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How to Find State Grants

Individual states in the U.S. receive their money from the federal government, so they provide grants from those funds. Congress votes to send money to the state-level government agencies in one of three forms:

  • Formula: This money is paid based on a preset head-count formula.

  • Entitlement: State agencies get these monies because federal legislation entitles them to receive it every fiscal year.

  • Competitive grant or cooperative agreement awards: The state that has the best grant applications wins this money.

Some states post all the state funding and refunding announcement links on one Web page. However, most don’t. So surf a bit each day to catch all the new postings for grant funding opportunities.

State grants usually award less money and require just as much paperwork as federal grants. But the odds of winning a grant are better at the state level than at the federal level. The main reason you face better odds is that fewer grant applicants are competing for the state-level monies.

To find grant opportunities at the state level

  • Visit your state government’s Web site. Use a search engine, such as Yahoo! or Google, if you need help locating the address. If you search the site and can’t find a listing of all the state’s grant opportunities, call the governor’s office and ask to be directed to the various agencies that give grants.

  • E-mail or call each relevant state agency. Find the one responsible for carrying out legislative funding mandates that are relevant to your own funding needs, and be sure to get on its mailing list for grant funding opportunity alerts.

When you find a state grant that you’re interested in applying for, look for the Web site link that connects you to the grant application summary and download option. Download the complete grant application (including guidelines) and look for the following information:

  • Type of application: For example, the application may be a hard-copy typed submission or an online electronic submission.

  • Due date: Make sure the due date is manageable and gives you enough time to collect topic-related information and write the application.

  • Who’s eligible to apply: Every grant competition has a section listing the types of grant applicants that are eligible to apply for funds. If your organization’s forming structure (local education agency, nonprofit, and so forth) isn’t listed, consider partnering with an eligible applicant.

  • The number of grants to be awarded: You may have to call the funding agency’s contact person to find out the number of available grants; this information often isn’t included in state grant application guidelines.

Ask about the number of grants to be awarded so that you know how many ways the money will be divided. That information helps you develop a more competitive project budget — staying conservative and on the low end of the average grant range.

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