a strong advantage. We call them “wired” proposals.  Detecting wired proposals is worthy of its own blog, and indeed will be the next in the series.

Alignment with Funder’s Goals, Mission, and Priorities

Ideally, the printed evaluation criteria in a Request for Proposals (RFP) reflect the goals and priorities of the funding organization. However, extensive proposals may have goals and priorities interspersed throughout the request for proposal In a large federal proposal recently, we reviewed the RFP for a client and listed over a dozen key areas to address, drawn from many difference sections of the guidelines (Mission, Need, Goals, Evaluation, Impact, and others). The subsequent proposal was funded, over a million dollars.

Even if a priority is not reflected explicitly in the evaluation criteria, it is important to the funding organization. Scour the guidelines for keys and hot buttons, and respond to them clearly in your proposal.

Matching Funds

Funders often require matching support for a proposed project as a way to demonstrate the applicant’s investment and capabilities in the project. Any matching requirements are usually spelled out in the proposal guidelines. The “hidden” part may come in the form of what can be included as a match. Money is an obvious form of match. Less obvious forms include the value of space, facilities, advertising, materials and supplies, administrative costs, and volunteer support. Funding agencies differ on what they do and don’t allow as a match. For example, some agencies smile on matching funds from other institutions, while others don’t. Some US government grants disallow matches from other federal sources.

Make sure your proposed matches are acceptable, either by adhering to written guidelines where available or by direct contact with the funding organization.

We’ve already written a couple blog articles on matching funds:

The first one suggests possible sources for matching funds. The second one discusses ideas for what you can include as a match.

Stay tuned for more

In the next article of this series, we’ll talk about detecting “wired” proposals. Following that, we’ll discuss reporting, administrative, and financial requirements that might not be obvious in the guidelines, but that could hamper your ability to compete effectively for an award, or manage the award once funded.

We’d love to hear your questions. Please email or comment with any areas you’d like to see covered in our blogs.

 

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Grants to Fund LGBTQ Organizations

  
  
  
  

A 2014 CDC Health Survey tell us that roughly 2% of the U.S. populatLGBTQion self-identifies as gay or lesbian. In an update to our series of blog posts on grant funding for special populations, such as veterans and senior citizens, we feature three funders in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer) program area. If you are an organization that speaks to the needs of the LGBTQ population, whether for health, education, or the arts, here are some of the largest foundations that support grant funding for this population:

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Started 35 years ago, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is a public foundation. It accepts both public and private donations in the effort to promote equal rights for the LGBTQ/I communities in the U.S and around the globe. The foundation focuses on not only human rights but also Arts & Culture advocacy, as well as innovative health and education initiatives.

The Foundation offers general operating support anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 and, in 2014, has granted over $3 million to community organizations both domestically and internationally. There are different funds with different grant cycles and deadlines. Detailed information is available on the foundation website.

Keep in mind:  For most of this foundation’s programs, an applicant organization must have a budget of less than $500,000.

Open Society Foundation

Founded in 1979 by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the Open Society Foundation is probably one of the best known and largest private foundations working to advance civil and equal rights across the globe. As of 2013, the foundation awarded over $240 million just in the category of “Rights and Justice” alone. While this foundation is a behemoth of a funder, don’t let its size deter you. They may have grants to fit your organization’s needs. According to the Foundation’s website, “The National Security and Human Rights Campaign provides grants to U.S.-based organizations working to promote progressive national security policies that respect human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.” Currently, the Foundation’s National Security and Human Rights Campaign grant cycle is open. They are accepting Letters of Inquiry on a rolling basis. There are no deadlines for LOIs and the grant amounts vary widely.

Keep in mind: The Open Society Foundation has set thematic areas of interest and specific geographic locations in which they fund. Read the Foundation’s website to ensure that your program is in alignment with their funding strategies.

