Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Rebuilding After A Disaster

Posted by Carol Timms on Tue, Oct 23, 2018 @ 16:10 PM

Immediately after a disaster, governmental agencies, volunteers and non-profits respond en masse to the affected area. rebuildThese entities provide essential health and human services. In turn, granting organizations support these first responders by offering grants for general expenses and specific special interests.

The Grant Helpers appreciates the efforts of the first responders. To say Thank You, we'd like to offer you a half-price Opportunity Search in January to replenish your budget. The cost for an Opportunity Search is usually $250 but for organizations assisting our neighbors affected by Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael or the wildfires in the Western US we are offering it for $125. The Opportunity Search will identify potential funders to whom you can apply for grant funds. It is our job to sift through many possible funding sources as listed in the databases to which we subscribe. After reviewing thousands of possible funding sources, we will provide you information on 3 who would be an excellent fit for your organization. We know you’re busy now serving the public so contact us in early January to receive this special price.

 The following are some of the organizations offering grants to support those who help:

 Support for Non-Profits

The Astellas USA Foundation will provide immediate response when needed. 

Both Walgreen’s Charitable Donations Program and Wells Fargo Charitable Contributions Program will support disaster relief programs across the nation.


Both Banfield and PetSmart Charities will support programs designed to aid animals during natural disasters. 

Schools and Libraries

Dollar General’s Beyond Words Program and the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provide funds to help school and public libraries rebuild and restock after a disaster.

School Football Programs

USA Football, in conjunction with the NFL Foundation, provides equipment donations to youth and high school football organizations that have been affected by floods, earthquakes, fire, other natural disasters, and theft. 


Farm Aid supports family farmers in crisis. Contact them through their hotline at 1-800-Farm-Aid or visit their website.  

Craft Artists

Craft artists in areas affected by natural disasters can benefit from grants, zero-interest loans and other services from the Craft Emergency Relief Fund


The Grant Helpers assists schools, non-profit and local governments develop strategies for identifying and applying for grant funds to achieve their goals. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help.

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When Disaster Strikes

Posted by Carol Timms on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 @ 14:10 PM

Every day we hear news of natural disasters. Across the country and around the world we hear reports of hurricanes,hurricane widespread fires, earthquakes, typhoons, volcanoes, and tsunamis. One of our readers, Bradley D., suggested we share some useful articles and advice to prepare for and react to a natural disaster.

Plan Ahead

Before there’s even a whisper of a disaster, take inventory of your belongings. This can be as simple as walking through your home taking photos to upload to the cloud. This will make filing claims easier.

Also, develop a plan of action if there is a disaster. Disasters that happen with little or no warning such as fires, tornadoes and earthquakes require a different plan than predicted disasters such as hurricanes. Know where to take cover. Planning in advance can mitigate loss. Consider maintaining extra supplies such as food, water, canned goods, and medicine. If you have warning, prepare an evacuation bag for each member of the household – including your pets.

Document Everything

In the event of a disaster, document your losses and expenses. Take pictures of the damage and meet with the insurance adjuster in person if possible. If possible, don’t dispose of anything until you have a chance to meet with the insurance adjuster. Then, keep a list of what you’ve had to throw away including spoiled food.

Keep all receipts related to being displaced including housing, food, etc. Kiplinger offers this article sharing 8 steps to getting your insurance claim paid quickly. 

Angie’s List offers several articles regarding rebuilding and choosing the best contractors.

Government Help

State, local and federal governmental agencies work with non-profits and utilities to offer a variety of necessary services during a disaster. Information on services can be found at and on FEMA’s website. FEMA lists disaster recovery centers and establishes a specific page for significant disasters like Hurricane Michael. These pages offer information about services available to help those affected. 


We hope you stay safe. Thank you Bradley for offering these practical resources to share with our readers. Our next blog post will identify grant opportunities to assist in rebuilding.


The Grant Helpers assists school, non-profit and local governments develop strategies for identifying and applying for grant funds to achieve their goals. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help.



Topics: disaster, public safety, emergency management services, EMS, FEMA, disaster preparedness, natural disaster

Grants for Emergency Relief

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 @ 09:08 AM

3620709165_534337ca49_q.jpgHurricane Harvey is causing catastrophic and unprecedented damage and flooding in Texas. Harvey has caused at least 16 confirmed deaths and inland flooding is ongoing in the Greater Houston area. FEMA director Brock Long called Harvey the worst disaster in Texas history, and expected the recovery to take many years. Preliminary estimates of economic losses range anywhere from $10 billion to $50 billion.

