There is a wide variety of grants available each year to support the needs of seniors. Federal grants can meet senior needs for nutrition, education, and housing. Foundations also offer specialized grants for organizations who are working with seniors and which are supporting education, good health, affordable housing, senior safety, and volunteerism. However, there are very few grants awarded specifically to an individual. Individuals seeking assistance need to work through agencies and organizations.
Several different departments of the government offer federal grants for a variety of different purposes. Federal grants for senior citizens can be found on Federal Grants Wire. Examples of federal grants include:
- Capital Assistance Program for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities provides funds to for the transportation needs of elderly persons in areas where public transportation services are not available or appropriate.
- The Foster Grandparent Program is designed to promote volunteer service by persons 55 or older who have limited incomes. Funds are available to support volunteer programs that provide personalized service to children with exceptional or special needs.
- Mortgage Insurance-Rental Housing for the Elderly provides quality rental housing for the elderly. Funds are available for programs which insure mortgage lenders against loss and which increase the number of rental housing opportunities for seniors.
- The Nutrition Services Incentive Program provides funds to state agencies on aging and Indian Tribal Organizations to purchase foods and commodities from the United States Department of Agriculture. These goods are to be used for nutrition services programs such as home-delivered meals.
- Retired and Senior Volunteer Program issues grants to encourage persons 55 and older to volunteer for community service.
You can apply to receive grant money from different states as well. Often the states get this money from the federal government and organizations and individuals apply to the states to receive the grant. For example, in Connecticut, you can apply for a grant to create or upgrade group housing for the elderly. In New York and some other states, you can apply for grant assistance for prescription costs for the elderly. Check your state government website or the Department of Social Services for your state, to see what options might be available.
Many foundations are looking for individuals and groups that provide educational, health and housing assistance for seniors. The Foundation Center provides a database that you can search for grants specifically for organizations that support senior citizens.
Examples of foundations that provide grants include:
- The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. provides grants for the support and care of older adults. This foundation gives out a significant number of grants per year. An organization that has a project that they would like to fund would have to submit a letter of inquiry and follow the submission process.
- The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awards grants to improve the lives and well-being of the elderly. Groups are asked specifically to submit proposals; unsolicited requests are usually not accepted. This foundation supplies millions of dollars in grants each year; however, the organization will stop making awards around the year 2022.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aims to improve health for all Americans; however, the organization awards a significant number of grants to organizations, universities, and other tax-exempt entities for the care of the elderly.
- The MetLife Foundation awards grants to support Alzheimer's research and healthy aging. Organizations may apply online for funding. If the foundation is interested in the proposal, they may request more information.
- The AARP Foundation provides grants to nonprofits with proposals to assist low-income elderly people with housing, food, income, and personal contacts with family and community. Several times a year, the foundation issues a request for proposals; at this time, interested organizations can apply for a grant online.
Getting Grants for Seniors
If you or your organization would like to apply for a grant, it will require some preparation and effort. You may have to apply for more than one grant at a time or apply for several years before you receive some money. However, the good that you or your organization may be able to do for the elderly with some grant money may make it all worthwhile.