Ford Foundation:

Established in 1936, this $12 billion foundation grants funds globally in support of myriad issues—including advancing the rights of the LGBTQ population. According to their website, “The goal of this work is to secure equal rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”  Between 2013 and 2014, the Foundation granted more than $7 million to support these causes, either through general operating or programmatic grants. For this particular program area, the foundation supports only those organizations working within the United States. In fact, approximately 60% of the foundation’s grant funding is focused in the United States.

Grant seekers must first submit an online grant inquiry. Visit their website for more information. Deadlines and award amounts vary widely and are based on the grantee organization’s needs.

Keep in mind: The Ford Foundation has eight major issue areas. Within each issue area exist several initiative-focused areas. Read through past grants the Foundation has awarded to see if there are any similarities between those programs and what your organization is looking to fund.

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Where will your organization get its funding for its LGBTQ programs? If you’d like to know about more grant opportunities and get help finding grants specifically tailored to your group, contact TheGrantHelpers.com. We have the resources you need, and the first consultation is always free.

 

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Grants for Veterans, Military Personnel

  
  
  
  

As we embark on the Fourth of July holiday, the GrantHelpers.com wants soldierto send a sincere thank you to all men and women who have served or are serving our country. It is because of your sacrifice that we are all free.

There are many grants that assist veteran or active duty military organizations in a variety of capacities. Shelter, food, housing, job assistance, and many more items are all fundable through grants. Following is a short list of grants hand-picked to help fund those organizations that aim to serve one of our most valuable commodities – our military members.

DAV Charitable Trust Service

This trust awards grants to non-profit organizations throughout the country. Programs supported by the trust include:

  • Food, shelter, and other items necessary to homeless or at-risk veterans

  • Mobility items or assistance to veterans with blindness, hearing loss, or amputations

  • Therapeutic activities for both veterans and their families

  • Physical and psychological rehabilitation projects

  • Education, training, and career readiness

Priority is given to long-term programs that provide direct assistance to those veterans in need and their families. Applications are now being accepted until July 20 for this grant program. Our team of experts can assist you with this tight deadline if this grant is a good fit for your organization.

2015 Small Business Grant

Very rarely do we find grants to fund start-up businesses, yet MerchantNegotiators.com is offering just that. Grants of up to $2,500 in cash and in-kind services are available to entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented backgrounds who are hoping to start their own business. Included in the eligible underrepresented backgrounds are military veterans and active duty military. Three grants will be awarded. First place receives $1,000 cash and the Tech Pack ($500 total value). Second and third place finishers receive the tech pack, which includes a website design, a year of website hosting, six months of website monetization coaching, and six months of at-cost credit card processing. Deadline for application is Aug. 1.

Special Housing Adaptation Grant

Another rarity in the grant world is funding for individuals. However, this grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs is for veterans and service members who have suffered permanent of serious service-related injuries. The grants can be used to purchase, construct, or modify a home adapted to their special needs. These grants total $14,093 per individual. Additionally, this program offers grants of $5,523 to disabled veterans or service members who are or will be temporarily residing in a family member’s home. The temporary grants are also to be used to make adaptations necessary to live in the home. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, with no deadline.

The Fallen Patriot Fund of the Mark Cuban Foundation

These grants award up to $1,500 to spouses and children of United States military personnel who were killed or seriously injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Soldiers must be discharged from the military to be eligible for the grant. Applicants must also be 100% disabled per the VA and unemployable as a direct result of the injury suffered. The fund’s goal is to help reduce or resolve immediate financial needs not long-standing financial problems. The fund accepts applications at all times throughout the year.

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We are here to help find you the funding your program needs to be successful. Already found that funding? Then we can help you create a winning proposal to secure the grant, proofread an already completed proposal, or assist you in grant management. Check out our full menu of services that are always customized just for you.

 

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Grants for Animal Needs, Shelters

  
  
  
  

There are approximately 4,000-6,000 animal shelters in the United States dogproviding temporary care for 8-10 million dogs and cats. Sadly, 4-6 million of these animals are euthanized annually, due to a lack of available homes or people willing to adopt them. Animal shelters and non-profit organizations that support animal rights need funding for programs, education, and even building projects. Below are a few grant opportunities we selected that support animal shelters.

