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 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

Grants for Community Gardens

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, May 7, 2014 @ 08:05 AM

According to the National Community Garden Association, there are currentl7728597566 74b7ef9619 qy more than 20,000 community gardens in the U.S., up from only 6,020 in 1996. Community gardens are popular for a variety of reasons. Those that produce food give people peace of mind about the safety of their food as well help save on food bills. Gardens focused on flowers, bushes, and trees create beautiful centerpieces for neighborhoods to be proud of. Community gardens can also be an economic boon to a community, taking a rundown area or environmentally unsafe land and creating a useful, safe area for all to enjoy.

There are several grants available to communities hoping to create or enhance a community garden. Below are a few we selected to highlight.

New England Grassroots Environment Fund

Communities with established gardens as well as those communities hoping to create gardens should apply for Seed grants. The organization will fund a wide range of activities, including materials and supplies for gardens, outreach materials to encourage volunteers, and more. The grant cannot be used acquisition of land. There is no deadline for this fund. A maximum amount is not stated, but the example budgets shows a $1,500 application.  This fund also has Grow grants, which support only already established community gardens. Groups eligible for this grant must have over one year of experience running the community project. The next deadline for the Grow grants is Sept. 15.

Home Depot Foundation

Municipalities would need to partner with a non-profit organization to apply for a $5,000 Community Impact Grant from the Home Depot Foundation. Grants are given to help volunteers improve the physical health of their community. Proposals for planting trees or creating community gardens are highly considered. Grants come in the form of Home Depot cards in order to purchase materials, tools, or services. Deadline for application is Aug. 15.

The Sow It Forward Garden Grants Program

Community garden organizers interested in starting or expanding their gardens can apply for grants from The Sow it Forward organization. Gardens must be of a general benefit to the overall community. The 2014 grant cycle is already closed. However, the program is already accepting applications for 2015. This program offers full grants as well as partial grants. The full grants have a value of $500 and include cash, gift card, seeds, an online garden planner subscription, and a gardening magazine subscription.

Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program

Municipalities and non-profit organizations can use this USDA grant program to start or enhance community gardens. The primary goals of the program is to increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities, meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, and provide equipment for the operation of a project. Community food projects (max $300,000 for 3 years), planning projects (max $25,000), and training/assistance (max $500,000 for 3 years) were included in the 2014 program, whose deadline has already passed. It is expected the deadline for 2015 will be March.


The Grant Helpers are here to help you meet your needs. Our services are completely customizable to your needs. Contact us today and our municipality expert, Rebecca Motley, will walk you through the process. And remember, the first consultation is always free.


Photo credit:iinduuu

Topics: muncipality, community gardens, grants for community gardens, garden grants, grant opportunity, municipal grants, community grant, community improvement grant

Arts and Culture Grant Opportunities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 @ 07:01 AM

Municipalities often focus money and time on keeping infrastructure, utilitiartes, and other vital necessities in good working order not only for current citizens, but to also attract new residents. However, towns need to not overlook the “extras” that are integral to bringing in new families. These perks could include arts and culture opportunities, which can be supported by grant money. Below is a hand-picked list of these grant opportunities. If you would like more information about these specific grants, or want to know if there are additional grants available, please contact us. Remember, the first consultation is always free.

Gannett  Foundation

The Gannett Foundation awards grants to organizations in communities served by Gannett Co., Inc. For a list of states/locations, see here. Grants can be used for cultural enrichment programs in communities, including parades and festivals. Grants average between $1,000-5,000. Applications, which are found online, are accepted twice a year by Feb. 28 and Aug. 29.   

National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers several grants programs, including this one that specifically supports small and mid-sized institutions. Libraries, museums, historical societies, municipalities, and cultural organizations are eligible to apply for this grant money to help improve their ability to preserve and care for humanities collections. A past recipient of the grant was the City of Ontario for purchase of preservation and storage supplies for the Ontario Library. Institutions that have never received an NEH grant are strongly encouraged to apply. The deadline for application submission is May 1. In the last five competitions the Preservation Assistance Grants program received an average of 316 applications per year. The program made an average of 113 awards per year, for a funding ratio of 36 percent—a fairly high ratio in the world of grant-making. 

