When asked where the money would come from to launch Transcendental Meditation in America, Maharishi replied smilingly, “Wherever it is right now.”

Where is the money coming from for your project, dream or nonprofit agency? Answer: “Wherever it is right now.”

One great place to look is “grants.”

The word “grant” means different things to different people. Wikipedia defines “grants” as “funds given to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations or local governments by foundations, corporations, governments, small business and individuals.” What is missing from this definition is that private individuals (i.e., scholarships, down payments for first time home owners, etc.) and businesses (i.e., defense contactors, etc.) also receive “grants.”

A logical question for you to ask is, “Where will the grant come from to help my faith-based charity, school, or human service charity?” Answer: “Wherever it is right now.”

Seriously, grants typically come from one of four primary sources: corporations, foundations, government and individuals.


In 2006, according to Giving USA, corporations gave $12.72 billion.


**Grant writing experts agreed that the amount of corporate giving is deceiving. The number is actually much larger since corporations often account for donations as “marketing”, not as “charitable donations.”

**They also agreed that corporations are also great sources for donations of human resources (time, energy, resources) as well as products they manufacture. Here’s a true story. A student was trouble getting money donated to put in a needed fence at an animal shelter. I suggested that she open to a more creative solution that would bring about what she needed (fencing) more quickly. So, she brainstormed manufacturing companies that made fences. I told her that a corporation would likely give her a substantial discount for the fencing or donate it completely. As luck would have it, the very first corporation she contacted agreed to give her the fencing and install it for free!

Tips for Finding Them:

**Corporations usually give “where they are.” This means that they usually interested in philanthropy close to home. Look for corporations near where your agency lives.

**Find an employee who works within the corporation. Ask them to find out what grants are available and who to contact. Who knows, the employee may even be able to take a proposal forward on your behalf. Corporations often fund projects in which their employees are involved.

**Browse the corporation’s commercial web-site for ideas.


There are over 71,000 foundations. They give more than $37 billion annually.


**In 2006, foundations gave a record-breaking 386 grants of over $5 million each.

**In 2006, 1,263 of the largest private and community foundations in the U.S. gave almost half of all U.S. foundation giving totally $19.1 billion.

**Even in difficult economic times, foundation giving continues to rise.

**Foundations have more money in reserve (invested) than all of the other three funding types (corporate, government and individuals) combined.

Tips for Finding Them:

**Use the electronic retrieval and database searches online or available for free in libraries and nonprofit information centers in every state. Find the nearest free center near you at http://foundationcenter.org/collections.

**Community foundations are the best places to go for strictly local support. They are very responsive to programs serving local and community needs. Decisions are typically made by a board of directors representing the diversity of the community.

**Foundations vary considerably in market assets, staff size, funding priorities, review protocols, geographic giving patterns, and preferred approach. Scan foundation websites themselves, although this information is often outdated.

**If you have trouble connecting, look at the list of previously funded projects and track down someone from those grants. Ask him or her about the preferred approach.


Starting in 1980, over a 20-year period, the U.S. government funding for grants more than doubled from $40 to $90 billion. This amount continues to rise, although funding priorities change.


**No one single source of information covers all government grants. However, most federal agencies have some type of grant-making process and make grant information and technical assistance available. Some grant-making departments on the federal level include Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development.

**Additional federal agencies also are grant-makers, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Communication, and Small Business Administration.

Tips for Finding Them:

**Research federal departments on the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance website (www.cfda.gov),

**Use the Federal Register. It is billed as the “official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents” (from website): (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html).


According to Giving USA, in 2006 individuals in the U.S. gave $295.02 billion, $11.97 billion more than in 2005.


**Individuals give more than the other three categories (foundations, corporations and government) combined!

**Bequests from individuals in 2006 totaled $22.9 billion.

**In 2006, over 56% of giving from individuals went to faith-based charities, education and human services (which included disaster giving).

Tips for Finding Them:

**Individual donations are a great source of discretionary funding that agencies can use for creative projects and to make it possible to win the larger grants and funding necessary for sustainability. Discretionary funding has no strings attached.

**One expert uses the “6 degrees of separation” model to show individuals that they are only 6 degrees of separation-- or 6 contacts--away from an individual donor.

So, if someone asks you where the money will come for that capital campaign, operating expenses, scholarship, social program, or whatever you want, simply smile and answer in the words of late Maharishi, “Wherever it is right now.”

Good luck!

Philip Johncock
Founder & Lead Mentor


For more information, listen to the FREE TeleSeminar: “60 Minutes to WINNING GRANTS” ... http://www.GrantPower.com

Plus check out 4Grants.Net’s 12-month Mentoring Program in Grant Writing & Fundraising ... http://www.4grants.net/mentoring.htm

Author's Bio: 

Award-winning author, grant writer ($6.4 million), mentor of grant writers & fundraisers ($1.2 billion), consultant and coach