Approaching the Benefactors
When you have done research, you will have narrowed your choices down to the corporations and foundations whose grant programs match what it is you are planning to do.
A foundation is a nonprofit entity whose whole reason for being is to make grants to other organizations or individuals for educational, cultural, scientific, artistic, or a variety of other reasons. There are private foundations and public foundations. The money bestowed by a private foundation usually comes from one source, often a wealthy philanthropist who has embraced a particular aspect of the culture and wants to promote and encourage it. A public foundation receives its money from a numerous sources.
You can also solicit corporations for grants. They disperse funds through two methods: company-sponsored foundations and direct-giving programs.
You do not have to pay for a list or special software to find funding opportunities from the federal government. Every division has a site, and most of them have grant-seeking listings, including the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (
Company-sponsored foundations are separate legal entities that are connected to the parent company, and the grants given are for things that reflect the company's mission statement. Corporate direct-giving programs are divisions within the company. While they do good, the company is also able to deduct 10 percent of its pretax income for charitable contributions. These programs are managed by the company's community relations or public relations departments. Other than money, other kinds of corporate gift giving may be in equipment and services. Things such as computers and other office services are regularly given to qualified applicants.
When seeking funding from a foundation, find one that fits in with your plans. When you apply to a corporation, reframe your proposal to show them how they will benefit in some way from your success.
You will see the acronym “RFP” all over literature about grants and funding. The letters stand for “request for proposal.” Sometimes governmental bodies or foundations will solicit proposals from qualified candidates. The RFP lists what is wanted and how to apply. Not all foundations advertise RFPs. Many still prefer to be courted by the applicants. You can subscribe to a free e-mail called the “RFP Bulletin” at