How to apply for Free Grants for African Americans in The US – African American individuals and families are one of the underserved populations in the United States of America who are put at a disadvantage and run through a lot of financial crises. As per academic and government research, African Americans are susceptible to falling into a debt trap compared to the white population, the main causes being home loans, auto loans, student debt and hefty credit card balances.
The US Census Bureau states African American households had only $45870 annual median income in 2020 compared to the $74912 annual income of white households. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the unemployment rate among African Americans was 7.1% in 2021 while that of the white population was only 3.2%. Despite increased access to education, opportunities and signs of upward mobility African Americans go through a huge disparity in income and employment levels and are more susceptible to poverty and unemployment. Fortunately, there are numerous grants and scholarship opportunities reserved for African American individuals. This guide will provide an overview of free grants for African Americans.
Highlights of this Post
What Are The Eligibility Criteria To Qualify For African American Grants In The United States?
The eligibility criteria to qualify for African American grants may vary depending on the type of program you are applying for. No matter whether you’re applying for housing grants, education grants or business and agriculture grants, the following are the general eligibility criteria that you need to fulfill.
- Applicants must be 18 years or above in age
- They must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident with valid documents
- Must not be delinquent on government loan
- Must fulfill the identification criteria of the grant program by giving proof that they belong to an African American group with valid documents about their race, ethnicity and/ or gender.
- For business and agriculture grants applicants need to fulfill the intention of the grant program including the size and nature of the business, the specified number of businesses, and annual business revenue.
- Must fulfill the income criteria set by the program and demonstrate a robust financial need
- For education grants and scholarship programs African Americans must file FAFSA, showcase excellent academic results, maintain a certain GPA, demonstrate commitment to their field of studies, have financial need and showcase community involvement.
- For rent and housing grants for African Americans applicants must provide proof of eviction or foreclosure, utility cutoff, medical condition, homelessness, or financial hardship and must belong to the low low-income category.
- Must use the grant award for the particular purpose mentioned by the program.
What Are The Documents Required To Qualify For African Americans Free Government Grants?
The general documents required to qualify for African Americans free grants are as follows:
- Documents stating your race, ethnicity and or gender
- Proof of citizenship or legal immigrant status
- Proof of financial hardship such as medical condition, low income, past due utility bill, eviction notice, homelessness, business need
- Personal identification documents like photo ID, driver’s license, original birth certificates, passport, Social Security number
- Proof of benefits that you’re receiving from other government-aided programs like TANF, Medicaid, SSI etc.
- Detailed financial information like recent pay stubs, wage statements, tax return forms, bank statements, business bank statements
- Completed application or resume and a detailed budget of how you are planning to use the grant fund
- Tax ID or EIN IRS letter for reference.
What Are The Available Grants For African Americans in The United States?
Housing Grants For African Americans
As per the US Census Bureau report of 2019 homeownership disparity between black African Americans and non-Hispanic Americans is the largest in 30 years. There are tons of government and non-governmental programs designed to narrow the homeownership gap through rent and housing grants and programs.
Let’s take a look at the following nationwide rent and housing grants that African Americans can apply to reduce their housing burden.
Housing Choice Voucher Program – Section 8
The Housing Choice Voucher Program – Section 8 assists more than two million families with extremely low incomes in paying their rent for subsidized homes or apartments. African Americans and other minorities are the main recipients of Housing Choice of America subsidies because they have been severely impacted by both the housing crisis and the dishonest lending practices of banks.
The Home Investment Partnership program is a popular rental assistance program that provides assistance and grants for local and state governments and the grants can be used to create safe and affordable housing for poor households.
African Americans who are looking for rental assistance can contact their local state government or visit the HUD website to learn more about how to qualify for this program.
Even though the Section 811 Program is not geared specifically to African Americans. The program provides rental housing opportunities to all eligible Americans so that they can live independently within the community.
African Americans who are living with a disability like developmental disability, physical disability or chronic mental illness and belong to the low-income category can receive rental assistance through this program and are given special preferences.
The National Association Of Real Estate Brokers provides advocacy for black homeownership and assistance with access to credit as well as neighborhood and community development projects to foster homeownership among black and African American populations.
Wells Fargo provides homebuyer education and down payment assistance with forgivable interest-free loans to eligible buyers if they occupy the home for five years. African American buyers need to complete a home education program to qualify.
