Personal Grants

Foundations and nonprofit organizations that offer personal grants provide detailed guidelines on eligibility requirements and allowable use of grant funds.  Grants for personal assistance address a variety of needs.  Some personal grants are designated for educational purposes.  Others provide financial support to cover medical expenses.

Many foundations only provide personal grants; they do not offer grants to nonprofit organizations.  Grants for personal assistance are typically considered gifts and are not considered taxable income by the IRS.  Individuals who receive personal grants should carefully review the fine print of the award to make sure there are no legal requirements that need to be addressed.

Organizations that provide emergency grants help individuals with their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.  Grants are available to help pay for rent or utilities.  Health is sometimes considered a basic need.  In these cases, medical expenses or costs for medication may be considered a basic need by these foundations.  These grants are particularly critical for individuals who do not have healthcare insurance.

Personal grants provide immediate financial assistance to low-income individuals facing a crisis.  Individuals can apply directly for grants for personal assistance.  Local service organizations will likely have information on foundations and other funders that provide personal grants.  Some foundations may require case workers to apply for grant funds on behalf of their clients.  This ensures that need for the grant is clearly documented for the foundation.

Families who have children with disabilities can get personal grants to help cover the costs associated with the disability.  This can include in-home services or even special camps for the children.  Grants for personal assistance can provide much need help for families in crisis.  They offer a respite to financial burdens while providing much needed support to the families and children.

Foundations generally do not require the same level of reporting for personal grants as they do for grants awarded to nonprofit organizations.  A letter detailing how the funds were used or even a receipt may be sufficient.  The grantee should always thank the foundation for grants received.  It is a good idea to write a thank you not when you first receive the personal grant and another after you spend the grant award.

The typical foundation that offer grants for personal assistance stipulates individuals can only receive one grant in their lifetime from that foundation.  The “once in a lifetime” stipulation will be clearly indicated in foundation literature such as grant guidelines.  However, you can apply to as many foundations as you want.