In this article, readers will learn about various federal, state, and non-governmental funding sources for veterans’ grants, including programs provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Small Business Administration, and National Endowment for the Arts. The article also provides information on educational grants and scholarships for veterans, as well as grants for veteran-owned businesses. Additionally, the article offers guidance on finding grants and writing successful grant proposals, with tips on utilizing grant databases, understanding funders’ priorities, and developing a strong project plan.
Federal Funding Sources for Veterans Grants
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
The Department of Veterans Affairs is the primary federal organization that offers support to veterans and their families. They have several grant programs available for veterans, providing financial aid and resources to help these individuals cope with various challenges. Some of these VA programs are:
- Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program
The Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program aims to help homeless veterans by providing them transitional housing and supportive services. Through the GPD program, community agencies can access funding to establish, operate and maintain transitional housing facilities, or provide supportive services to veterans. These services can include outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, health care, and education services.
- Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program
The SSVF program offers funding for nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives to provide supportive housing services to very low-income veteran families. These services help veterans and their families to prevent and end homelessness. The program provides financial assistance for eligible veterans in meeting specific needs, such as rent, utilities, moving expenses, and transportation. It also offers case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, and connection to other community resources.
- Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program provides aid to unemployed veterans by offering them job training in high-demand careers. The program allows veterans to receive up to 12 months of education benefits, leading to an Associate’s degree, non-college degree, or certificate in an approved field of study. Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved program at a community college or technical school.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration is another federal agency that offers grants and resources for veterans. Their programs focus on supporting veteran-owned businesses and entrepreneurship, including:
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program
The SBA offers the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program to provide support for veterans that own small businesses. This program helps these businesses to access government contracts and offers them a special designation in the federal procurement marketplace. The program also offers management and technical assistance, such as mentorship, counseling, and training to help veteran-owned businesses succeed.
- Boots to Business (B2B) Program
The Boots to Business program is a two-step entrepreneurship training program that assists veterans in transitioning from military service to small business ownership. It provides participants with an in-person classroom course and access to an eight-week online course. Topics covered include market research, business planning, financing, and other essential elements of starting a business.
National Endowment for the Arts
- Creative Forces Military Healing Arts Network
The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Department of Defense and the VA, supports the Creative Forces Military Healing Arts Network. This program offers creative arts therapies to service members, veterans, and their families. The program focuses on the use of creative arts therapies to provide aid in recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration for individuals dealing with war-related, physical, and psychological health issues.
Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)
- Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP)
The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program provides grant funding to assist homeless veterans in re-integrating into the workforce. This program offers job training, counseling, and placement services to help homeless veterans find stable employment. HVRP-funded programs also provide support services such as clothing, shelter, transportation, and help with essential documents, making it easier for veterans to apply for and obtain jobs.
State and Local Funding Sources for Veterans Grants
Veterans often need assistance in accessing resources available to them within their state or local communities. Various organizations and agencies provide funding and assistance to meet the unique needs of veterans, including education, housing, health care, and job training. The following sections will discuss different state and local funding sources for veterans grants and the types of programs they support.
State Veterans Affairs Departments
State Veterans Affairs Departments (VAD) are government agencies responsible for assisting veterans and their families in obtaining federal and state benefits. These departments offer a variety of services, including advocating for veterans’ rights, providing education and employment assistance, and coordinating healthcare services.
State-specific Grant Programs
State governments may offer state-specific grants that target the veteran population or include veterans as eligible recipients. These programs can help former service members in areas like education, housing, health care, and employment. For example, some states provide grants for organizations assisting veterans with disabilities, grants for veterans seeking higher education, or incentives for businesses that employ veterans. To find state-specific veteran grant programs, veterans and their family members can contact their state’s VAD or look for resources online through their state’s official government website.
State-funded Veterans Homes
Many states operate Veterans Homes that serve as long-term care facilities for veterans, their spouses, and dependents. These homes are funded through a combination of federal Veterans Administration (VA) funds and state contributions. Veterans Homes typically offer skilled nursing care, residential care, adult day health care, memory care, and other services. State VADs oversee the operations of these homes and coordinate funding and access to these facilities. To learn more about the Veterans Homes available in a specific state, veterans can contact their state VAD or search online for a directory of homes within the state.
Local and County Veteran Service Offices
Local and county Veteran Service Offices (VSO) are another essential resource for veterans seeking assistance. They are staffed by accredited representatives who work to assist veterans in claiming the benefits they have earned. These local offices also work as intermediaries between veterans and regional VA offices and can help coordinate local programs and resources tailored to veterans in their communities.
