The most common type of grant is a community-focused grant. Communities across the nation can apply for community government grants or foundation grants that impact the area within its boundaries. Community grants vary in focus and restrictions, but all are for the betterment of the community to which the grants are awarded.

Community federal or state government grants are funds given directly to a local governmental entity or a not-for-profit to meet a specific need and to determine a benchmarked outcome. Most state and federal grants are awarded to a city or county to administer the funds. The local governmental entity will submit claims to the agency as authorized expenditures occur. Nothing that is outside the scope of work set by the grantor will be paid for by the community grant. A community government grant usually covers the cost of shelters, fire trucks, fire stations, ems stations, 911 centers, recreational activities or equipment, senior centers, community centers, etc.

In some cases, a local governmental entity may apply on behalf of a sub-recipient. A sub-recipient is an organization that does not qualify directly for the community grant, but is receiving the funds indirectly through the applicant to pay for a qualifying project. A good example of a sub-recipient would be a water or sewer utility performing a line extension to an area occupied by low-to-moderate income persons. The City could apply for the community grant and pay for the line extension. Once the extension is completed, the line would belong to the utility.

Foundation grants usually do not specify the need for the City or County to be the recipient of funds, but in some cases they are eligible for funding. Foundations always offer the widest variety of community grants. The most common recipient for community grants derived from foundations is a not-for-profit organization. It is important for projects to be clearly defined when applying for a community grant regardless of who might be the applicant. Every organization establishes a mission statement when it is incorporated. Specific projects are a method to meet the organizations mission statement. A good way to determine if your organization is eligible for a community grant is to compare your organization’s mission statement with the grantor’s priorities and goals established for their grant program.

Some grantors will only award grants to a specific geographical area or a specific type of organization. Make sure you qualify before you go through the effort of preparing a community grant proposal. Proposals can require a lot of time to prepare properly, but if you follow the guidelines and prepare a competitive community grant application, it can be very rewarding for your community.