This is one of my best tips for small business grant writing.
Pursue a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
The primary objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing, creating a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities for persons of low and moderate income.
If your business can perform, or participate in any of these activities, then you have a good shot at receiving CDBG funding.
How CDBG Funding Works
Essentially, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), distributes funds to the states, and the states are responsible for distributing funds to local communities and projects.
CDBG funding is a “block grant.” It differs from “categorical grants” that are made for specific purposes.
The difference that benefits your business is that CDBG funding is subject to less federal oversight, and is largely used at the discretion of the state and local governments and their sub-grantees.
When it comes to small business grant writing, your job is to place your business within the funding “zone of discretion.”
What are CDBG Funding Activities?
CDBG funded activities may include projects such as:
- Construction of streets, neighborhood centers, recreation facilities, and other public works
- Rehabilitation of public and private buildings
- Public services
- Planning activities
- Assistance to nonprofits for community development activities
- Assistance to private, for profit entities to carry out economic development activities
Your Small Business Grant Writing Strategy
When it comes to CDBG funding, you have 3 options depending on the products or services your business offers:
- Apply directly for funding for an eligible project that your business will execute.
- Attach your business to an eligible project that a government or nonprofit entity will execute.
- Offer your products or services to funded entities as a contractor.
Network! Network! Network!
To accomplish your small business grant writing goals, you just need to use the 1 skill you should already have: Networking.
You must understand the political climate in your area. Here is how to get started:
- Contact the city, county and state offices of development.
- Get to know the community leaders in your area neighborhoods.
- Find out what government entity is in charge of administering CDBG funds.
- Find out what their current funding priorities are.
Once you have all of this information, you can decide if your business will be more successful applying directly for funds, or whether it is best to attach yourself to an eligible project.
Like I Said Before, Get Creative
Part 1 of this series discusses the need to get creative with your small business grant writing. Pursuing a CDBG funding is an excellent creative option.