Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Grants for Tourism

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 @ 18:12 PM

5543382531_9ab2df8e69_q.jpgTheatre shows, special events, concert series, summer festivals, tourist attractions. Though the thermometer is trending downwards, the time is now to start planning for your warm weather events that can entertain your community and also bring people to your town to enjoy events and spend money. Grant money is available for tourism activities. Below we have outlined a few to get you started.

  Insider Tip: Most states offer tourism programs for organizations within the state. Your state department that promotes tourism (In Illinois it’s the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) would be a great place to start when looking for tourism grant money.  

Levitt Foundation

This foundation wants to bring live music to small and mid-sized towns across the country. The Levitt AMP (Your City) grant award is a matching grant program through the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national private foundation dedicated to strengthening America through the power of free, live music. Up to half of the matching grant money may be through in-kind donations like marketing or equipment. Each year grants are awarded to 15 U.S.-based non-profits serving towns with populations of up to 400,000. Each grantee receives $25,000 in matching funds to present the music series, a minimum of 10 free outdoor concerts presented over 10 to 12 consecutive weeks. Music lineups must be diverse to be eligible for funding. Grantees also receive a toolkit to ensure success of the concert series. Applications become available in July with applications due in October. Utica, New York received a grant for the 2016 cycle. They used the award to support a series of concerts featuring everything from jazz to flamenco guitar to pop rock in an otherwise unused green space.

Tourism Cares

This is a unique grant program that supports tourism in the United States as well as throughout the country. The organization awards grants to nonprofit organizations around the world for conservation, preservation, restoration, or education at tourism-related sites. Tourism Cares has awarded nearly $2.5 million in grant funds since its inception. Mississippi River National Recreation Area was a recipient of grant funds to plant native plants and remove invasive plant species.

Market Development Cooperator Program

Trade associations, chambers of commerce and other non-profit businesses and organizations are generally eligible to apply for an MDCP award from the International Trade Association. Eligible groups represent the business interests of large numbers of firms, or even entire industries. Each dollar of federal funding requested must be matched on a 2-to-1 basis. The applicant must put up the first dollar of match. The second dollar of the match may be in-kind contribution by the applicant or it may be contributed by other organizations. The maximum award amount is $300,000. If you are an eligible organization, all you have to do is send a letter, email, or fax requesting an eligibility determination. Once you are deemed eligible the requests for proposals is generally published in January with applications due in March.


See something you like above? We can help give you a competitive edge when applying with our years of experience in the grant world. Need a different grant service? We are a full-service grant company with a wide array of services. Contact us today to set up a free phone consultation with one of our expert Grant Helpers.


Photo Credit: Audrey Stanton

Topics: tourism grants, grants for tourism, tourism, music grants, outdoor music grants, community grant, community development, economic development, nonprofit, non-profit, nonprofit grants, grants, grant opportunity, grants for nonprofits

10 Grants in Your Community

Posted by Mary Ross on Wed, May 20, 2015 @ 11:05 AM

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

Target and Walmart:

    1. The Target Foundation

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

        2. Walmart Foundation    

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

          CVS and Walgreens

            3.CVS Health Foundation               

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

                4. Walgreens Foundation

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

                  Home Depot and Lowes

                    5. The Home Depot Foundation   

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

                        6. The Lowes Foundation

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


                          State Farm and Nationwide

                            7. State Farm      

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

                                8. The Nationwide Foundation

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

                                  McDonalds and Wendy’s

                                    9. The Ronald McDonald Foundation        

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

                                        10. The Dave Thomas Foundation 

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

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


                                          Photo Credit: Cinzia A. Rizzo

                                          Topics: municipality grants, food program grants, literacy grants, literacy, community development, STEM Education, STEAM grants, education grants, STEM, STEM funding, grants for art education, community engagement, art education grant, art grant, health and wellness funding, health and wellness grants

                                          10 of the Most Money-Giving Private Foundations:

                                          Posted by Mary Ross on Wed, May 6, 2015 @ 10:05 AM

                                          dollar sign resized 600When looking for a grant to fit your organization’s needs, consider both government grants and foundation grants.  While both types can provide the funding you need, government grants can take six months to a year for review while private foundations typically take only three months.  So, if you need a quicker turnaround, you may want to look at which private foundations are giving the most money and consider how you can appeal to those foundations’ goals.  Here are 10 foundations that are giving the most money. 

