Churches and other faith based organizations often require financial support beyond what their congregations provide. This is particularly true if they provide services to the communities they serve. Multiple sources of grant funds exist for faith based organizations.
Most government entities, including those at the local level, encourage faith based groups to participate in grant programs. There may be restrictions that prevent using public funds for overtly religious purposes. Otherwise, these groups are eligible for government funds. Some agencies offer grants specifically for faith based organizations.
State agencies allow faith based groups to apply for grants as long as religious education is not a component of the funded activity. Grants are generally for community-based programs that the groups run. They will be required to serve individuals from the community who do not necessarily share their religious beliefs or are members of their congregation.
Faith based grants are also available directly from foundations. Many foundations exist solely to provide grants to churches and religious activities. In this case, funds can be used for openly religious activities. Churches seek grants for building renovations, mission projects, and services to the disadvantaged. Some foundations may even support church development activities.
Like other grants, grants for churches follow strict application guidelines. When funded, churches are required to implement their projects as proposed in the grant application. Final reports, including financial accounting, must be submitted at the conclusion of the grant period. Grants for churches may be smaller in award amount.
Faith based organizations can typically apply to the same foundations as churches. These organizations, founded on specific religious principles, provide programs and services to the larger community. They run food banks and homeless shelters. Religious education may be a component of their services.
Organizations that offer religious education classes may also be eligible for faith based grants. A common reason churches and other faith based groups seek grant funds is for meeting and prayer space. Whether building or renting, space is needed for worship activities. Space is one of the most expensive budget items for these groups.
Traditional foundations may allow churches and faith based organizations to apply for grants if the requested funds serve the larger community. Examples include substance abuse rehabilitation programs, skills training, and youth activities. It may be a requirement that the programs take place on neutral property. This allows the foundation to financially support the activities without violating their own guidelines.
Grants for churches and faith based organizations are available from multiple sources including local governments, foundations, and federal agencies. The grantor will stipulate whether or not religious activities can be included in the award. Funders clearly stipulate if religious education of any type if allowed by the awarded organization when using grant funds.