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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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Grants for Technology in Schools


I have a good friend who teaches English, specifically literature, to high school students. Not being current in English teaching techniques, I mentioned to her techthat I thought it would prove difficult to bring technology into her classroom since the basis of her teaching is hard-bound books. I was wrong. Her school has received several grants for technology, one of which was used to purchase iPads for all sophomore students. No longer do students read the classics she is teaching only on a hard-bound book, but now also on an iPad. The students also use the iPad to write and submit homework assignments. And in her classroom, my friend uses a SMART Board for interactive teachings, another item that was purchased through a technology grant for schools.  

This is only one example of what your school could do with grants for technology. Below is a list of hand-picked grants for school technology as well as other resources that will aid in bringing technology to your school.

Association of American Educators Foundation
Grants up to $500 are available to full-time educators from the Association of American Educators Foundation. Classroom grants can be used for a variety of uses including software, iPads, SMART Boards, and other technology needs. Funds must be used within one year of the application deadline. Application deadlines are March 1 and Oct. 1 every year. Applicants must not have received a grant from this foundation in the previous three grant cycles. Members of the AAE receive weighted scoring on their application.  

National Education Association (NEA)

Student Achievement Grants from NEA can be used to fund technology needs in classrooms. Projects that engage students in critical thinking and problem solving will be favored.  K-12 public school teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty/staff at public colleges and universities are eligible to apply. Deadlines are Feb. 1, June 1, and Oct. 15 every year. Grant amounts are $2,000 and $5,000. The Foundation has awarded more than $7.1 million to fund nearly 4,500 grants to public school educators over the past 10 years.


The Foundation for Technology and Engineering Educators (FTEE) wants to encourage technology and engineering teachers to participate in professional development. A $1,000 Greer/FTEE Grant is available to help offset the costs of attending the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) Conference. Each applicant must be a member of the ITEEA and teach engineering or technology to students in grades 6-12. Applications are due Dec. 1.

Other Resources is an online tool for educators to help solve technology shortages in their classrooms. This company provides online tools, tips, and resources to help ensure every student has access to technology. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 24,000 classroom technology wishes and delivered over $10 million in technology products to American classrooms. This website also offers small grants, usually software or programs, to teachers. For instance, is currently giving away one Clip Art Station Site License. Teachers should apply before Nov. 30 by submitting a curriculum-based lesson plan that incorporates the usage of digital images or audio.  

If your school is in need of computers, the Computers for Learning program could be helpful. This program encourages government agencies to transfer surplus computers and associated accessories to schools and educational non-profit organizations. As federal agencies upgrade their computer systems, the replaced equipment becomes available. All available equipment is entered into an online database from which school officials can search for items in their geographical area. A detailed registration form needs to be completed before a school can search for items. All private, public, and parochial schools serving Pre-K through 12th grade students are eligible. Day cares with a state-approved preschool curriculum and non-profit educational organizations are also eligible. Entities who choose to receive a computer or accessories need only pay for shipping and handling, not the equipment itself.  

STEM Mobile Labs is a FREE mobile app for students and educators alike. Developed by The Wireless Foundation and curriculum specialists Young Minds Inspired, this app is designed to give students in grades 8th-12th grades unique learning opportunities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  Students, or teachers, could use the app to conduct real-world or virtual experiments or t o do scientific research.


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Grants for Public Safety


There is often more than one organization responsible for providing public spublic safetyafety to a municipality. Fire departments, EMS, police departments, non-profit organizations, and emergency management agencies all work together to provide life-saving and critically important services to communities. All of these agencies, and others, require a budget allocation to provide these important public safety services. To help fund training, equipment purchases, and education related to public safety we have compiled a list of selected public safety grants.

FY2014 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG)

This FEMA grant program is the largest fire grant program in the United States with over $300 million available for funding this year. AFG awards financial support to fire departments, EMS organizations, and State Fire Training Academies (SFTAs). Three different public safety areas are eligible for consideration: operations and safety, vehicle acquisition, and joint/regional. The joint/regional category includes mass disaster training and partnerships between agencies. New this year is the requirement that vehicles purchased must be new, not used. Applications are due Friday, Dec. 5. An estimated 2,700 grants will be awarded this year.

