Perhaps you've seen hand-printed flyers or read forwarded emails asking for donations to assist someone's loved one with medical expenses, or to help a specific family recoup losses in the wake of a natural or other disaster. There may be a special event associated with the fundraiser, or a simple donation may be requested.
These types of individual fundraisers typically occur without affiliation with a nonprofit organization - and the requested support typically comes from individual donors, whose gifts go directly to the individual(s) in need or to a bank account set up on their behalf.
Individual fundraisers can be powerful, timely support systems for those in need, and in some cases may be among the sole sources of support for the cause at hand. Most foundation grants, on the other hand, are awarded directly to nonprofit organizations (rather than to individuals) after a process that starts with a proposal and can take months to conclude.
While some foundations do make grants to individuals, the vast majority of these grants are given to help pay for education (e.g., scholarships). Foundation grants for personal financial assistance may be extremely difficult to find, even if the case you present is a compelling one.
The websites below can give you tips and resources for putting together a fundraiser to assist an individual or family in need.
Virtual and print resources on this topic are available at Foundation Center libraries and Cooperating Collections nationwide, and your local public library. All Foundation Center locations provide free access to Foundation Grants to Individuals Online or its print equivalent, our searchable database of grantmakers that fund individual grantseekers.
Please also see our related Knowledge Base articles:
- What resources are available for setting up a scholarship fund?
- How can I get funding for my personal project?
- How can I recognize and avoid grant or scholarship scams?
- Where can I find help with medical bills?
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