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Knowledge Base
Q:
Where can I find funding for an invention or patent?
A:

Foundations typically fund nonprofit public charities, as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. These are organizations whose purposes are charitable, educational, scientific, religious, literary, or cultural.

By and large, foundations do not make grants to individuals for inventions or patents. If you are seeking funds to develop or market your invention, please consult the resources below for more information. You might also consult the business section of your local public library.

Social enterprise & fiscal sponsorship

If your invention has a strong social mission, it might fall into the category of social enterprise. Social enterprise, also known as social entrepreneurship, broadly encompasses ventures of nonprofits, civic-minded individuals, and for-profit businesses that can yield both financial and social returns.

A small but growing number of foundations provide program-related investments (PRIs) to social enterprises as well as nonprofits. PRIs are low-interest loans that a foundation can give to organizations or projects that match the funder’s interests.

Alternatively, you might seek a nonprofit that will act as your fiscal sponsor. Fiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that may lack exempt status. This would allow you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under your sponsor's exempt status.

See also our related Knowledge Base articles:

- Where can I find funding for my business?
- What is a program-related investment?
- What is social enterprise?
- Where can I find information about government grants?
- Fiscal sponsorship articles

More articles for individual grantseekers»

Selected resources below may also help.

Web Sites

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