National Rifle Association (NRA) Foundation

Police departments, safety organizations, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants from the NRA Foundation. There are two grant categories. General grants must promote, advance, and encourage firearms and hunting safety, or they must educate people, especially youth, about firearms. For example, public safety organizations could use this grant to have a firearms education course for youth or adults. For police departments who operate their own shooting range, look at the Foundation’s Shooting Range Grants as well. These grants can be used for permanent improvements to facilities, including construction projects, road improvements, berm work, and even permanently installed trap machines. Deadlines vary by state fund committee. Check the website for specific deadlines.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety

We have written about this grant previously. With a Dec. 15 grant deadline it is worth bringing up again at this time. First responder and public safety organizations with Firehouse Subs locations in their service area are eligible for this program. Five areas are eligible for funding: life-saving equipment, prevention education, scholarships and continued education, support for military members, and disaster preparedness and disaster relief. If you miss the Dec. 15 deadline, applications are also accepted March 15, June 15, and Sept. 15.

Digital Voice Stress Analysis Grant Program

Law enforcement agencies in the United States can receive FREE Digital Voice Stress Analyzer software, a $10,000 value, from the manufacturer. One hundred grants are available. This software is a computerized voice analysis software for detection of deception and credibility assessment. Examiner training tuition ($1,500) and annual recertification ($300) are associated costs if you receive the free software.

National Firefighters Endowment Equipment Grant

Grants for $5000 - $6,000 are available from this endowment for purchase of fire department equipment. Eligible equipment includes turnout gear, personal escape kits, helmets, hand-held power lights, communication devices, telephones, personal alert safety systems, air packs, tanks, and more. Equipment must improve the ability to provide life-saving services or to protect the lives of firefighters. A unique component of this program is that to apply, fire departments must submit a video, rather than a written application, explaining their need. There is a rolling deadline for this program.


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The Groundwork Before the Grant Application


So you have started a non-profit organization. You have selected your cause, received your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS, and are ready to start making a difference. Of course, to start having that impact you need funding for your projects. Seed mroadoney, donations, and fundraising will go a long way to meet your needs. Grants can also help expand your impact.

The fundamental approach to obtain grant money is to show the funder your project meets its goals in a compelling way. First and foremost, your basic case for funding must be solid. Our document, Making the Case, can help you get started. Also, always review the grant program’s guidelines, requirements, and deadlines carefully before applying.  

The most successful grant seeking effort is a strategic process over time, not a one-time deal. Thus, being successful at receiving grant money requires some groundwork before you even submit an application. In addition to making a strong case for funding, below are some steps you can take to strengthen the foundation for your grant requests.

1. Create a Solid Mission Statement

Many grant-making organizations want to know about your overall organization and goals, not just about the project you are hoping to have funded. Often an application will ask for a mission statement explicitly. A mission statement is a clear, concise statement that summarizes your organization’s goals and the philosophies underlying them. The mission statement should be 2-4 sentences in length. Spend time before starting a grant application to create such a statement. Having a strong mission will help with your funding request and assist you in meeting your overall goals.

2. Create or Update Website

In addition to your actual proposal, your website is one of the first things a prospective funder is likely to look at. If you don’t have a web presence, get one. A static site is better than no site at all. If your site has outdated contacts, no recent updates, or incorrect information, these may be red flags to funders. Make sure your site has your mission statement, pertinent history/information about the organization, examples of successful projects/satisfied clients, a list of goals/endeavors, and several ways to make contact.

3. Other Funding Sources

Before you apply for a grant to support a project, it may be advantageous to securemoney from other funding sources. Large foundations and government entities that provide sizable grants like to see there is financial support from other sources. Such support could be in the form of donations, in-kind support, or small grants. To find smaller grants, look local. Local businesses may be willing to help out, especially if they receive publicity in return. Many community foundations, department stores or service organizations offer small grants that could help with direct funds, which may be leveraged when applying for those larger grants.