To help to those in need, please visit the American Red Cross site for Hurricane Harvey specific donations.

There are grants available to help with emergency needs for organizations as well as community clean up grants to assist with recovery from a disaster. See some of these available grants below and for more opportunities contact us.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

One of this foundation’s goals is to “reduce suffering and save lives in regions affected by natural disasters.” In addition to providing monetary support for emergency relief, this foundation also assists with strengthening the capacity of emergency responders as well as researching new ways to provide disaster assistance. Under emergency relief, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports basic relief support—including food, water, sanitation and hygiene, healthcare, and shelter—in the acute phases of complex emergencies. Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.

Lions Club

When disaster strikes, get in touch with your local Lions Club. Local Lions Clubs can award local grants with money from Lions Club International. The local Lions Club can deem where it awards the grants, so contact the club for specific requirements. There are three grants available:

  1. Disaster Preparedness Grants - These grants help prepare for future disasters. The aim is to bring volunteers from the Lions Club together with emergency personnel and community organizations, to have plans in place before a disaster strikes. These grants range from $5,000 to $10,000. Local funds must account for 10% of the grant request. Priority will be given to districts susceptible to regular and repeated natural disasters.
  2. Emergency Grants - Grants of up to $10,000 are available for communities hit by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people. Grants in this category should help with an urgent need for water, food, clothing, medical supplies, blankets, and cleaning supplies not available from other agencies. When a tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, this grant was used to fund 120 meals a day for an emergency shelter that housed people who lost their homes.
  3. Community Recovery Grants - This set of grants is aimed to help with short-term clean-up and repair efforts where immediate needs have already been addressed. These grants total $20,000 and are for current disasters only where at least 100 people have been affected. Construction projects are not eligible. Eligible projects include equipment for debris removal, coordination of blood drives, equipment and supplies for minor repairs of public institutions, and temporary eye clinics for replacement of eyeglasses.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Normally this foundation does not accept unsolicited applications. With the emergent and unprecedented nature of Hurricane Harvey we believe this foundation may be willing to help since one of its main priorities is supporting disaster relief and long-term recovery. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has assisted financially with events such as the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Ebola Virus Epidemic in West Africa. Thus far in 2017, the foundation has given $1 million in grants to disaster relief and recovery. We suggest contacting this foundation and initiating a relationship to see if grant money will be available.

We are a full-service grant company with a wide variety of services. Contact us today for a free phone consultation with one of our expert Grant Helpers.

Photo Credit: Maxstrz


Topics: emergency preparedness resources, emergency preparedness, disaster preparedness, disaster relief grants, grants for disaster relief, natural disaster, Hurricane Harvey

Disaster Relief, Preparedness Grants

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 @ 12:03 PM

3791340426_2b3d6b15b2_q.jpgAs the thunder rolls and the threat of tornados lurks in our home state of Illinois we thought it an appropriate time to share grants that help prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, both natural and man made. Read below for three grants that can help your organization be prepared.

Hospital Preparedness Program

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to ensure communities are prepared for public health emergencies. The hospital preparedness grant program is intended to support the U.S. public health and healthcare systems. Eligible applicants include state, city, or county governments. Grant money is intended to be used to build and sustain their public health and healthcare preparedness capabilities, ensuring that federal preparedness funds are directed to priority areas within their jurisdictions as identified through their strategic planning efforts. Awardees must assure that their implementation activities and programs effectively meet the needs of at-risk individuals. Deadline for application submission is April 3. The minimum grant award is $300,000, with an award ceiling of $42 million.

Kiwanis Children’s Fund

Build a relationship with your local Kiwanis Club in order to be a recipient of a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. These disaster relief grants are intended to help Kiwanis clubs and districts meet crucial, immediate needs. Grants are designed to support Kiwanis-led relief efforts to meet the most urgent needs of victims immediately following natural disasters. The grant money must be used to address the immediate needs of disaster victims in the wake of a natural disaster. Types of activities supported include: food, bottled water, clothing, first aid supplies, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. This grant is not available to address long-term needs that may include building or rebuilding homes and replacing personal and household items. In the event of an emergency, contact your local Kiwanis club for assistance.

FEMA Non-Disaster Grants

The Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) non-disaster grant programs provide funding to enhance state and emergency responders to prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorism incidents. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as to transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. Dedicated funding is provided for law enforcement and terrorism prevention throughout the country to prepare for, prevent, and respond to pre-operational activity and other crimes that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity. Last year, eight different grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion were funded. Last year applications were due in April. The deadlines for 2017 have not been announced yet.