The Albert Schweitzer Animal Welfare Fund

Albert Schweitzer lived his life with a philosophy of reverence for life, including animal life. This fund supports a variety of animal needs including protection of wild animals, enhancement of efficiency of animal shelters, and humane solutions to the pet overpopulation problem. Wildlife sanctuaries and large animal rescue groups that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) are given preference. Non-profit organizations in the U.S. are eligible to apply. Proposals are accepted throughout the year with grant determinations made in April and October yearly.  The website indicates that funding amounts are flexible.

Greg Biffle Foundation

U.S. non-profit humane societies, spay/neuter clinics, and no-kill animal shelters have until Aug. 31 to apply for funding from the Greg Biffle Foundation. Grants are given for spay/neuter initiatives, vet/care medical supplies, and operating expenses. Grant determinations are made in December. Last year, this foundation awarded 82 different grants to organizations throughout the United States. The foundation does not specify any maximum amounts.

Mason Foundation for Animal Shelter Design

Animal shelters in need of a new building can look to the Mason Foundation for funding needs. This funding can be used for an initial needs assessment, which provides data to determine the size and scope of a new facility, or for schematic architectural designs. These two items can then be used to start a capital campaign for actual construction of an animal shelter. This grant does require a match. Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis, and funds are awarded twice a year. Last year’s grants were $4,000 apiece.

Other resources

The grants listed above are for organizations, though if you are having trouble affording your pet, the humane society has put together a listing of possible sources for individual funding. Check out the page.  Additionally, they have a page with helpful information if you need help paying for your vet care.

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TheGrantHelpers.com team of experts is always here to help. Try us out first with a free consultation. Follow that up with a Grant Opportunity Search, a Grant Readiness Review, Grant Writing, Grant Review, or Grant Award Management. Or check out all of our services and see how we can help you find the grant money you need.

 

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Substance Abuse Grant Opportunities

  
  
  
  

By the time they are seniors, almost 70% of high school students drugswill have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40% will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20% will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In adults, illicit drug use is also on the rise. In 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available), an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older—or 9.2% of the population—had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication (such as a pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer) in the past month.

Substance abuse disorders take a toll emotionally, physically, financially, and socially—not only on the users, but also on their family, friends, and community. There are thousands of organizations dedicated to help individuals with prevention and intervention of substance abuse, as well as entities that help families and communities. Below we have selected a few of these organizations to highlight.

Healthy Living Grant Program

The American Medical Association sponsors this grant program to support organizations working to create healthy lifestyles. Specifically, funding is given to grassroots, public health projects that target the issue of healthy lifestyles, including alcohol and substance abuse. The AMA favors programs that partner with medical institutions. In 2014, twenty-one $10,000 Healthy Living Grants were awarded. Organizations that already have a 501(c)(3) designation are favored; however, those entities that have not received that IRS designation can also apply for funding. Applications for the 2015 cycle will be available on the website starting sometime this month.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Nonprofit organizations, governments, and foundations can look to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for financial support for youth-centered substance abuse programs. The foundation favors long-term relationships, so those programs or projects that can be carried out over long periods of time would be preferred. Funding is focused on proposals that impact prevention or early intervention to reduce youth substance abuse. Currently the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. While this may seem like a hurdle, building relationships with this foundation’s personnel or other entities that have benefited from this grant program could open the door to an application solicitation. For more tips on how to handle unsolicited proposals, see our blog article.

Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation

Closer to TheGrantHelpers.com home base in Champaign, Illinois, the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation supports non-profit organizations that help prevent and treat substance abuse in the Chicago area. This foundation has supported a wide variety of programs, one of which supports 33 Chicago-area high schools for prevention activities including alcohol education classes, professional substance abuse counselors, parent education programs, and more. There is no maximum grant award. This foundation will award grants for both operation and program support. It also funds building construction and renovating, as long as the building will be used to meet a priority area. To begin the application process, grant seekers should complete an online form.

