Grants for churches are available because of their tax exempt status and their benefits to their communities. Churches reside and provide meaningful service in nearly every community in the United States. President George W. Bush established a White House Office for faith and community initiatives. That tradition was carried on in the Barack Obama administration under the name Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Initiatives. The Office is charged with faith based related activities including advertising grant opportunities.
Church grants are available from a variety of federal agencies. Accessing the federal grant portal, Grants.gov, is a good place to search opportunities. A select number of federal agencies have departments for church or faith based initiatives. The most notable federal agencies include:
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Justice
Department of Labor
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of Education
The purpose of federal church grants is to promote neighborhood revitalization, build partnerships, and assist disadvantaged groups. Another goal is to advance voluntarism and community service and leadership.
The process for applying for federal faith-based grants can be arduous for churches. To win a church grant, a congregation must assemble a team to carry out the labor of planning, writing, and assembling a proposal. There are church and non-profit resources to assist in the grant seeking process.
Church grants are not only available from the federal government, but also State and local governments. Also, private foundations give grants for churches.
Churches are automatically tax exempt under U.S. law. That may ease their burden in applying for faith-based grants. However, some churches decide to file a form 1023 to the IRS to make it easier for them to win grants.
Churches are regarded as community builders and innovators in programs that benefit the community. Therefore, there are grant opportunities available to faith based organizations for a wide variety of activities. For example, some churches provide social services such as emergency shelter, food, child care, and elder support. These services may be eligible for a grant.
To apply for a faith based grant, a faith based organization must locate and apply for an appropriate opportunity. Every grant announcement has a list of guidelines for applying. Deadlines for federal grants tend to be short. Registering for Grants.gov even before having a grant opportunity is a wise idea if the church is interested in applying for federal grants at some future time.