The Chase Homebuyer Grant is a part of the $30 million JP Morgan Chase that promises to close the racial wealth gap. It provided a $2500 grant as well as a mortgage rate of 3.25% to Fannie Mae loans to fund 40,000 mortgages to black African American and Latino home buyers.
This program gained more strength when Chase Bank declared it would double the grant program and provide assistance of up to $5000 to qualified homeowners who are living in black neighborhoods.
A great resource for African Americans who are looking for rental housing assistance is to contact community action agencies in their neighborhood. No matter whether you are struggling to pay for food, rent, utilities or housing expenses you can turn to your local community action agencies.
They have case managers who work with clients and help them to get connected to government grants and services. The availability of these grants depends on your state of residence, the program you’re applying for and your eligibility criteria.
A few more resources are as follows
- National Housing Trust Fund
- Emergency Solutions Grants Program
- United Family Network
- Charitable organizations like Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Modest Needs, YMCA, Red Cross and Catholic Charities
There are tons of other rent and housing grants that African Americans can apply for and get the right assistance. You can read more about the housing assistance program in our next guide: Federal Government Housing Grants For Low Income Families
Education Grants And Scholarships For African Americans
Let’s take a look at the following nationwide grants and scholarships that are open to African American students.
Low-income undergraduate students including African Americans can apply for the federal Pell Grant. These grants offer financial assistance up to $6895 for the academic year 2022 to 2023.
You need to complete filing a free application for federal student aid form to apply for the federal Pell Grant. To know more check our guide: What is Pell Grant, Eligibility and Application.
Low-income undergraduate students with exceptional financial need can qualify for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program. This grant offers assistance ranging between $100 to $4000 for eligible applicants.
A Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant is awarded by the state of Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board for minority applicants who are living in Wisconsin and provides them a grant award word to $50 to $2500 each year for up to 8 semesters. African American students should be enrolled in a certificate program or degree at an independent college or university, tribal college or technical college in Wisconsin.
Howard University Need Based Grant Program targets students particularly black and African American students who do not have any family financial support to pay for their college. Students need to attend full-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress to qualify. The grant award will be based on your federal Pell Grant eligibility.
Black, minority and African American students can receive scholarship awards up to $5000 through the Brown and Caldwell Minority Scholarship. Students must be undergraduates in junior or senior college years or must be enrolled in a graduate program in the environmental science or engineering field.
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education provides the KnowBe4 Scholarship for Black Americans in Cybersecurity for black as well as African American students and provides them awards up to $10,000 to cover college expenses and $3000 to cover on-campus housing expenses.
Graduate or undergraduate students should have a minimum GPA of 3.22 and apply for assistance. They also must pursue a degree that is focused on information assurance or cybersecurity.
There are a variety of grants in cybersecurity and you can learn more about cybersecurity scholarship in our next guide: 25 Cybersecurity Scholarships For Students
The active members of the National Black MBA Association who demonstrate involvement with the community can apply for the scholarship and get an award of $8000 or more. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited graduate business degree program to get the award.
One of the largest private providers of minority scholarships available to African Americans throughout the United States of America is United Negro College Fund. The fund awards nearly $10 million in scholarship opportunities for more than 10,000 needy African American students in the United States of America.
The Ron Brown Scholar Program provides grants of up to $40,000 or $10,000 per year for promising and talented African American students so that they can attend a four-year college institution of their choice.
The UNC STEM Scholars Program provides scholarship opportunities that range between $2500 to $5000 per academic year for eligible African American students who are interested in pursuing a career or profession in the STEM field.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program is a four-year grant that assists up to $30,000 for black students including African American individuals who are pursuing their undergraduate degrees.
The National Black Nurses Association Scholarship Program provides numerous scholarship opportunities for African American and black students who are pursuing careers in the field of nursing.
Students should be members of the National Black Nurses Association to qualify for the grant award and must be enrolled in the nursing program. Eligible candidates receive assistance and range between $1000 to $15,000.
This is not an exhaustive list as there are tons of scholarships that are open to African American students and you can read them in our next guide: Government Grants and Scholarships
Agriculture/ Business Grants For African Americans
Following are the business or agriculture grants that African Americans can turn to.
The US Department of Agriculture finances this program for socially disadvantaged producers. USDA provides millions of dollars in grants for minority female farmers including African Americans who belong to disadvantaged groups to improve social and economic conditions.
Female farm producers can get first-time female grants of up to $200,000 for conducting market research, developing marketing or business plans, obtaining legal advice or receiving training or education.
