Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grants versus Loans? Your Opinion?

Here is an interesting question:

Do you think that the government should provide loans or grants to areas affected by flooding?

There are so many variables to consider here. For one you have to remember that the government doesn't have an endless stream of money. And also too the money that is being provided is coming from taxpayer dollars.

The government wants to provide a t0 / 50 split between government grants and loans. That is half the money would be provided in government grants and forgiveable loans and the other half would be repayable loans.

Of course to the individual or business that needs the money the answer would of course be to have the grant instead of the loan.

But remember just in this year alone we have seen a lot of flood-affected areas that have been declared a state of emergency which makes them eligible for federal funding. And thats not including areas affected in past years.

There have been claims by those applying for federal assistance that the process has been made too difficult or complicated to apply for. Other complaints include businesses being told that it would be much better for them if they applied for the loans instead of the grant programs. Understandably businesses would rather apply for the grants because on top of them having their businesses being affected by flooding they don't want to incur more debt by applying for a loan.

The government's side does raise some valid points though. You have to remember that each area eligible for federal assistance has to be (or should be) treated the same - meaning if one area is eligible for grants then any other area affected should also be eligible for grants - again - meaning a 50/50 split. There shouldn't just be one area that can get grants and then another area with the same problems only being eligible for loans.

However I have to be on the side of the possible applicants because if one's business has been devasted by flood-related weather if they don't get the money to be able to revive their business then they may not want to revive it and then that makes the economy in that area go down. It will mean loss of jobs and loss of income for that area.

But what do you think about this?

Remember that your opinion counts and while some people think that they don't - they really do.

Help By And For Senior Citizens

A lot of people think that they are just to old to be of any use and that is not true! There is a government grant program that wants to help seniors to be able to continue to live in their homes. I know from personal experience that seniors prefer to be able to still live in their homes as opposed to having to go to a nursing home or a senior citizens's community residence.

If you have a nonprofit organization (and this includes faith-based organizations) that wants to help senior citizens to remain in their own homes then you might want to think about implementing a program where seniors help other seniors to be able to stay in their homes. You could recruit other senior citizens to help or if you are a senior citizen yourself then you can start a nonprofit organization of your own to help other seniors. There are even some instances where you may receive a stipend for volunteering! Once you have obtained nonprofit status then you can apply for a government grant program that provides funding for seniors to be able to go out and help and/or assist other seniors. If you already have a non-profit organization that has this kind of program (or want to have this type of program) then you should check and see if your nonprofit organization is eligible to apply for this grant funding.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"We Can't Pay You Now But........................"

Some very insightful words from another grantwriter on how one should (or should not) handle the business of being paid as a grant writer:

Rather than preach against contingent pay as unethical behavior, I prefer to share with contingent-pay seekers (and providers) some real-life consequences of such arrangements which mainly puts the livelihood of the grant writer at risk. I believe grant writers should never agree to contingency pay. It is simply not fair for hard working grant writers to receive little or no pay for their efforts due to many reasons beyond their control. I'll list several of those reasons which I have seen crop up time and time again, resulting in rejected proposals. In those instances, a grant writer's time and effort were wasted and she or he received no compensation for their good faith professional services:

  • Say an organization wants someone to write a grant proposal for a project costing $118,000 and that the grant writer was to be paid a 5% commission if the grant is approved. It is almost always a requirement by funders that every dollar to be raised for and spent on projects be accounted for on a line-item basis. For many funders, the line item in the budget showing $5,900 for grant-acquisition services, would be reason enough to deny the grant. It would make no difference what the commission size or even if the contingency-pay were a flat fee. Grant-writing expenses are seen as part of an organizations operating budget. Few if any foundations, corporations, or governmental organizations are willing to make a grant when a portion of the money granted is to be used to pay a grantwriting fee. Remember, the grant is being requested for a specific project, not to offset operating expenses nor to disguise a professional fee. A non-profit or a grant writer that fails to take the possibility of such a caveat into consideration may be facing a rude awakening. Discerning and experienced program officers can readily see right through, and will reject, poorly delineated projects, "soft" and questionable budgets, and a host of other weaknesses which cannot be overcome by well-crafted grant proposals. An ineffective and failing "selling" job might be made during a presentation meeting by an organization's officials. You do not know in advance the foundations which are over committed to funding other organizations, have limited resources, thus they will not have funds available for you at the time, nor possibly for some time to come.

