Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Federal grant money available for energy and climate initiatives

Posted by Bob Iverson on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 @ 21:10 PM

describe the imageThe budget may be tight, but there is still some federal money available in grants to help state, local and tribal governments with energy and climate inititiatives. Here are a few example that can be used to support community sustainability, environmental education, and Brownfield cleanup. The Grant Helpers can find more grants for your organization and can review available grants to see if they would work for your organization.


Grant Help Grant Writing
  • FEMA 2012 Community Resilience Innovation Challenge – Up to $35,000 per selected project

Application Due: November 16, 2012
The 2012 Challenge program will support a broad range of activities designed to foster community resilience. Particular focus will be placed on reaching across social sectors, while a specific goal will be increased local dialogue that includes the sharing of information about local risks and the vulnerabilities of and consequences for local residents and their well-being. Public and private organizations, agencies, and groups are eligible for the funding. For more  grant writing information, visit
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  • AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Teams (SDAT) – Technical Assistance

Application Due: November 16, 2012
This program focuses on the importance of developing sustainable communities through design. It is seeking potential partner communities that can demonstrate the capacity to convene a diverse set of community leaders and stakeholders for an intensive, collaborative planning process focused on long-term sustainability. Local government agencies, institutions, and community groups are eligible for the grant funding. Awarded communities will receive pro bono services from a multidisciplinary team through the program, and the AIA commits to funding up to $15,000 for each project to cover team expenses. For more information, visit
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  • EPA Environmental Education Regional Model Grants – $2.16 million

Application Due: November 21, 2012
The purpose of this program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. Eligible entities would include educational agencies, colleges or universities, environmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations. EPA expects to award one grant per Region for an expected 10 grants nationwide. For more information on this grant announcement, visit

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  • EPA Brownfield Area-wide Planning Grant – $4 Million

Application Due: November 30, 2012
This grant will fund projects to facilitate community involvement and conduct research, training, and technical assistance necessary to develop area-wide plans and implementation strategies to facilitate brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. Local governments, redevelopment agencies, a state agency acting on behalf of a local agency, and Indian tribes are eleigible for the funding. Brownfields area-wide planning grant funding must be directed to specific areas affected by a single large or multiple brownfield sites, such as a neighborhood, downtown district, city block, or local commercial corridor. For more information, see


The Grant Helpers can help your organization find federal grantsmake sure a grant is a good fit for your organization, and strategize how to win a grant.  We can also help you develop a grant proposals and administer the award once funded. 

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Topics: education, business grants, grant annoucement, free grant money, grant notification, grant announcement, Budgets, grant writing submission, grant research tips

Grants for Businesses: A Realistic Assessment

Posted by Katie Adams on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 @ 14:03 PM

grants for businesses resized 600We commonly field phone calls from individuals looking for grants that will help them start a business.  The notion of getting free government money is certainly attractive, indeed, so attractive that is has become a common myth. 

The reality is that grants for starting and running businesses are available only for relatively few types of businesses—unless the “granting agency” is a wealthy friend or relative.  In that case, “angel investor” is a more appropriate term.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you should be applauded for your spirit.  We have included some ways to help get you started below, even though grants (our business) are not at the top of the list.

  • The origin of the myth

There used to be a string of late-night infomercials promising to “sell the secret” of how to obtain government grant funding to start a business.  A lot of people must have bought those books given how the commercials would not stop.  We bought some, out of curiosity—it’s our business after all.  The examples we reviewed were compilations of numerous federal funding sources, with little to no guidance in selecting and applying for the grants.  Much of the same information these dubious organizations sold was (and still is) freely available on, and is generally unusable by entrepreneurs.  While there are a number of government grants available, applicant eligibility is highly specific and rarely open to individuals and budding business-owners.  While the infomercials finally died of natural causes, the myth of “free money” lives on, zombie-like, feeding off the innocents.

  • Grants are available to support businesses in only a few industries.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly successful federally funded grant program designed to assist small business in developing new technologies.  Eligibility depends on the size of the business, the work being conducted, and the research and development needs of eleven different federal agencies.   (If you are interested in learning more about SBIR grants, contact us – we have helped technology businesses receive millions of SBIR dollars).  Other business sectors that might be eligible for grant funding include those in working in the arts, or in the environmental or educational sectors.  For-profit businesses outside of these eligibility pools are unlikely to find sources of grant funding.  Non-profits are much more likely to be funded, as are schools, local governments, social agencies, and other entities.

