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Community Service Grants - Page 1 of 2

Getting Started
A fundamental belief that strong communities are important to the well-being of the individual leads visionaries and investors to take on bold initiatives for the public good. Innovation and funding are both essential. Additionally, there must be some platform that brings the two parts together.

Community service grants are one of the ways that investors can be assured that their money is directed to the projects that they believe in. Equally important, community leaders rely on funding to make progress possible. Community service grants are highly coveted and highly competitive; understandable since they can provide up to $10 million in funding.

Both federal, state, and local governments, as well as private corporations, set up these kinds of programs. The process of securing an award and following through on the requirements can be daunting, but worthwhile, task.

Grant Recipients
Organizations, rather than individuals, are generally the recipients. These organizations may be national or local nonprofits, schools, government agencies, chambers of commerce, faith-based organizations, or community groups. They may be involved in disaster relief, veterans' affairs, health, senior interests, child development, safety, wellness, care of the environment, or other issues that impact communities.

Sample Initiatives
Awards are often tied to the interest of the investor. For instance, State Farm Citizenship Grants are directed towards roadway safety, teen driver education, disaster preparedness, and home safety -- understandably, all issues an insurance company would want to promote. Additionally, State Farm offers funding that supports affordable housing and small business development. They have education grants that support teacher development and educational reform. For more information click here.

Federal grants fund Michelle Obama's Let's Read. Let's Move initiative. They provide funding for organizations that mobilize volunteers in their local communities. College students are able to provide tutoring programs through community service grants. To learn more click here.

Qualifying and Applying
Each grantee establishes the criteria for his grant benefit. In most cases, navigating the application process is a complex ordeal requiring a high degree of commitment, time, and expertise. Organizations rely on technical writers to complete the multiples pages of application required in grant writing.

All grants must be meet deadlines. They should be error free in terms of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. There are some other trends in qualifications for community service grants that most grantees want to see.

Targeted to the Underserved
Number 1 on the lists is that grantees want to see proof that your organization will help a community that is lacking goods or services. Whether it's massage services for cancer patients or education for LGBTQ youth, they want to know that their dollars will have a measurable influence in the lives of the individual. They want confirmation that your organization is needed because the particular services you offer are not available in sufficient quantity and that no other organization is adequately providing what you see as your mission.

Financial Records
You will need to demonstrate what you have done with endowments or other financing in the past. Grantees want to see evidence that your organization is fiscally responsible, stable, and well managed.

Verification of Status
If you are a 501 (c) (3), 501 (c) (4), etc., grantees want to see your certification.

A Budget
If you are the recipient of the grant, how will the money be spent? Spell out the cost and quantities that you need. Some grants offer matching funds. Is there reasonable evidence that you will be able to generate funds to match the grant?

Executive Summary
The summary briefly explains what you are asking for. It convinces the grantee that you are the right recipient for his investment. It must be at the same time both complete and brief.

Organizational Background
Grant seekers provide the name of their organization as well as location, history, partners, distinctions, and achievements. They may want to see an organizational chart which tracks accountability both from within and outside of the organization.

It's up to you to convince the grantee that your organization does essential work in the community and that you have existed long enough to have a good standing in the community.

On the next page we will provide details on some of the top grants available as well as target small grant programs.