Every year, millions of dollars are awarded to many organizations, businesses and individuals through a special form of no-obligation financial assistance or “grants”. This assistance helps groups and individuals achieve personal or institutional goals, such as finishing their education or carrying out research and development projects.
What Are Grants?
Grants are a sum of money usually provided by the government or a non-profit organization to other organizations, businesses or individuals. The money being given doesn’t have to be paid back, but recipients must comply with some directives given by the grant maker as well as to provide periodic reports about the progress of the project.
The origin of grant assistance dates back to the 19th century, when the federal government issued grants to stimulate the agricultural sector. The funds provided states with support to keep local production active. It wasn’t until the last century or so when grants became a tool used by many governments and organizations to fund private initiatives such as scientific studies and real estate developments.
The birth of the information era also brought about new changes for the grant making process. Many governments and organizations have taken advantage of the Internet to make their grant applications more accessible. Since then grants have grown to cover a wide array of purposes such as getting a college degree or repairing homes. Ordinary citizens can now consider grants as an option to improve their quality of life.
How They Work
Most grants follow a standard template: an institution, usually a government or a non-profit organization, announces that it will offer grants to complete work that is aligned with their organization. In the case of the Federal Government, their goal is the public interest. For private companies, perhaps they want to increase goodwill in the community. For non-profit’s, they most likely want to bolster the effectiveness of their programs.
To apply for a grant, the interested individual or organization must prepare a proposal that outlines what they expect to accomplish with the money being given through the grant. This usually includes a detailed overview of expenditures as well as specific deadlines that are expected to be met along the course.
If their proposal is approved, the recipient will be awarded all or a part of the amount of money they requested and will be required to complain with certain rules and regulations established by the institution. This may include periodic financial reports to keep track on expenditures, or monthly reports that allow the institution to follow the progress being made.
Most governments and institutions have their own specific procedures to handle grants, so it’s recommendable to request more information about the specific steps to be taken when applying for a specific grants. The nature of the proposal might make it so that additional information must be provided to certify that the individual or organization behind the proposal has the qualifications to carry out the project.
For example, an individual seeking a grant for scientific purposes will have to provide proof that they are academically certified to perform the necessary research or experiments. A family seeking a grant to repair their home must provide documentation of existing damages along with a budget from an insurance company that acknowledges the cost of repairs. A person seeking an education grant must provide evidence that they are qualified to enroll at the college they need, as well as documents that support the likelihood of them finishing their careers.
Types of Grants
Educational grants are usually given by academic institutions and non-profit organizations to individuals with high qualifications that require financial assistance to continue their studies. Along with scholarships, educational grants are one of the most popular resources that many pre-graduate students rely on to go through college.
Educational grants don’t have to be repaid, but most institutions have a long list of requirements that applicants must meet before they are awarded the money they need to cover their college and living expenses. For example, they must have high grades and a clean record, and some organizations also request recommendations from academic institutions.
The Pell Grant is a popular option in the United States. Administered by the federal government, it provides money to students who cannot afford to pay for college. As of 2017, eligible students are given no more than $5,900 each year to cover their expenses. To qualify for this grant the U.S. Department of Education has to determine that the student is in financial need, usually through the total annual income of the family.
House Assistance Grants
Becoming homeowners is one of the most important goals of many American families. However, acquiring a home can be a tedious and expensive process that not all can afford. Thankfully, a wide array of options is available for families who have decided to purchase a home. Agencies like the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Authority are ready to help families get the home they need.
Those who already are homeowners understand that upgrading and repairing their homes can oftentimes become a financial burden. Many organizations are aware of this fact, and they offer a wealth of grants designed to give homeowners the help they need to make sure their property remains in good condition.
The federal government of the United States, along with many large corporations, understand that the economy runs on the back of the small and medium businesses that many ordinary Americans run across the country. However, starting a new business is no easy task, and so they have set up a variety of opportunities for people to accomplish their goals.
Many of the new businesses in the United States have come to fruition thanks to a grant obtained by a private organization. The federal government does not usually approve grants to support for-profit proposals, although they still provide help through other means such as specific tax credits.
The United States government offers a variety of grants to both individuals and non-profit organizations to pursue personal goals as well as initiatives that align with public interest. They are usually related with educational, technological or scientific purposes but can also cover a long list of topics that the government wants to fund.
These aren’t the only means through which the federal government offers support to their citizens. Over one trillion dollars is spent every year in programs designed to help improve the quality of life of millions of low-income families across the country. They are designed to help them cover food and medical expenses, as well as giving them access to helpful resources such as a smartphone or vehicle at very low or no cost.
Some government agencies and organizations offer free grants to regular citizens so that they can carry out certain tasks. These often require applicants to fill out a questionnaire and to provide certain information before they are given the money they need. Another option that people may consider is the modern crowdfunding strategy, which allows them to receive money from other citizens to achieve a specific goal.