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Requests for proposals and applications are not always straightforward. We can help you sift through the requirements to make sure you qualify, and then ensure the grant is your best chance for funding for your program. See a full list of our services and contact one of our Grant Helpers today. The first consultation is always free.

 

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Five Grant Basics: Grant Types and Grant Processes

  
  
  
  

There is a lot to know about grants and successful applying for them.  handWe try to pick areas for our blogs that cover some of the more important areas.  Here are five items about types of funding and grant application processes that we hope you find useful.

1.       Government Grant Differ from Foundation Grant

    While both can support for your efforts, they can have different requirements and timelines.  Government grants—grants given by the federal, state, or local government—are typically awarded to projects that the government deems within its sphere of responsibility.  Topics include health care, education, or human services.  These grants can take anywhere from six months to a year for review and often require detailed application packages. Governmental units such as states, counties, cities, park districts, etc. are among the prime recipients of Government grants.

    A private foundation is a non-profit organization that awards money for a specific cause.  This cause is clearly stated by the foundation and only organizations working within the foundation’s guidelines will be funded.  Dollar amounts and turnaround times vary by foundation, but most will set up specific timelines and application requirements.  Foundation grants are typically awarded within three months, and grants are in most cases only awarded to other non-profits.

    You will want to consider both government grants and foundation grants when determining what to apply for. Many private foundation award grants only to not-for-profit organizations that have been granted 501(c)(3) status by IRS.

      2.       Formula Grants Differ from Project Grants

        Formula grants, sometimes called state-administered programs, are non-competitive grants awarded based on a specific formula.  For example, a state may be awarded a formula grant from the federal government based on the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) program, and a set number of dollars would be awarded based on the number of people who qualify in an area.

        Project grants, on the other hand, are just what the name suggests.  These grants are awarded to non-profit organizations, municipalities, and schools to support a specific, described project.  The project type is typically determined by the organization giving the money. 

          3.       Grants Aren’t Always Money

            Not all grants are going to show you the money.  Some can help in other ways.  Other awards that can be given might be for pro bono servicespaid release days for employees to volunteer their time, or materials (such as food companies providing food to food pantries or The Home Depot that awards materials for projects from what is sold in its stores).  Sometimes companies are willing to help out with products rather than cash donations. 

              4.       Grant Proposals and Processes Differ Widely.

                While most grants are available for any non-profit, municipality, or school, some grant-givers are not taking unsolicited proposals, or only award grants to particular geographic areas.  When a foundation states that it is not taking “unsolicited proposals,” it means that it already funds particular organizations and is not interested in reading about other projects at this time.  This does not mean that you cannot attract their attention, though.  Take a look at what they are currently funding and reach out to those organizations.  Often you can work with another non-profit to reach common goals.

                That being said, some proposals work differently than others.  For instance, some foundations ask for a letter of intent (or inquiry). This letter typically outlines your project goals, what need you are addressing, how you will address it, and what results you expect.  This (usually) two-page or three-page page document sets forth the basic reasons the foundation should fund you. Because every grant is a competition, be sure to make your case to the funders.

                If a letter of intent is required and you received positive feedback, foundations may ask for a letter proposal or full proposal.  The letter proposal is shorter than the full proposal, and therefore must make its case more quickly and efficiently.  The full proposal, on the other hand, is probably what you think of when you picture a grant proposal.  It often follows a standard format of cover letter, project summary, project plan, budget, and whatever additional information is requested by the foundation.  These tend to vary in length from 5 to 25 pages depending on what is requested.

                  5.       Avoid the Most Common Errors

                    Although there are enough of these to write several blog articles of its own (and we have!—check out: Common Errors of Grant Writing), here are some common grant mistakes to avoid:

                    --Make sure your project follows the foundation’s purpose. You may have a great project that will help thousands, but if you apply to the wrong foundation you will not get the funding.  Pay close attention to what the foundation wants to fund and tailor your project accordingly.

