According to the Independent Sector, a leadership forum for charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs, the estimated dollar value of volunteer time was $22.14 per hour in 2012. Today almost 20,000 community members donate thousands of hours to volunteer in their local Fire Corps program, adding value worth millions of dollars to local fire/EMS agencies annually.
While Fire Corps is intended to be a low-cost program, there may be some costs associated with starting, implementing, expanding, and marketing your program depending on the activities and initiatives you choose. Several grants and other funding resources are available to fire and EMS departments that can help you begin, support, and expand your Fire Corps efforts.
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
A program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, grants are awarded to fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the public and fire service personnel from fire and related hazards. Three types of grants are available: Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S), and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER). The AFG Program web site at www.firegrantsupport.com provides more information about each of these grants and offers resources to help departments prepare and submit grant requests.
Citizen Corps Funding
Fire Corps is one of the five partner programs under Citizen Corps; therefore, registered Fire Corps programs are eligible to apply for grants through Citizen Corps Councils. Citizen Corps grants are distributed at the state level and each state’s grant guidelines vary. For more information on opportunities to apply for Citizen Corps funds in your state, contact your state Citizen Corps Point of Contact. For more information on Citizen Corps, visit www.citizencorps.org.
United States Fire Administration (USFA) Grants and Funding
The USFA provides information for fire departments and other first responder organizations on financial assistance available from the USFA and other federal agencies. Highlighted information includes the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, and other ideas for funding alternatives. For more information, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/grants.
Federal Grants Wire
Federal Grants Wire is a free resource to search for information about available federal grants, government grants, and loans. The site offers over 1,800 federal grant and loan opportunities, organized by sponsoring agency, applicant type, and subject area to help you find funding opportunities applicable to your program and/or agency. There is also a searchable grant directory and index. Additionally, Federal Grants Wire has multiple resources which provide information such as the definition and classifications of federal grants, how to write grant proposals, tips on applying for federal grants, application eligibility requirements, and more. Visit www.federalgrantswire.com for more information.
The mission of FireGrantsHelp.com is to provide first responders with a comprehensive resource for grant information and assistance. This site features an extensive database of available grants, with a library of information including federal grants as well as state, local, and corporate grant opportunities. FireGrantsHelp.com also offers a multitude of grant assistance tools, from the 'Grants 101' tutorial to a wide range of links to research and reference sites. Visit www.firegrantshelp.com for more information.
FM Global Fire Prevention Grant Program
FM Global, one of the world's largest business property insurers, has created a new Fire Prevention Grant Program so that fire departments - as well as national, state, regional, local, and community organizations - can more effectively prevent fire, the leading cause of commercial and industrial property damage. Funding from this program is available to support a wide variety of fire prevention, preparedness, and control efforts, including arson prevention and investigation; pre-fire planning for commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities; and fire prevention education and training initiatives, to name a few. For more information or to apply for a Fire Prevention Grant, visit www.fmglobal.com/grants.
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grants
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has a program to assist emergence service entities obtain life-saving equipment as well as fire prevention, safety, and disaster preparedness educational tools. If your fire department or Fire Corps program is located in a community served by a Firehouse Subs restaurant, consider applying for needed equipment and/or fire prevention resources. For more information, visit www./firehousesubs.com.
State Farm Safe Neighbors Grant
State Farm Insurance, a national insurance agency providing auto, fire, life and health policies, and bank account coverage, is committed to meeting the needs of communities through the State Farm Safe Neighbors Grant. This grant program provides funding in three focus areas: Safe Neighbors (safety), Strong Neighborhoods (community development), and Education Excellence (education). Grant proposals are accepted year-round. Requests for local initiatives are considered by State Farm field offices. Each office determines the types of grants it will support, based on available funding. For more information, visit www.statefarm.com/aboutus/community/grants.
Local, State, and National Foundations, Businesses, and Benevolent Organizations
Many local, state, and national organizations provide grants to support various causes in their communities. Donations vary from cash to in-kind services and can provide the support your Fire Corps program needs to administer or expand its services. For instance, a local screen-printing store may donate t-shirts or services to supply uniforms for your Fire Corps members or a local awards shop may sponsor awards for outstanding volunteers in your program. Often you can gain support from local businesses simply by asking.