Emergency Financial Assistance Programs
Many local and county VSOs have emergency financial assistance programs available to eligible veterans and their families in times of crisis. These programs typically offer one-time, short-term financial assistance to help with expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, or essential home repairs. To access these programs, veterans should reach out to their nearest VSO and discuss their specific needs with a representative.
Transitional Housing Assistance Programs
A stable living environment is crucial for any individual, and veterans are no exception. Some local VSOs may offer transitional housing assistance programs for veterans who are homeless or facing housing instability. These programs can help provide temporary housing while the veteran works towards self-sufficiency, and may include case management, counseling, and other forms of support services. To determine if these resources are available in their area, veterans should contact their local VSO.
Overall, state and local funding sources for veterans grants are an important consideration for former service members looking for assistance in various aspects of civilian life. By leveraging these resources, veterans can find the support and assistance they need to thrive in their communities.
Nonprofit Organizations and Foundations
Nonprofit organizations and foundations play a crucial role in providing support, advocacy, and resources for various causes, including veterans’ affairs. These organizations often fill the gaps left by government programs or complement existing services to ensure that veterans and their families receive the support they need. This article will explore various veteran-focused nonprofit organizations and private foundations, highlighting their programs, services, and impact on the veteran community.
Veterans’ Service Organizations
Veterans’ service organizations (VSOs) are nonprofit groups established to assist veterans, their families, and their communities. Many VSOs provide a variety of services such as financial assistance, health care, education, career training, and advocacy.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust
The DAV Charitable Service Trust is a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing support and resources for disabled veterans and their families. The Trust offers grants to programs and organizations that address specific needs, such as physical and emotional rehabilitation, homelessness, and vocational training. Additionally, the DAV Charitable Service Trust partners with other organizations to raise awareness and support for veterans in need.
The American Legion’s Veterans and Children Foundation
The Veterans and Children Foundation is a program of The American Legion that supports military and veteran families in crisis. The foundation offers temporary financial assistance for essential needs like housing, utilities, food, and clothing. In addition to financial support, the foundation helps connect eligible families to community resources and support services.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Foundation
The VFW Foundation is the charitable arm of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, supporting veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families. The foundation grants millions of dollars annually to programs and initiatives that focus on financial assistance, education, disaster relief, and military family support. They also work closely with other nonprofits and veteran service organizations to coordinate efforts and provide holistic support for veterans.
Private Foundations and Grants
In addition to nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving veterans, several private foundations focus on providing grants and support to programs and initiatives aiding veterans and their families.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation
The Bob Woodruff Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families. The foundation provides grants to programs and organizations that focus on areas such as physical and mental health, education, employment, and family support. The Bob Woodruff Foundation also seeks to promote awareness of the challenges faced by veterans and their families, bridging the gap between the military and civilian communities.
Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a nonprofit that provides support and services to veterans and their families who were injured or became ill during their military service on or after September 11, 2001. WWP offers programs focusing on mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting veterans with their peers for camaraderie and support. They also advocate for policy changes to improve the lives of veterans and their families.
The Gary Sinise Foundation
Founded by actor and veterans’ advocate Gary Sinise, the Gary Sinise Foundation is dedicated to honoring and serving America’s defenders, veterans, and first responders through a variety of programs and initiatives. The foundation provides customized smart homes for severely wounded veterans, conducts morale-boosting events for military communities, and offers financial support to emergency relief efforts, among other initiatives. Gary Sinise Foundation aims to create a lasting impact on veterans’ lives by providing resources, support, and opportunities to thrive in their communities.
Educational Grants and Scholarships for Veterans
Education is a vital component of a successful transition from military service to civilian life for veterans. There are numerous educational grants and scholarships available to help veterans access higher education and career training. This article explores the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program, and various military associations and organizations’ scholarships.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a substantial education benefit offered to veterans who have served on active duty for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001. The program covers tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and a stipend for books and supplies. The amount of education assistance depends on an individual’s aggregate length of active duty service and the type of educational program they pursue.
Veterans who meet the minimum service requirements can receive 40% to 100% of education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. For complete eligibility and coverage details, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Additionally, the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows veterans to transfer their educational benefits to their spouse or dependent children in specific circumstances. Among many other benefits, this program can be used to pay for undergraduate and graduate degrees, vocational training, on-the-job training, and more.
Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a component of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that helps veterans and eligible dependents cover education costs that exceed the standard tuition and fee reimbursement provided by the bill. Participating colleges and universities voluntarily agree to fund a portion of tuition expenses not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will then match the amount contributed by the school, reducing or eliminating out-of-pocket costs for eligible students.
