Types of Government Grants: What You Need to Know

When it comes to government grants, there are so many different types. Different agencies with different funding streams offer grants within specific focus areas or specific types of projects. However, the process for applying and qualifying can be quite similar across all potential grant opportunities.

Understanding what type of government grants you qualify for and researching what programs might be right for you is critical to being successful in your grant application.

There are so many grants available from the federal government and its agencies as well as state governments, local councils and non-profit trusts. These are some common types of government grants:

Grants for Small Businesses

Many government grants are designed to help small and medium-sized businesses get started and become self-sustaining. These grants can be a great source of funding for startups and small business owners, especially since commercial banks don’t always give small businesses the loans they need.

There are a variety of different types of government grants for small businesses, but they typically fall under one of two categories: equity or debt.

The difference between equity and debt grants isn’t just the amount that’s given — it also affects how your business is run. Equity grants are given in exchange for partial ownership of your business.

Debt grants, by contrast, are government loans that you must repay with interest.

Grants to Promote Social Causes

Government grants for social causes have become more common in recent years, as the government has looked for new ways to fund non-profit organizations and encourage them to pursue innovative new projects.

These types of grants are usually given to non-profit organizations, which can use them to fund new projects that might not be financially viable on a smaller scale.

These grants can be given as a single large sum or in installments. Most government grants for social causes are given by the federal government and distributed through state agencies.

While some grants are given to address specific social issues, others are open to organizations that pursue any type of socially beneficial goal.

Environmental Responsibilities

One government grant is called an environmental remediation grant, which is given to help fund the cleanup of contaminated or polluted sites.

There are also grants available to help improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and pollution, and improve water quality and access.

Many of these grants are given by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which provides funding for specific projects through its State Grant Program.

Depending on the project, these grants may be awarded as a one-time payment or as an ongoing payment that continues until the project’s completion.

Urban Development and Revitalization Grants

Urban development grants are provided by the federal government, state governments, and local public agencies.

They are meant to encourage economic growth and development in urban areas that are struggling economically.

These grants are usually given to non-profit organizations and local governments to be used for specific projects. They can cover many different types of expenses, including the purchase of property, renovation and construction of buildings, and development of public spaces.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers grants through its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

This program funds projects that promote sustainable economic development and eradicate poverty in low-income urban areas.

The HUD grant application process is competitive, so it’s important to apply early. Visit the HUD website to learn more about what types of projects are eligible for funding and how to apply.

Educational Opportunities

Some government grants are given to fund education and research, but what type of research grants are available?

There are grants in many different fields of research, including medicine, engineering, the environment, and other sciences.

A selection committee will review your grant proposal to determine whether it fits the scope of their funding. Grant funding can be used to cover a variety of different educational expenses, including research-related supplies, salaries for research assistants, travel expenses, and more.

Similarly, government grants for educational programs are given to support the implementation of new educational programs in schools, universities, and other education institutions.

Servicemen and Women Scholarships

Many government grants are available to veterans and current servicemen and women, including grants for higher education, small business start-ups, and entrepreneurship.

Unfortunately, there’s no single list of all the available grants. You’ll need to research the different programs that are offered by the U.S. Department of Defense (including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and other government agencies.

You can search for grants on the government’s website, but you’ll have better luck if you use a specialized grant finder.

These websites let you search for grants based on specific criteria, such as your location, occupation, and other factors.

If you have any special skills or training, you can also search for grants related to those disciplines. For example, if you’re a pilot, you can search for aviation-related grants.

Government-Owned Property Maintenance and Renovation Grants

If you’re a non-profit organization looking to renovate an existing building that you use for services, you might be eligible for a government grant to help cover the costs.

This grant is given so that you can maintain or repair a government-owned building that your organization uses. These types of grants are usually given by the federal government and distributed through state agencies.

You can search for a grant using the government’s website or a specialized grant finder, but you’ll have better luck if you use the latter.

Research Grants

Research government grants are given to fund experimental research that attempts to answer a question or solve a problem.

To be eligible for research grants, you must be pursuing research in a field that’s related to one of the federal government’s research priorities.

You can find out which fields the government is currently funding research in and whether your proposed project meets those criteria by visiting the website of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

When applying for research grants, you’ll usually be given several months to write a detailed proposal that outlines what you intend to do, why you’re pursuing this specific project, and how you plan to get it done.

You’ll also need to include any relevant background information on the researchers involved in the project.

Infrastructure and Construction Grants

The government gives grants for infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life in urban areas by providing better transportation options, improving the energy grid, and more.

These grants are given to public agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies that are responsible for managing specific infrastructure projects.

There are numerous government grants for construction projects, including grants for disaster relief, neighborhood revitalization, and renewable energy.

You can search for grants on the government’s website, but you’ll have better luck if you use a specialized grant finder.

Equity and Diversity Grants

These government grants are given to promote equality and diversity in a variety of fields, including education, employment, and entrepreneurship.

These grants encourage minority-owned businesses to apply for government contracts and fund programs that improve access to entrepreneurship and equity in other fields.

You can search for government grants related to equity and diversity on the government’s website or through a specialized grant finder. You’ll have better luck if you use the latter, as the government’s website only lists a small selection of grants.


Government grants are a great way to fund your next project or start-up, but they can be tricky to get. The best way to increase your chances of success is to find the best grants for your needs and then prepare a strong application.

If you’re ready to get serious about applying for government grants, it helps to know what types of grants are available.

This way, you’ll be able to identify which grants are best for your project and have a strategy in place to make your application stand out from the crowd.