                    --Make your request clear.  Ask for a specific amount of money and show how every dollar will be used.  When including a budget sheet, make sure the information you are providing makes sense.

                    --Follow deadlines and get your proposal in on time.  Submitting a late proposal will all but guarantee a refusal.  Watch for deadlines and plan accordingly. 

                    --Most importantly, follow the grant proposal instructions.  Include the information asked for and leave out what isn’t.  Put your pages in the correct order and double check before you send it that you have done exactly what was asked.  Don’t let your hard work be set aside because you didn’t follow the directions.


                    Have a question about an opportunity or how to apply for a grant?  Let us know!  Comment on the blog, or contact us.  We can help with every step of the process.  The initial consultation is always free. 

                     

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                    Two Public Safety Grant Programs Accepting Applications

                      
                      
                      
                      

                    The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Grant Program and police-1The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program are now accepting applications. Both programs are supported by the U.S. Department of Justice. See below for details on both of the public safety grant opportunities. As always, we can help make your application stand out.

                    We have prevously highlighted the COPS Save our Schools (SOS) grant program, which at the time of heightened school security was a popular grant program to fund school resource officers. However, SOS has not been funded since 2011. The COPS program highlighted below will fund school resource officers so it is a viable alternative to the SOS grant.

                     

                    The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Grant Program

                    Applications are now being accepted for the Fiscal Year 2015 COPS Hiring Program. This grant money can be used to hire or rehire entry-level career law enforcement officers. All state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies are eligible to apply. Applicants may apply for the number of officer positions equal to 5% of their actual sworn force strength, up to a maximum of 15 officers for agencies with a service population of less than 1 million, or 25 officers for agencies with a service population of 1 million or more. These grants will provide up to 75% of the approved entry level salaries and fringe benefits of full-time officers for a 36-month grant period with a minimum 25% local cash match requirement. All applicants will be asked to demonstrate how hiring or rehiring police officers will help solve a specific crime or problem area. Special consideration will be given to agencies who identify homicide/gun violence, homeland security problems, or building trust as a problem area. Agencies planning to hire School Resource Officers or hiring veterans will also be given higher consideration. Deadline for application is June 19. Grant award announcements will be made in September.

                    COPS funds several grant programs throughout the year. Check out our past blog about past programs, and check back here often for more grant announcements.

                    The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) 

                    There are actually two different grant programs under the JAG heading. The first is for local units of government. Any towns, cities, counties, villages, etc. can apply for this grant program. Additionally, a law enforcement agency or judicial enforcement district with authority to establish a budget and impose taxes is also eligible to apply. All applications for the local grant program are due June 26. Funding from this grant can be used to support a range of program areas including “law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs.” The priority areas for this grant are: reducing gun violence, body-worn cameras, recidivism reform, pretrial reform, justice system realignment, indigent defense, and mental health services. To have the best shot at funding, tailor your program and application toward one of these priority initiatives. Over 1,000 total local awards will be made. Local grants either total $25,000 or more and last four years, or they total less than $25,000 and are made for two years.

                    The second program is for states. These applications are due by June 30. Covered program areas are the same as under the local solicitation. However, the DOJ emphasizes that this grant funding should be used to support a statewide strategic plan. State grants are awarded on a statutory formula based on each state’s share of violent crime and population.

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                    TheGrantHelpers.com wants to help ensure your community is safe by creating the best public safety grant proposal for your organization. If any of the above grant opportunities interest you, please contact us for a free consultation. We can help guide you through any step of the grant process. Click here for a complete list of our services.

                     

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                    10 Grants in Your Community

                      
                      
                      
                      

                    When looking for grants, you may want to start in your own community.  Many businesses that you frequent regularly have foundations set up to support you.  It is worth your time to shoppingconsider what your own community has to offer.  Here are 10 big businesses that make it their business to give back.