Learn more farm grants for minority women including African Americans in our next guide: Free Grants for Black Women Farmer
The organization Sogal Black Founder Startup Grant was founded to support black women so that they can launch businesses. The organization helps black women equipped with the right knowledge so that they can access business tools and other funding opportunities to take their businesses off the ground.
The Coalition To Back Black Businesses is a result of a partnership with Shopify and provides $5000 back black businesses grants to eligible black and African American-owned small businesses who are living in economically vulnerable communities.
Businesses that have been financially impacted have 3 to 20 employees and are working in specific sectors can be eligible for these grants. Applicants also get an opportunity to earn an extra $25,000 enhancement grant with mentorship opportunities.
The National Association for the Self-Employed provides $1 million in grants to small business owners through the Growth Grants program. Eligible small businesses can receive grants of up to $4000 through this program awarded every quarter.
You need to become a member of the organization before applying for the program. African American business owners can also apply for these grants by demonstrating how the grant can satisfy their needs and showcase the potential for growth and success upon receiving the funds.
Comcast NBCUniversal is issuing $10,000 grants through the Comcast Rise Investment Fund to eligible small businesses that are owned by blacks, people of color and African Americans.
Your business should be located in Chicago, Washington, Miami, Seattle, Oakland, and DC to qualify. Apart from the monetary assistance you also get help with technology, marketing and media support.
Galaxy is a membership-driven resource platform that supports minority small business owners along with African American business owners and gives them Galaxy microgrants every year.
Recommended: Minority Women Farmers Grant
The Bacardi and NAACP have partnered to create Backing The BAR grants for providing $10,000 grants to eligible black-owned businesses in the hospitality industry with liquor licenses. The grant recipients have access to business, support and education to accelerate their company or business.
The NBMBAA Scale-Up Pitch Challenge provides startup raises every year worth $50,000, $10,000, $7500 or $1000 from the National Black MBA Association. The competition helps startup companies owned by black or African Americans get connected with venture capitalists and early-stage investors.
Entrepreneurial college students get a prize of $50,000 through the newly launched collegiate edition. The eligibility requires candidates to be African American or black business owners with active foundation membership.
Recommended: Get Business Grants for women from minority groups
Black Girl Ventures Pitch program empowers brown or black women entrepreneurs including African American women who are operating in particular cities in America. The winner of the grant receives $10,000, the second place winner gets $6000 and the 3rd place winner grants up to $2000.
The Corporate Council Woman of Colour Entrepreneur grant provides grant awards of up to $5000 for people of color and black women entrepreneurs who own their businesses or companies. The grant also provides educational programs and access to mentorships and networking opportunities.
The Minority Business Development Agency under the US Department of Commerce is a minority-owned business that help them to succeed. Apart from offering its grants the agency also has business centers that are tailored to help minority women or people of color including African American business owners to get financing and support for their companies.
This is not an exhaustive list then there are more minority business grants and opportunities available for African Americans. To learn more about business grants for black entrepreneurs check our next guide: Business grants for Black women entrepreneurs
Besides the aforementioned grants the federal government has designed lots of assistance programs to help people with food, medical, childcare, utility, home repair bills. These government grants are also open to African Americans who can fulfill the U.S citizenship and income criteria of the specific program. Learn more about these grants in our next guide: Government Programs for Low-Income Families
With the increase in the unemployment and poverty rates and the challenging economy, a lot of African Americans find it difficult to make ends meet. Fortunately, the federal government and other nonprofit organizations provide tons of financial assistance programs and grants for African Americans and other minorities to provide short-term relief and help them access better education, housing, employment, and business opportunities. The aforementioned programs help low or moderate-income African American households to keep or obtain decent sanitary housing, pay for their college, start or expand their business farming operation and overcome homelessness, poverty and unemployment.
Learn more about government assistance programs and grants at our Get Government Grants’ section today. We will help you to attain financial stability and overcome financial hurdles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there free grants for African Americans in the USA?
Yes, there are free grants for African American in the USA. But remember that each grant is different and you need to be eligible to receive the benefits of the grant. So, it is better for you to go through the grants and apply for the suitable one.
Can I apply for the Ron Brown Scholar Program?
Yes, you can apply for the Ron Brown Scholar Program as it is designed for African Americans. But remember that the recipients of the scholarship should be in their senior year of high school. A few things are being checked that include academic excellence, leadership potential and financial requirements of the recipient. The program offers a prize of $10,000 every year to the recipients.