  • What if the grant was to be paid out over a number of months---or even years? Would an organization be willing to pay the grant writer for the services rendered in full at the moment of grant approval? Should the grant writer be willing to accept a compensation payment schedule in sync with that of the grant award which could be spread out over several years?

  • The grant writer should be ready to accept the fact that she or he will receive little pay for a major work, should a much lesser amount be granted than was originally requested. A grant writer could conduct the best possible research, make the most helpful recommendations, and even voice strong protests and caution when called for--- but project directors and executive directors will prevail should they insist that the grant request be written in spite of flaws and concerns. They will say to the grant writer: "We'll send it anyway, what have we got to lose?" They should ask the grant writer that question who stands to lose a great deal. Most grantors have greater vision than grant-proposal-submitting organizations. Grantors routinely look for assurance from the organizations that what they fund will be reasonably evaluated and measured in the longer term for effective and efficient use of their money, and that the organizations have future financial sustainability plans in place, or pending---especially that there are well developed long-range, strategic plans in place or being planned. A grant writer's best efforts expended in the writing of a given proposal simply cannot be extended or expected to meet such governance and policy-making requirements and expectations. Grant proposals, even the best of them, are all too often prepared and presented to potential grantors when the organizations have no, or few, other important sources of contributions to show, especially from their boards of trustees. Chances are slim to none for grant awards when there are no other visible and viable sources of support available to the organization. The hope for grants to be awarded to ensure payment for the grant writer's efforts is even more uncertain, and most unlikely, when proposals are stretched beyond practical and common sense limits, and they are presented to new, potentially uninterested, prospects---some even to distant, uncaring potential benefactors---as is often the case.

In the end, grant writers should be paid for their time and efforts by the hour or project, whether or not the grant is received. I question whether an organization unable to pay a fair fee for work done is likely to survive. Few non-profits forced to operate in ways not fully in accord with accepted professional standards flourish and grow.

I believe in the standards that have resulted from thousands of grant writing professionals working to help raise billions of dollars over decades of time. For me, not everything should be a matter of personal opinion; codes of ethics are established through collective wisdom because we do need absolutes by which to work and live. When I see all the wrong that can befall an organization or a grant writer in contingent-pay schemes, I cannot imagine for the life of me why either would want to go that route.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Grant Program To Help Fund Your Film?

I don't know if you have noticed it or not but a lot of the shows that you see on public television have received funding to produce them.

If you are a film producer or filmmaker then you should know that there are grant programs out there that provide funding.

For instance:

There is a grant program which is very interesting because they don't have a limit as to how much grant money you can apply for. (This does not mean that you should be greedy about it if you are going to apply for this grant program!)

This funding program is open to independent producers, individuals or other entities producing television, film, or video. Any genre welcome. For single programs of standard broadcast length; new productions or works-in-progress and programs that can be completed within a year of contract.

Applications are excepted twice a year.

Monday, November 19, 2007

If You Don't Apply For That Grant Someone Else Surely Will!

Someone was quoted as saying that the daycare industry is a Billion dollar industry! Would it surprise you to know that there are daycare franchises that know just how to take advantage of all the government grant programs that they are eligible for? I have seen case by case details of how the owners of these daycare facilities use the government grant system to their advantage. While they still do provide adequate daycare to children that still leaves a number of other daycare facilities that are out there that if they just knew how these franchises were getting the government grants they would do the EXACT same thing to get the exact same grant funding.

One of the best pieces of advice that I have seen about finding grant programs is to find a business like the one that you want to start - a business that has received a grant - and find out how they got their grant!

Another sad fact that has to be faced is that a lot of grant recipients don't want to (or don't like to) talk about the grants that they have received. One of the reasons is because they may want to apply for the grant again and the less people that know about them then the less people will apply for them meaning that those that know about and apply will have a better chance of winning the grant award simply becasue not as many people have applied.