                    Target and Walmart:

                      1. The Target Foundation

                        Field trips, public safety, social services, Target supports it all.  Field trip grant applications are accepted in August and September, grant applications for the arts are taken in January, and social services applications are due in April.  Grant amounts typically run between $2,000 and $5,000, but you can set your own amount with some grant applications. If you are within a 100-mile radius of a Target store, find their online application and give it a shot.

                          2. Walmart Foundation    

                            Walmart Foundation grants range in value from $250 to $250,000. Grants are primarily given to non-profit organizations in the areas of “hunger relief, healthy eating, or career opportunity.” The next deadline is July 31, so start crafting your application now.  

                            CVS and Walgreens

                              3.CVS Health Foundation               

                                CVS awards grants in the areas of health care, the environment, economic growth, and children’s needs.  Depending on your focus and grant amounts, deadlines vary. On April 7 CVS Health Foundation announced 55 new grant recipients as part of a $5 million commitment. Check the website for more details and to apply.    

                                  4. Walgreens Foundation

                                    Walgreens supports programs that provide “access to health and wellness in their community, pharmacy education programs and mentoring initiatives, civic and community outreach, and emergency and disaster relief.” A list of information requested for all grant requests is available on the website.  Smaller gifts of merchandise and gift cards bot exceeding $20 can be obtained by contacting your local Walgreens store.

                                    Home Depot and Lowes

                                      5. The Home Depot Foundation   

                                        The Home Depot Foundation funds product grants of up to $5,000 for organizations using volunteers to improve the “physical health of their community.” These grants are for products sold at Home Depot stores. Projects aimed at helping military veterans and/or low income families are favored.  Applications are currently being accepted and organizations can submit their proposals online. 

                                          6. The Lowes Foundation

                                            In 2014, The Lowes Foundation gave $28 million in charitable donations. The Lowes Foundation supports K-12 public education programs (including technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations, and safety improvements) and community programs (including building renovations/upgrades, grounds improvements, technology upgrades as well as safety improvements).  Grants range from $2,000 to $100,000, and applications are available online now. The spring application cycle ends May 29—so act quickly.  

                                             

                                            State Farm and Nationwide

                                              7. State Farm      

                                                With 2016 grant award applications only taken from September 1 to Oct 30, it’s important to plan ahead and have this grant application ready and waiting.  Safety grants, education grants, and service grants are all offered.  Grants must be at least $5,000 and youth-led service grants can range from $25,000 to $100,000.  

                                                  8. The Nationwide Foundation

                                                    The Nationwide Foundation is accepting grant applications now through September 1 to aid people in poverty or crisis, and to improve communities.  Start by taking their eligibility quiz online to see if your organization’s ideals align with theirs.  The Nationwide Foundation also partners with many other organizations such as the United Way, Feeding America, and the American Red Cross.  Giving millions each year in grant funding, consider how Nationwide might be on your side.    

                                                    McDonalds and Wendy’s

                                                      9. The Ronald McDonald Foundation        

                                                        Working to improve the health and well-being of children, The Ronald McDonald Foundation provides grants for dental care, literacy training, and much more.  A new grant cycle will open in July, so read up on what they have funded in the past and tailor your project accordingly (see tip below).

                                                          10. The Dave Thomas Foundation 

                                                            Working on funding adoption programs?  Wendy’s is: “The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption awards grants to public and private adoption agencies to hire adoption professionals who implement proactive, child-focused recruitment programs targeted exclusively on moving America’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families.” Take the online quiz to see if you qualify for a grant from the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.


                                                            When planning your grant proposal, don’t overlook the foundations in your own backyard.  These 10 foundations are giving nationwide and may be a good fit for you. Start your applications today and let us help you with the process.  Contact TheGrantHelpers.com to see how we can work with you to find grants, write grant proposals, and get the funding you need.  

                                                             

                                                            Photo Credit: Cinzia A. Rizzo

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