Challenge America Fast-Track

Local and state governments can apply for these grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. These grants offer support to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that aim to bring the arts to underserved populations – those limited by geography, ethnicity, economy, or disability. Each grant totals $10,000 and requires a dollar-for-dollar match. The application deadline is May 8. In 2013, 150 grants totaling $1.5 million were awarded. The 1st Fridays Art Walk of Fairfield in Fairfield, Iowa, received a grant to support a concert music series. About Productions of California used a grant to create and install a mural in Pasadena.

Kresge Foundation

This private foundation seeks to award grants to organizations for general operating and project support grants in the area of arts and culture. The foundation states it “seeks to make arts and culture as central to discussions of rebuilding and reinvigorating metropolitan areas as land use, housing, transportation, economic development and other more traditional disciplines.” Intermedia Arts Minnesota and Artspace Projects Inc. in Minneapolis both received grants in 2013 for operating support. Through 2014, the foundation seeks to award 15 grants for activities that integrate arts and culture in public green and civic spaces. The two-step application process begins with an inquiry, submitted via an online application system. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Boeing Foundation

A municipality would need to partner with a non-profit organization to apply for an arts and culture grant from the Boeing Foundation. The Boeing Foundation has two categories in its arts and culture grant program: 1) Arts Engagement and 2) Arts Education. Arts Engagements projects include performances and exhibits that challenge and broaden people’s view of the world through the introduction of different perspectives. Arts Education proposals nurture creativity in students, helping to form creative and critical thinking skills. Deadlines and grant amounts vary state to state. Find your state’s grant making guidelines here.

_________________________________________ has a full team of experts, including Municipality Specialist Rebecca Motley to walk you through every step of the grant process. Learn more about our wide array of services here, and let us help you find grants to fund your needs and dreams.


Photo credit: Keith Bloomfield

Topics: municipality grants, grant notification, grant announcement, grant opportunity, municipality grant, municipality, foundation grant money, art grant, arts grants, community grant, culture grants

NEA Our Town Grant Opportunity

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Tue, Dec 31, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

NEA Our TownThe National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant deadline is quickly approaching (January 13, 2014), but still worth considering for many municipalities and nonprofits that can pull off a tight deadline. If you need help working under a time crunch, has the experts who can assist you in any or all parts of the grant application process. Simply contact us for more information.

According to the NEA Our Town website, “Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to improve their quality of life, encourage greater creative activity, foster stronger community identity and sense of place, and revitalize economic development.”

Our Town projects may include the following:

  • Arts Engagement (e.g., festivals and performances, public art to improve public spaces and reflect character of community, programming that encourages interaction between community and the arts, etc.)
  • Cultural Planning (e.g., cultural district planning, development of master plans for public art, etc.)
  • Design (e.g., design of rehearsal, studio, or places for artists to live and work; design new of adapted cultural spaces; design of public spaces, including streetscapes created by artists)

Eligibility and Requirements:

  • Applicants must be made by two primary partners, including a nonprofit organization and a local governing body. One of the two partners must be a cultural organization. Having more than two partners is encouraged.
  • One partner must act as lead applicant and assume full responsibility for the grant.
  • Must request a grant amount of $25,000, $50,000, $75,000, $100,000, $150,000, or $200,000.
  • All grants require nonfederal matching funds of at least 1 to 1 (may be cash or cash and in-kind contributions).

Again, the deadline for this grant is January 13, 2014. For more information, including full eligibility and requirements, please contact us or visit the NEA’s Our Town website. And remember, is here to help you as much or as little as you need. Please do not hesitate to let us know if we can help you throughout any part of the grant process.


Image credit: bablu121

Topics: municipality grants, nonprofit grants, cultural grant, municipal grant, art grant, arts grants, NEA grant, Our Town grant, community grant, community improvement grant