                                          10. The PNC Foundation
                                          The PNC Foundation supports programs for education and economic development. PNC’s Grow Up Great program has funds set aside for early childhood education. Organizations supporting students in the classroom or community, teacher professional development, and family engagement are specifically targeted by this program. Additionally, the economic development grants support programs to help low-to-moderate-income communities with affordable housing, community development, community services, and community programs for revitalization, stabilization, arts, and culture. Having giving more than $50 million in grant support, the PNC program has shown a commitment to building better communities in the regions it supports.  For a closer look at these regions and an on-line application, visit the Foundation’s website.          

                                          9. Caterpillar Foundation
                                          The Caterpillar Foundation has given more than $55 million in grants since its launch.  This foundation supports programs for women and girls in poverty by “champion[ing] programs that support education, environment, and basic human needs.” Applications are accepted by invitation only, but the Caterpillar Foundation works with the United Way, so contacting your local United Way may be your first step in attracting the attention of the Caterpillar Foundation. This foundation has a “partnership philosophy” and does a lot of grant matching.  Therefore, if you already have some grant funding, you may be able to work with them to get more. The current list of Caterpillar Foundation partners is available on their website.   

                                          8. ExxonMobil Foundation
                                          Supporting “math and science education, economic opportunities for women, and malaria prevention,” the ExxonMobil Foundation has given more than $72 million in grant support.   $100,000 was given for the 2014-2015 school year to support STEM programs in classrooms with individual grants of up to $4,000 offered.  Teachers, last year’s application was due at the end of September and is still available for you to work from on their website. Plan some proposal writing into your summer break and be ahead of the game when the new application goes up!
                                          7. Citi Foundation
                                          Focusing on financial inclusion, youth economic opportunities, and urban transformations, the Citi Foundation has given more than $80 million to worthy organizations.  Although this foundation does not take unsolicited grant proposals, your program might benefit from looking into the Pathways to Progress program.  Last year alone, this program helped 24,622 youth and invested $15 million.      

                                          6. The Coca-Cola Foundation Inc.
                                          The Coca-Cola Foundation says they are committed to “women, water, and well-being.” In 2013, their grants ranged from $25,000 to over $100,000.  The Foundation takes applications via their online process year-round and reviews them as quickly as possible.  There is no deadline for submission, and no limitation on dollar amount.  A special emphasis is given to programs that support healthy communities.  The Cola-Cola Foundation has given more than $100 million dollars to programs around the world.  

                                          5. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation
                                          According to their website, “In 2013, JPMorgan Chase and its Foundation gave more than $210 million to thousands of nonprofit organizations across 42 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and 44 countries around the world.” The JPMorgan Chase Foundation supports programs providing workplace development, financial capability, small business development, and community development. In order to apply for a grant you must first submit your letter of inquiry stating your mission and explaining who and where your project serves.  Grant applications are accepted year-round and are broken down by region.   


                                          4. GE Foundation
                                          GE Foundation focuses on health, education, and disaster relief. Through its gift-matching program, the GE Foundation has given away more than $1 billion in the last 60 years.  Although the Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, it does work with current or former employees, as well as with The United Way.  You may want to consider whom you know when thinking about this possible grant matching program.
                                          3. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc.
                                          The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is working for stronger neighborhoods, a better-educated workforce, and support of basic human needs by helping programs that teach financial stability and create better money habits. This Foundation has invested $2 billion over 10 years toward this goal. Currently two applications are available: Housing—community development (applications accepted April 20-May8); and Hunger—basic human services (applications accepted July 20-August 7). Act fast and submit your application on time.  

                                          2. The Wal-Mart Foundation
                                          In 2013 alone, the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $1.3 billion in charitable donations globally. The Wal-Mart Foundation accepts proposals for small, local grants as well as for large, more comprehensive grants. The foundation’s focus areas are: hunger relief and healthy eating, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, and career opportunities. Grant awards range from $250 to several thousand dollars.  Grants for 2015 are being accepted now through December 31, 2015 and will be reviewed in May, July, October, and January.  Grant applications are available on-line.       

