Last month ended with March Madness everywhere, and it’s still around! How appropriate this month begins with April Fools Day. When we last searched “March Madness” our top hit was news on the presidential election!
Create your own NCAA bracket on a Wall Street Journal site with a smart model that simulates each game. Just pick your priorities and some “madness” settings and it does the rest. Fun to do on paper even without money to bet!
How about Oculus Rift shipping consumer virtual reality products? April Fools joke? Hardly! This is the first consumer-ready VR system; that’s a big deal. It’s for gamers but applications with broader appeal won’t be far behind…
More tech madness: the FBI tries to force Apple to write software to hack a phone … and Apple releases a phone that’s — smaller! Android news is madly interesting too, with a not yet available phone with two displays plus a numpad — and it’s a flip phone (with a 16MP camera..). Where will all this take us? We don’t know — but we do know you may need some help along the way. Take a look at our April Money Highlights:
Discover your program today!
Did you know that each year over 700,000 prisoners are released — and pretty much left to fend for themselves in society? It might sound simple — it’s not a foreign country, right? But it feels foreign when you’ve been way out of touch for a long time. Think about how quickly technology changes (virtual what??). Smart phones seem quite basic to us now but they can be daunting to someone still expecting to find a pay phone. There is little official to help these folks — and too many people who may try to mislead them.
Fortunately there’s quite a bit of “unofficial” help: that is, private organizations that recognize the problems and make it their job to reach out. In our newest article about Grants for Felons we detail what’s available. Areas covered include:
- some pretty impressive Reentry Programs and how to find them;
- Education-Related Programs and support from just about the only real grants around for individuals (Pell Grants) as well as how ex-offenders can use those grants in trade schools (and even in prison);
- Business Programs that offer super valuable support for those who’d rather try starting their own business than try to find a job; and
- Don’t worry, if being an entrepreneur is not for you there's also lots of ways to get help writing your resume, learn important interview skills and get introduced to possible employers.
So put on a positive attitude, remember that we’re all better than the worst thing we’ve ever done, and look forward to a better future. Take a look at Grants for Felons.
It always comes sooner than expected, aren’t we still getting used to the New Year?
You have a tiny bit more time this year since the official due date for most states isn’t until April 18 rather than the usual 15th. That’s due to some odd rules about when the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day. If you are in Maine or Massachusetts, you have until Tuesday, April 19 due to Patriots Day.
At any rate, the sooner you get it done with the less madness you will face at the post office if you don’t file online. And you’ll greatly reduce your stress, especially if you get some free help! Go right now to Free Tax Help and find a resource near you. Then get started — if you wait the lines will be long so beat the crowd!
There’s lots of important business news especially (but not only) for women and minorities. Grameen America, a microfinance institution, announced a commitment of $50 million in grants for women in business (or starting a business) in Harlem. More progress for women: government contracts awarded to women-owned businesses exceeded 5% of all contracts in 2015. This has been a goal for a long time and has finally been reached thanks in part to special efforts made by the Small Business Administration.
Microfinancing opportunities in this country are increasing. They got a big boost up from the SBA starting its own microloan program, which is very big news. Learn more about this and other advances helping small businesses at the SBA.
Want to know the best cities for minorities to start and run a business? The results might surprise you. Check out the latest study - and see if you’re in the right place! - in Black Business Resources.
Finally, get the scoop on how to find business grants that might be right under your nose — we give you an example and some great tips in Grants for Small Business.
Great news on the Pell Grant front: Learn more about Pell Grants now available to high school students taking college courses. Save money on college tuition, graduate sooner with less debt.
Even better news about Pell Grants: A new program will be tested in the 2016-2017 school year. It will increase the number and dollar amount of Pell Grants available to students in one academic year by making the summer semester eligible for these grants. Se whether you might be eligible for a Pell Grant!
And for minority students with an interest in farming, the environment and/or related sciences, check this out: the United States Department of Agriculture has announced grants $18 million in grants to be awarded to students at “historically black land grant schools”. You might be surprised to see some of the big name schools on that list! Discover more in our latest update to Free Government Money - it’s full of useful tips.
===More April Money Tips===
Speaking of grants being found close to home: See an example of $20,000 home improvement grants awarded to low-income individuals by non-profits — and learn how to find similar programs in your state!
Is there a U.S. Government Grant Department? We get this question often! The answer is no, at least not by that name. But grants.gov, the database for all government “funding opportunities” (also known as grants) comes closest. It is primarily for states and government agencies. But there are also grants that are open to businesses, non-profits and even individuals. Discover how to search so you can grants for which you are actually eligible in our review of grants.gov.
Happy Hunting, Happy Spring and watch out for those April Fool’s Day pranks. And if you try some virtual reality, you might want to take some dramamine…