How to Get Grant Money for an Elderly Care Business

by George Boykin; Updated September 26, 2017

According to a 2013 Congressional Budget Office report, aging baby boomers are creating a variety of opportunities for entrepreneurs and community-service agencies based on a surge in demand for elderly-care support services. Moreover, several government agencies and private foundations prioritize their grant-making activities on elderly-care services.

Government Grantors

The main funders of all government elderly-care grants are:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Veterans Administration

Direct and Indirect Federal Grants

Some federal agencies award certain grants directly to local organizations that provide services to the elderly. For example, the HUD Assisted Living Conversion Program offers grants to private, non-profit owners of eligible developments to retrofit multi-dwelling housing complexes into Assisted Living Facilities.

The HHS's Administration for Community Living has a grant program that includes local nonprofits in its list of eligible applicants. This grant funds the empowerment of older adults and adults with disabilities "through chronic disease self-management education," the program's website says.

Federal agencies typically provide most of their support for elderly-care services through block grants to their counterpart agencies at the state and local levels. In turn, state and local agencies award competitive grants to local nonprofits and qualified for-profit enterprises that directly serve the needs of senior populations.

The DOT's Elderly and Persons with Disabilities grant, administered through state transportation departments, helps nonprofit groups meet the transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities

The HHS's Social Services Block Grants fund many elderly-care services that are administered directly by state and local senior-care agencies. The Georgia DHS, Division of Aging Services, for example, uses its SSBG funds to awards grants to nonprofits and qualified for-profits for a variety of elderly-care services, including:

Grants for Senior Help at Home Services

  • Chore services
  • Home health-care services
  • Homemaker services
  • Personal care assistance
  • Skilled nursing services

Grants for Nutrition and Wellness Programs

  • Meals on Wheels
  • Physical fitness classes
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Group meals at senior centers
  • Senior recreation programs

Grants for Caregiver Programs

  • Adult day care centers
  • Mobile day care programs

Grants for Other Services

  • Home modification and repair
  • Mental health counseling

Applying for Government Grants

You can find federal grant opportunities for elderly-care service providers online at Grants.gov. Do a keyword search to find grants listed by type of grant and the agency grantor. Descriptive information on the website includes:

  • grant award date
  • amount of grant
  • eligible applicants
  • grant goals and purpose

For example, the key words “elderly caregiver, Georgia,” will retrieve all federal elderly-care grants available in the state of Georgia. You can also download application packages for specific federal grants online.

In addition to grants listed on Grants.gov, state and local agencies list grants available under federal block grant programs. For example, a “grant funding opportunities” query in the search box on the Georgia DHS, Division of Aging Services website will retrieve current and pending grant announcements for elderly-care services in the state of Georgia.

Private Foundation Grants

The Grantmakers In Aging membership roster is good source for identifying private foundations that award grants to nonprofits with a focus on elderly-care services. For example, GIA lists the John Gogian Family Foundation as a member, which awards several kinds of elderly-care grants to nonprofits in Los Angeles County, including adult day care grants.

Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) compliance requirements generally disallow foundations from awarding grants to for-profits. However, many for-profits that operate social programs, such as elderly-care services, use one of two provisions in the IRS tax code to work around IRS proscriptions against grants to for-profits.

Some for-profits enter into fiscal sponsorship arrangements with nonprofits. Fiscal sponsorships allow a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit to legally receive tax-deductible grants on behalf of a for-profit. The grants are administered by the nonprofit, usually for a fee ranging between 5 percent and 15 percent of the fund amount.

For-profits with a social focus, such as elderly-care services, are increasingly taking advantage of the social enterprise provisions in the IRS tax code. According to IRS guidelines, private foundations are permitted to make program-related investments in social enterprises by way of direct investments, or low-interest loans. You can identify foundations that do PRIs on the Foundation Center website. Type “program-related investments/loans” in the search box. Foundation Center is a fee-for-service organization. However, it may worth paying the fee to avoid searching among the thousands of foundation to find those that do PRIs.

About the Author

George Boykin started writing in 2009 after retiring from a career in marketing management spanning 35 years, including several years as CMO for two consumer products national advertisers and as VP for an AAAA consumer products advertising agency. Boykin mainly writes about advertising and marketing for SMBs.

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