State Funding Becomes Frugal
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By Alexandra Palmieri
With many state budgets in the red, funding is not always easy to find. Program funding has been cut drastically, and in many instances, funding is not even being directed toward new grant recipients but towards continuation grants. There doesn't seem to be much to look forward too, but there are still programs at the state level that grantseekers may find helpful, if not as fruitful, as they have been in the past.
Finding state funding through the use of state websites can be a frustrating task. No two sites are the same in terms of web design and formatting. Some states are better than others. For example, the Texas Education Agency has a complete database of state-level grants. The drop down menus and search functions are some of the best at the state level. Searching capabilities exist by program area, availability dates and other targeted searches. On the opposite end of the spectrum are state websites that may not be updated on a yearly basis. The broad range of quality in grants management, at the state level, calls for more attention to detail in locating information that can be useful.
Although it doesn't seem to be a priority for states to make the information readily available, especially during such tough economic times, the grants are still out there. State departments of education, health and public safety have moved along at different paces in terms of posting timely information on funding. Education seems to be in the forefront with the majority of state websites containing detailed information on the availability of federal and state level funding. Public safety comes in at a close second only because there are many departments where grants can be found, such as departments of homeland security, public safety, and criminal justice. State departments of health are trailing behind and it is rare to find grants management sections with programs that may be helpful to specific needs.
While states have been making a lot of progress in terms of accessibility of grant information, the downturn of the economy has lessened not only funding but the urgency to create a strong foundation to house grants. This creates obstacles but doesn't make it impossible to find grant money that may be useful. Smaller grants may be the jumpstart you need to get the recognition and funding for larger projects. This "low-lying fruit" can present programs that may be more viable to target rather than larger state programs which only hand out one or two grants.
Here are a few tips for finding funding at the state level:
- Check all menus drop downs and sidebars for not only "Grants" but anything that looks like it could house grants.
- If the website has a search bar and the term "grants" doesn't turn up anything, try "finance" "funding opportunities," and "funds"
- Online search: Some of the best opportunities can be found by using an online search education for education grants (or any type of grant you are looking for) and the state name. You may not find direct grants but news articles and press releases can be a gold mine for state information that is difficult to unearth.