Faith-based organizations are often the boots-on-the-ground fighting pressing community problems such as homelessness, hunger, and substance abuse. But when raising money to support the work, they often overlook grants as a possible source of income.
“There’s a common misperception that faith-based groups aren’t eligible to receive grants, but that’s simply not true,” said Barbara Floersch chief of training and curriculum of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “There are a few special issues you’ll have to consider, but nothing that many groups haven’t overcome readily,” she said.
Grants from the Federal Government: Faith-based organizations are eligible to compete for federal grant funds on the same basis as all other non-governmental organizations. Award decisions are based on your response to the guidelines with no consideration of whether your organization is secular or faith-based. The following link to the United States Code of Federal Regulations (Part 87–Equal Treatment for Faith-Based Organizations) provides more detailed information.
There are some requirements. For example, when delivering a federally-funded program, you can’t discriminate against clients on the basis of religion. And when made available, religious activities must be offered on a strictly volunteer basis and delivered at a separate time and location than the federally-funded activities.
Grants from Non-federal Government: While states have variations in grant requirements, the rules of the road are largely consistent with those of the federal government. When state grant funding originates at the federal level, the rules that govern the federal money are passed down to the states and then on to the grant recipient. Read the application guidelines carefully, and if you have questions, contact the identified staff person to seek clarification.
Grants from Private and Corporate Foundations: While some private grantmakers will not fund faith-based organizations, many will. A search of an online database shows that in 2018 private and corporate foundations made approximately 15,000 grants to religious organizations. To find the right funders to approach, you’ll have to do in-depth research to identify those that will make grants to faith-based groups.
Like other organizations seeking grants, faith-based applicants must make a logical and compelling case for support, follow guidelines, present a thorough and reasonable budget, and prove the organization has the competence and capacity to deliver what’s promised. But when you approach the right funders with strong grant proposals, your faith-based organization is well positioned to receive grant funding. © Copyright 2019 The Grantsmanship Center.