The ultimate resource for finding public safety grants

Budget cuts. Shrinking tax bases. A public—and sometimes, government officials—who don’t understand why your agency needs the funding it needs. Whether Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, or Emergency Management, public safety agencies have it harder than ever. Threats to the public loom every day, yet your department lacks resources for equipment, personnel, and training.

What if you could do something about it?

Find grants fast

Here’s the thing: every year, billions of dollars are available from public, private, and non-profit sources. That doesn’t mean there’s a big pot of gold waiting around the corner for you (though we’ll wait if you want to check real quick). But it does mean that, with a little work, your department can find other ways to procure the funding you need.

The hard part, of course, is finding those funding sources. That’s why, a while back, we at First Responder Grants partnered with GrantFinder, a real-time, online, searchable database of every federal, state, foundation and corporate grant available to your community.

“In our short term of using GrantFinder, we have been able to find and apply for over 20 grants,” says Sandra Newland, Grants Manager with Laramie County, Wyoming. “These grants range in scope from law enforcement, fire, library and numerous non-profit agencies in our community.”

Through its extensive database, GrantFinder gives you the tools you need to find and track funding sources that can help your public safety agency. Instead of having to comb through the entire Internet or spend hours googling, you can leverage GrantFinder’s powerful tools to help you find grants fast.

GrantFinder can transform the way you search for grants. Even though it’s so powerful, it’s also simple to use:

  • Simple user management. One person can oversee all users and permissions directly from the application.
  • Simple setup. Simple to use. Instantly start searching for grants right out of the box. No onboarding needed. No need to upgrade plugins. Nothing to worry about.
  • The most cost-effective grant search tool on the market. No hidden costs. No setup fees.

Over 500 cities, towns, counties, regional planning organizations, and Councils of Government (COGs) have subscribed. The result? They are finding more funding sources than ever.

“GrantFinder has been very helpful in finding grants as well as finding information,” Matthew Lane, Administrative Budget Analyst with the City of Saginaw in Michigan. “It’s a great tool!”

Powerful search

Last time we checked, GrantFinder listed 7,862 grants. Luckily, you don’t have to wade through those one by one to find what’s relevant to your department.

Before you put on another pot of coffee and start burning some midnight oil, you can instead search those grants with these powerful filters:

  • Keyword
  • Grant Category
  • Funder Type
  • Funder Name
  • Application Deadline
  • Rolling Deadline
  • Matching Requirement?
  • Administering State
  • Geographic Coverage
  • Who Can Apply?

Save and share

Once you’ve found a grant that you’re interested in, you can save that to “My Grants,” a part of your GrantFinder account that gives you at-a-glance access to the grants you are researching, applying for, or following for its next application period.

Want to share that grant with your colleagues? GrantFinder will create a PDF of the grant listing that you can share with your chief, municipal officials, or other personnel.

Find specific grant sources & funding organizations too

At last check, GrantFinder listed grants and other programs from 2,619 funding sources throughout the US. That’s an average of 52 funding sources for every state in the country—and many funding sources offer multiple grants.

With those kind of numbers, odds are you’re going to find a funding source and a grant that your agency can use. And GrantFinder makes it easy: you can search funding sources by name, funder type, and funder state.

Help is a click away

Even though GrantFinder has been setup to be intuitive and easy to use, sometimes we all need a hand figuring powerful tech tools like this. A robust help section walks you through:

  • Common questions
  • Technical difficulties
  • Video tutorials of GrantFinder’s tools

And if you need help beyond that? Additional support is only an email away.

Have those grants come to you

Sure, you can hunt for grants, but wouldn’t it be nice if the grants could come to you?

With GrantFinder’s Grant Alerts, you can set up email notifications based on your needs and preferences. Once setup, Grant Alerts will monitor GrantFinder’s system and email you the latest news about programs relevant to your needs.

You can customize your email alerts by:

  • Grant Categories
  • Matching Requirement
  • Funder Type
  • Who Can Apply?
  • Geographic Coverage

From there, you can even tell GrantFinder what day or days of the week you’d like to receive your emails.

Grant Alerts turn GrantFinder into your own grant search engine, but it does the work for you—and lets you know when it’s time to go into application mode.

Don’t miss that grand deadline!

Of course, all this work means nothing if you miss the grant deadline. You know how it is: deadlines can sneak up on you… and then fly by.

To make sure you are not missing any important application deadlines, GrantFinder’s deadline calendar shows you a list of the next month’s grants, complete with their associated deadlines.

Find the grants you need to get the funding you need

Finding funding is harder than ever nowadays… but you can do something about it. You can find grants that help your agency get the equipment, personnel, and training you need.

“GrantFinder gives all of our member communities real-time access to thousands of grants,” says Greg Chew, Senior Planner with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). “It was an easy decision for our member jurisdictions to request that SACOG subscribe to the service.”

How to find public safety grants that can help your department

Easy-to-follow grant listings show you programs available for your department and tell you when deadlines loom.
Easy-to-follow grant listings show you programs available for your department and tell you when deadlines loom.

Thousands of grants are available, but not every grant is the right fit for your department. How can you sift through all those grants, without wasting time and getting overwhelmed, yet still find what you need?

