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Facts About Federal Grant Money

March 15, 2009

SCORE Lancaster is frequently asked how to get government grants. Many people contact us after viewing late night infomercials which advertise “millions in free money.”   They are hoping SCORE can put them in touch with that “free money.”

The reality is that the infomercials are hype designed to get unsuspecting people to pay money to buy a “grant information package” or sign up for some grant application software package.

It is true that there are many grants shown on the federal government’s website www.grants.gov. It is equally true that very few of them are available to individuals and NONE of them are available for personal financial assistance or business start-up help.

A grant from a federal agency is an award of financial assistance that will enable the recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation that is authorized by a law of the United States.

In all, there are 26 federal agencies offering over 1,000 grant programs annually in various categories.

There are many groups and organizations eligible to apply for government grants. Typically, most grantee organizations are government entities (state, local, city, township or special public authorities), educational institutions (school districts, colleges and universities) and not-for-profit organizations.  In certain instances small business grants may be awarded to companies that meet U.S. Small Business Administration size standards. The most common size standards are as follows:

• under 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries

• under 100 employees for all wholesale trade industries

• less than $6 million for most retail and service industries

• below $28.5 million for most general & heavy construction industries

• under $12 million for all special trade contractors

• less than $750,000 for most agricultural businesses

With few exceptions, all federal agencies, and many state and local governments, use these size standards established by SBA. You can search for further information about small business loan opportunities on the Small Business Administration’s website.

You can also explore other government sponsored loan opportunities at http://www.govloans.gov .

To find a complete alphabetical listing of governmental assistance for individual citizens, visit USA.gov website’s Government Benefits, Grants, and Financial Aid page.

If you are a business or a non-profit and would like more information and answers about government grants that might be available for your situation, contact SCORE Lancaster at (717) 397-3092.  The office is open weekdays from 10AM to 2PM.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dale Bever permalink
    March 16, 2009 6:53 pm

    I counsel for SCORE 503 as well as Cyber Counseling. You blogs are timely and informative. We are in the midst of determing the value of blogs for our own website. You have done a remarkable job on the presentation of articles that reach the majority of my face to face clients as well as those I reach on line. I have subscribed to your RSS feed and look forward to your future blogs.

    • March 17, 2009 1:33 am

      Dale,

      Thanks for your kind words. We try to publish useful info on a timely basis. 🙂

      SCORE Lancaster

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