The first step in getting rural grants is finding the right funding opportunities. The best way to find funding opportunities for rural grants is by searching the Internet. Any organization can log on to any search engine, enter a search for “rural grants” and choose from the results. By clicking on the links, you’ll quickly go to the foundation, corporate, state and federal funding websites. Avoid the “.com” websites as many of them are more interested in making money for themselves than they are in helping agencies find quality funding opportunities for rural grants. Also avoid ones that advertise “free money or free grants.”
There are plenty of good “.gov and .org” websites that have information on rural grants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are two agencies that frequently offer opportunities for rural grants. One of the best sources to learn about all kinds of grants is www.grants.gov. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the managing partner for the Grants.gov Program, one of 24 Federal cross-agency E-Government initiatives focused on improving access to government services via the Internet. There are 26 federal grant-making agencies listed on this website with hyperlinks to numerous opportunities for rural grants.
State government agencies also award rural grants. Go to your official state website and look for “funding opportunities.” If there is no such link, then go to specific agencies within your state government to see what grant opportunities might be available. The Foundation Directory Online provides access to a vast database of private and corporate foundations at http://fdncenter.org. Enter your state into the geographic focus search field to retrieve all U.S. foundations that make grants in your state or enter “rural development” in the field of interest field to retrieve all U.S. foundations that give rural grants. According to a recent search on The Foundation Directory Online, there are 48 foundations in the United States that award rural grants for rural development.
Another resource for learning about funding opportunities for rural grants is The Center for Rural Outreach and Public Services, Inc. (CROPS), a newly formed nonprofit organization that was established to provide resource development assistance to rural non-profit organizations, churches, schools and government agencies so that they can expand and enhance services to underserved people in their communities. The mission of CROPS is to “alleviate poverty in rural America by growing a new generation of leaders for the future.” More information on CROPS can be obtained at www.centerforruraloutreach.org.
Information regarding foundations and nonprofit organizations is available at www.guidestar.org. Much of the information on this website is free, but you do have to log in to access the information. Guidestar has information that helps nonprofit organizations identify foundations interested in their cause and also helps foundations and philanthropists identify nonprofit organizations they would like to fund. All nonprofit organizations that complete a 990 form are listed on Guidestar’s website. Nonprofit organizations should update their profiles regularly. Hoover’s Online is another website that provides information on corporations and other businesses operating in the state at www.hooversonline.com.