Individual states can be a very profitable place to look for grants. They all have some sort of grant program for residents of their specific state. Along with other large states, California ranks in the top tier in terms of the number and value of grant awards made available in-state.
California also maintains an excellent website on the topic of grants. It is well organized and quite easy to navigate to get information about specific grant categories. In addition to category information it also provides details about individual grants opportunities. The opening page is clearly arranged by major category ranging from Agriculture to Transportation.
Each of these subject areas is discussed in California Grants below along with specific grant opportunities currently available. California’s grants go to all sorts of worthy agencies and organizations. We are also particularly impressed with the plans and programs it has in place or in progress that focus on the needs of the disabled. If that area is of interest to you and you live in California, it's worth taking a look even if you don't know anything about grants - you never know what inspiration it might give you.
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*January 2017 Update* Ever heard of California’s “Quick Grants”? Sounds intriguing, right? Three times each year California awards grants of $1000 to $5000 for small humanities-related projects and activities planned to happen within one year of the award of the grant. You must be a California nonprofit or an agency not related to the federal government in order to be eligible. These projects could include things like discussion groups about movies or books, writing workshops, story-sharing activities, and more. Next deadline is March 1, 2017 and more information is available on the California Humanities website. We hear so much lately about scientific research grants, here is one that will appeal to liberal arts folks! And there is no requirement for matching funds or in kind services for this grant.
September 2016 Update Are you a church, school, school district or 501©(3) non-profit organization? If so you are eligible to apply for the US Soccer Foundation’s 2016 Safe Places to Play Grants. The deadline for applications noted on californiacitynews.org is September 30, 2106 for the LOI and October 7, 2016 for the full application —- so you need to move quickly. Or just check out the page and take a look at other soccer related grants you may qualify for. Awards are for $50,000. Matching is not required (i.e., raising a similar amount from other sources) but is encouraged - and could probably help you win a grant over another candidate.
June 2016 Update: For-profit companies can and do receive grants - sometimes big ones - from individual states. For example, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine awarded over $500,000 in a grant to a business working to facilitate the discovery of new drugs with big impact. The business, Numerate, received the grant to further its work aimed at Huntington’s Disease and Neurological Disorders. Some of Numerate’s research was contracted to two other business start-ups, also based on California. So the ripple effect of the grant award affected three businesses and their employees.
Here is a quick review of the three major categories of grants as well as some pointers as to where grants are available to individuals and non-profits. California offers a staggering number of grants!
Agriculture is divided into just two groups: Pest Management and Specialty Crop Grants. These are sponsored by the Department of Pesticide Regulations. They include grants for specific research efforts as well as programs that encourage a broad range of interests and organizations to work together.
Business, Employment and Training This section describes programs and funding related to
- Employment Training (especially for small businesses)
- Financial Assistance for Businesses, Workforce Development
- Jobs and Training Grants.
Along with current requests for proposals they also list grants and funding which have been awarded in past years, providing inspiration and food for thought with regard to grants you might seek. Of particular interest is the California Small Business and Loan Guarantee Program. They aim to help create new jobs and maintain existing jobs by making it easier for small businesses to establish credit, and get the loans they need for financing. These loan guarantees are even available to non-profit organizations if the purpose of the loan is related to a business venture (such as a day care center).
This section incudes contracts and grants from the Department of Rehabilitation. Current funding programs can be listed by due date and you can also sign up for an RSS feed if you really want to stay on top of things. They focus on helping create employment, promote independent living and equality for those with developmental disabilities. Also included in Community Development are Housing Loans and Grants. These pretty much mirror and execute federal programs and are rarely if ever given to individuals.
Education and Arts
The California Chafee Grant is a program for youth who were (or are) in foster care between the ages of 16 and 18 years old. If this is you, you could qualify for $5000 per year in addition to any other aid you are receiving for school. The money can be spent on a career school or college and it’s possible you would be able to use it for living expenses and child care as well. To qualify you must fill out the FAFSA as well as a Chafee Grant Application which you can find through the California Student Aid Commission website.
The California Arts Council reports that grants for drama programs at the elementary school level are available from the Charlie Lovett Fund. This Fund is funded by Charlie Lovett himself, who donates a portion of the payments he receives for his plays. The grants are made on a rolling schedule so you can apply any time, and grant awards average about $300. Could be worth a try if you'd like to support a theater arts program in your elementary school.
This is a fun section if you are into the arts and education! The section on the Arts simply lists current grants available with brief descriptions and links for applying or getting more information. Are you a digital or mural artist who is tuned into the community and has an interest in international travel? They have a competitive grant for you called American Arts Incubator from Zero1. There are many more so this is a great place to look for those rare grants for artists!
There are also sections here on numerous opportunities for Charter School Facilities, Education, Historic Preservation and Library. Through the Office of Historic Preservation local governments can apply for funding or loan programs available through something called the Mills Act. Cal Grants also fall under this category. It is a huge program that provides financial awards for students. These are not loans and do not have to be repaid. If you are looking for money for your education and you live in California, know that you must fill out and file your FAFSA before March 2. You must also find out whether your school will file your GPA for you. If not, you need to get the state verification form, have it certified and send it in yourself (also by March 2 so act now!).
Though most of these grants are not for individuals, individuals as well as non-profits are eligible to apply for grants that either start or improve projects and programs that allow for easy recycling for beverage containers. You can take a look at “model projects” and also get on a list to be notified by email when new funding comes up. And CalRecycle is authorized to award as much as $1.5 million each year in grants for such programs!
California Sea Grants California Sea Grants is a partnership of the state of California, the federal government and universities in the state. Their aim is to increase our awareness and understanding of services and products which will enhance the environment, economy and those who live in California. There is a March 10, 2016 deadline for the next grant award, which is the NOAA Sea Grnat Aquaculture Research Program. They expect to be able to award as much as $3 million for a nationally conducted competition for new projects for 2016. If this is your field, check out California Sea Grants.
This section covers some major areas, some of which will be interesting to individuals. Sub-categories include California Covered (the state health exchange), issues related to addictions (drugs, alcohol and problem gambling – we assume this is a different budget from the one that promotes the Lottery…), the development of small rural hospitals, and more. Individuals, primarily students, will be interested in the sub-category called Healthcare Workforce Development Division. This division awards mini-grants to “underrepresented and/or economicall disadvantaged students” for their studies in health-related fields. It also has current grants for nursing faculty development and distance learning programs. You can learn more about these at grants.gov.
Resources related to Boating and Waterways, State Parks, the Wildlife Conservation Board, Energy, Water Resources, Fish and Wildlife and more are covered here. Not a lot here for individuals, but landowners may be interested in the Landowners Incentive Program. It provides financial incentives and technical assistance to landowners to help manage and preserve historic habitats of three types: riparian, wetland and native grassland.
These programs are targeted for public agencies and local governments but non-profits may also apply for grants that provide financing for on-the-water safety education in classrooms. Private entities are also eligible to receive funds for planning, designing, repairing, or renovating public or private marinas as well as small craft harbors, facilities for dry storage and help for emergency repairs.
There’s a lot going on – and being given out – in California! You can learn more at ca.gov/grants.html. And remember to always look for the .gov in the site address.