Summer camps are a great opportunity for kids to build life skills, but starting one yourself can be costly. To help ease these costs, a variety of grants are available to groups looking to start a summer camp for kids. Various federal agencies offer grants for educational summer camps or summer camps that service low income children. Charitable trusts and corporate foundations can also offer funding and supplies to niche summer camps.
U.S. Department of Education Grants
If your summer camp has an educational component, you may be eligible for a state grant through the 21st Century Community Learning Center program. The U.S. Department of Education states that academic enrichment programs, including those held during summer recess, are eligible for the grant. The summer camp can focus on a wide range of subjects, including character education, recreational activities and drug and violence prevention. You can apply by contacting the state representative on the U.S. Department of Education website.
Corporate Foundation Funding
Many corporations offer grants to nonprofit organizations hosting summer camps around a specific purpose or theme. For example, the Home Depot Foundation offers grants up to $5,000 in the form of Home Depot gift cards to summer camps that focus on improving the community. The Best Buy Foundation also offers grants to programs that promote technology skills for teenagers. The Honda Foundation will fund summer camps with a math, science, technology and environmental focus. Applications are available on each corporate foundation website.
Grants From Charitable Trusts
Charitable trusts are another source of potential funding for fledgling summer camps. For example, the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust offers grants to summer camp programs in 14 states that offer services to needy children and youths. The grant amount varies depending on trust fund availability and the scope of the summer camp. The grant is typically one year in duration, but two- and three-year grants are occasionally awarded. Applicants can send a letter of inquiry and a full proposal via the trust website.
Other Government Agencies
Other government agencies may be able to provide grants to support certain aspects of a summer camp. If your summer camp offers meals to low income or needy children, you may be able to get a food grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program. Likewise, you may be able to get non-cost camp staff through the AmeriCorps VISTA program offered through the Corporation for National and Community Services.