  • There are other options, but the amount of funding available is less.

There are some organizations that are focused on assisting entrepreneurs, but efforts are often limited geographically.  For instance, the SBA Prime Grant Program provides funding to organizations that assist low-income entrepreneurs to establish and expand their businesses.  Recipients of SBA Prime Grants can then use the awarded funds to help business owners in their community.  (You can find a list of recipient organizations here).  Community micro-grants, generally facilitated through local nonprofits or Economic Development Corporations, can also be a resource for businesses, but they are not common in every community.  For creative endeavors, is an online resource that can be used to attract funding.

  • You can get loans, and you can get help.

While it is unlikely that an individual will be able to find a grant to help start a business, there are other types of resources available.  The local Small Business Development Center (SBDC, a service provided by the Small Business Administration) offers guidance on securing loans and alternative forms of funding, as well as other aspects of starting a business.  Find your local SBDC here.  The SBA website also offers a wealth of excellent material.  Your state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity may also be a source of lending or other support for business startups.


Topics: business grants

Grants for Starting a Business: SBA Prime Grant

Posted by Katie Adams on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 @ 11:12 AM

grants_to_start_a_businessIt’s not uncommon for aspiring entrepreneurs to contact and ask about how they can secure a grant to start a business.  Unfortunately, there are relatively few grant opportunities available to START businesses, although there are many grants a business can pursue once up and running.  (If you are interested in starting a business, your best resource most likely will be your local Small Business Development Center).

One exception is the Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Microenterprise (SBA PRIME) grant. The SBA PRIME grant provides grant funding to help boost small business development in economically disadvantaged areas.  Nonprofit organizations that provide business training and technical assistance services are eligible to apply for SBA PRIME funding (matching funds are also typically required). If chosen, these organizations can then dole out the grant dollars out to eligible recipients. Common SBA PRIME grant recipients are low-income and very-low-income entrepreneurs, and the fund must be used to provide the training and technical assistance necessary to start, operate, and grow their businesses. Recipient businesses often have five or fewer employees, and are located in economically disadvantaged areas.

2011’s SBA PRIME recipients were announced earlier this fall. If you are interested in receiving an SBA PRIME grant see if there is a recipient organization in your area, and if so, contact them for more information on how to apply for those grant funds.

Interested in finding relevant grant opportunities?

The Grant Helpers provides grant research services and we can pinpoint the grant opportunities that are the best fit for your organization's needs. Contact us to learn more.

Topics: business grants, grant annoucement

5 Traits of a Business Grant Writer

Posted by Katie Adams on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 @ 14:07 PM

5 traits business grant writer resized 600Small Business Bonfire recently posted a great blog entry describing the vital traits of a small business grant writer. They were right when they said that every great grant writer is a:

  • Researcher,
  • Planner,
  • Budgeter,
  • Creator, and
  • Innovator.

I would also add that great grant writers are schedulers and managers. Some grants have multiple deadlines, and most grants have reporting requirements with deadlines. Grant writers and grant managers have to be able to keep these dates straight and turn the grant documents in on time, or they risk being disqualified or having their grant award revoked.

You can read the entire article over at Small Business Bonfire.

Want to learn more about grants for businesses? Talk to a Grant Helper or read our recent blog post, Grants for Businesses.

Image Credit.

Topics: business grants, hiring tips for hiring a grant writer, best practices in grant writing

Grants for Businesses

Posted by Katie Adams on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 @ 15:07 PM

grants for business resized 600It's a common misconception that grants fund only non-profits. The Wall Street Journal recently published a great article outlining how grants work in the private sector. It includes some valuable points:

  • Most business grants come from the government, while foundations are typically focused on funding nonprofits.
  • In order to be eligible to apply for and receive federal grant funding, your business has to be engaged in something in which the government has interest in promoting. Some Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, for instance, will help fund research and development in critical areas, such as environmental technology.
  • State and local grants may fund wider activities, but their goals vary by location.
  • All grant makers - including the government - want to use grants to support their key priorities. A successful grant proposal will frame the project to emphasize how it addresses the grant maker's priorities.
  • Grants often come with strict reporting requirements and spending restrictions. It's wise to make sure that your company can adhere to those requirements before you make the investment in applying for grant funding.

You can read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal.

Interested in locating and applying for some of these grant dollars? The Grant Helpers can help you search for relevant grant opportunities and write the proposals. Contact a Grant Helper for more details, or join our free grant alert service.

Free grant alert system

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Topics: business grants