Grants are the candy income that writers dream of. We envision a fellowship that pays all of our obligations for at least a year, while we write, write, write. Not a week passes by that FundsforWriters does not get an email asking how to pluck one of those babies from the money tree.
Alas, the money tree is not very big and its branches are way, way over most peoples' heads. It takes long arms to reach them and that usually means a publication history. But grants are a superb goal to strive for down the road.
Grants, however, tend to gravitate to the affluent countries with the greatest concentration in English-speaking nations. What about those writers in Europe, Asia, Africa, the East, and South America?
Grants do exist for the international population. They focus on health, community development, education, and other social causes with a few available for cultural development. With the Internet you would think the information readily available, but few sites carry these opportunities except the sponsors themselves, who have no need to advertise. You need diligence and motivation, but with a little of each, you will find your financial sponsor. Let's start with the Internet resources that cater to international grant seekers:
European Foundation Centre
Updated regularly, this site lists European foundations that offer grant assistance. Each foundation has specific purposes for its funds, so expect to spend some time reading each grant site thoroughly. Read the actual grants already distributed to learn what entices the grantors to write the checks.
What may surprise you is that these foundations often do not
limit themselves to the country in which they physically reside.
The King Baudouin Foundation has a Belgium address, yet they
distribute funds internationally. This foundation has a current
interest in social causes, governance, civil justice and
philanthropy development. To some that means no writing grants.
But if you can wrap the subject of your writing into one of these
topics, you just might land a grant to not only get your work
written but also to assist in improving conditions somewhere in
the world. Your words might be the tools others need to reach an
end. Thing wide, think deep, and think outside the box.
FundersOnline touts itself as Europe's online source of
philanthropic communities. However, once you delve into its
database, you'll find foundations and funding sources from all
over the world and on all continents. The search and find feature
is decent in that you do not have to waste your time reading all
information on all foundations to find what you need.
The Synergos Institute
Find grant opportunities in Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean. You will find American foundations as well, but they are internationally connected with grant reaches outside the United States. [Editor's note: This site no longer seems to be maintaining lists of foundations, but offers a great deal of interesting information in its library section: http://www.synergos.org/knowledge/
The Philippine Association of Foundations
This center is thirty years old and represents 134 non-government organizations (NGOs) and foundations: http://www.pfconline.org
Consider this foundation center the Southeastern equivalent of the US Foundation Center. It provides an excellent starting point for grant seekers in that part of the world and receives part of its own funding from the Ford Foundation.
The Japan Foundation Center
Consider this extensive grant listing in Japan.
F&P Funding Center
This site focuses on grants made to scholars and students in
Russia and NIS.
The Foundation Center
United States-based, the Foundation Center keeps its finger on
the pulse of global philanthropy and has some resources of its
own. Its international data is located at:
Anyone who has written grants understands the wealth of
information and accuracy of data from this organization, which
serves as the heart of the philanthropic world.
This site has the greatest database of international grant makers
known. The main site has wonderful information on grants --
anywhere. But this particular location on global grantors gives a
brief description of each one including whether or not they lean
toward cultural funding, which saves you time in your research.
The Grantsmanship Center
Another well respected website, the Grantsmanship Center carries
a database that includes all continents and countries. This page
takes you to the general vicinities and you take it from there.
The foundations and organizations are listed alphabetically but
do not list focus or mission. You have to click on each one to
learn the grantmaking direction.
Welcome Europe gives you access to grant makers not just in
Europe but on fringe countries as well.
Please note that many grants go to groups, not individuals. As we preach at FundsforWriters, just because a grant restricts applicants to groups does not mean that you cannot reach the funds. Actually, many of the individuals that receive writing grants acquire them through a fiscal agent or group sponsor. They apply to a group to sponsor them in order to complete a project, book or other career endeavor. Obtaining a fiscal agent is a common practice and quite successful for many writers. Make sure that your writing project or goals somehow partner with the vision of the group, and you just might land that dream grant.
Grants do exist at the international level. Use them to travel, to research or, occasionally, to support uninterrupted writing time. With a little sweat and research, you might find the entity that likes what you are trying to accomplish. The world is a global community, and if a grant does not exist in your home country, you still have options. Remember than many grant makers reach around the world and want to help you make a difference.
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