List of Grants for Felons

Grants for felons are one of the ideal solutions for ex-felons who are trying to start a new life. We understand that having a felony record can make everything feel hard, especially when you’re trying to fix your life. Ex-felons are often avoided by many people, including employers because there is still a negative stigma about ex-felons in our society. We believe that everybody deserves a second chance, and therefore we have compiled several valuable information that you can use to rebuild your life.

As you must know, there are various types of grants available in the United States. Each of the grants serves a different purpose, from education, and employment to business. We’re going to share a little bit of everything, so stay tuned!


Grants for Felons 2015

Grants for Felons Opportunity

Here are some available grants for felons you should consider:

Employment Grants

There’s a program called the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders coming from the Federal government, distributed through the US Department of Labor. Only non-sex offenders and adult offenders are eligible, and there may be additional requirements, depending on which state you’re in.

There’s also an Act from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, called the Second Chance Act. This one is not actually a grant, but since it is helpful I include it on the list anyway. The program mainly offers supporting service for ex-felons, including mentoring and job advice. Note that this is again a state-based program, so each state may have different policy about it.

Remember, to get the benefits from the program, you should contact your state’s Department of Health and Human Services and make an appointment with their social worker. Then the social worker will give you information about the available programs in your area that support the second chance for felons (which may include employment grant opportunities).

Business Grants

For business grants, there are various agencies and organization that provides small business financial assistance in every state. For example, in Houston area, there’s the Prison Entrepreneurship Program that provides training and mentoring for free. Moreover, they connect both funding sources and the ex-felons. Here are some more examples of business grants:

The Bizee’s Fresh Start Business Grant

The Bizee’s Fresh Start Business Grant, formerly known as the Incfile Fresh Start Business Grant. If you’re just starting your own business journey, this grant can assist you in legally registering your business and covering initial expenses

Winners of the grant will get Bizee’s Gold plan for free, which covers incorporation services in your state, free registered agent services for a year, and a free tax consultation. Additionally, you’ll receive a $2,500 grant. To apply, complete an online application, create a two-minute video explaining how entrepreneurship will affect your life, and submit a sample business plan.

Inmates to Entrepreneurs

Inmates to Entrepreneurs is a nonprofit that aims to assist individuals with criminal backgrounds in starting their own businesses. They provide free online and in-person courses to offer aspiring entrepreneurs the necessary business education to begin their ventures.

Defy Ventures

Defy Ventures runs various programs to offer second chances to those who were once incarcerated, aiming to help them thrive in their new lives and reduce the likelihood of going back to jail. Their initiatives include entrepreneur boot camps and business accelerators, which equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to start and expand their businesses.

Small Business Development Centers

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are centers supported by the Small Business Administration (SBA), offering free or affordable training and support to both new and established businesses. Usually hosted by local colleges, universities, or state economic development agencies, SBDCs provide valuable resources.

They often compile lists of funding opportunities available in your area and assist you in identifying and applying for the most suitable options for your business needs.

Entre Capital

Entre Capital is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that focuses on providing funding to second-chance businesses. This organization exclusively supports individuals who were formerly incarcerated, offering them loans to kickstart or grow their ventures.

In addition to financial assistance, Entre Capital provides help with business planning, budgeting, and financial reporting. They also offer mentorship resources to support entrepreneurs on their journey.

Visit Local Church

You should also visit your local church and ask politely if they have any information that can help ex-prisoners who are trying to rebuild their life. Usually, there are some grants given by these community organizations that can help you cover some expenses when you’re trying to start your business or to become an entrepreneur. You should visit the Small Business Association if you’re okay with small loan to help your business.

Educational Grants

Educational grants can be used by the ex-felons as ways to improve and acquire new skills that can be used to start their own entrepreneur journey. The Federal Pell Grant is probably the most foreseeable sources of grant for ex-felons. Here are other examples of educational grants for felons:

Project ReMADE

Project ReMADE, an initiative by Stanford Law School, offers entrepreneurship training to people who were formerly incarcerated. The program teaches fundamental business skills and connects participants with professionals in the business world.

Throughout the program, students work with mentor teams comprising a Stanford Law Student, a Stanford Graduate School of Business student, and a Silicon Valley professional. These mentors assist in developing potential business plans. At the end of the program, entrepreneurs present their business plans to a panel of executives and microdevelopment organizations.


Formerly incarcerated individuals might qualify for startup business grants from both the federal government and their state or local government. Additionally, certain organizations, such as the National Association for the Self-Employed, provide grants specifically for startup businesses.

As someone who was previously incarcerated, you have the opportunity to seek and apply for grants tailored to your business. These grants can come from various sources, including the government, nonprofit organizations, or major corporations.

However, it’s crucial to carefully review the eligibility requirements before applying. Make sure you meet criteria related to your industry, the duration of your business, and the specific purpose for which you need funding. This ensures that your application has the best chance of success.

Last but not least, I would like to remind you that getting grants when you have felony on your record won’t be easy. The most important part is to stay positive and keep on trying. Hopefully, you get lucky and get those grants for felons.

Read Also : How to get Government Grants for Convicted Felons

References :


  1. Cheryl newmans August 19, 2016
  2. Christopher M. Sweat February 4, 2018

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