Tips for Grant Seekers

KCResearch provides many types of studies and articles to help grant writers find facts and statistics to use when writing grants. However, grants must be identified before they can be written.

This guide provides tips on how to identify grants appropriate to your needs.

If you are researching information on a particular topic for your grant, check out our KCResearch Topic Guides or browse our resources.

Research Considerations


There are basically four considerations in conducting grant research. You will need to research as much as you can with regard to:

Grantmakers

You first want to check to see what foundations offer the kind of assistance you’ll need. This can be achieved by using the three approaches listed above.

Companies

You can glean information about specific companies to determine whether or not they would be a good match for your proposal. See how their mission matches with your goals to determine which would be the best partner.

Grants

Found out what kinds of grants have been awarded and who received them. Many grant-issuing foundations list past projects and types of grants have been awarded. By studying what kinds of grants have been issued in the past, you can better know how your proposal would fit in with the past grantees.

990s

A "990" is a document submitted by the grant-maker to the IRS each year. This document contains detailed information about the grant, including how much was awarded. It provides valuable information for the grant-seeker as it breaks down the grant into its specific, component parts.

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail, bcc@kclibrary.org.

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Finding Grants


There are different ways to go about finding grants, but many grants are funded by Foundations. In order to conduct grant research, it is crucial to understand the role of a foundation and what it does.

A foundation is a non-profit corporation or a charitable trust whose mission is to make available grants to organizations or individuals for cultural, educational, religious, scientific, or other charitable purposes.

The successful grant seeker should conduct exhaustive research in order to find right foundation. Foundations can be the sector of a corporation, a private non-profit aiming to further specific purpose, a federal agency designated to promote a specific cause, or even a Labor Union. This process might require extensive review of both print and online resources.

There are essentially three approaches to grant research. Both print and electronic resources may be used:

Subject Approach

This approach is perhaps the most often-used, as foundations will express an interest in funding subject-specific programs. Look for foundations that are most likely to fund your proposal. Many government agencies and labor unions such as the National Education Association (NEA) offer grants and lists of grants relevant to the subject area.
Grants for:

Geographic Approach

Since foundations will often limit where they will fund projects to their region or location, you may want to include this approach as part of your overall searching strategy. For information on several local foundations, see Regional Grants below.

Types of Support Approach

This type of approach is usually used in conjunction with Subject or Geographic research, and should not be confused with the Subject Approach. "Subject Approaches" will list programs that foundations want to fund, whereas "Types of Support" will offer what kinds of assistance the foundations will fund. For example, requests for funding for building/renovation, equipment, seed-money, or technical assistance would fall into the category of "Types of Support."

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail, bcc@kclibrary.org.

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Regional Grants

Below is a list of regional grants by topic.

Arts and Humanities Grants

Francis Family Foundation
To be eligible for a Small Arts Grant, an organization must be located within the greater Kansas City area (60-mile radius); a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity with a federal Employer Identification Number, or partner with another organization that can serve as a fiscal sponsor; and an arts organization with annual revenues of less than $300,000 last fiscal year, or a non-arts organization – regardless of budget size or mission – with a community-based arts program that provides access to arts and culture opportunities in traditional and non-traditional sites throughout the greater Kansas City area. The application deadline is August 31. The Francis Family Foundation’s areas of interest not specific to the Kansas City region are pulmonary research and lifelong learning with a particular emphasis on early childhood development.

Missouri Humanities Council
The Missouri Humanities Council award grants to non-profit organizations in support of locally generated programs. The Council provides grants for activities designed principally for adults in Missouri, particularly projects that help humanities institutions improve their programming and interpretive practices, and institutes and conferences for teachers. Grants are awarded by MHC board members in open competition, with multiple submission and review dates each year.

Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation
This private foundation's mission is to support programs that contribute to the quality and accessibility of the performing and visual arts in the greater Kansas City region. Grants fund general operations, program support, specific productions, fundraising events, and capital campaigns. Grant proposals are accepted from current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, and are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Health-related Grants

Jewish Heritage Foundation of Greater Kansas City
The Jewish Heritage Foundation provides grant opportunities “to promote health and well being in the Greater Kansas City area, with a priority to serve the Jewish community.” Grants are awarded to current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The application deadline is March 1.

Menorah Legacy Foundation
This Foundation supports programs that foster the delivery, quality, or affordability of healthcare or healthcare-related social services in the Kansas City area’s Jewish community. Three grant categories exist with application deadlines of March 1 and January 15.

General Grants

Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation
This Foundation was established by Bess Spiva Timmons in 1967 “to enable her children and grandchildren to carry on an already existing program of assistance in the areas of education, health, medical research, the arts, and programs with emphasis to benefit minority groups, social services, and ecology.” The Foundation accepts grant proposals from organizations in the United States west of the Mississippi River. Grants range to $10,000. No application deadline is stated.

Edward G. and Kathryn E. Mader Foundation
The Edward G. and Kathryn E. Mader Foundation supports the health, education and welfare of children in Greater Kansas City. The Foundation accepts grant applications from 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the Greater Kansas City area. Awards typically range from $5,000 to $30,000. Applications are accepted from March 1 to May 1 of each year.

