Whether you’re on your own as an entrepreneur or navigating the oft-challenging balance between a traditional 9-5 and your passion project, money enters the picture one way or another. You either need it to secure supplies, to help market your work outside of free advertising (like word-of-mouth and social media), to hire employees as your business grows, and well, anything else that will help you make more money in return. Ah, if only we could literally pull money off of trees. Such is not the case, so we have to work for it and/or track down free money, also known as creator grants, to help our causes.
We already know the game is rigged for women – especially Black women. That combined with the economic downturn experienced by all of us because of the pandemic highlighted an even greater need for programs that support creators. The amount of options mostly depend on your location and expertise but if you have no idea where to start, here’s a small list of grants and fund programs geared toward a variety of people, from filmmakers to community organizers to small business owners, and many, many more. (FYI, you can also find some of these in our list of resources for Black-owned businesses.)
Got a camera? Each grant opportunity calls for applicants to create a photo series around a singular theme. Winners get a cash prize (the most recent was $500), and plenty of professional camera gear.
Jack Conte, co-founder of the crowdfunding platform Patreon, launched this endowment fund last year which awards $50K to a single creator. The only rules are that you “submit something you’ve made (song, podcast, piece of writing, comic, etc.) that shows us who you are and what you do.” It also must clock in at three minutes or less. FYI: the 2020 award will go to a Black creator.
In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and growing complaints from users about the value of their content, TikTok launched a $1 billion Creator Fund to support those who depend on the video platform for any level of income. Of course, there are caveats for applying, including follower count and age, but shoot your shot within the app if you’re interested.
Big Apple residents who specialize in the arts shouldn’t overlook the list of funding opportunities offered by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
If you’re a community organizer, this fund assists startups, 501(c)(3) organizations, and general operating support for applicants in Maryland, though other national applicants are considered, too.
Grants, capital and loans are all part of Access Ventures’ work for creators, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.
The National Endowment for the Arts accepts grant applications for activities that “celebrate America’s creativity and/or cultural heritage” and invites “a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.”
This annual award supports artists and writers with children through unrestricted cash awards, half of which are made to applicants of color.
We Need Diverse Books’ Walter Grant Award provides financial support to diverse, unpublished writers focused on children’s content.
The women volunteers of this organization pool resources to support projects led by Asian-American women artists and community groups.
This site is regularly updated with new funding opportunities for projects that support Native Americans.
Six grant funds mostly focused on community building and amplifying voices of color are highlighted in this foundation.
Beyonce’s BeyGood Foundation teamed up with the NAACP to create this program that provides grants to Black-owned businesses around the U.S. A second round was recently announced and applications open soon.
DigitalUndivided’s Do You Fund provides micro-grants to Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs.
Register for an account with this federal database to search and apply for federal business grants in your state.
The virtual BGC community includes webinars, virtual pitch practice, business referrals and funding opportunities.
In addition to its renowned coaching services and workshops, IFundWomen also provides several grant opportunities for women-owned businesses. IFundWomen of Color was created specifically for assisting early-stage entrepreneurs.
Hello Alice is a free database for entrepreneurs at every stage who are looking for grants and other money opps.
The Amber Grant has been in existence since 1998 and every month, awards $10,000 to a small business owner who is automatically eligible for a year-end grant of $25K.
When you’re done perusing these money opps, register for BlogHer Biz, a monthlong series of virtual (and free!) workshops that will prepare you for the big leagues, whether you’re a newbie small business owner, a blogger hoping to get more website traffic, or an influencer who wants to master their elevator pitch. In other words, we’re celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month all month long. Learn more here.