Do Churches Get Government Grants

Faith-based grants or church grants are available through some foundations. But, what about the government? In this post, you will get detailed answers to your question; do churches get government grants?

Generally, the Federal government provides two types of grants. First, it is the discretionary grants and second, it is the block or formula grants.

Discretionary grants are types of federal government grants when the government pointed their agency to run the programs. Meanwhile, Formula or block grants are when the Federal gave money to the States, Cities, or Counties to distribute for many valuable activities. It can be for charities or social services run by providers. It is also possible if each state, city, and county to distribute the federal grant with different rules and regulations.

For this reason, anyone can apply to the Federal government directly or to an entity that will distribute the money from the Federal government. Since it is for anyone, churches can start applying for federal government grants just like other communities do.


Federal Government Grant Application

If you want to get a federal grant for churches and start searching for how to apply for it, you can learn about RFP and SGA first. Both are announcements about federal grants. RFP stands for Request for Proposals. Meanwhile, SGA stands for Solicitation for Grant Applications.

Each RFP and SGA contain detailed instructions on how to apply, where to get an application, information about the application, the date of due, and the available agency contact.

Mostly, federal agencies come with experts to help churches apply for and then manage the grants they get. Churches that apply for the grant can call the identified official in the announcement or the agency’s contact. The role of the agency staff is to answer all grant questions over the phone.

Moreover, the Federal government may have a contract with local technical assistance workshops to provide information of assistance for the applicants.

Do Churches Get Government Grants

The United States Supreme Court has explained faith-based organizations. These organizations cannot use direct government aid to support their religious activities.

Churches cannot use any part of the direct grant from the Federal to fund religious instruction, worship, or proselytization. It is because the government has set rules for using federal money related to religious activity. However, religious organizations can use government money so they can run non-religious social support and services.

It is why any faith-based organizations, including churches that get government funds, should take a different, separate step in location or time. What they must do is anything about social activities, spreading kindness, and creating a positive impact on society.

It is important to note that when organizations, including churches, apply for federal grants, there is no guarantee that the government will give them. However, if your church does not receive a grant, try to figure out the reason why the federal government cannot provide you with the fund and how to improve your church and the internal organization for future applications.

It is great to talk to the program officer stated in the announcement to follow up on the grants. They can provide you with information related to the application, or bring you to the right person to talk to. Besides, your organization can get written comments on the proposal as valuable analysis.

Also, please note that many other faith-based organizations compete for Federal government grants, and many communities apply for them several times before finally, they get an award. Therefore, use the feedback on the application to improve your opportunity of getting funds for your church.

Rules of Using Federal Grants for Churches

Since you have got the answer about “do churches get government grants”, now it is important to know the rules of using government funding.

Churches cannot use the federal government grant for religious activities such as proselytizing, prayer, worship, or devotional study about Bible. However, you can use the funds for some objective activities established by congress. For instance, use the money to reduce crime, assist victims of crime, and monitor youth and adults. When churches are using the fund for those activities, they still can use their rooms without removing any religious symbols from their place.

Also, the federal government allows churches that get grants to create an organization with a name that includes religious words. If any churches that get federal government grants violate the requirements or the grant rules, such as using the funds improperly, they can lose the grant funds. Even it is possible if the churches must repay the funds they received and pay all damage through court action.

The federal government also prohibits all churches to use government grants for purchasing religious materials. So, they cannot use the money to buy Bible and other scriptural materials.

Foundation Grants for Churches

Some private foundations give grants to churches. Here are the following examples of the available private foundations that provide funds for churches:

  • DeMoss Foundation
  • The Huntsman Foundation
  • The Mustard Seed Foundation

These are some private foundations to support communities on a national level. Churches and other religious organizations have the opportunity to apply for funds.

Additionally, it is possible to find more information from more local and regionalized community foundations. For example, the Huntsman Foundation offers grief counseling.

How to Get a Grant for Your Church

Now, are you looking for government grants for religious organizations? Your churches must start doing some important preparation work. So, your church is 100% ready when the opportunities of government or other non-government grants are available.

With a clear answer to the question “do churches get government funding” churches can apply for grants just like other non-profit organizations, here are the steps to do to get the grants:

Register your church as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization

First and most, make sure that your church is already registered as a non-profit organization or 501(c)(3) with IRS. Therefore, you can spend your time taking the possible steps.

A 501(c)(3) is what you need to make your church a charitable organization. Therefore, your church will get grant funding from private foundations, state, and federal funding options.

Some steps will lead up to this process. For example, you must follow the establishment of a Board of Directors as well as the formal meetings to determine what documents you must submit about your church.

Have relationships with private foundations

It is always crucial to connect with foundations that support your community. Start by finding the nearest area.

Learn about their missions, focus, and the previous activities they have granted. Contact them and make an individual appointment. Do not start the first meeting by talking about funds.

What you need to do is to introduce your organization and start to establish a relationship. It is great to write an introductory letter to help you introduce your organization. Make it short, for about one or two pages. What you should write there is the history of your organization, mission, goal, program, the people you serve, the reason why you reach out to their organization, and how you feel that you have similar missions with the private foundations.

Establish a community coalition

The last thing to do is to establish a community coalition. The church is one of the hubs of society. Therefore, you can create more connections with other organizations throughout the community.

By establishing a community coalition, you can get more funding opportunities. Make sure that you start the coalition with public or private foundations. So, you can identify the programs or the funders that can meet your community’s needs.


Here are other popular questions related to “do churches get government grants”:

Q: Is there a fund set aside from the Federal government for faith-based organizations?

A: No, the Federal government does not provide separate funding, especially for faith-based communities. Rather, they can apply for the government grant as long as they can do social services as other non-government organizations.

Q: How can churches find out the available federal grants?

A: You can visit to get the most comprehensive information related to all federal grants. The government announced all grants to the public through this website.

Q: Does our church have to form a special non-profit group to get a Federal grant?

A: Generally, no. The federal government does not have any requirement for an organization to operate as a non-profit (Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code) to get Federal grants. However, some Federal, State, and local programs may have this kind of requirement.

A faith-based organization, including a church, may establish a different non-profit organization to use the government grants it gets. The goal is to make it the church is easier to keep the track of the public fund that it spends on the grant. Also, it will be easier for the government so they can monitor the use of the grant funds without touching other internal funding sources.