The federal government generally does NOT provide grants for starting and expanding a business. Government grants are funded by your tax dollars and therefore require very stringent compliance and reporting measures to ensure the money is well spent. As you can imagine, grants are not given away indiscriminately. Grants from the federal government are only available to non-commercial organizations, such as non-profits and educational institutions in areas such as, medicine, education, scientific research and technology development. The federal government also provides grants to state and local governments to assist them with economic development. Some business grants are available through state and local programs, non-profit organizations and other groups. For example, some states provide grants for expanding child care centers; creating energy efficient technology; and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants are not necessarily "free money" as they generally require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a loan. The amount of the grant money available varies with each business and each grantor.
The vast majority of government grants are given to non-profit organizations for programs and services that benefit the community or the public at large. There are other types of grants such as those from foundations, corporations, or private organizations. These non-government organizations have specific requirements as to who is eligible to apply for and receive grant funding. By and large, foundations do not make grants to for-profit enterprises. The NYS Library has a list of selected websites that provide information and opportunities for grants in New York State. www.nysl.nysed.gov/reference/grantsref.htm
Federal and Regional Agencies
Appalachian Regional Commission- ARC is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments across the Appalachian Region. The ARC's mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strenghten economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
Land and Water Conservation Fund through National Parks Service- The State Side of the LWCF provides matching grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.
Smart Growth Achievement through EPA- offering grants to support activities that improve the quality of development and protect human health and the environment such as affordable housing, Brownfield cleanup, historic preservation, land conservation, etc.
USDA Loans and Grants- United State Department of Agriculture has programs available for Rural Development, Farms, Farmers Market Promotion, Housing Assistance and more.
U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development- HUD has over 20 grant programs that support their initiatives. These programs include Community and Economic Development, Homeownership, Fair Housing, Rental Assistance and more.
New York State Agencies
Department of Environment Conservation- The DEC has competitive grants for environmental protection and improvement are available for municipalities, community organizations, not-for-profit organizations and others.
New York Council on the Arts- The arts play a pivotal role in the lives of New Yorkers and help fuel our social and economic engines. Discover the opportunities for growing the arts.
New York Department of Agriculture and Markets- Explore the opportunities available to support marketing efforts for producers and retailers, getting access to local and healthy foods in schools, improving infrastructure and more.
New York Main Street- The Office of Homes and Community Renewal offers the New York Main Street grant which provides assistance to communities to strenghten the economic vitality of the State's traditional Main Streets and neighborhoods. This program is available to local governments or organizations incorporated under the NYS Not-for-Profit Coporation Law.
New York State Assembly Grant Action News Reports- information on available state, federal and private grants.
Preservation League of New York State- The Preservation League provides grants that can help jump-start preservation projects for historic places and protected properties.