You may also be interested in the recent article: Finding Grants and Free Money You Qualify For

Some publishers and advertisers today will swear to you that you can get free grant money from “secret sources” inside the government and then use that money for “almost any purpose”. Is it true? In a word – no. There is no category of grant programs called “money for any purpose” or “money to go to Las Vegas, baby! Veegaaassss!!!!!”. However, some grant recipients are able to spend portions of their funding on items that seem like they would fall under the category “any purpose” if there were such a category. The following article explains how this is possible and will help you fully understand the small grain of truth many advertisers are taking and twisting into an over-hyped sales pitch on their websites, TV spots, etc.

When you receive a grant you are almost always receiving it for a specific purpose, project, or to accomplish a goal, which the government, or other funding agency, would also like to see accomplished. For this reason, basically everything you end up using the money for is going to be related to the original purpose of the grant. And when you show the funding agency what the grant money was spent on, you may have to justify how some of your purchases were necessary and fit into the picture. If you can’t do this you may have to give some of the money back.

While using your funding to accomplish your goal you may be able to purchase things that seem like they would fall under the category of “any purpose” as long as you can reasonably justify that the purchases tie into the big picture. For example, there is a woman living in Maryland who received a $4,000 grant to open and run an after school tutoring service out of her house. She got the grant because she was able to demonstrate a need for this service in her area. She wrote a thoughtful, well prepared grant proposal and was given the opportunity to launch her school tutoring service. In doing so she purchased a new television and stereo system for the purpose of showing educational videos to her students. Now, there is no grant program anywhere inviting you to apply for free tax payer dollars to upgrade your home entertainment system. But this woman was able to do exactly that simply because it’s easy to justify how those purchases were needed.

A well known author on the subject of grants, Matthew Lesko, points out that there is a female inventor, also living in Maryland, who got $200,000 in free money from the government to develop a rodent repellent. This example is one of the rare cases where a person was able to get grant money to launch a for-profit business because her invention happened to be something the government was also interested in. If, as part of creating her product, she had needed to purchase a vehicle, she could have easily done that as long as she could show that she needed one in order to create her product and operate her business. There is no government grant program or agency that will tell you they have money laying around for you to buy a new car, but this woman could have done that by making it fit into her rodent repellent project.

A California web site designer got a $50,000 grant to build a website about hiking trails. In doing so he could easily justify the purchase of a laptop computer and digital camera. There are no grant programs providing funds specifically for people to go on shopping sprees at Circuit City, but in this case the purchases are clearly linked to creating the website about hiking trails – the original purpose of the grant.

Here is the bottom line for you as you search for grant programs and sources of funding for your own needs: Just because you can’t seem to find a program that specifically talks about something you need to buy, such as a new vehicle, or ten computers, that doesn’t mean you can’t pull it off. You may just have to survey your needs thoroughly and figure out how to plug that information into the right grant programs. That’s how people get free grant money and use it for almost any purpose.

There are two exceptions to the point being made in this article. Charities and foundations will sometimes provide people with small amounts of “free money” and no restrictions are imposed on how the money is spent. This is usually for emergency living expenses such as food, shelter, clothing, etc. and is only given to individuals in dire need – as in literally on the verge of death. Also, government cash benefits such as social security, unemployment benefits, disability, welfare, etc. can be used for anything legal. These financial assistance programs are called “direct payments with unspecified use” and they are not grants.

You may also be interested in the recent article: Finding Grants and Free Money You Qualify For