                                          1. Wells Fargo Foundation 
                                          Wells Fargo Foundation is proud of its charitable abilities, and rightly so: “In 2014, we donated more than $281 million to 17,100 nonprofits and surpassed our $1 billion philanthropy goal three years early.” Wells Fargo Foundation supports programs in almost every state in the U.S. Each state has a different set of guidelines to be followed when seeking a grant, but they all have commonalities.  Wells Fargo Foundation supports programs in housing, education, the arts, the environment, and civic services. In order to apply for a grant, check your state’s requirements online and contact your local Wells Fargo store for information.     

                                          Foundations are ready to support worthy programs, so work to make your program stand out above the rest.  That’s where we can help. We work with you to find the grant that’s right for you, develop grant proposals, and more.  Contact to see how we can find the grant you need and work with you to create an application that attracts those funds.   


                                          Photo Credit: OTA Photos

                                          Topics: after school program, education funds, community development, community development grant, STEM Education, free grant money, nonprofit grants, grants for education, grants for math education, enviornmental grants, enviornmental funding, STEM funding, nonprofit funding, professional development grant, top ten U.S. foundations, grants for Underprivileged, community engagement, education grant, afterschool program, after school programs, top foundations, grants for environment, foundations, foundation grant, foundation grant money, foundation grants, community grant, grants for envirvonmental projects

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

                                          Posted by Mary Ross on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 @ 12:02 PM

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

                                          Education Grants for At-Risk Youth

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

                                          Community Grants for At-Risk Youth

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

                                          Municipal Funding for At-Risk Youth

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

                                          Tips for Securing Grants:

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

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

                                          Photo Credit: Kris Duda

                                          Topics: municipality grants, education, health and wellness grant, community development, school safety resources, nonprofit grants, child care grants, afterschool programs, school safety, bullying, police safety grants

                                          Grants for Swimming Pools, Water Parks

                                          Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 @ 12:08 PM

                                          As summer comes to a close, continues to get a great number of requests for information swimming pool grants, aquatic center grants, water park grants, and other similar types of funding.

                                          In this blog article, we provide you a few examples of grants that might assist your municipality or non-profit organization in finding grants for the construction, rehabilitation, or running of aquatic swimming and leisure facilities. If you have any questions, or if you would like to speak to a specialist about finding additional funding for your project, please do not hesitate to contact us. After all, next summer will come around sooner than you expect, and many of these grant opportunities require some advanced planning before submitting a proposal.


                                          Outdoor Recreational Grant Program

                                          The National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreational Grant Program awards park districts and local government agencies grants to acquire, plan, and develop land for public recreational purposes. Swimming pools, bike and walking trails, tennis courts, soccer fields, restrooms, and water facilities are just some of the eligible projects for this grant. Deadlines and amount of funding given varies from year to year.


                                          Community Facilities Grant Program

                                          The United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Grant Program awards funding to repair facilities used for community purposes, public safety, and health care. Municipalities with fewer than 20,000 residents are eligible for this grant, but communities with fewer than 5,000 residents or with median incomes below 60% of the state’s median income receive highest priority.


                                          Community Entitlement Grants Program

                                          The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development supports the Community Entitlement Grants Program, which awards grants to municipalities with over 50,000 residents and counties with more than 200,000 residents. The purpose of the program is to support community projects that improve the economic development and living conditions of residents. Projects may include land acquisitions, construction and rehabilitation of facilities, and more.


                                          Angles to Consider

                                          It seems obvious that when searching for grants for swimming pools or water parks, you would look for grants that promote such types of recreation. However, as we often encourage, try to think outside the box. Ask yourself, “What, besides recreational activity, will such a pool/center/facility be able to do for the community?”

                                          You might realize that, depending upon your location and your design for your facility, you might be able bring additional dollars to your community through avenues such as tourism, business and economic development, community development, promotion of healthy living, and more. Do not forget to examine grants in these areas as well as more traditional areas like those mentioned above.


                                          As always, if you need assistance brainstorming or finding funding sources for your projects, offers free initial consultations. Contact one of our experts today.