4.  Social media usage

Some funding agencies may consider your use of social media when reviewing your grant application. Some foundations, typically the larger ones, like to see that you are using social media to your advantage, in building support for a project and thanking your sponsors. If you have a large base in social media, foundations that give you money will benefit from “free advertising.”

5. Boilerplate Documents

Most grant applications require the same types of documents, so it makes sense to have certain information organized beforehand. For example, create a list of your board members, your tax exempt documentation, budgetary information for both your organization and the fundable project, contact information, text that describes and substantiates project need, and information on how you measure impacts. Having this information already organized will save you time when applying for a large number of grants.


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Ask the Grant Helpers


Every day that we have interactions with our clients and readers there arequestion new questions about grant funding. Below are some questions that have been posed to us lately, with responses. We hope this information will give you some insight on the grant world as well as our company.

Don’t see your question below? Our Grant Helpers, including experts in municipalities, non-profits, and education, are always available to answer your questions. Contact us today. Remember, the first consultation is always free.

Why is it advantageous to hire a professional grant writer?

Where do we start? Our staff has years of experience working in the grant world, including finding appropriate grants, helping build strong funding strategies and efforts over time, writing grants, developing programs designed to be funded by grants, creating budgets, connecting partners, proofing and editing grants, and doing everything in between. We have built relationships with funders, and have experience navigating complicated grant applications so you don’t have to. Additionally, we subscribe to numerous grant services which constantly update us with upcoming grant opportunities.

Do you offer presentations to help our employees with grants?

Yes! We presented at the Siemens ITS National Distributor Sales Meeting, with strategies and approaches for funding Intelligent Traffic Systems through various grant channels. In addition, founder Roland Garton presented a live webinar sponsored by Siemens, especially for those interested in grant funding and Intelligent Traffic Systems titled “Grant Resources for Funding your Next Traffic Project: Initial Strategies and Tactics.” Roland and our municipal specialist Rebecca Motley also recently presented at the Illinois Municipal League Conference. "Grants for Municipalities: Find, Align, and Get ’Em to Sign” helped attendees identify resources, develop fundable programming, and identify ways to increase the chances for funding. Materials from these presentations are available on request.

What do we do if our first grant application doesn’t get funded?

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Many times successful funding requires multiple submissions. The best odds for funding rise from a long-term, well-considered, systematic effort over time. You can learn a lot from reviewers’ comments to build stronger proposals over all.  Also, you can build up a body of support materials and tools to reduce time spent working on any individual proposal.  We can help organize these types of long-term efforts.

Do you guarantee funding?

With proposals, there are no guarantees.  We can help put you in the best situation to find grant money; we can’t guarantee that a given funding agency will consider your proposed project a match for its top funding priorities.

Can for-profit businesses receive grants?

Grants for for-profit companies are rare except in a few sectors such as research and development for technology innovation, education, environment, and certain social causes. There are, however, programs that provide low interest loans, etc. for businesses. We have collected information on these programs and published them on our website

Is there money available for operational costs?

In the past, most grant money was slated for programming costs. Grant foundations are now sometimes including operational costs as part of their funding areas. This is a welcome switch for organizations that have received grants to build up their programs only to have trouble supporting their overhead costs.

What’s the best place to get started?

Give us a call or send an email. Schedule a consult. Tell us about your priorities. We can advise on which directions might be best, at no charge.

Our grant opportunity search is another good place for those just starting the grant search. It’s a low-cost, low-risk way to find out if your programs or projects are fundable. We'll perform an initial Fundability Evaluation at no charge to ensure there are grants available for your organization and get to know your organization and its funding needs. We'll then search for grants and produce a Grant Opportunity Review with at least three different grant opportunities for which your organization can apply. Interested? Contact us for more information and pricing.


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More Ways to Find Funding for Dance, Arts


In the past month, we have received an increased number of requestsdance for grants to help fund dance studios and dance education, both for youth and adults. We are happy to share some grants available to fund these areas. We also want to describe how these subjects can be funded by grants using a variety of themes. It can help to apply for grants that focus on the various different types of outcomes your program provides. This approach works not just for dancing programs, but for most any area.  Examples of various themes applied to dance funding appear below.

