Spring is just around the corner and with it brings thoughts of cleaning, dusting, and getting the house ready for the warmer weather. Spring is also a great time for many to spruce up their financial housex. Now that the holidays are but a memory, many consumers are deeper in debt than when they started the Christmas season. According to a 2015 survey conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts, “Six in 10 households suffered a financial shock in the past year.” In addition, “55 percent of households struggled to make ends meet after experiencing their most expensive financial shocks.” Given these sobering findings, here are some examples of grants geared toward financial literacy programs that may help alleviate the unpleasant surprises. Two of these grants support nonprofits offering financial education programming for individuals in underserved communities. The third focuses more on research.
Discover is well known for its consumer credit cards and student loans. It makes sense for them to offer grants geared toward financial education programs. Creating a more financially savvy consumer drives down business costs for Discover. The more educated the consumer, the less charge-offs and personal bankruptcies to their business. The funding guidelines for these grants are located here. The guidelines include some of the following requirements: organization must be a 501c3 and the program must encompass education and/or financial literacy programs. The online grant application consist of five main sections which are consistent with other applications (i.e. project overview, organization’s demographics, necessary documentation, etc.). Their website does not explicitly state what the minimum and maximum grant amounts may be so, more than likely, it is on a case-by-case basis.
|Before Applying: Once you create an account, read the application overview section carefully as it gives more insight into the five main sections of the application.|
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s mission is to “provide underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. The FINRA Foundation envisions a society characterized by universal financial literacy.” This funder aims to support nonprofits whose focus is on financial literacy. The foundation offers three different types of grants: RFP-based; directed, unsolicited proposals; and, targeted proposals. Each of these has certain criteria that must be met. The foundation is always interested in projects that focus on an under-served population or a particular unmet community need. To begin the process, your organization must submit a Concept Paper. This is similar to a Letter of Interest (LOI) but a bit more comprehensive. As of 2016, the foundation will fund between $50,000 and $100,000 for each project. The grant guidelines and FAQs can be found here.
|Before Applying: This seems obvious but bears repeating: read through the grant guidelines thoroughly. When drafting your Concept Paper, make sure it is data-driven and the project meets the needs of the population you target.|
If your organization is one more focused on financial education research and need funding to further that research, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is one to explore. While some of their on-going funded projects are those in higher education, any think tank or research-focused nonprofit would qualify for funding. Some of the research areas include marketing, economics, and finance, to name a few. Previous research grants have ranged from $100,000 to $150,000. NEFE has two grants cycles a year (spring and fall), and a Letter of Inquiry is required to kick start the process.
|Before Applying: Applicants are strongly encouraged to read through their guidelines and application process. Their website offers introductory orientation webinars, FAQs, and what the reviewers seek in a project.|
A Grant Helper can review and advise on an initial letter of intent, to help you get past the first gate in funding. Contact us for assistance for all of your grant needs.