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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.

Grants for Transportation Projects


Google is in the process of developing a car that will drive itself. It’s currently driving around the roads of Mountain View, California. Experts predict autonomous vetransportationhicles will be on the road by 2030. In the meantime, well-established public transportation modes like rail, bus, and bicycles are still a focus for government entities and non-profit organizations alike. Below are some selected grants that can help fund these projects.

Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program (Ladders of Opportunity Initiative)

The deadline is coming quickly for this grant program from the Federal Transit Administration. Applications are due Dec. 23. Grants are made to state and local transit agencies, non-profits, universities, and other projects that enable low income workers to find employment in a public transportation business. Eligible projects provide skills training and other services needed to find employment in the public transportation industry. Grants will range from $200,000-$1 million. There is a minimum 50 percent non-federal match for all funds. Our professionals can handle last-minute advice and grant help if you are interested in this opportunity.

The Rockefeller Foundation

This foundation has five goals for its transportation grant program, including funding research, encouraging a new transportation agenda in the government, promoting philanthropic participation in transportation activities, creating and supporting sustainable transportation options, and building the capacity of states and cities to innovate and adopt best practices. One major program funded by The Rockefeller Foundation is the Bus Rapid Transit, a public transportation system that delivers the permanence, speed, and reliability of rail systems, along with the flexibility of bus systems, for a fraction of the cost.  The Foundation accepts inquires for grants only through its online inquiry system.

Surdna Foundation

This foundation supports programs that aim to make transportation systems more sustainable. The goal is to give people across the U.S. affordable and reliable public transit options while also minimizing the impact that transportation has on the environment and maximizing economic opportunities. Non-profit organizations located in the United States are eligible for this program. Letters of inquiry are accepted at any time.


Not all transportation grants have to be major transit initiatives. The PeopleforBikes Community Grant Program supports bicycle infrastructure projects and advocacy programs. Non-profit organizations, city and county governments or departments, and state and federal agencies working locally are eligible to apply. Most funds are focused on projects such as bike paths, mountain bike facilities, bike parks, BMX facilities, bike racks, bike storage, and well as bike parking. Certain advocacy projects are also funded. PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs. For advocacy projects, they will fund staffing that is directly related to accomplishing the goals of the initiative. The maximum grant award is $10,000. There will be two grant cycles in 2015. The spring application period will begin on Dec. 15 with online letters of interest due by Jan. 30. The fall period will open on June 15 with letters of intent due on July 31.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Organizations applying for a transportation-based grant from this foundation will need to have a project based on reducing greenhouse gases and pollution. Specifically, the Foundation awards grants to projects that help increase fuel efficiency and access to transit, biking, and walking options. Letters of Inquiry are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants awarded so far this year have ranged from $15,000-$3 million.


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

Three Top-Funding Foundations and Sectors in the United States


Out of the $316.2 billion of private giving in the United States in 2012 (latest year for which real numbers are available), 16% came from foundations. (72% wmoneyas from individuals). Grants from foundations are a major source of funds that support impact-making organizations in the United States. These numbers are according to a report, “Key Facts on U.S. Foundations,” released by the Foundation Center in New York City.  

Foundations paid out an estimated record $54.7 billion in 2013, an increase of $2.7 billion compared to 2012’s record $52 billion. While some endowments and corporation foundations are still recovering from the recession in 2008, the report shows that foundation giving is on the upswing.  

Below are some key facts from the report, including the three most funded areas as well as the three largest funders. Knowing this information can be important when developing a non-profit organization, creating programming, or seeking major funders.

Three most funded areas  

1a) Funding for Health

Keeping people healthy and getting people healthy tied for the most funded area in 2012. Just over $5 million in foundation grants were awarded. Grants in this category included a wide variety of topics, for example, ensuring all people have access to healthcare, teaching people how to make healthy decisions, and researching new technologies.

One example of a foundation with an impact on the healthcare field is The Commonwealth Fund. Letters of Inquiry (LOI) are accepted from non-profit organizations whose goals align with the foundation’s mission of achieving a healthcare system with better access, higher quality, and greater efficiency for society’s most vulnerable people.  

1b) Funding for Education

Whether it’s grants for STEM, grants for STEAM, grants for playgrounds, or grants for other educational purposes, education is a well-funded category by foundations. Like healthcare, education initiatives received over $5 million in grant funding. Education grants run the gamut of possibilities--funding in-classroom programs, before and after-school activities, school security needs, new technology, and more.

The Wallace Foundation awards grants for school leadership, after school programs, summer and extended learning time programs, arts education, and audience development for the arts. The foundation does accept Letters of Inquiry through its website.  

2) Funding for Human Services

Some of the most basic human needs fall under this category of grants. Human services received 16% of the grant money from foundations, a total of $3.5 billion. This category also had the highest number of overall grants with over 42,000 individual grants awarded. Grants in this category fund housing, mental health, disability programs, access to healthy food, and more.

The Kresge Foundation supports the human services sector through non-profit organizations and government entities. Applications are accepted at any time.  

Rounding out the list of the amount of grant money by issue is: public affairs/society benefit ($2.7 billion), arts and culture ($2.2 billion), environment and animals ($1.6 billion), international affairs ($1.1 billion), science and technology ($606 million), religion ($468 million), and social sciences ($243 million).

Top three foundations by giving  

1) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Microsoft mogul and his wife awarded $3.2 billion in grants in 2012, with $2.6 billion of that figure awarded to entities outside the U.S. The foundation supports organizations in all 50 states as well as 100 countries worldwide. In the United States, the organization makes grants in seven different areas: college-ready education, scientific research, emergency response services, financial services for the poor, giving Internet access to those without, and postsecondary education. Additionally, this foundation has a special focus on helping children in Washington State.  Currently, the Gates Foundation has four different Request For Proposals (RFPs) with varying deadlines. All four RFPs will fund organizations working in health and development needs for those in poverty.  

2) Ford Foundation

There is quite a large gap between the monetary giving of the first and second most giving foundations. Coming in at number two is the Ford Foundation, which awarded $593 million in grants in 2012. The Ford Foundation focuses on eight issues in its grant making: democratic and accountable government, economic fairness, educational opportunity, freedom of expression, gender, sexuality, and reproductive justice, human rights, metropolitan opportunity, and sustainable development. The Ford Foundation accepts grant applications year round.    

3) Walton Family Foundation

The retail giant’s family doled out $423 million in grant money in 2012. The main areas of giving are K-12 education reform, freshwater and marine conservation, and quality of life initiatives in the foundation’s home region of northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. The Walton Family Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, so accessing this money requires histories and contacts.  

Fun facts:

  • The single largest grant awarded in 2012 totaled $207.7 million. The Gates Foundation awarded that amount to the Global TB Vaccine Foundation.

  • The median grant amount awarded by foundations was $30,000.

  • Fifty-two percent of grant funds went toward program support, while just 23% went to general support. Seventeen percent of funds were for unspecified uses followed closely by 16% to research. Only 10% of funds helped with capital costs.

  • California-based organizations received the most domestic foundation grant dollars, totaling $2.4 billion.

  • By geography, organizations in the northeast were the recipients of the most grant dollars, followed by entities in the south, west, and Midwest. 

  • More than one quarter of the nation’s foundations (23,155) are located in the south. 


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


Photo Credit: Koshy Koshy 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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