Updated: Aug 3
Word of warning: There are rip-off artists who will charge you money to “find grants.” What you’ll probably receive is a print-out of various government agencies - essentially the same thing you would find if you did a google search or used one of the free resources listed below.
Often these websites TRY to look like they are official government websites, but are actually for-profit companies taking advantage of people.
Tip: look at the web address (the URL) of the site you are visiting. If it ends with .gov, then it is a government website. If it ends with .com, .org, .net or one of many other endings, it is NOT an official government website, even if it looks like it is.
NOW FOR THE COLD, HARD TRUTH:
While there are some grants available for individuals, nearly all grant programs are designed for nonprofit organizations - like schools, food banks, homeless shelters, etc.
If you or your family needs immediate help with food, housing, job training, healthcare - you don’t need a grant. You need help. Try calling 211 from your phone. If your community has a 211 line, they have professionals who can connect you with charities.
If your community doesn’t have a 211 line, try contacting the closest charities such as Catholic Charities, your local food bank, Salvation Army, etc. Even if they can’t help you, they may know where you can find the help you need.
Remember, they don’t need to hear your life story - just let them know what you are looking for and ask for their help finding the right assistance program.
So...What grants are available for individuals?
Scholarships: The best way to find these is to work with the school you currently attend OR the school you plan to attend. Most schools have employees who are familiar with the grants and scholarships that might be available.
Other grants - While most grants are designed for nonprofit organizations, there are a few programs that give grants to individuals. Here are some places to find these grants:
Start at your local library! Librarians are wonderful people who love finding answers to questions. The library may be able to provide you access to grant databases and other resources. All for free.
Grant Watch has a list of grants for individuals. This is a commercial site and, of course, they want you to purchase their services. However, you can do some limited looking around for free.
The Small Business Administration has some grant programs for small businesses and individuals. Visit the website and search to see if anything is available.
The USDA has some programs for farmers.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development may have some programs listed on its website.
If you are an artist, check out the National Endowment for the Humanities website.