Possible dance funding theme: Community Engagement/Culture/Quality of Life

Dance recitals, education, programs, and engagements are not just important to the individual artist or family, but to the community as a whole. The arts have a huge impact on the livability of a community. Dance productions can bring visitors to town that will spend money at local restaurants and gas stations. Towns with a strong cultural presence are also appealing to families looking to take residence. If your project or program aims to have community involvement or be a large presence in the area, apply for grant programs with these goals, even if dance isn’t specifically listed in the grant description. The National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant program focuses on community culture. This program requires a non-profit organization to partner with a governmental agency to apply. The deadline for this year is December 15.

Possible dance funding theme: Obesity/Health

This current generation of young people, one-third of whom are overweight or obese, may be the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents. Many foundations throughout the United States, as well as federal government agencies, have grant programs that support obesity prevention, especially for youth. Many dance programs are fundable under these programs. Dance helps children become active and exercise. Check out the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation for a grant under this category. The foundation supports opportunities that promote wellness and help prevent obesity. Applications are accepted at any time throughout the year.

Possible dance funding theme: Disability Therapy

If you are hoping to start a dance studio or program, consider creating a class that will provide opportunities for disabled people. There are a wide variety of grant opportunities that support disability programs for both youth and adults. This look at funding for your dance program could provide a unique opportunity. The Dr. Scholl Foundation supports these types of programs, provided the applying organization is a non-profit entity. Proposals are accepted from November 1 to March 1 the following year. Grants range from $5,000-$25,000.

Possible dance funding theme: Arts/Humanities

Then, of course, there are always grants for arts that can help fund your dancing program. These programs are the bread and butter of funding for the arts. However, because they are such a natural fit, they are very competitive and may be harder to win. Non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, individuals, as well as for-profit agencies, can apply for grants from ArtPlace America. This program hopes to fund projects led by artists that help a community’s economic development and revitalization efforts that are also able to attract additional support. All applicants must register with the organization by October 31, and letters of inquiry are due by November 3.


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Grants for Art Education


The Chicago Public Schools (CPS), one of the largest school systems in the country, recently unveiled a first-of-its kind analysis of arts education offerings, staffing, partnersarthips, and funding in CPS during the 2012-13 school year. This report found that elementary students on average received 99 minutes of arts education per week. As part of the district’s arts guidelines, elementary schools should provide at least 120 minutes per week. But, according to the self-reported data, only 40 percent of CPS elementary schools offered that much arts education. Additionally, the report found that 95 percent of elementary/middle schools, and 88 percent of high schools, had at least one part- or full-time arts instructor. That means there are some schools that have no arts instruction by a certified arts teacher.  

The CPS report also found that over 400 arts organizations had active partnerships with CPS schools to provide arts programming to students either before, during, or after school. Some of these partnerships included one-time events like field trips or performances while others included active ongoing art instruction and education with students.    

It’s understandable why CPS had so many problems fitting arts education into the day. Education goals in the United States are an ever-changing cocktail of math, science, language, arts, and more. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), the focus of the last decade, has now evolved into STEAM, with the addition of arts into the education focus. For some schools, this change is a tough drink to swallow, just one more thing to fund with dwindling budgets. Below are some school grants for art opportunities that we selected to help with this new focus on arts education. Some of these are just for schools/educators while some grants could be used by non-profit organizations to create a partnership with a school.

The National Art Education Foundation (NAEF)

NAEF has five different grant programs that support a wide variety of arts education and instruction programs. If you want to apply for these grants, plan ahead. The deadline for the 2015 funding has already passed. Look for applications for 2016 to be due in October 2015. The grants available include:

  • Ruth Halvorsen Professional Development Grants are awarded to projects focused on understanding, implementation, and issues specifically relating to the National Visual Arts Standards and support the improvement of the teaching of art. Grants total up to $2,500.

  • Mary McMullan Grants fund projects that promote art education in all levels of schooling. Grants total up to $2,500.

  • NAEA Research Grants support research that advances art education. The maximum amount for these grants is $10,000.

