Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What is a Grant?

Here's a bit of "Nonprofits 101." Grants.

If you are involved in the nonprofit sector, even marginally, you may have heard the term 'grant' being thrown about. 'Grant' implies money. But what is a grant? Do grants appear like magic at the feet of the nonprofit organizations most worthy of them? If only that were the case.

A grant is funding provided by a government agency, corporation, or foundation to (usually) a nonprofit organization for a specific project. For example, a food bank may receive a grant from a foundation specifically to fund a program that serves homeless families. But the grant won't fund all the food bank's operations. Only that specific program.

To get a grant, organizations need to apply to for them. What is commonly known as grant writing requires organizations to demonstrate how they will use the funds and explain what outcomes are expected with the funding (i.e., 500 homeless people will be receive 8lbs of food weekly for 6 months). Grant writing is an art. Grants are often competitive and good grant writing skills are in high demand in the nonprofit sector.

If you are looking for a grantt for your nonprofit organization, here are a few sources:

Federal Government Grants

Foundation Center

As an example of how grants are working in Kansas City, the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that Kansas City metro organizations will receive more than $1 million for programs that cut diesel emissions. Read more about that here.

For fun, check out this retro music video by recording artist Amy Grant.

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