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Who Funds Grant Programs?

Judges of grant pitch competition

We’ve heard all about grants, but not as much about who funds grant programs. Grant can come from many sources; the most popular of which are government, state, and private organizations. Continue reading to find out more about who funds grant programs.
The Government

Federal grants are typically awarded to state and local governments, businesses, universities, or institutions planning major projects beneficial to the economy or the public at large. If you find an online source offering “free money” from the government, it’s likely a scam. The government gives out grants to organizations that benefit the public good, but certain federal assistance programs do help low-income families become self-sufficient. There are over 26 federal agencies that supervise over 1,000 grants programs to agricultural projects, education institutions, and art initiatives. Government grants are funded by tax dollars, which is why they’re strictly monitored and have very specific requirements.

Private Organizations

Private organizations are funded by private donors, and these donors usually have a vested interest in choosing grant award recipients. This can make it difficult to secure grants because you must convince various people of your project’s viability and profitability.

Private funding has some advantages and some disadvantages. For one, private funding is usually more quickly awarded because boards have strict schedules for proposal reviews and award acceptances. Private organizations also tend to adjust the cost and length of the grant depending on a project’s needs. However, privately funded institutions often don’t provide enough money to cover all the costs of a project, and some recipients find themselves covering indirect costs themselves. Additionally, private organizations often have niche interests.

State Sponsored Grants

State sponsored grants are especially popular for university-bound students. Every state maintains its own college grant programs which are typically only available for student residents. As these grant programs differ by state, it's difficult to provide a list of exactly what they offer. But an example of a state sponsored grant for education is Texas’ need-based grant, which offers $4,400-$7,400 annually depending on need, college of attendance, and academic status.