Grant Management

This office primarily serves Seneca County Departments and municipal and local governments. As time permits, I can help non-profits serving Seneca County residents. I provide Grant writing service, and I can also help researching potential funders, developing projects, and managing the communication between the funder and the awardee.

Please, read over the following information, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 315-539-1726 or by email at jhenry@co.seneca.ny.us .

Grants to Individuals and Homeowners

This office does not work with individuals, homeowners, or private companies to secure grant funding, although I’m more than happy to consult with you to get you started, or read over a final draft, as time permits.

Grants to individuals are extremely rare, unless you meet highly specific eligibility requirements. The United Way of Seneca County has a private grants library which may have information for grants to individuals. In general, these are scholarships for education, or for academia.

Grants to preserve, repair, or refurbish your home are also rare, unless you meet highly specific eligibility requirements. Your Town or Village offices may have local programs for façade improvement, or historic preservation funding that may be available.

Grant Basics

Contrary to Popular belief, there is no such thing as “free money.” Grant money is set aside by the State and Federal government for specific purposes, usually to achieve some objective that the State feels it cannot do efficiently itself.

“Chasing Dollars” is a term for finding a grant program, and then developing a project to try to win that money. While this tactic can work to win a grant, it usually causes great problems for the awardee, who may not be actually able to use the money, achieve the goal, or get reimbursed. Not only is this frustrating for the awardee, but also for the funder, and may make it difficult to win future grants from the funder.

The trick is to develop the project first, then find money that matches it.

Some other basics:

  • On average, only one out of every six grant applications gets funded! This varies considerably by Funder (some it is 1 in 3, others it is 1 in 100).
  • Grants are *VERY* competitive! While uncommon, it is possible that an AWESOME application will not get funded because of intense competition. In rare cases it is also possible to receive an Award and then lose it because the funder’s budget gets cut.
  • If you need money fast, Grants may not be the best option. Most NYS agencies will respond within six months. Many, however, may take much longer if their funding comes from the federal government. It is not uncommon to wait six or twelve months, or even longer to find out if you were awarded or rejected. Once awarded, it may take several months to process the contract paperwork.
  • Most grants are reimbursement grants. You must spend the money first, and then submit for reimbursement. Depending upon the funder and the project, advances may be possible.
  • Most Grants require matching funds –that is for every dollar they put to the project, they expect you to put a dollar into the project.

Grants to Private Companies

State and Federal Grants for private companies are also rare, though they do periodically appear to encourage specific behaviors. Often the restrictions on the use of monies and the reporting and audit requirements make these grants unpalatable.

Finding Grant Monies

This office does NOT provide grants, award grants, or have any $ to give out in grants.

There are three primary sources for grant monies: the Federal Government, New York State, and Private donors/foundations.

FEDERAL GRANTS are often extremely competitive (thousands of submissions, maybe fifty awards) and have the most restrictive rules and procedures. The benefit of Federal Grants is they sometimes provide funding where a State government does not. Some Federal Grant Programs, notably FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters, are intended to spread large amounts of money across the nation, so the competition is much less intense (In 2005, 22,000 applications were submitted, and about 7,000 were awarded).

A good place to start looking for federal monies is at Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) or at the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (http://www.cfda.gov). Note that many Federal Grants are intended to be given directly to the State government, or have already been earmarked for award.

Note that many Federal Grants must be submitted electronically through grants.gov. Once set-up and registered, it is very simple and convenient. However, pre-registration can take 10-15 business daysjust to be set-up to be able to submit an application. Once registered, you need only update it once a year afterward.

NEW YORK STATE GRANTS are also very competitive (hundreds of submissions, and as few as a single, to dozens of awards), and their restrictions and guidelines vary with each State Department. State Grants are commonly intended for municipalities, but often they are open to non-profits, and sometimes even to for-profit companies.

New York State’s Citizen’s Guide has an excellent listing of the grant-making departments, and current grants available at:
http://www.nysegov.com/citGuide.cfm?superCat=102&cat=410&content=main

Another type of State Grant is the Member Item. NYS Legislative Members (Representatives and Senators) are often able to secure monies for special projects in their districts. These monies are limited, and are probably even MORE competitive than the Grants offered by New York State Agencies. To apply for Member Item monies, please contact your Legislator’s office. I have no control or influence over securing Member Items. However, I am available to help complete applications, reports, and reimbursement documents, upon request.

PRIVATE FOUNDATION GRANTS – Private Foundations exist to support charities through financial gifts. Many foundations are mission-specific, that is, they focus all their energy on a single issue. The Golisano Foundation, for example, is focused SOLELY on making life better for children with developmental disabilities in the Rochester area. They recognize other needs, but they focus on their own projects.

Many Foundations can be found online. One of the best places to find Foundations is through the Seneca County United Way’s Foundation Library CD-ROM. However, be sure to check the foundations you find via the CDROM with their websites, because the CDROM information is limited. For example, many Foundations only provide grant money to organizations in New York when they mean New York City.

Most Foundation money is limited to non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) IRS designation.