Non Profit Operational Grants

Non-Profit Operational Grants are not restricted to any specific project or set of specified activities. They can be used to support general operating expenses that support an organization’s normal activities. Non-Profit Operational Grants provide unrestricted income to help an organization carry out its goals without imposing the requirement to develop activities directly attributable to the grant.

 Many foundations are reluctant to respond favorably to requests for non-profit operational grants because there is less visible evidence of results than with project grants. The ability to evaluate specific projects and outcomes as a result of their grants is a priority of most funders. In times of tight money, organizations often need non-profit operational grants for survival.  Fortunately, despite a general preference for project grants, there are foundations willing to provide non-profit operational grants.  Research Grant Guides, Inc. in Loxahatchee, Florida publishes a Directory of Operating Grants. It includes a list of over 650 foundations organized by state.  To request a sales brochure, send a fax to (561) 795-7794.

 The Foundation Directory Online provides access to a vast database of private and corporate foundations for as little as $19.95 per month at Enter your state into the geographic focus search field to retrieve all U.S. foundations that make grants in your state or enter “General Operating Support” in the types of funding field to retrieve all U.S. foundations that give non-profit operational grants. According to a recent search on The Foundation Directory Online, there are 5,267 foundations in the United States that award grants for general operating support. The top five are listed below along with their respective total giving:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation                               $1,182,791,982
  • Lilly Endowment, Inc.                                               $   462,336,723
  • The Ford Foundation                                                $   431,643,480
  • David & Lucile Packard Foundation                            $   277,891,647
  • John D. & Catherine T. McArthur Foundation              $   195,114,644

 Non-Profit Operational Grants are awarded in every state, but some states have far more foundations than others.  For example there are only 44 foundations that give general operating support grants inAlabama, but 1,092 foundations giving such grants in Massachusetts. If seeking non-profit operational grants for Alabama, it is helpful to search also for foundations at provide grants nationally. There are 594+ foundations that give general operating support nationally.

 As a participant in one of the U.S.G.G. Grant Writing Workshops, you will receive a list of foundations in your state that give non-profit operational grants, as well as foundations that give these grants nationally.  For example, a recent search for a participant in our San Antonio workshop, produced a list of over 950 foundations interested in funding operating support grants in Texas or nationally. The top five are listed below along with their respective total giving:

  • The Starr Foundation                                                $188,856,235
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation                                      $172,796,971
  • The Rockefeller Foundation                                       $140,969,803
  • Open Society Institute                                              $110,410,190
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation                               $104,236,029

 For more information on non-profit operational grants or U.S.G.G. Grant Writing Workshops call 1-866-843-3493 or e-mail

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