  • SHIP Grants are given to educators for equipment and instructional curriculum resources. Grants total $500.

  • Teacher Incentive Grants cover a wide array of subjects that promote the teaching of art. These can include but are not limited to curriculum materials, student instruction materials, and student assessment materials.

National Endowment for the Arts / Art Works

Art Works provides funds for projects that support arts in K-12 classrooms as well as educators in those classrooms. There are three types of grants under this program, and grants fund all artistic disciplines. It is anticipated applications will be accepted in February and July. The three categories include the following:

  • Direct Learning Grants fund projects that increase student knowledge and skills in the arts by engaging students to professional artists and arts educators.

  • Professional Development Grants are for projects that assist educators and/or civic leaders in their arts education and development.

  • Collective Impact Grants hope to ensure that all students across entire schools, school districts, and/or states participate in the arts over time. These projects are larger in scope and qualifying projects should have the potential to be shared with other communities.

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation

Schools serving low-income students can apply for funds from this foundation to help with musical instrument repair and the acquisition of new instruments. Schools must serve a population of at least 65% that participate in the National Lunch Program. Private schools that do not participate in the National Lunch Program must serve a minimum of 65% of students that attend at no cost due to low income status. Additionally, schools must have an established instrumental music program that has been offered during the regular school day for a minimum of three consecutive years. Application deadlines will be announced this month.  

Champion Creatively Alive Children

Crayola sponsors this grant program to fund elementary school programs that construct creative leadership team building in arts education. Eligible projects will need to form a collaborative team to plan unique ways to infuse art throughout the school. In order to apply, principals of the applying school must be members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Each grant-winning school (up to 20 grants awarded) receives $2,500 and Crayola products valued at $1,000. Applications are due June 22, 2015. Every application submitted prior to June 8, 2015 will receive a free Crayola product Classpack.


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

Grants for Housing Needs


Having a roof over your head is a basic human need. Unfortunately, there are over 600,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States. Furthermore, many people live in substandard housing, and there is a lack of affordable hhomeousing across the country. Individuals, municipalities, and non-profit organizations have many opportunities for home construction grants and grants for other housing issues. Both federal and state governments as well as private foundations offer funding to help with a wide array of needs. 

Habitat for Humanity

College campus chapters of Habitat for Humanity can apply for grants from Habitat for Humanity and State Farm to help with home building projects. There will be 16 matching grants available for the 2014-15 year: four $10,000 matching grants, six $5,000 grants, and six $2,000 grants. These grants aim to help the chapters increase their capacity to build houses for needy families. In addition to the matching grants described above, eligible groups may also apply for a Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative bonus grant of $1,000 each, which will be awarded based on the project described. Groups must first apply for, and receive, a matching grant to be eligible for a bonus. The deadline for applications is Oct. 1, meaning you likely need to look ahead to next year for this program.

Continuum of Care (CoC) Program

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this program’s goal is to end homelessness. Grants from this program can fund new construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, or leasing of buildings to provide transitional or permanent housing, rental assistance, payment of operating costs, supportive services, re-housing services, payment of administrative costs, and grants for technical assistance. HUD homes grants are available to non-profit organizations and state and local governments. Hurry, the deadline is Oct. 30 for FY 2014. Don’t fret; we do rush jobs.

Wells Fargo Homeownership Grant Program

Non-profit home organizations can apply for grants from this banking company. The goal is to help provide sustainable homeownership opportunities for low to moderate income people. Grants can be used for construction or rehab of owner-occupied homes, buyer education and counseling, foreclosure counseling and prevention, down payment and closing cost subsidies, interstate rate buy downs, and home repairs. Applications are due between January 2-31 and July 1-31 every year. The average grant amount over the past three years was $7,500.

USDA Rural Development Self-Help Technical Assistance Grants

These grants provide financial assistance to non-profit organizations and governments to aid low-income individuals and their families to build homes in rural areas by the self-help method. Grants can be used to pay salaries, rent, and office expenses of the nonprofit organization. Pre-development grants up to $10,000 are available. Applications are accepted year round and can be turned into your local rural development office.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Communities hardest hit by foreclosures and home delinquencies can apply for grant money from this HUD-funded program. These grants are used to purchase, rehabilitate, or redevelop homes. Funds must be used to benefit low- and moderate-income persons whose income does not exceed 120 percent of the area median income. The average grant amount in 2014 was over $12 million.  

