Start Up Grants for Nonprofits

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Obtaining grant money can make all the difference for some nonprofits; seed money helps the entity open its doors. If you are starting a new nonprofit organization, grants from one or more sources can launch your entity. The federal government is one source for funding, but you can explore state and private options as well.

Federal Programs

The US federal government provides grants through its dedicated website at That site requires users to register, a process that can take three to five days or as long as two weeks if all of your steps are not completed correctly. You can choose to download the grant application packet first for your organization's review then complete the application when ready. Once your application has been finished you will be instructed on how to submit it, with tracking information supplied to help you follow the status of your application. Once your application is validated then you can search for current available grants for nonprofits.

State Programs

Funding for nonprofit programs on the state level varies from state to state. In recent years, some states have cut back on funding due to budget deficits or shortfalls. Visit the Grantmanship Center at to find local funding sources including state government home pages. Site also offers information about top grantmaking foundations by state, corporate giving foundations and community foundations.


Numerous privately funded foundations exist whose goal is to help make the world a better place by funding various programs offered by nonprofit organizations. The Council on Foundations offers a list of philanthropic organizations, some of whom can be approached for start up funding. You will need to have a business plan, outline your need and submit a proposal based on the requirements of that foundation.