The federal government, state governments, and foundations are the main organizations that provide grant money to schools in the United States. Sometimes businesses and individuals give grant money to schools without setting up a foundation for that purpose, and although this is rare, schools should always be on the lookout for local grant money from wealthy individuals and thriving businesses within their communities.
It never hurts to ask for grant money. You may get turned down, but you’re certainly not going to get grant money if you don’t ask for it.
Every organization that gives grant money has a purpose. The better you understand that purpose, the better your chance of getting some of that money. Fortunately, most organizations that give grant money to schools have websites. These websites tell you everything you need to know about these granting entities including their philosophy in regard to education. They also generally list the types of projects supported by that foundation or government agency.
Why do the state governments, the federal government, foundations, businesses, and wealthy individuals give grant money to schools? They want to provide equity in education, to encourage new, innovative programs that can be replicated, to bolster the overall quality of education in the nation, in a state, in a region, or in a city. They want to take advantage of tax breaks. They want to promote a love and appreciation of art, music, science, history, or reading.
As a grant writer, you want to know exactly why grantors are making their grant funds available to schools. It does not matter whether the grantor is the federal government, a state government, a foundation, a business, or an individual. You still want to know the motivating factor behind the particular grant program. By understanding why they are giving money and what they expect to happen as a result, you will be better able to craft your grant application into a highly competitive document.
Do your homework. Seek out every bit of information you can about the individual grant you are seeking and the reasons that grant is being given. Only by truly understanding the motives behind the grant can you do your best job in successfully applying for that grant.