To be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program, a veteran must be entitled to the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The program is not available for active-duty service members, spouses of active-duty members, or for individuals only eligible for the Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Each participating institution has a limited number of Yellow Ribbon spots available, and they are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program
Also known as Chapter 31 or VetSuccess, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program is designed to help veterans with service-connected disabilities become employable and maintain employment. The program provides various services, including comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation, vocational counseling and planning, financial assistance for education and training, and job placement assistance.
Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% may be eligible for VR&E services. The program covers up to 48 months of full-time benefits, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and a monthly subsistence allowance. Depending on the veteran’s needs assessed through a tailored rehabilitation plan, the VR&E program can cover education and training such as college degrees, vocational and technical training, on-the-job training, and more.
Military Associations and Organizations’ Scholarships
In addition to government-funded education programs, several military associations and organizations offer scholarships to help veterans and their families afford education expenses. These scholarships usually have unique eligibility criteria and application processes. Some of the prominent organizations providing scholarships to veterans include:
Army Scholarship Foundation
The Army Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships to children and spouses of active, retired, or deceased Army service members. These merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership qualities, and financial need. The application process usually opens in January and closes in April, with scholarships awarded in the summer for the upcoming academic year.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) offers various educational assistance programs, including interest-free loans and grants for eligible active-duty and retired sailors, marines, and their dependents. The assistance covers tuition, fees, books, and other education-related expenses. In addition, the NMCRS also offers scholarships specifically for children and spouses of Navy and Marine Corps service members.
Air Force Aid Society
The Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) offers several educational assistance programs for eligible Air Force service members and their families. These include the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program, which provides grants for undergraduate studies based on financial need, and the AFAS Merit Scholarship, a competitive, merit-based scholarship for children of active-duty, retired, or deceased Air Force service members. The AFAS also provides interest-free loans for educational expenses.
Grants for Veteran-Owned Businesses
Veteran-owned businesses can benefit from various grant programs aimed at supporting their growth and development. These grants are offered by both governmental and non-governmental organizations and are designed to provide financial assistance to veteran-owned businesses. They are designed specifically for former military members to help them start or expand their businesses.
StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award
The StreetShares Foundation is a nonprofit organization that offers the Veteran Small Business Award for veteran-owned businesses in the United States. The award provides funding for veterans who are planning to start or grow their business, and the organization aims to inspire, educate, and support military veterans.
Eligible businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by veterans or current military members, either active duty or reservists. Apart from the business owner’s military affiliation, the award also considers the progress made, the impact on the community, and the plan for future growth when selecting recipients.
Winners of the StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award can receive up to $15,000 in grant money, which does not have to be repaid. The Foundation also provides educational resources and mentorship opportunities for veteran-owned businesses to help them succeed.
Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Veteran Entrepreneur Grant
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance, career counseling, and other support services to disabled veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Their Veteran Entrepreneur Grant program offers grants to disabled veterans who wish to start or expand their businesses.
The program aims to help disabled veteran entrepreneurs overcome financial barriers and reach their business goals. Grants can be used for various purposes, including launching a new business or expanding an existing one. Applicants must submit detailed proposals describing their businesses, their qualifications, and their financial needs.
Depending on the applicant’s qualifications and the impact of the business, the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes may award up to $5,000 in grant money per recipient.
PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP)
The PenFed Foundation offers the Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP), which provides financial support and resources to veteran-owned businesses. The program focuses on providing seed capital, mentorship, educational resources, and support to such businesses to help them expand and succeed.
VEIP offers initial investments of up to $250,000 and subsequent funding based on a company’s performance and milestones achieved. Grant recipients also gain access to a network of mentors, investors, and advisors who can offer support and guidance to the business.
In order to be eligible for VEIP, businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by veterans, and applicants must have a strong business plan demonstrating a viable market opportunity and an experienced management team.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers the Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant, aimed at providing financial assistance and support to veterans and minorities who want to start or expand their businesses in the agricultural sector. The grant aims to promote ownership and participation of veterans and minorities in the agriculture industry and increase the number of sustainable, community-based businesses.
The grant money can be used for purchasing property, equipment, agricultural supplies, or other business expenses related to starting or expanding a farm or ranch.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, and they must be veterans or members of a historically underrepresented group, such as African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders.
Grant amounts can vary, but they typically range from $3,000 to $500,000, depending on the size and scope of the project.