You may not be aware of it but there are a LOT of for-profit daycares that are receiving government grants because they know how to do it right!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Re: Daycare Grants - Can A Government Grant Be Used To Build A Playground?

"Can the government funds be used to build a playground that is more accessible to children with special needs?"

If an applicant can demonstrate that the materials/activities would contribute to long lasting program quality and enhance children’s learning environments, then such a funding request will be considered.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Never Let Anyone Tell You That The Government Doesn't Have Any Grant Programs For For-Profit Businesses - Especially For For-Profit Daycare Business!

Here is an interesting government grant program that I found.....

Who - Department Of Housing And Urban Developement (HUD)

What - Grant Program

When - 2006

Where - Eligible applicants include: not-for- profit institutions, and for-profit firms located in the U.S, state and local governments, Federally-recognized Native Indian Tribes and colleges and universities. For-profit firms are not allowed to make profit from the project

Why - The purpose of this grant program is to develop, demonstrate, and promote cost-effective, preventive measures to correct multiple safety and health hazards in the home environment that produce serious diseases and injuries in children of low-income families.

One of the benefits of this particular grant program is that applicants don't have to provide matching funds.

For the year 2007 over $5 Million Dollars has been allotted for grant funding!

The maximum grant award per recipient is $1 Million Dollars and the average grant award per recipient has been just a bit over $900,000.00.

Past Grant Recipient - received grant to develope a website that enabled parents to view their area to identify possible hazordous materials and equipment and provide solutions for suitable replacements.

You can find out more about this grant program by visiting the Department Of Housing And Urban Development's Website. You can also contact them by phone

* - Please be advised that their phone number is not a toll-free number.

I have sent an email to the director of this program to find out more specific information about this grant program.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How Is This For Results! - Need Some Heating Help This Winter?

Did you know that there are grant programs out there to help you with your heating bills? Not only that, there are also grant programs out there to help you if you need any repairs to your heating system!

How do I know this? I know this because a recent client of mine had their home inspected for a heating-related audit. Guess what they are going to get from the results of the inspection?

  • repairs to their heating system to get it working again

  • new thermostat installed!

  • a NEW hot water heater! (plus installation at no cost!)

  • a NEW refridgerator (because their old one is more than 10 years old and the motor is faulty)

  • new smoke detectors - with the batteries already included!

  • various related additions like weatherstripping and caulk work

If you are worried about being able to make it through the winter then you should definitely check your state's website to see if they have any similar grant programs available in your area.

I had a chance to talk to one of the contractors who is doing the work and he told me that they have already done this kind and similiar kinds of work and repairs to over a hundred qualified applicants!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Words Of Advice - (From Someone Else Other Than Myself)

Using The Government To Start Your Business

source - PR-GB

Many people, when starting their own business, aren't sure where to turn for assistance. Yes, there are private institutions that can help you along your way, but one of the best resources for the young and aspiring entrepreneur is the federal government. Programs and money exist to help the fledgling business owner, and it is to the individual's peril that they ignore these opportunities.

Money is perhaps the most important thing the startup business owner needs. Without capital, you're stuck in the mud. You need money to finance your building, your rent, your employee roster, advertising, and the cost of purchasing or creating the product you intend to sell. This can all add up to quite a bit of cash. There are private banks and lending institutions that may be willing to help, and you can always turn to your friends and family for beginning investments. However, only a fool would ignore the money and grants offered by the government. The government gives away millions of dollars a year in capital for beginner entrepreneurs. The best part about the government's money is that they do not expect to recoup anything from their investment. These grants are given for the greater good of the economy. Do some simple internet research and you will find plenty of grants to apply for. Apply for them all.

Money is not the only thing the government can help you with when starting your own business. They offer assistance in other areas as well. This can include assistance for expansion for your small business, development, and even assistance with renovation. If you're looking for more assistance for your small business, try the Small Business Administration Office. Through this office, the government provides free training and assistance to small business owners across the country. This training and assistance can be invaluable to the young entrepreneur that doesn't know all the ins and outs of starting a business.

