Many people think of grants as “free money,” and that’s essentially what they are--money you never have to pay back (unlike loans). They do require preparation if you want to receive one, but grants allow many people to pursue projects they wouldn’t have the chance to pursue otherwise.
Some grants help schools, nonprofits and other entities to improve their facilities. Typically these entities serve the public and don’t have the funds to complete renovations on their own. Grants often provide funds for rebuilding or renovating damaged structures, weatherproofing buildings, making structures more environmentally friendly, or adding additional structures to serve the needs of a growing population.
Providing Educational Opportunities
Some grants provide funds for technology, books and other crucial materials in schools and community centers, as well as professional development for teachers. Others provide funds to enrichment programs like summer camps to support economically disadvantaged children who wish to participate.
Other grants allow towns, cities, schools and other entities to prepare for emergencies. Funds may support training and equipment that facilitate preparedness, or pay the salaries of emergency workers. Such grants help communities to stay safe and give people a sense of security.
Grants support many other social programs too, such as environmental improvement projects, literacy centers and programs that assist people with disabilities. Many corporations invest funds in such programs at home or abroad, as the Chronicle of Philanthropy website says. Often a program must have nonprofit status, be a government institution, or be affiliated with a school to receive such a grant. These grants help communities to grow stronger and take care of those who need assistance most.
Numerous grants from associations like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation support groundbreaking academic research. Through this funding, researchers learn how to overcome diseases, social disparities and other major concerns. Some researchers use grants to study languages and other cultural traditions. These grants are important to institutions of higher education because they help the school to develop a reputation for excellence in scholarship.
Grants fund artistic endeavors as well, supporting visionary projects that may help people to see the world from a new perspective. The National Endowment for the Arts and many foundations provide such funding. Like research grants, these sources of funding help colleges and universities to build their reputations.
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.