Get Millions of Dollars in Federal Grant Money to Grow Your Business

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January 10, 2012 ‐ By Rhonda Campbell

Grant Money for Business

Each year millions of grant dollars are awarded to qualifying businesses; businesses that are owned by African American women to educate citizens, restore neighborhoods and provide intervention and training equipment and resources to under-represented communities can get capital from the federal government. Furthermore, local and regional government owned and privately held organizations like Alcoa, American Express and the Rockefeller Foundation also provide assistance to women whose businesses operate in certain industries.

Federal Organizations that Provide Grant Funds to Women Businesses

Community organizations that offer substance abuse prevention training, computer training and youth programs receive millions of dollars a year in funding from local, regional and national government agencies. Other types of businesses and organizations that may qualify to receive government grant money are women’s shelters, private schools, organizations that provide low income housing, food and nutrition organizations and environmental protection companies.

Various types of government organizations that provide grant funds to businesses are:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Agriculture
  • James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Transportation
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Council on Disability
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

Private Foundations that Provide Grant Funds to Women Businesses

Private foundations also provide capital or grant funds to businesses and organizations. Some of these foundations include:

  • James Irving Foundation
  • Campbell Soup Foundation
  • Olive B. Cole Foundation
  • Hall-Perrine Foundation
  • W. K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Collins Foundation
  • Carlsbad Foundation
  • International Paper Company Foundation
  • Kipling Foundation
  • Broyhill Family Foundation
  • Robert R. Meyer Foundation
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
  • Ceres Foundation
  • Ford Foundation

Some foundations only offer grants to local businesses, while others offer grant funds to businesses located throughout the United States. To apply for government grants, African American business women can contact Grants.gov and submit an application online. They can also review the United State’s Department of Labor’s “Directory of Foundation Workforce Grant Opportunities” guide, a resource listing dozens of grant opportunities. Before applying for grants, business leaders are encouraged to read grant application guidelines and qualification criteria to ensure they apply for grants they have the greatest chance of receiving.

Tips to Increase Chances of Receiving Business Grant Money

To receive private grant funds, African American business women are encouraged to contact foundations they are interested in working with. Some foundations accept applications online while others request hard copy applications. Whether business leaders are awarded government or privately funded grants they should ensure they have:

  • Grant writing experience (business leaders can also hire experience grant writers to complete grant applications and proposals for them)
  • Clearly defined outcomes for projects they are seeking grant funding for (e.g. raise 1st grade reading scores by 5-10 percent)
  • Programs in place to ensure sustainability of business or community projects (foundations and government organizations want to make sure their money is well spent)
  • Actions in place to recognize or honor grant donors (e.g. list of grant donors on program marketing materials)
  • Financial systems in place to track how grant funds are spent
  • Well defined mission statement for their business
  • Employees or independent contractors in place to manage grants and complete any required reports foundations and government agencies mandate

One of the challenges women business owners face is access to sufficient capital to launch and grow their companies. Private foundation and federal grant money is available to spur the growth of women owned businesses. In fact, nearly26 government agencies and dozens of private foundations provide grant funds to businesses. African American women entrepreneurs can access these monies whether they are just starting their business or have been in business for several years.

Rhonda Campbell, an East Coast journalist, is the owner of Off The Shelf radio and publisher of Long Walk Up and the forthcoming Love Pour Over Me.

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