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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a grant?

Grants are funds disbursed by one party (grant makers), often a governmental agency, corporation, foundation or trust, to a recipient, often (but not always) a nonprofit entity, educational institution, business or an individual. In order to receive a grant, some form of "grant writing," often referred to as either a proposal or an application, is usually required. Most grants are made to fund a specific project and/or program and require some level of compliance and reporting. The grant writing process involves an applicant submitting a proposal (or submission) to a potential funder, either on the applicant's own initiative or in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Application (RFA) from the funder. Other grants can be given to individuals, such as victims of natural disasters or individuals who seek to open a small business. Sometimes grant makers require grant seekers to have some form of tax-exempt status, be a registered nonprofit organization, or a local government.

Who are eligible to apply for grants?

  • Non-profit organizations as determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
  • Grant projects or programs that benefit a larger part of the population of a certain community, or promote medical, technological, environmental, religious, intellectual or scientific advancements, innovations, and/or general goodwill.

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents at the time of application; for federal grants, 18 years old and above.
  • Individuals promoting grant programs or projects that benefit a larger part of the population of a certain community or promote medical, technological, environmental, religious, intellectual or scientific advancements, and/or general goodwill.

What is a nonprofit organization?

A nonprofit organization (abbreviated as NPO, also known as a not-for-profit organization) is a IRS 501(c)(3) corporation that does not issue stock shares or distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead uses the funds to help achieve its goals. Examples of NPOs include charities, trade unions, trade associations and public arts organizations.  While NPOs are able to earn a profit, more accurately termed a “surplus,” such earnings must be retained by the organization for its self-preservation, expansion, mission or plans. NPOs have controlling members or boards.  Many have paid staff, including management, while others employ unpaid volunteers and even executives who work without compensation.

What purposes can grant money be spent for?

Grant money should be spent only according to the purpose(s) stated in the submitted application or proposal. If the money given is for furnishing an office, it should be used only for that purpose and not for personal or other organizational needs. This is one of the reasons funding organizations require the submission of detailed budgets and budget narratives to guarantee that grant money will be spent as proposed. Most foundations and corporations demand that the first month of operations, or the entire funding period, be carefully monitored to make sure everything is done as presented in the proposal. They usually require grant recipients to submit detailed reports as to how they have spent awarded funds.

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