As always, is available to assist you! We'd be happy to offer you a complimentary "grant readiness" consultation. Just contact us today.


Photo Credit: Jared Hatfield

Topics: natural disaster, disaster preparedness, disaster relief grants, grants for disaster relief, disaster preparedness grants, grants for disaster planning, grants for disaster preparedness, grants, grant opportunity

Grants for Disaster Preparedness, Relief

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 11:10 AM

16551421138_4bc2a10225_q.jpgHurricane Matthew was an unwanted guest along the east coast and in several islands over the weekend. Matthew hit Florida, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. More than 20 people in the U.S. died. Now, North Carolina is dealing with massive flooding that’s left about 1,500 stranded. And more than 1,000 people in Haiti died when the hurricane hit the country last week.

This is the perfect time to bring awareness to grants that both help prepare for natural disasters before they occur and assist people after disasters strike. See a sampling of these grants below, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more questions.

Lions Club International Foundation

This service organization, normally associated with helping with vision concerns, actually has four different grant programs dedicated to preparing for or helping with disasters. In the last 10 years, the foundation has awarded more than $100 million in these types of grants. Applications for these grants must be submitted to the local Lions Club where the disaster has occurred, so building a relationship with your local club is vital. See details on the all four of the grants below.

  1. Disaster Preparedness Grants- These grants help prepare for future disasters. The aim is to bring volunteers from the Lions Club together with emergency personnel and community organizations, in order to have plans in place before a disaster strikes. These grants range from $5,000 to $10,000. Local funds must account for 10% of the grant request. Priority will be given to districts susceptible to regular and repeated natural disasters.
  2. Emergency Grants- Grants of up to $10,000 are available for communities hit by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people. Grants in this category should help with an urgent need for water, food, clothing, medical supplies, blankets, and cleaning supplies not available from other agencies. When a tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, this grant was used to fund 120 meals a day for an emergency shelter that housed people who lost their homes.
  3. Community Recovery Grants- This set of grants is aimed to help with short-term clean up and repair efforts where immediate needs have already been addressed. These grants total $20,000 and are for current disasters only where at least 100 people have been affected. Construction projects are not eligible. Eligible projects include equipment for debris removal, coordination of blood drives, equipment and supplies for minor repairs of public institutions, and temporary eye clinics for replacement of eyeglasses.
  4. Major Catastrophe Grants- These grants cannot be applied for by organizations and instead are directed by the foundation’s board of trustees. These grants are awarded for long-term reconstruction projects like those after Hurricane Katrina in the U.S or the Nepal earthquake.

Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives grants in several different areas, one being emergency relief. They support three different types of emergencies: rapid-onset emergencies, complex emergencies, and slow-onset emergencies. The largest portion of emergency relief grant money goes to rapid-onset emergencies. These types of emergencies are high-impact emergencies such as typhoons or disease outbreaks. This funding aims to help with immediate needs including food, shelter, water, and more. The Gates Foundation also funds complex emergencies, which often include violent elements and disruption of national systems. This money will also fund immediate basic human needs. The last category of funding is slow-onset emergencies. These are classified as events along the lines of drought and famine, whose negative consequences build over time. Grant money in this program must support programs that help build stability in communities. Requests for Proposals are published on the foundation’s website.

Disabled American Veterans

For organizations aiming to assist veterans during emergencies, a great place to start is the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) grant program. This grant program supports veterans that have been the victim of isolated or specific disasters. These grants may be issued for the purpose of providing financial aid, food, clothing and temporary shelter. DAV supply kits – which include backpacks, blankets and hygiene kits – are also provided. Individual veterans and their family members are also eligible to supply directly for this grant program.

When disaster strikes, or if you are looking to fund something else, consider Contact to see how we can find the grant you need and work with you to create an application that attracts those funds.

Topics: disaster preparedness, grants for disaster planning, grants for disaster preparedness, natural disaster, disaster preparedness grants, emergency preparedness, emergency preparedness grants, emergency preparedness resources, emergency management services, grants for disaster relief, disaster relief grants

Grants to Keep Your School Safe

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 @ 10:10 AM

school_safetySadly, school safety is back in the news with the recent tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. TheGrantHelpers put an emphasis on school safety in 2012 when 20 children and six adults were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We doubled our efforts to find grants to help you secure your schools, and released our "School Emergency Preparedness Overview" to help you see how prepared your school is for an emergency.


