Applying for Grants 101

Grant Writing for Individuals presented by Tammy Eisenreich, Parent Partner, Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Things to do before applying for a grant
  • W-2's for past two years.
  • Denial letter from insurance provider or copy from policy manual.
  • Itemized bill for services or item requesting grant for.
  • Brief paragraph of "How this diagnosis has affected your life."
  • Brief paragraph of "How this therapy or item will help your child/family."
  • Always research your funding source.
  • Call the organization and let them know you have applied for grant.
  • Use words from the organization's mission statement or news coverage about the organization in your request for assistance.

Other information you may be asked to provide when applying for a grant:

  • Financial information such as savings, 401k, and other investments
  • Household expenses such as mortgage/rent, utilities and transportation costs
  • A copy of your child's IEP/IFSP
  • Letters from your doctor or service provider confirming diagnosis and/or ability to participate

How to find funding sources/grant:

  • Word of mouth
  • Doctor's referral, therapist, service providers, teachers,
    • Grants received for others, resources from conferences
  • Health fairs, fundraisers for disabilities, community outreach programs, and local publications.
  • Social networks
    • Facebook, MySpace
    • Chat rooms
    • Support groups
  • On-line
    • Google with specific diagnosis or service provider
    • Key words to search for:
      • specific diagnosis
      • specific service provider
      • need based grants
      • purpose of therapies or services
      • location
      • for children
      • sometimes moving words around in search, gets you new results.

How do families apply?

  • Follow the grant application directions EXACTLY as written.
    • Be sure to submit only COMPLETED applications.
    • No re-submitting or adding additional information later!
  • Include supporting print material
    • diagnosis information
    • alternative therapy
    • statistics
  • Make it Personal
    • photos of child (school photos, doing activity, with family, etc.)
    • have child write or draw activity, item requested or something personal to them.
    • Have the child decorate the envelope or provide a personalized postage stamp
      • Put in colored decorated enevlope
  • Be honest...
    • about where else you have looked for funding.
    • about how you plan on paying for continued therapy
      • SOME organizations will verify information!!!
  • Call or email before sending.
  • Sending a Thank You note after receiving a grant will reassure the funding source of the need, and of how much it is appreciated. It may improve your chance of being recognized as a recipient, and increase your chances of possible future funding.

To personalize your application, include your family story or essay:

  • WHY?
    • Writing your story can be healing for you and your spouse/family.
    • Most grants/scholarships will require this story.
    • Spending time and effort on writing your story one time will save you time in all your grant applications.
    • Such an essay/story can be attached to your IEP/IFSP, can go with you to Developmental Pediatrician visits, can provide insight for therpaists/teachers, send to family members as an opportunity to discuss your child's disability.

Tips and suggestions that have worked

  • Develop relationships
    • HR of employer
    • Insurance company
    • Doctor's office
    • Service provider
    • Other families by sharing your story, staying at therapy, and joining support groups.
    • Joining funding organizations monthly newsletter or e-mail list.

Additional Funding Sources

  • Family Resource Money
  • Local Fraternal Organizations (Elks, Moose Lodge, Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, etc...)
  • Churches, Synagogues Mosques
  • Buisnesses (local and national chains)
  • Tax Exemptions, Flex Spending
  • SSI and Medicaid Waivers
  • Specific Disability Organizations (MS, Downs Syndrome, Autism, etc...)
  • Social Networking
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