Like Google for grants

GrantFinder is like Google for grants. Powerful search features help you zero in on the exact programs that your department can benefit from and that fit your circumstances.

Get GrantFinder now

How do you find the public safety grants you need?

GrantFinder search page - Use up to 10 options to narrow or broaden your search
Use up to 10 options to narrow or broaden your search

A database that contains thousands of grants has to be easily searchable. Searching isn’t always as easy as tapping a button, though. Sometimes you need to really refine and target what you’re looking for, so you have a better chance at finding a good fit.

That’s why GrantFinder provides powerful yet simple tools to help you focus your search, including:

  • Keyword
  • Grant Category
  • Funder Type
  • Funder Name
  • Application Deadline
  • Rolling Deadline
  • Matching Requirement?
  • Administering State
  • Geographic Coverage
  • Who Can Apply?

Instead of page after page of possibilities, you can search based solely on what you need and what’s relevant to your department.

Of course, you have other duties to attend to and can’t be expected to be searching in GrantFinder all the time. That’s why GrantFinder can be working for you even when you aren’t using it.

With Grant Alerts, you can tell GrantFinder to send you weekly emails, specific to your grant needs, that keep you up to date.

You found a grant… now what?

Use GrantFinder's Calendar view to show you grants by their application deadline
Use GrantFinder’s Calendar view to show you grants by their application deadline

Just because you found a grant doesn’t mean you’re ready to apply for it. You may need to get information ready. You might need to talk with your superiors, other personnel at your department or municipality, or with your consultant at First Responder Grants. Or, heck, you just might not have the time right then and there.

Does that mean you have to start your search all over?


With “My Grants” and the “Grant Calendar,” once you find a grant you can save it and come back to it later.

My Grants is also useful for when you find many programs that could be a good fit for your department. You can save all the programs you want, and come back one by one as timing and circumstances fit.

Search grant funding sources

Examples of public safety grants that have been available in the state of Minnesota
Examples of public safety grants that have been available in the state of Minnesota

Did you hear about a particular funding source? Do you want a better idea of what types of programs are available from a grant funder?

By looking through grant funding sources, you can find at-a-glance details on all the programs available from any grant funding source in the GrantFinder database.

Finding grants has never been easier

When it comes down to it, finding grants has never been easy… until now.

GrantFinder can’t write your application for you—that’s why we are here to help. But GrantFinder can make it a lot easier for you to find the grants that are a good fit for your department. Take advantage of their database of thousands of grants, robust search tools, and saved grant listings, all right here, at special pricing available only for First Responder Grants clients and students:

Public Safety budget cuts and what to do about it


Has your department been suffering from budget cuts?

We’ll just pause now that you’ve snorted coffee all over the screen.

Of course your department has been suffering. Budget cuts at the state level, local level, you name it. Public safety agencies like your have a tougher, more challenging job than ever-but all too often that’s been accompanied by cuts in the resources needed to meet those challenges and keep both the public and your personnel safe.

But… what do you do about it?

Here are some ideas.

Solutions are out there. We’re here to help with that too. Contact us anytime for a free chat about how your department has been suffering, and how we can help.

Image: Julie Kibler

Creative Thinking for Alternative Funding

Public Safety Grant News and Tips by, Kurt Bradley, Certified Grants Consultant

When public safety agencies go in search of grant money for specific projects or equipment, they often give up out of frustration. A desperate search for funding for that critical need often leads to grants whose deadlines have already passed, discontinued grant programs, or no grants for these items at all. But things are not what they seem. Funding is out there. You just have to apply some creative thinking, a strategy I call “alternative funding.”

Using this method can mean the difference between going without, or being a resourceful and innovative thinker who obtains that funding you and your agency so desperately need. Here’s how it works.

Think Training Aid, Not Equipment

One of the areas of grant funding that is historically overlooked is the abundance of money available for training. In the world of public safety there is a huge emphasis placed on continuing education, maintaining advanced or basic certifications and the time proven methodology that training leads to safer operations and injury reduction for employees.

What the experienced grant writer needs to recognize is that this emphasis on training can be capitalized on for multiple benefits to your agency.

In most comprehensive training programs for public safety agencies there is “hands-on” training utilizing the tools or equipment needed to properly perform the task. If you do not have the equipment needed to conduct the proper training then in many cases you can acquire that equipment as “training props” which are needed to accomplish the training. Once the training is accomplished the equipment does not require that it be put in a box and stored in a closet till the next class, use it for what you need.

Let’s Be Reasonable Here

Now we have to be reasonable about this in that you cannot acquire a new aerial for your fire department just to teach an “aerial operations” course or gain a new police squad car just to teach” pursuit driving skills”.

However, obtaining a couple of AEDs to coincide with your Citizen CPR classes or a set of night-vision goggles to teach “low-light tactical operations” is not unreasonable. You can make these courses especially appealing if you broaden your scope to include conducting the courses several times in a year and offering attendance to outside agencies as well.

Creative thinking such as this is exactly what can help you find alternative ways to get the funding you need.

Remember: the ultimate goal is to arrive at the destination. However, there are always alternative routes by which to arrive at that same destination.

Photo: Craig Howell