                                          Image credit: David Schott

                                          Topics: community development, community development grant, economic development, parks and recreation grants, swimming pool grants, recreation grant, community facility grants, parks and recreation, outdoor recreation grants, community improvement grant

                                          Economic Development Grant Opportunities

                                          Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 12:09 PM

                                          Almost every government entity, from the U.S. Department of Commerce to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to state government departments, has grant monebuildingy available annually to help fund economic development projects. Millions of dollars are available for both economic development training and projects. Below is a selected list of such opportunities.

                                          Smart Growth Implementation Assistance

                                          In response to the need for technical assistance for economic development, the Environmental Protection Agency created the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program in 2005. This is an annual program open to state, local, regional, and tribal governments as well as to non-profit organizations that have partnered with a government entity. Typically, 3-5 communities are selected for this program each year and receive direct technical assistance from a team of national experts in one of two areas: policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, design workshops, alternative analysis, build-out analysis, etc.). For example, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) received assistance in 2008 to help develop a scorecard that would evaluate the transportation options available to urban, suburban, and rural residents. It is anticipated that Requests for Letters of Interest will be issued in January 2014.

                                          Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG)

                                          This is a competitive grant program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that aids to improve the economic condition of rural areas by providing assistance in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to Rural Cooperative Development Centers, who in turn provide technical assistance to individuals and entities. Applicants can include non-profit organizations or institutions of higher education. This program does require a 25 percent match of the total project cost. The maximum grant amount is $200,000, and in Fiscal Year 2013 there was were $6.5 million in program funding. The anticipated deadline for next year is July 2014.

                                          Community Development Block Grant Program

                                          Every year each state administers Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to local governments to aid in the development of viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic development opportunities primarily for low to moderate-income individuals. HUD distributes funds to each state based on a statutory formula that takes into account population, poverty, incidence of overcrowded housing, and age of housing. Each state develops its own funding priorities and criteria for funding, while also choosing which local governments receive funding. However, local governments must ensure at least 70 percent of its CDBG grant funds are used for activities that benefit low and moderate-income persons. Communities may use CDBG funds for a variety of activities including, but not limited to, acquisition of property, planning activities, public activities, and demolition.

                                          Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP)

                                          In our home state of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity administers this federally-funded grant program. It provides grants of up to $750,000 to local governments that can then be loaned to businesses locating or expanding in the community.  Funds may be used for machinery and equipment, working capital, building construction, and renovation.  Grants may also be available for improvements to public infrastructure in direct support of a business that would create and/or retain jobs in the community.  Units of local government in communities with population under 50,000 people are eligible to apply. Many other states offer similar programs to assist local businesses in expansion projects.

                                          Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP)

                                          The State of Illinois also offers the Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP) to local governments for improvements on public infrastructure on behalf of businesses undertaking a major expansion or relocation project. This project must result in substantial private investment and creation or retention of jobs in the state. The grant amount is based on the amount of investment as well as the job creation or retention involved. For this program, at least one private sector job must be created or retained for every $10,000 awarded by the department. Typically, the department will limit its assistance to $500,000 or less. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, with grants available on a very limited basis. Again, other states may have similar programs to assist in infrastructure projects for business expansion.


                                          Our team of experts, including Municipality Specialist Rebecca Motley, can help walk you through every step of your grant journey. Please contact us, visit our municipality page, or see our complete list of services to see how we can help you find your funding needs.


                                          Photo Credit: Clearly Ambiguous


                                          Topics: community development, economic development, government grant, federal grant, grant opportunity, state grant

                                          Grants for Community Gardens

                                          Posted by Michelle Hansen on Mon, Aug 5, 2013 @ 20:08 PM

                                          It is the time of year when gardens are producing a bounty of fresh vegetables ready for sharing with a neighbor or creating a home-cooked meal. Community gardens not only provide a fresh, local source of food, but also a place for citizens to build camaraderie an7172085202 ee4b614e1a qd volunteers a place to work. According to the National Community Garden Association, there are currently more than 20,000 community gardens in the U.S., up from only 6,020 in 1996. Following is a selection of grants to assist in either creating or sustaining community gardens.

                                          Home Depot Community Impact Grants Program

                                          Non profit and tax-exempt public service agencies are eligible for grants up to $5,000 from the Home Depot Foundation for projects that utilize volunteers to improve the health of a community. Grants are given in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. The Home Depot Foundation focuses on projects that help or involve veterans, so community gardens that would serve veterans in some way would receive a higher consideration for funding. Applications are accepted online throughout the year, and the program is competitive with the Foundation receiving more applications than they can fund.