Finding Grants and Writing Grant Proposals
The search for funding to support your organization, project, or idea can be an arduous process. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the most effective tools and strategies to identify potential grant opportunities and present your case effectively. This article covers how to find grants and write successful grant proposals, focusing on grant databases, search engines, and best practices in grant writing.
Grant Databases and Search Engines
Grant databases and search engines are valuable resources for researching potential funding opportunities. Below are two of the most commonly used tools in the field:
Grants.gov is a comprehensive database that serves as a central storehouse for information on thousands of federal grant programs. It is an excellent starting point for researching government funding opportunities. The website allows users to search for funding opportunities by keyword, funding agency, eligibility category, or funding activity.
Using Grants.gov, users can apply for grants, track their application status, and access information on awarded grants. In addition to browsing through the site's extensive listings, users can sign up for e-mail notifications about newly posted opportunities relevant to their field or interest.
<h3>2. Foundation Directory Online (FDO)</h3>
Foundation Directory Online is a subscription-based service offered by Candid, a leading provider of information on philanthropy, fundraising, and grants. FDO provides information on over 140,000 foundations, corporate giving programs, and grant-making public charities in the U.S.
The directory allows users to search for prospective funders based on funding interests, types of support, geographic focus, and other criteria. FDO is a premium service, but many libraries offer access to the online directory free of charge for their patrons. Additionally, Candid operates Funding Information Network locations nationwide, which provide free access to FDO and other grant-seeking resources.
Writing a Successful Grant Proposal
The process of writing a grant proposal can seem daunting, but with the right mindset and approach, it can be a successful and rewarding experience. The three key strategies to keep in mind are understanding the funder's priorities, developing a clear and concise project plan, and building a strong grant writing team.
<h3>1. Understanding the Funder's Priorities</h3>
Before beginning the process of writing a grant proposal, it is essential to research the funder's mission, goals, and interests. This will enable you to tailor your proposal to align with their priorities, increasing the likelihood that your proposal will be well-received.
Be sure to address the funder's specific guidelines and requirements, demonstrate your understanding of their objectives, and show how your project contributes to their mission. Developing a strong funder-grantee relationship begins with a deep understanding of the funder's expectations, and demonstrating that understanding in your grant proposal.
<h3>2. Developing a Clear and Concise Project Plan</h3>
A well-organized project plan is crucial to writing a successful grant proposal. Start by identifying your project's primary goals, objectives, and anticipated outcomes. Break down the project into manageable tasks, allocate responsibilities among your team members, and develop a timeline to achieve your objectives.
In the proposal, provide an overview of the project, detailing its purpose, goals, and specific steps towards achieving those goals. Be sure to include a budget that accurately reflects the costs associated with each task, as well as any potential sources of revenue, in-kind contributions, or cost-sharing arrangements.
<h3>3. Building a Strong Grant Writing Team</h3>
No one person should bear the burden of writing a grant proposal. Assemble a team of individuals with different skills and expertise, such as researchers, writers, project managers, and subject matter experts.
Encourage collaboration and open communication among team members, and provide clear direction and guidance throughout the process. Each team member should contribute to the development and review of the proposal, ensuring it is clear, concise, and well-organized.
In summary, finding grants and writing successful grant proposals is a multifaceted and ongoing process. Utilizing grant databases and search engines, such as Grants.gov and Foundation Directory Online, can help you find suitable funding opportunities. Develop a deep understanding of the funder's priorities, a comprehensive project plan, and build a strong grant writing team to increase your likelihood of securing funding.
1. What is the primary source for veterans’ grant funding?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the primary source of grant funding for veterans. The VA offers several grant programs, such as the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant and Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS).
2. What are other available resources for veterans seeking grants?
Veterans can also search for grant opportunities from private foundations, veteran service organizations, and state and local governments. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, provides grants through its Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program.
3. Can veterans apply for educational grants specifically?
Yes, several educational grant programs exist for veterans. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a significant source of educational funding, while other options include the Montgomery GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program.
4. Are there grants aimed at assisting female veterans?
Yes, several organizations focus on supporting female veterans, such as the Women Veterans Network (WVN) and Swords to Plowshares, providing grants and resources to address their unique needs, like health care, employment, and housing assistance.
5. How can veterans find the most suitable grants for their needs?
To find suitable grants, veterans should research the various programs available and consult local Veterans Affairs offices, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), and state and local government resources. Additionally, using online databases such as Grants.gov can be helpful in identifying grant opportunities.
6. Can veterans’ family members apply for grants?
Yes, some grants exist for veterans’ family members, such as the DEA Program for spouses and children of veterans, the Fry Scholarship for children of military members who died in the line of duty, and the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) for military spouses.