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Image of a felon holding a bag of grant money and dollar bills. The caption reads "grants for felons", "get the money you need."

Yes, felons are able to qualify for grants from numerous agencies and organizations. Many believe that there criminal record will keep them from qualifying for different types of Grants. In MOST cases this is not true. In this article we dive deep into grants for felons to provide you with the tools and knowledge you will need to get qualified for wherever grant you are seeking.

List of Grants For Felons

What are grants for felons? Grants are moneys that are set aside by the federal government, state governments, local governments and private organizations for a verity of reasons. Some uses for these grants for felons can include but are not limited to the following;

  • Opening a small business
  • Starting a non-profit organization
  • College Education
  • Social and scientific research
  • Opening a some types of charities like homeless or animal shelters

1) Federal Government Grants

The largest grants available to the public come from the federal government. Their website, Grants.gov is the gateway to these funds. The purpose of these grants, at least in the eyes of the federal government is to

fund your ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy

Source: Grants.gov

Truth be told, these grants are fairly complicated to apply for and get. It can be done but it takes time, patience and a willingness to learn how the federal grant system works. All of these federal grants are available to felons and people with criminal records. The first step you should take is to educate yourself by going to grants.gov and clicking on “learn grants” then “grants 101.”

Image screen shot of grants.gov detailing where to learn about grants.

2) US Small Business Administration Grants (SBA)

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a number of different funding programs. As with all federal grant programs there is a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through. For this reason the SBA has created a “Learning Center” to help guide you through the process of getting qualified for a grant. The SBA does not offer grants for felons specifically but a felony will not keep you from getting a grant.

The SBA offers a verity of funding programs including the following;

3) PELL Grants For Education

Pell grants are a easy way to get free money from the federal government to go to college. How much money can you get?

Amounts can change yearly. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,095 for the 2018–19 award year (July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019) and $6,195 for the 2019–20 award year (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020).

Source: Federal Student Aid

Please check out our pages “Pell Grants For Felons” and “Pell Grants For Inmates” to learn more. You may also be interested in learning what the best college degrees for felons are before committing on going to college or choosing a major.

4) Go Fund Me

GoFundMe is an excellent for getting free money for just about any good reason. They welcome people from all walks of life to start funding campaigns including felons. Many small businesses and non profits have been made possible due to the funding received through GoFundMe.com.

To run a successful go fund me campaign it is important to have a worthy cause that people feel confident in donating too. Small business start ups, charitable organizations, non profits, medical expenses and housing emergencies seem to do well on GoFundme.

Here are 25 Fundraiser Sharing Tips to Increase Donations that can make a huge difference in how much you can raise.

5) KickStarter

KickStarter is an awesome crowd funding platform that allows anyone to raise money for there business, product or idea. Thousands of inventions and small businesses have been funded through KickStarter.  The amount of money that can be raised is remarkable. For example, in January of 2015 over $8.8 million dollars was raised for a card game called Exploding Kittens.

Tips for a successful KickStarter campaign;

  • A strong social media presence is important to spread the word
  • Make a campaign video
  • Have a good product or idea

6) State Government Grants

Every state has its own grant programs. Most of these programs will be available to the general public just like the federal grants are. Some states may even have grants for felons specifically. Google “grants in (your state of residence) and I am sure you will come up with something.

7) Local Government Grants

Don’t forget to check with your local government about any grants available that you could apply for. Often larger cities and towns reserve some tax dollars for grants that help with economical development.

8) Inmates to Entrepreneurs

Inmates to Entrepreneurs is an amazing organization that helps felons and others with criminal records start their own businesses. This is an excellent way to cut down the recidivism rate in the United States while giving felons a fresh start without having to worry about there criminal record preventing them from earning an income.

Our organization, Help For Felons, has always been a proponent of felon creating there own jobs by becoming self employed. Inmates to Entrepreneurs also shares this view. A quote from their website states that;

Despite seeking employment at rates higher than the general population, formerly incarcerated individuals are half as likely to get a job because of their incarceration and face unemployment rates five times the national average. In the Google era, a simple web search ensures that no one can ever truly escape their past.

This is why they are dedicated to their mission.

Inmates to Entrepreneurs is dedicated  to helping people with criminal backgrounds start their own small businesses with free in-person and online education and mentoring.

Source: Inmates to Entrepreneurs

This organization offers a number of excellent programs including the following;

9) IndeGoGo

Yes it has an odd name but it works. IndeGoGo is another platform for crowd sourcing similar to KickStarter as mentioned earlier. People have raised over 1 billion dollars so for on this platform. Some have started businesses and other have developed a product or idea from money raised through IndeGoGo.

10) US Department of Justice Grants

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) offers a number of grants. Most of these grants involve community safety initiatives, reducing recidivism rates, drug abuse prevention, helping felons reenter society and stopping violence. The DOJ offers educational materiel (Grants 101) to help guide you through the application process.

An image of grants available from the DOJ.

11) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Grants

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers grants for most organizations that deal with drug and mental health issues. This can include ex-offender reentry, treatment and suicide prevention.

Please bookmark this page since it is updated regularly with grants for felons!

Felony Expungement – In a number of states it is possible to have your felony conviction either expunged or sealed. Imagine having your record swiped clean! Learn more here.