Additional information

Many grant programs that fund housing needs also offer low-interest loans. For example, the USDA Rural Development offers loans to low-income households to purchase homes in rural areas. Check out their other loans here. If your grant proposal is unsuccessful, or even if it is funded, look into these loans to complement the grants.

Additionally, HUD also has some other programs like Section 203(k) insurance, which enables homebuyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase (or refinancing) of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage, or to finance the rehabilitation of their existing homes.


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Grants for Municipalities


There is hardly an initiative from any city, large or small, where the acityvailability of grant funding isn't a factor.  No matter the area—transportation, safe schools, energy, the environment, economic development, parks and recreation, culture and quality of life, and many more—being able to obtain grant support can determine whether or not a project happens.  

Two of our Grant Helpers, Rebecca Motley and Roland Garton, will discuss ways that cities can obtain more grant funds over time at the annual meeting of the Illinois Municipal League, September 19, 2014, at the Chicago Hilton. (The location itself, facing Grant Park and Lake Michigan, is a quite a sight.)  

The main points of the session are not restricted to municipalities.  Most apply to all organizations.  So here are some key take-aways from the presentation.  

  • Grant funding is available.  The federal government provides billions of dollars annually for a wide variety of projects.

  • Work with larger organizations.  In the case of municipalities, federal dollars typically flow through the state, so working with relevant state departments is critical.  Also, work with regional collaborations and initiatives to broaden your impact.

  • Align for fundability.  You can be more fundable if you shift priorities and structure projects to line up with the priorities of funding agencies.  Example: one city got funds for a bike path by switching the planned route to accommodate school children on bikes.

  • Plan on multiple applications over time.  Your first proposal is less likely to be successful than your 20th. So plan on writing a series of proposals over time, building your library of support materials and approaches.

  • Numbers rule.  You must provide measurable data to quantify the need for your project and the impact your project will have.

  • Review proposals carefully.  Allow ample in the development process to check for obvious errors, and to make sure the proposal responds to the main interests of the funding agency.  Be willing to re-write sections, even if you considered them complete, if they don’t directly address the main goals and interests of the funder.

If you’re interested in more details, you can download the slides and handouts from the presentation.

You may also benefit from our Grant Readiness Checklist.  We can help your organization structure for successful grant funding over time.  From high-level advice and guidance to detailed issues regarding grant strategy and applications, we can help however best fits your organization.


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Grant Opportunities for Literacy Programs


Low literacy is a huge concern across the United States for both children and adults.  According to ProLiteracy, 14% of adults 16 or older read at or belbooksow a fifth grade level and 29% read at an eighth grade level. Among those with the lowest literacy rates, 43% live in poverty. Schools and other educational institutions, as well as non-profit community groups, are trying to help this epidemic by providing literacy programs for both children and adults. There are a number of grants available to help such programs, and below is a list of selected grant opportunities.

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

This national retailer’s foundation is a wealth of grant opportunities for all ages and program types.

  • Adult Literacy Grants make funding available to non-profit organizations that provide assistance to adults who need literacy help. To be eligible, the organization must provide help in adult basic education, GED preparation, or English language acquisition.

  • Family Literacy Grants provide funding for organizations that provide programs with the following three components: adult education instruction, children’s education, and parent and child together time.

  • Summer Reading Grants provide funding to non-profit organizations and libraries to assist with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs. These programs must target preK-12th grade students who are new readers, below grade level readers, or readers with learning difficulties.

  • Youth Literacy Grants provide funds to schools, libraries, and non-profit entities that help students who read below grade level or experiencing problems with reading. This program provides grants to purchase software, books, and materials for literacy programs, purchase new technology or equipment to support literacy programs, or help implement or expand ongoing literacy programs. Applications for all of these programs will be available January 2015.