                                          Mantis Tiller Award

                                          In 2014, 25 charitable or educational programs will each receive a Mantis Tiller/Cultivator with border/edger and kickstand, and their choice of gas-powered 2-cycle engine or electric motor. These will be awarded through the Mantis Tiller Award Program. Mantis has been awarding tillers to programs for the past 18 years to help garden projects in cities throughout the country. The online application must be submitted by March 7, 2014. Winners will be notified in April 2014 and awards will be distributed in May 2014.

                                          ScottsMiracle-Gro GRO1000 grants

                                          The GRO1000 grant program, sponsored by Scotts Miracle-Gro, is an annual grant program to fund community gardens through 2018. Government entities, school districts, and non profit organizations are eligible to apply for these grants. There are two grant categories: Grassroots Grants and Showcase Grants. Grassroots Grants of up to $1,500 are awarded to local communities to help bring edible gardens, flower gardens, and public green spaces to neighborhoods across the United States. Showcase Grants are awarded directly to mayors for the installment of edible gardens, public gardens, and green space development. Applications are normally accepted starting in January, with a deadline of February. Programs that show a positive impact on the community, involvement of area youth, a health and wellness benefit, and plan to donate some of the food to those in need are given priority in funding.

                                          Captain Planet Foundation

                                          Grants from the Captain Planet Foundation inspire youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities, which include creating or maintaining community gardens. Schools and non-profit organizations with an operating budget of less than $3 million are eligible for these grants. Deadlines are Sept. 30 for spring and summer projects and Jan. 31 for fall and winter projects. Preferential consideration is given to requests seeking funding of $500 or less and to applicants who have secured at least 50 percent matching or in-kind funding for their projects. The maximum grant award is $2,500.

                                          Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb

                                          Since its creation in 2008, Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb has provided over $1.3 million to 140 community groups and helped to complete 14 garden makeovers in the U.S. and Canada. Non-profit organizations and schools are eligible for the program. Grants come in the form of cash, garden tools, and materials to help support community gardens throughout North America. Applications for the 2014 program will be available on the website starting in the fall.

                                          Annie’s Grants for Gardens

                                          Annie’s believes that gardens are “places for kids to connect to real food, explore new flavors and talk about where our food comes from.” Educational organizations and schools can apply for funding from the organic food producer. Projects that receive funding should combine youth and education with gardening. The next round of grant funding will begin in the fall. Check the website for the application and deadlines.

                                          Our team of experts, including Municipality Specialist Rebecca Motley, can help pair you with the appropriate grant to meet your needs and goals. Our services are completely customizable and include everything from project development to grant writing to project implementation. The first consultation is always free!


                                          Photo credit: Lori L. Stalteri

                                          Topics: community development, grant announcement, community gardens, grants for community gardens, garden grants

                                          Municipal Economic and Community Development Grants

                                          Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

                                          In our previous blog, "Municipal Water and Wastewater Grants," we outlined several grants available to municipalities that will aid in water and wastewater grants and tradevelopmentining.  In this blog, we detail several grants available to those municipalities hoping to improve economic and community development. These grants fund everything from community facilities to planning efforts to bus programs. There are many more of these types of grants available so let us help you find the optimal ones for your needs. Contact us for your free initial consultation.

                                          Investments for Public Works and Economic Development Facilities

                                          The U.S. Department of Commerce administers this grant program, which aims to support the construction or rehabilitation of integral public infrastructure and facilities. Projects covered under this agenda include business parks, industrial access roads, brownfield redevelopment, telecommunications, and broadband infrastructure improvements, as well as many others. Projects awarded grants must be necessary for business creation, retention, or expansion.

                                          Economic Development_Support for Planning Organizations

                                          Those municipalities aiming to create an economic development plan can look into this grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. This program provides assistance to eligible recipients to create a regional economic development plans. These plans should identify and leverage the unique asset of each region, including those that help create and retain higher-skill and higher-wage jobs. These grants applications are accepted on a rolling basis and awards are announced throughout the year.