It might be a good idea to create a list of equipment and items that are necessary to make your school safe. Of course, each list will vary based on your school's needs but some items you may want to have on your list include:

  • Security system such as cameras
  • Improved school lighting
  • ID card readers on entryways
  • Fixed lock entry doorways
  • New solid doors
  • Fences to create definite school boundaries
  • Programs to educate staff, students

Just as important to physical equipment are the procedures put in place to use them, and periodic drills and walk-throughs to assure preparedness.

Funding your your list of school security needs is often a challenge. To help you get a good start, below are selected grant opportunities that may be of interest.


Two major programs helping to fund school security are included under the umbrella of the US Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant programs. There are two COPS programs that fund school security needs: Community Policing Development (CPD) and COPS Hiring Program (CHP). In Fiscal Year 2015 CPD funded projects related to a number of public safety topic areas totaling $6 million. The COPS Hiring Program awarded 209 grants this fiscal year to hire or rehire police officers. Special consideration was given to those applicants requesting funding for a School Resource Officer. Funding for both of these programs has already been allocated for this fiscal year. It is expected solicitations for these programs will appear late spring/early summer.

Video Insight

Video Insight has created the School Security Grant to help schools attain video surveillance systems. In January 2015, the company began giving away one grant per month, and it will continue to do so until the end of the year. K-12 schools as well as colleges are eligible to apply. Each Video Insight School Security Grant recipient will receive the following equipment:

  • 48 Video Insight Video Management Software (VMS) licenses
  • 16 IP video surveillance cameras
  • 1 video encoder
  • 10 years of the Video Insight Software Upgrade Program (SUP)

Insider Tip: The application for this program is fairly short and simple, yet it may be useful to have your IT person help fill out the application. There are some technology specific questions.

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education

This retail store may not seem like a place to find grants for school security needs. However, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education focuses giving on K-12 public/charter education and community improvement projects. The projects can include building renovations/upgrades, grounds improvements, and safety improvements. Grant requests can range from $2,000 to $100,000. The fall application cycle ends Oct. 16. That deadline too soon? This foundation accepts applications again in the spring.

For additional information on identifying security risks within your school, or for additional resources on school security, you may want to see our previous blog article, “How Secure Is My School?”


Our team of experts can help you find funds for all your pressing needs from school security to municipality projects to non-profit programs in general. The first consultation with a Grant Helper with expertise in your specific area of need is always free. Don’t delay and contact us today.


Photo Credit: Jason Lawrence

Topics: education, emergency preparedness grants, disaster preparedness, emergency preparedness

Public Safety Grants

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Fri, Oct 4, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

Both police and career firefighters are in the top 15 occupations for risk of fatal occupational injury, and the traumatic fatality rates are approximately three to four times higher than the average for all occupations, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The fatality rate for emergency medical services responders is about two and one-half times the rates for all occupations. These statistics show the vital importance of protective gear, necessary equipment, and safety tools for first responders. Grants are often needed to fund many of these integral tools. To assist in finding such grants, the Grant Helpers have compiled a list of potential grants for these public safety efforts. 

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG)

This yearly grant, awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is designed to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. These grants can be used to purchase equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources necessary to help emergency personnel do their jobs. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is currently under development, and according to FEMA’s website, the application period will likely open sometime in October. There were over 250 grants awarded through this fund in 2012. For example, last year Park Ridge Fire Department in Park Ridge, IL received a $16,470 grant to be used for training, and The New Canaan Fire Department in New Canaan, CT used a $93,808 AFG to purchase equipment.

Illinois FY14 Small Equipment Grant

In our home state of Illinois, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal offers small equipment grants up to $26,000. This program provides grants to local units of government in Illinois for the purchase of small equipment by a fire department, fire protection district, or township fire department. Fire protection entities that are not governmental bodies are not eligible to apply for a grant under this program. The grant committee considers the three following criteria: priority, equipment need, and financial need. Applications are due Nov. 15, 2013. All Illinois fire chiefs should have received an application via email. The application is also available on the website linked above.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grants

Emergency service entities served by the Firehouse Subs chain of restaurants (see locations here are eligible to receive these grants awarded four times a year in March, June, September, and December. Program goals include:

  • Provision of emergency service entities with life-saving equipment

  • Provision of prevention and educational tools to the public about the importance of fire safety, emergency services, and natural disaster preparedness

  • Provision of financial resources to individuals pursuing a career in the public safety sector through scholarship programs

  • Provision of ground assistance during disasters by feeding victims and medical workers on the scene

Applications can be filled out online. Past recipients of the grants have used the funds to purchase a thermal imaging camera, extrication tools, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), radios, and firefighter turnout gear.

