Community projects can be funded by local fundraising efforts and by grants. Grants for community projects are available from federal and state governments, private foundations, and some corporations. Government grants are always for predetermined projects and as long as community projects match the grant guidelines, eligible entities can apply. Private foundations focus on specific target populations, geographic locations, or issues. Foundations will not consider applications that do not fall within their focus areas. Corporations often implement community giving programs in their geographic area of operations.
Government grants are posted throughout the year and are offered only for specified time periods. Grants for community projects might come from any government agency, including Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Justice. The Community Food Projects grant is designed to meet the nutritional needs of low-income individuals and families. This grant will fund projects that increase a community's self-reliance in producing and marketing food. Priority will be given to applications that include long-term planning and inclusion of farmers. The Youth Mentoring Program, a Recovery Act initiative, seeks local organizations to develop and expand community mentoring programs for at-risk youth. Hope Revitalization Grants are designed to improve living conditions in severely distressed public housing projects. The grant funds demolition and replacement costs to improve housing and help build sustainable communities.
The Community Toolbox offers an Out of the Box prize for innovative initiatives that improve community health and development. The projects can include community development, health, education, justice, and poverty alleviation. The TD Charitable Foundation offers a grant competition called Housing for Everyone to support affordable housing initiatives from Maine to Florida. The foundation will award a total of $1.7 million to organizations that make improvements in affordable housing that are energy-efficient and provide overall cost savings. Talk show host Jenny Jones offers a community grant program called Jenny's Heroes. The awards go to individual ideas for tangible, lasting community projects. Past recipients have provided such items as library books, school computers, and firefighting gear.
Corporate grants usually are awarded in communities where the corporation has a physical presence. The Adobe Foundation supports organizations that strengthen and improve communities, focusing on youth, art and creativity, as well as critical local needs. The Corning Foundation focuses on educational, cultural, and community service projects. Corning annually awards over 100 grants totaling $3 million.
Grants are almost always awarded to organizations and not to individuals. Grants are usually competitive; many other organizations are also applying for funding and the funds are awarded to the organizations that most closely adhere to the grant guidelines. Government grant applications require online registration and submission.
Je' Czaja has been writing and illustrating curricula, workbooks, newspaper articles and weekly columns for over 20 years. Her articles have been published in the "St. Augustine Record," the "Valdosta Daily Times," the "Sarasota Herald Tribune" and other regional newspapers. She attended Ringling School of Art, Charter Oak State College, and has a master's degree from the University of Metaphysics.