The Difference Between Public Vs. Private Grant Funding

by Mallory Malesky - Updated September 26, 2017
Row of illuminated globes on field of American dollars

Grant funding is essential for many groups to perform their social projects. Such funding can be obtained through a public or private source. Public funding is sponsored by a government agency or other publicly-recognized organization, whereas private funds are donated mainly through private corporations or philanthropic efforts by a private organization or individual.

Public Grant Funding

Public funding often is utilized for projects that have a large impact on society and comes with regulations on how the money can be spent. Because of this, the application process and criteria are strict and approval may take a long time. Applicants generally must submit formal written proposals and standard application forms, and later demonstrate that the funds were spent as the donors intended.

Private Grant Funding

Private funding sources can be more difficult to find than public funding, but may offer fewer restrictions on what the money can be used for. These grants often are used for projects dealing with new ideas, or start-ups that aren't necessarily widely known by the public. There are no legal requirements that dictate how private grant money can be spent, so the application process generally is less intense than public grant applications.

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