Community grants is a broad concept. It is important to define the community before searching for government grants. Community can refer to a geographic location or it can refer to a group of people. Community grants are available for geographic communities and also for a specific group of people.
Geographic communities available for government grant funding are those that have an unmet need. If there is a need or gap in service, then grants are available to meet that need. Examples of needs in communities are broad: a better school, parks and recreation, library books, or policing. Some communities already have written plans about their needs. Local politicians, businesses, non-profits and citizens may study the needs in their communities. These plans are important to make a case for funding from government grants and private sources.
Funding is often divided by geographic area, therefore, it is simple to identify funding. Searches for the State or the city or metropolitan area will yield community grant opportunities. Some States and local areas have grant announcements listed on their web sites. A simple search of the state name should yield the proper web site. Navigating a State web site for funding opportunities is more difficult. Searching for “contracts” rather than grants will be more successful. Many State and City grants are in reality re-granting from federal government community grants.
One of the longest running community government grant program is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The federal government distributes about $5 billion to communities across the United States. The States and local communities re-grant that money for a range of activities that benefit low and moderate income people and their neighborhoods.
Community of People
Some communities are not geographic, but around a common characteristic such as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. Some groups are disadvantaged in some way and grants are available for their benefit.
These grants are designed to benefit members of a community, not one person. These community grants are usually not for individuals unless they have excelled in leadership and service.
Finding population specific community grants can be found through searches on Grants.gov or on local government web sites. There are numerous government agencies that assist specific populations, however, they are within larger agencies. For example, the Office of Minority Health is a division within the much larger Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).