How To Obtain Grants For Community Programs


Community grants are offered by local and state governments as well as private corporations and foundations for all types of community programs that improve the region’s arts, culture, philanthropy, education, health and basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, education, youth activities, safety, employment and job training, technology and other community based programs. Some government agencies and non-profit organizations make community grants available for business start-ups and development and low-income housing development. There are a number of different types of community government grants as well as foundation grants that are available. More than 150,000 grants are given every year, and there are more than 75,000 community foundations in the United States.

Some of the largest community foundations include:

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The Tulsa Community Foundation
  • The Cleveland Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust
  • The Chicago Community Trust
  • The Silicon Valley Community Foundation

You should check with your local state and municipal agencies to find out what types of community grants are available as well as search online for community grants in your area.


Community Foundations require applicants to complete a grant application. The application is then reviewed by the funder’s board or executive director. Decisions are made by looking at the grant seeker’s needs and types of programs to see if they match the funder’s guidelines on how they want funds used and for what purposes. When applying for community grants, there are limited funds so it is smart to apply early and apply to as many funders as you can that you qualify for. Also be sure to request the full amount of funding. Since there are limited funds, you may not get all that you asked for, but you could still receive a portion. Attach any documentation that is required. Most funders want a copy of your operating budget. The funder will post the application deadline on their website and contact information in case you have questions are completing the application. Always read the exclusions so that you do not waste your time applying for a community grant that does not meet the funder’s expectations. Be sure to submit the application in the format that the funder requests and on time. Late applications will most likely not be considered. You will be notified by the funder if you are awarded funding and how much by either mail or email.


After you receive a community grant, you must complete the funder’s monitoring forms which monitor the progress of the project after it is finished or within a specified amount of time after you receive the grant. The grant funder will provide you with the form and information that they require. Once you have received grant funding from a funder, they may invite you to submit a proposal for the following year or you can apply on your own again. It is easier to get funding from someone you have already established a relationship with, but you still must meet the funder’s guidelines and deadlines.

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