                                          Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program Planning Grant

                                          There is an estimated $45 million available for this grant program in fiscal year 2013. Municipalities eligible for these grants must be developing programs that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments. This grant program puts an emphasis on partnerships, including non-traditional partnerships such as arts and culture, public education, or food systems.

                                          FY 2013 Economic Development Assistance Programs

                                          Both rural and urban towns can apply for this grant program from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This program supports the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, encourage economic development, and strengthen America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. There are two deadlines remaining for this program: June 13, 2013 for funding cycle four of fiscal year 2013, and September 13, 2013 for funding cycle one of fiscal year 2014.

                                          Bus and Bus Facilities Grants

                                          Local governments who operate a bus transportation system can receive assistance for their programs through the Bus and Bus Facilities Grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Eligible expenses covered under this program include the purchase of new buses, bus maintenance, mobile radio units, park-and-ride stations, shop and garage equipment, passenger shelters, and more.

                                          Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

                                          There are several different headings under this U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program. The CDBG Entitlement Community Grant allows larger cities to apply for funding to create affordable housing and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, particularly for low to moderate income individuals. The Small Cities CDBG Program, administered by individual states, assists local governments to carry out community development programs. Each state develops funding priorities annually. Also, different states have different mechanisms for distributing HUD funds, so procedures and deadlines vary from state to state. Through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, HUD awards grants to communities hardest hit by foreclosures and delinquencies to purchase, renovate, or redevelop homes and stabilize neighborhoods.

                                          Contact information to determine deadlines are on each grant’s website listing.

                                          We want to help you in your pursuit of grants. See a complete list of all of our services and determine how best we can help you meet your goals.

                                          Photo Credit: Moving Mountains Trust

                                          Topics: community development, community development grant, economic development, grant announcement, bus facilities grants, municipal grant, municipality grant, bus grants

                                          Grant-Giving Corporations are Making an Impact on Communities

                                          Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 14:03 PM

                                          cashAs pointed out in our previous two-part blog, “Trends and Projections for U.S. Federal Government Grant Funding,” the availability of federal grant money is waning. Organizations that have once relied heavily on federal grant funding for their programs will likely need to look for other funding opportunities. Those opportunities could be from the hundreds of grant-giving corporations across the country. Corporations such as Bank of America and Walmart do more than provide banking services and discount products. These corporations, and hundreds of others like them, work to make a difference in their communities by providing grants to non-profit organizations in a variety of subject areas. Below we will detail a few of the grant-making corporations as well as their funding areas and any specific grant opportunities. There are countless other corporations looking for exceptional programs to fund so why not let us help you find several good matches for you? Contact a grant helper today to get your grant search started.

                                          Bank of America Charitable Foundation

                                          In June 2012, Bank of America Charitable Foundation awarded over $22 million in grants to more than 650 nonprofits. These funds were estimated to impact more than 31 million individuals. Nonprofit organizations in Bank of America communities have two opportunities for grants this year. Community development grants focus on nonprofit organizations helping with foreclosure counseling and mitigation, real-estate owned disposition, and affordable housing. Bank of America Charitable Foundation will issue a community development Request for Proposals (RFP) on April 15 and will accept applications through May 10. Additionally, nonprofits focused on helping with basic human needs, such as food, shelter, and benefits access can apply for a Bank of America critical needs grant. A critical needs RFP will begin on July 8 and applications will be accepted through August 2.

                                          Walmart Giving Programs

                                          The Walmart Foundation aims to meet four core areas: 1) hunger relief & healthy eating; 2) sustainability; 3) women's economic empowerment; and 4) career opportunity with its local, state, and national giving programs. Through the local giving program, nonprofits, government entities, schools, or faith-based organizations located in Walmart communities can apply for $250-$2,500 grants that will benefit the facility’s service area in one of the four core areas. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2013. Walmart also operates a state-giving program, which awards grants to nonprofit organizations that operate on a regional or state level or affiliates of larger organizations that operate on a state level. The application period for the state-giving program begins in June and ends in August. Also, nonprofit entities that operate on a national scale may apply for grants through Walmart’s national-giving program, which awards grants of $250,000 or more. Program ideas should be submitted using the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) format only. Unsolicited proposals or promotional materials are not accepted.