Hall Family Foundation
The Hall Family Foundation concentrates its philanthropic efforts in the Kansas City area. Grants fund programs and organizations dedicated to education; children, youth, and families; the arts; and community development. Grants are made to charitable organizations, which qualify as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. No application deadline is stated.

Helen S. Boylan Foundation
This Foundation funds organizations and programs working within the Kansas City Metro region. The Foundation considers a wide range of proposals within the following areas: arts, education, health, human services, environment, and public interest. Grants are awarded to non-profit charitable organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or to public governmental units. Applications are considered four times per year; and must be received by March 31, June 30, September 30, or December 31.

The Sosland Foundation
“The Sosland Foundation awards grants in a broad area called social welfare to address the issues related to poverty in the United States specifically in Kansas City. We support programs that promote self-reliance and economic independence and positively contribute to the quality of life for the underserved.” Grants are awarded to I.R.S. Section 501(c)(3) approved organizations in the Kansas City area. The grant review committee meets quarterly; grants range from $1000 to $5000.

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail, bcc@kclibrary.org.

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Grant Fraud

Department of Justice Grant Fraud Guide

Grant Fraud is an issue that you, as a grant seeker, need to be aware of. Grant fraud happens when the money appropriated for a grant is misused due often to conflicts of interest, lying or failing to properly support the use of funds, and outright theft. This set of slides, prepared by the United States Department of Justice, outline how grant fraud can occur by outlining what constitutes a conflict of interest, “lying” and theft of funds appropriated for specific purposes. This is something to be particularly aware of if you are applying for federal grants, as it is taxpayer money that must be accounted for. There are people who investigate grant fraud and these cases are tried in federal courts with penalties, such as prison time or steep fines that may exceed the award of the grant that has been taken fraudulently.

If you are uncertain of whether or not you might be viable to commit grant fraud, your risk can be mitigated by following these steps:

  • Examine your operations to determine your fraud vulnerabilities.
  • Implement specific fraud prevention strategies including educating others about the risks–the more people are aware of the issues, the more they can help prevent problems or detect them as early as possible.
  • Maintain a well designed and tested system of internal controls.
  • Ensure all financial or other certifications and progress reports are adequately supported with appropriate documentation and evidence.
  • Identify any potential conflicts of interest issues and disclose them to the granting agency for specific guidance and advice.
  • Follow a fair and transparent procurement process especially when utilizing consultants.
  • Ensure the rate of pay is reasonable and justifiable and that the work product is well-defined and documented

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail, bcc@kclibrary.org.

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Additional Resources


You may also want to consult these titles in the Block Business and Career Center at the Kansas City Public Library:

The Foundation Center's Guide to Winning Proposals by Sarah Collins (2008)
Collins assembles actual grant proposals that have garnered actual money for nonprofit organizations, as a guide for newcomers to grant writing. She presents them in sections on special single-year and multi-year projects, endowment, building or renovation, general and operating support, seed money, and planning grant. She also provides examples of letters of inquiry, cover letters, and budgets. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

How Foundations Work: What Grantseekers Need to Know About the Many Faces of Foundations by Dennis P. McIlnay (1998)
In this groundbreaking book, Dennis McIlnay offers a unique and remarkable look inside foundations, exploring the complex workings of the mysterious and often misunderstood organizations that so often determine the success or failure of a nonprofit's fund raising ventures. Drawing on his extensive research and on insights from foundations, McIlnay gives the grantseeker an edge in the highly competitive world of foundation grants by both debunking many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding foundations and including more productive strategies for dealing with them. Structured around six perceptions of foundations—judges, editors, citizens, activists, entrepreneurs, and partners—this book provides a thorough understanding of what makes foundations tick and how this affects their interactions with nonprofits. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

Getting Grants: The Complete Manual of Proposal Development and Administration by Alexis Carter-Black (2006)
Getting Grants deals with every step of the process: how and where to find sources of funding the pre-proposal planning and development stage the components of a grant proposalthe role of the grant writer and/or grants office in an organization the role of the project director in the grants process proposal writing (with tips gleaned from a decade of experience), and moreThe primary markets for the book will be non-profit organizations, public and private K-12 schools, public and private universities and colleges.The book includes a CD-ROM with forms, job descriptions, rules for a grants office, and useful excerpts from successfully funded proposals.

Grant Writing Made Simple: 87 Tips for Great Grants by Sally Stanton (2009)
With an approach based on common-sense principles, the book offers plenty of advice from foundation grant reviewers, writing instructors, grant-writing students, and others -- a compendium of the best and most useful tips and techniques. These little nuggets of wisdom are small enough to fit in your already-crammed-full-of-facts brain, but big enough to help you out when you get stuck just before that important grant deadline.

Demystifying Grant Seeking: What you Really Need to do to Get Grants by Larissa Golden Brown
(2001)
Written for nonprofit professionals and fundraisers of varying levels of expertise, this guide provides crystal clear, practical guidelines for writing grants, based on a five-step program and a definition of the principles that underpin a successful grant-seeking process.

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail, bcc@kclibrary.org.

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