Wish You Well Foundation

The Wish You Well Foundation’s mission is to improve family literacy by supporting the development and expansion of literacy programs. Any 501(c)(3) organization is eligible to apply. The Foundation board meets on average four times per year (specific dates determined by the availability of board members to attend). At each meeting, the board reviews grant requests and determines which to fund. Organizations are notified as to which meet their request will be discussed. Most requests range from $200-$10,000.

Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program

The U.S. Department of Education funds this program to help literacy skills for children from birth through grade 12. Education agencies and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Eligible projects include those that support school libraries, that promote early literacy for younger children, that motivate older children to read, and that distribute books. Applications for this fiscal year were due in July, so start planning now for next year’s application. Funded school districts can expect grants ranging between $150,000-$750,000, and non-profit organization grants average $4.5 million.

Barnes and Noble

While not technically a grant program, Barnes and Noble does support preK-12 school and non-profit organization literacy organizations in the form of sponsorships and donations. Applicants must be located in the community or communities in which Barnes and Noble operate, and serve the greater good of the local community or region. Partnerships must offer in-store events, visibility, and reach a wide audience. Proposals must be submitted to the local store manager for review.

Tina B. Carver Fund

Members of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) can apply on behalf of non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status for funding from the Tina B. Carver Fund. Eligible programs provide English as a Second Language Programming for adults. Programs that serve the hardest-to-reach students with limited resources will be given top priority. Annual application deadlines are January 31st, May 31st, and September 30th.

Target Early Childhood Reading Grants

Schools, libraries, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants from Target. Eligible programs must be targeted toward preschool through third graders only. Examples of eligible projects include after-school reading events and weekend book clubs. Each grant is $2,000. Applications are due between March 1 and April 30 each year. 


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Grants for Senior Citizen Programs


People aged 65 or older numbered 39.6 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data are available), according to the Administration on Aging. They (thesenior citizens elderly, not the AoA) represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons. With such a large influx in older Americans, there will be a greater demand for services ranging from education to basic necessities to social needs. Below is a list of grants that fund these areas, handpicked just for you.                             

AARP Foundation Grants Program

501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, including municipalities, community based organizations, or educational entities, may apply for funding from the AARP Foundation Grants Program. Eligible projects must help people aged 50 or older and may range from basic education programs to social and behavioral programs. AARP Foundation opens its grant application window several times throughout the year through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Though there is no open program currently, it is expected one will be announced shortly. There is no maximum or minimum grant amount through this program. 

Transportation for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities

Each state is a direct recipient of funds from this Federal Transit Administration grant program. Funds are apportioned based on each state’s share of population for these groups of people. Non-profit groups hoping to help meet the transportation needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities in areas where the service provided is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate to meeting these needs should contact their state transportation office to inquire about these funds. There is a 20 percent local match required for this grant program.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.

The Older Adults program is the single largest grant making area from this Foundation. Even better: there are no deadlines, and the Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry (LOI) on a rolling basis and reviews them weekly. There are several different categories of grant making in this program. These include grants for residential care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living residences that are aiming to make their facilities more “home-like.” The Foundations also funds home repair and home modification services for older adults. Community-based facilities, like senior centers and adult day program sites, are also a funded area. Elder homelessness, elder abuse emergency services, caregiver support, promotion of professional long-term care workforce, and economic security programs for seniors are also eligible for consideration for funding. Non-profit organizations and municipalities are eligible to apply.

Verizon Foundation

Grants from the Verizon Foundation go to support organizations that help healthcare providers, patients, and care-givers to create innovative care models, enabling seniors with chronic disease to stay within their home as long as possible. Applications are accepted through October 10, 2014. Any organization that has received its 501(c)(3) from the IRS as well as governmental agencies are eligible to apply. The average grant size is between $5,000 and $10,000.


While not necessarily a grant, here’s an interesting program for senior citizens:

Silver Scholars

The Americorps Silver Scholars Program grant was established by Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act for adults over the age of 55. For every 350 service hours, the senior receives a $1,000 education award. The program is especially unique because the grant money can be transferred to the recipients’ child or grandchild.


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