FEMA FY2013 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM)

Grants up to $3 million are available to state, county, city, or township governments through this FEMA-sponsored program. The goal of the program is to reduce the overall risk to the population and structures from future hazardous events by helping grantees implement a pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program. Over $23 million is available through this program in Fiscal Year 2013. The deadline for applications is Friday, Oct. 18.

State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship® Company Grants

The national insurance company offers fire prevention and disaster preparedness grants to schools, government entities, charitable non-profit organizations, volunteer fire departments, and chambers of commerce. Grants range from $25,000-$100,000 per award. State Farm grant applications for 2014 funded requests will be available from Tuesday, September 3 through Thursday, October 31. The application can be found online.


Our team of Grant Helper experts, including Municipality Specialist Rebecca Motley, can help throughout the entire grant process. We work hand in hand with you to help you find the funds you need. See our complete list of services to see how we can help you.


Photo Credit: cwwycoff1

Topics: first responder grants, grant announcement, firefighter safety, firefighter grant, fire program, disaster preparedness, first responders, grant opportunity, fire department grant, fire safety grant, firefighter safety grant, police safety grants, police grants

Grant Opportunities for Municipality Disaster Planning

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 @ 20:06 PM

Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” When municipalities fail to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, lives could be at stake. Qdisasteruality planning often requires funding. Unfortunately, funding for disaster planning is decreasing just as the number of disasters is increasing. The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) recently published its 2012 biannual report, which is a comprehensive survey of all the state emergency management agencies, and that survey showed that at least 20 states cut their budgets in the past three years. Beyond that, there were numerous local governments that had budgets cut and programs consolidated. State and local governments are also dealing with furloughs, hiring freezes, and layoffs.

In the wake of several recent natural disasters that have destroyed not only property, but also taken lives, we thought it timely to identify several grants that will help communities be prepared if a disaster strikes.

Emergency Management Performance Grants 

The Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) awards grants to help governments prepare for all types of hazards. The purpose of these grants is to help provide necessary direction, coordination, and guidance so that a comprehensive emergency preparedness system exists at all levels for all hazards. There are approximately 58 grants available, and applications are due June 24. There is a cost sharing requirement for this grant.

Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants

Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants (PDM) grants provide funds to state and local governments to implement pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation measures. These measures must be cost-effective and designed to reduce injuries, loss of life, and destruction of property. Unfortunately, the President’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013 recommends no funding for this program. Thus, FEMA does not plan to open an application period for the program unless funds are appropriated in the FY 2013 DHS Appropriation Bill. If funds are appropriated, FEMA will post a notice of funding availability at that time.

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

Awarded by FEMA, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is designed for areas that have been declared a disaster area by the President. This program awards grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The funds may be used to finance projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem. Applications for mitigation projects are encouraged as soon as possible after the disaster occurs. The program may provide a state with up to 15 percent of the total disaster grants awarded by FEMA. States that meet higher mitigation planning criteria may qualify for a higher percentage. The state or grantee must provide a 25 percent match, which can be fashioned from a combination of cash and in-kind sources.

100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge

The Rockefeller Foundation is sponsoring this challenge, in which the Foundation is inviting cities from around the world to apply to become a Resilient City. The Foundation defines building resilience as making people, communities, and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events – both natural and manmade – and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses. In August, cities can be nominated through a formal application process. Winning cities will be announced in three rounds over the next three years, with the final round of winners named in 2015. The winners will receive membership in the Resilient Cities Network, which will provide support and knowledge; support to hire a Chief Resilience Officer to oversee the development of a resilience strategy for the city and be part of a learning network of other CROs; and support to create a resilience plan, along with tools and resources for implementation.

American Veterinary Medical Foundation

Let’s not forget about the animals when it comes to disaster preparedness. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has established two grant categories to support state animal disaster preparedness and response efforts. Start-up grants of up to $5,000 will be available to organizations in the early stages of disaster preparedness and response planning. Start-up grants can be used for expenses related to state training and training-related activities. Matching and challenge grants of up to $20,000 are available to those who are further along in the disaster preparedness and response process. Matching and challenge grants can be used for expenses related to state training and training-related activities, medical supplies, and disaster response-related equipment. State grant applications are now being accepted for 2014. The application deadline for 2014 grants will be October 31, 2013.

The Grant Helpers are here to assist you in your grant needs. See a full list of our services, and remember, the first consultation is always free.


Photo credit: USACE HQ

Topics: federal grant, disaster preparedness, natural disaster, grants for disaster planning, grant opportunity, municipality grant, emergency preparedness