When starting a small business, it can seem like every obstacle in the world in being thrown in front of you. If you fail to take advantage of the programs and government assistance out there, you are only hurting yourself. The government understands that putting investment into small businesses helps the economy and enriches the fabric of our country. Take a look around you for examples of this in your daily life. Do you think the Hindu family that owns the dry cleaning business down the street is just naturally wealthy? Unlikely. They simply knew where to go to find assistance in starting their business. The best place to look is the government. Go and do likewise and you will be on your way to having a healthy and successful business.

Grant Programs Outside The United States - Wales versus London!

Of course its not only the United States that has grant programs. There are grant programs all over the world! There are even some grant programs that are open to any location on the globe (as long as they meet the other grant requirements). You can find out about some of these grant programs outside of the United States by going to my grants page and scrolling down to "Grant Programs Outside The United States. You can also visit my Dream Job Forum where there is a separate folder about grants outside the United States.

Wales vs London - It seems that there is quite a contrast as far as there being government grant programs being available for businesses in Wales. There are government grant programs available for businesses in Wales and in fact it has been charged that businesses in Wales depend too much on grants. This is supposed to be as opposed to London which is a more popular area nad has more access to more business networking opportunities. In other words it has been hinted that businesses in Wales should stop relying on government grants and work to bring their businesses to the attention of the (more popular) London area.

According to one study it seems that businesses in Wales rely or depend on government grants more than any other area of the UK for start-up money and financing.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Grant Program For A For-Profit Daycare?

I'm currently looking into a grant program that is for daycare facilities. I have a copy of their literature and have read through it. This grant program looks like a very good one! They provide grant money for daycare startups and for expansion programs for daycares already in operation.

The purpose of the grant program is to increase the number of available daycare in their state (This is a state daycare grant program only). Here is an excerpt about their grant program:

  • The remaining 75 percent (of grant money) is designated for competitive grants to assist providers with start-up expenses and first-year operating costs related to expansion. Providers may use funds for training, staff-related expenses, and for the purchase of equipment and supplies.

However there is just one slight problem with the information about this particular grant program and that is that their information does not say whether or not this grant program is also open for for-profit daycares to apply for. I couldn't find it in all of their literature and its not something that I want to guess. So I have emailed them to find out whether or not this grant program is open for for-profit daycares to apply for.

When I get a response from them I will post it here.

November 24, 2007 - Here is the response that I got from the director of the grant program:

Rose, Yes, our program is open to for profit child care facilities as long as they meet the criteria.

Grant Coordinator


The latest deadline to apply for this grant is

January 2008!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Disaster Loans That Are Forgivable?

Dear sirs:

I obtained an sba disaster loan in 2002. Is there a possibility that the loan can be forgiven in five years. There is a rumor going around that it can happen. Is it true?

Thank you

Well I guess my blog (and my website about grants look more professional than I thought! I'm certainly not a "Sir"

Thank you for your email. However the problem with your email is that you don't say what kind of loan it is that you obtained. The SBA has specific titles/names/reference numbers of all of their loan programs and that information you did not provide.

There are forgivable loans that become forgiveable in 3 - 5 years regarding disaster loans but a lot of them require that you take an additional loan from the SBA. (Meaning that the "forgiveable" loan was provided by someone other than the SBA) So that leaves the question of whether or not your loan was only from the SBA or was it obtained from more than one entity.

There are lots of programs that offer forgivable loans. For instance:

Grant Funds, if available may be used to assist economic recovery by providing:

  • Low-interest loans to businesses

  • Revolving loan programs to help businesses reestablish themselves

  • Forgivable loans over 3-5 years

  • Commercial rehab assistance

However the above program is not from the SBA.

You also did not mention whether or not you received the loan for your personal residence or business. It does make a difference. You also didn't mention what area the loan was for. For example in Minnesota flood victims were eligable for forgivable loans ONLY if they applied for additional funding from both FEMA and the SBA. If you did not qualify for the FEMA or SBA loans THEN you could apply for the forgivable loan elsewhere. Flood victims qualified for up to $23,000 in forgivable loans!

So unfortunately you have just not given me enough information.