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Myth: Only grant brokers know where all the grants are.

Reality: Information about grants is available to anyone.


This post is part of a series on Myths in Grant Seeking.


The Myth of Abundance, like its sororal twin, the Myth of Scarcity, reflects grant seekers’ anxieties and misperceptions about the degree to which grants will continue to be available when they want to seek them. Its adherents adopt an overly optimistic stance, while adherents of its twin, the Myth of Scarcity, adopt an overly pessimistic one.


One variant of the Myth of Abundance surfaces as: ‘Every year billions upon billions of dollars of grants go unclaimed.’ A second variant turns up as: ‘We can get you a grant for anything you want to do.’ In such variants, marketers of products and services for potential grant seekers pretend to have an inside track to getting grants from grant makers.


In reality, information about public and private grant opportunities – and their requirements – is widely available to grant seekers and the general public. Access to it does not require the use of third-party information brokers.


Through its reliance on hyperbole, the Myth of Abundance obscures several grains of truth. Among such grains are long-term trend data that confirm that there are more private foundations than ever before, that they are awarding more grants than ever before, and that the total value of their grant awards is at or near its recent historic highs. In addition, long-term trend data confirm that the total value of grants made by federal agencies is much higher than in the past, even though grant-making program options may be fewer.


Historical trends for both public- and private-origin grants do not perfectly predict the future availability of funding from either source. Grant seekers extrapolate the historical trends indefinitely into the future only at their potential peril.


The next post in this series on Myths in Grant Seeking will address the Myth of Finality.


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