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Grants awarded by foundations do typically end up being of benefit to individual people with specific needs of many kinds. But the money — or the service it can enable — only reaches individuals through other organizations. A foundation does not provide financial assistance to someone who needs job training or to a family which needs a home. However they do fund organizations which are created to serve those same people. In rare cases grants are provided to individuals in scientific fields for specific research projects, but those individuals have unique qualifications and often must be nominated by Ph.D-granting institutions.
Types of Grants for Individuals
Grants and free money for individuals do exist in a variety of forms. Sometimes foundations might provide grants of a specific nature, most often to further educational endeavors. These may be for researchers, for student scholarships or loans, contests for teachers, and perhaps work of an artistic nature.
You might check with local United Way offices to see if they know of any such grants. Also consult the reference desk at your library. Of particular interest should be the foundation Grants to Individuals publication by the Foundation Center. Check to see if your library has it. If not the librarian can probably find out the nearest library that does. Take special note of the advice that is repeated throughout the publication: “If you don’t qualify, don’t apply.”
The one clear example of grants awarded to individuals by the U.S. Government is the Pell Grant. These are awards for college or career school education. They are not competitive but are based on income.