We at GRIT believe that finances shouldn’t limit your access to the equipment you need to reclaim your active lifestyle. Because of this belief, we work hard to help each individual find the funds they need to move beyond the pavement. In some cases, a grant may be the best option. What exactly is a grant, how does it work, and what do you need to do to apply for a grant? Read on to find the answers to these questions, and more!
What is a grant?
A grant is a distribution of funds from an organization (typically, but not always, a non-profit) to a recipient that meets certain qualifications. A grant is not a loan. It is awarded to use for a specific purpose and the recipient does not pay it back.
Why should I consider applying for a grant?
Just for a little bit of your time filling out the application, you could potentially win a full or partial grant for the adaptive equipment you want. You might be discouraged and think, "I never get anything like that, so I won't get this, why bother?" You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, so don't give up! It's the opportunity to get funds for something you otherwise couldn't afford on your own.
Does it cost to apply for grants?
No. If an entity is requesting an application fee then it is likely to be a scam, and you should not complete that application. Any legitimate organization providing a grant to those in need will have a FREE application and will be available to answer questions about their application process.
I have a friend/family member who doesn’t like asking for help, but I know they need it. Can I fill out a grant application for them to try to get them some funding as a surprise?
Unfortunately, no. Due to the nature of certain personal information, most organizations require that the beneficiary of the grant funding is involved in the application process. This is to protect privacy as well as to make sure the funds awarded will be legitimately used. Exceptions may be made if you are a parent applying on behalf of a child who is under 18.
What type of personal information will they ask for?
In addition to basic personal information (name, date of birth, residence, etc.), many organizations will ask for information such as your yearly income and debt obligations. This is to help those reviewing the grants better allocate funds to those in challenging financial circumstances.
It is likely you will also be asked to submit a personal statement telling your story and how the grant will help you. Some organizations may also require a letter of recommendation.
Will I be asked to submit private medical information?
Possibly. Because some organizations only provide funding to individuals with specific disabilities, they may ask for medical documentation that confirms your diagnosis. This could simply be a summary from a previous visit or a note written by your physician. The exact documentation can vary from organization to organization so it’s important to make sure you check on which they require.
Can I apply to multiple organizations to increase my chances of getting a grant?
Yes! Many of the grant applications may ask if you received any grant funding recently, but you can most certainly apply to more than one organization to increase your odds of being awarded a grant.
Some of these applications look like a lot of work. Can someone fill out my applications for me?
It depends. If the person the grant will be benefitting is a minor then it is typically allowed for a parent or guardian to apply on their behalf. If your disability prevents you from completing an application then you should generally be allowed to have a proxy (a friend or family member) fill out the application for you. However, if your disability does not prevent you from completing the application and you are not a minor then most organizations will require you to fill out the application on your own. The organizations wants to get to know YOU!
How long does this process take?
It depends! Some grants have rolling cycles and give out awards a few times a year, while others only give out grants once a year. Sometimes due to the high volume of applicants it may be a few months before you hear the results. Be patient. If you can't, try something else like Crowdfunding.
How do I find a grant that I qualify for?
While you can search the internet for adaptive equipment grants with keywords such as your disability, your preferred activities, your profession, and even your state, the amount of results that come up can be daunting to search through. At GRIT, we try to make this process easier on you! By submitting our Grant Finder Form we can help to match you with grants you may qualify for. Simultaneously, you can request to be considered for our in-house grant: the Pay It Forward Low Income Program.