Skip to main content
Britta Schwab
Student/ Advocate / Cheerleader for strong communities
Asked a question recently

Hey Folks! My name is Britta and I'm originally from York, Pennsylvania, currently living in Houston, Texas now while I complete my Phd. I've done an extensive amount of grant writing, and I'm interested in knowing from this group thoughts on grants for business or municipal development, may those be from federal/state or local government or foundations/corporations. Has anyone had success gaining funding for a project? What were challenges you faced along the way? Any tips or recommendations for others seeking funding?

Where am I?

In Strong Towns you can ask and answer questions and share your experience with others!

Nate
Project Manager

Hey Britta,

     Our organization is a non-profit that focuses on affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization. We have a pretty good track record securing all types of grants for funding. Our grant writers who are competent don't seem to have any trouble writing the grants. The challenges that we face are the actual administration of the grant. We are currently administering a $464k grant to build three new homes and haven't gotten past the red tape of the state (we were awarded in September). My recommendations for others that are seeking funding would be to look for grants that are not state or government based unless necessary. They are slow to administer, where as other grants that our organization has won seem to be less regulated and easier to administer. 

Great question, Britta!

My experience with grants is similar to Nate's and, I would expect, most other organizations who have received and administered grants for development projects. We have written financial pro formas for some of our real estate development projects to be dependent on grant funding. In theory, it is a reasonable assumption: once the grant is received, it is "plugged in" to the financial formula and the project can move ahead as planned. However, in practice, the red tape makes coordinating time-sensitive development activities extremely difficult. Without good scheduling, the wheels can fall off a project in no time.

The smaller/more approachable a grant-administering organization is, the more likely it is you will be able to receive the grant in an appropriate time frame. The non-governmental entity could have some flexibility that the state or federal entities almost certainly do not have.

Hope this helps! -Jacob