Free Grants

There is so much publicity about free grants available to individuals and businesses.  But where are they?  How do you get one?  Many view grants as free money because you do not have to repay them.

While this is true, most grants have some type of qualifying stipulation attached.  You do not just get free grant money.  You have to apply for the grant.  When you do, you describe in your application what you plan to do with the grant money.  The grant is awarded based on your application.  In short, it becomes the contractual basis between you and the grantor.  So, to receive and keep the grant, you must actually do what you proposed in your application.  If you do not, you may have to give the grant back to the funder.  If you have already spent some of the grant funds, you will have to repay the spent amount.

There are foundations that provide grants to individuals.  Some of these are free grants because they are awarded based on eligibility criteria with no specific outcomes required.  These grant programs are typically for disadvantaged individuals or people with disabilities. The grant can be used as you see fit since you know your situation the best.

The best way to find these grants is to research grants for individuals. You can do this online or at your local library. One of the best resources for free grant money is Foundation Grants to Individuals published annually by the Foundation Center.  You can research grants based on various eligibility criteria. Free grants can be used for a variety of purposes including education, research, rent, and even medical expenses.

Nonprofit organizations can also get free grants.  These are usually in the form of undesignated grants from family foundations and trusts.  Organizations do not apply for the grants.  Nor are they required to report out on how they used grant funds.  A trustee or family member of the granting organization simply writes a check and mails it to the organization.  These grants are distributed as a result of word-of-mouth praise of the nonprofit’s mission and good works.  It is about who knows who.

Even business owners may be eligible for this type of grant.  Free grant money can help businesses expand by developing new products or services.  These grants are likely awarded by local organizations such as chambers of commerce or even nonprofit organizations that promote business development.  They will be significantly smaller award amounts compared to other business grants.