Insight Grants

The Impact of the Economy on Grants: Part 1—Cancellations

In previous years, cancellation of an announced grant competition was rare. Not so anymore. As the economy has continued to sink in the last year, cancellations have begun to surface. While they still certainly aren’t common, they’ve strayed far from unheard of.

Here are a few examples we’ve come across in our work in the last year. South Carolina Department of Health’s Prevention Partnerships Grant, designed to leverage community partnerships for health prevention efforts (including obesity and obesity-related chronic disease prevention and reduction) was cancelled just a few days prior to the deadline. The reason cited was that the money simply wasn’t there to make awards as expected due to the economic challenges facing the state. Goody’s Good Deeds for Schools, a grant created through a partnership between Goody’s Family Clothing stores and Ashley Judd, was cancelled at some point after the grant deadline had past, again due to an unexpected lack of funds. It seems now, unfortunately, this grant aimed at funding a wide range of needed school projects, has been ended permanently since the website ( is no longer active.

We’ve heard stories of other programs—both state and private—that have been unexpectedly cancelled after a competition announcement was made, as well. Since funding available for foundations is often linked directly to the profit margin of a corporation, many more foundations have continued to make awards but have been forced to make fewer than they’d like or than they’ve made in the past. These trends are almost certain to continue until the economy becomes stronger. That said, even though the risk of program cancellation and competition for grants that do move forward have increased, I do not advise shying away from applying for anything (and nearly everything) that feels like a strong fit for your organization’s needs, goals, and resources. You’ll never see a check if you don’t apply! :o) Plus, while cancellations have become more of an issue in the past year, they are still relatively rare. Most organizations know prior to RFP release that at least some funds will be available for grant awards, so your risk of investing time and effort into a grant competition that is ultimately cancelled is still reasonably low.

What has your experience been this year with this issue? Please share!!

Insight Grants