                                          Cigna Foundation

                                          Charitable organizations that aim to promote wellness, expand health opportunities, promote personal and professional growth, or find unique approaches to issues of local and global concern, could look toward the Cigna Foundation for grant funding. The Cigna Foundation judges grant proposals according to the following four qualities: responsive, creative, achievable, and beneficial. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

                                          JPMorgan Chase Foundation

                                          As a global financial institution, JPMorgan Chase aims to give back to its communities through its grant-giving Foundation. In 2011, JPMorgan Chase and its Foundation gave more than $200 million through grants and sponsorships. This Foundation supports nonprofit entities that promote community development, including programming that addresses workforce development, asset building, and financial literacy as well as those programs that encourage economic development and affordable housing. Also, the Foundation awards grants to K-12 education systems that increase economically disadvantaged children’s access to quality education. Finally, JPMorgan Chase supports organizations that encourage arts and culture in both schools and communities. To receive grant support for any such program, a potential grantee must first submit an online letter of inquiry.

                                          If any of the above opportunities seem to fit your grant needs, let us help you by requesting a free quote to get started, or feel free to browse our list of services.

                                          Image Credit: jollyUK

                                          Topics: community development, community development grant, educational funding, corporate grant for education, critical needs, corporate grant, women's economic empowerment, federal spending, career opportunities, hunger relief

                                          Let’s Play - Grants for Community Recreation and Outdoor Spaces

                                          Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 @ 13:03 PM

                                          As the winter weather continues to take its toll on the nation, thoughts of green grass and outside recreational activities can help ease those winter blues. There are several opportunities for entities such as municipalities, counties, and non-profit organizations to apply for grants to help fund facilities, parks, and other recreational opportunities. In this blog post we will review some of these grant opportunities. There are thousands more. As always, we are here to help you get those grant dollars.  So if you have any questions about how to apply, feel free to contact us anytime. And remember, the initial consultation is ALWAYS FREE.


                                          United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facility Grants

                                          This grant program assists in the development of essential community facilities, primarily in rural communities with a population under 20,000. Funds from this program can be used to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities for health care, public safety, and community and public services. Funds can also provide for the purchase of equipment required for a facility's operation. Public entities such as municipalities, counties, non-profit corporations, and tribal governments are eligible to apply.

                                          National Park Service Land & Water Conservation Fund

                                          States and local governments are eligible to apply for matching grants to fund public outdoor recreation and areas and facilities. O’Fallon, Illinois used a $750,000 LWCF grant to acquire land for a variety of playing fields for baseball, softball, soccer, football, and more.

                                          Let’s Play Initiative

                                          Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has made a three-year, $15 million commitment, as part of KaBOOM!’s Let’s Play Initiative, to help construct and improve playground areas. Municipalities and non-profit organizations with a playground or outdoor recreational space that is currently unsafe for children can apply for construction grants. Hurry, that deadline is April 2013. The Initiative also offers Let’s Play Completion Grants, which can be used toward the completion or improvement of an existing playground. This grant program has an ongoing deadline. In addition, there are also opportunities for communities to partner with school districts to apply for Joint Use Grants to open school recreation facilities to the public during non-school hours.

                                          2013 Midwest Garden Grant

                                          The National Gardening Association has sponsored this grant for four years, aiming to support community organizations with child-centered garden programs. Priority is given to programs that have these components: educational focus or curricular/program, integration to reinforce academics, life skills, instruction, (e.g. nutrition, growing one’s own food, learning to be responsible) developing environmental stewardship, and encouraging students to make positive choices for themselves and the planet. As the title implies, grants are available to states in the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  Applications are due April 26, 2013.

                                          Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Grants

                                          May 2013 will be the next opportunity for charities and state or local agencies to apply for Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Grants. The focus of this program is to facilitate and encourage the design, development, construction, and operation of new skatepark facilities, primarily located in low-income communities in the United States.


                                          We want to help you improve your recreational facilities and programs designed to get people outside and moving! Join our Grant Helpers Watch List and we will let you know when more of these recreational funding programs are announced.


                                          Photo Credit: JaxStrong

                                          Topics: great resources, grant annoucement, community development, community development grant, recreation grant, grant opportunity, municipality grant, environment grant