Where to Find Federal Grants for Youth Sports (2024)

Sierra Swigert
federal grants for youth sports featured image
federal grants for youth sports featured image
A federal grant for youth sports programs is a financial award provided by the U.S. government to support efforts that encourage youth participation in sports. These government agency grant programs aim to increase access to sports, enhance skill development, and promote mental health and wellness among the youth in America.
These grants can fund a wide range of initiatives, from coaching and sports equipment to facility improvements and community engagement programs. All federal grants will have eligibility requirements that will ensure the grantee is meeting the goals, application deadlines, and objectives outlined by the agency.
Our article will cover the characteristics of federal grants and outline ways to find future funding.

Why apply for a federal grant versus a private grant?

There are several reasons why a youth sports program might choose to apply for federal funding over private funding. We’ll cover four main reasons below as well as discuss some of their limitations.
  1. Higher funding potential: Federal grants are backed by departments within the U.S. government which allows them to have a more substantial monetary impact. Agencies such as The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services can provide more opportunities than a standalone private business. 
  2. Increased stability: Federal funding programs often offer multi-year grants which provide a level of financial stability and predictability that may be lacking in private funding sources. This is important for long-term planning and program sustainability.
  3. Collaborative opportunities: Federal agencies may encourage collaboration and partnerships with other organizations and institutions. This can lead to opportunities for networking with other nonprofit sports teams and leveraging additional resources.
  4. Credibility builder: Being the recipient of federal funding can enhance your organization's credibility and reputation which may open doors to additional private funding or partnerships. It will be important to announce that your organization was a recipient of a federal grant on your website, social media and other community boards.
When researching grants to apply for, you should consider your organization’s specific needs, goals and your eligibility criteria. While there are many upsides to federal funding, we’ll also briefly review a few limitations.
When researching grants to apply for, you should consider your organization’s specific needs, goals and your eligibility criteria. While there are many upsides to federal funding, we’ll also briefly review a few limitations.
  1. Complex application process: Federal grants often have a complex application process and are highly competitive. You should consider your board’s bandwidth when applying for specific grant requests as you’ll need someone whose main role is securing grant funding and researching other funding opportunities.
  2. Funding compliance: Federal grants, in some cases, can provide substantial funding but they often come with more stringent reporting and compliance requirements. You should first make sure your youth sports organization is a registered non-profit organization and assign a board member to be overtop of all reporting and compliance. 
  3. Timeline: Federal grant application processes can be lengthy, and it may take a while to receive funds. Private grants may have quicker turnaround times, which can be important if your program needs financial assistance sooner.
The choice between federal and private grants should be based on the specific needs, goals, and eligibility of your youth sports organization. Federal grants can provide substantial funding but come with more competition and regulatory requirements. It's essential to consider these factors and assess which type of grant is the best fit for your organization or program.

Resources for finding federal grants for youth sports programs

Federal grants can be difficult to find but there are a few online resources that you can use to aid in your search. It’s important to keep in mind the grant’s eligibility requirements and to understand what data your organization needs to provide if selected.
Some of the grants you find in your search may match your organization’s mission statement very closely. For example, the grant could be catered toward a specific population that you already serve such as low-income young people. Other sport-specific grants may focus on individual athletic programs such as youth softball or youth football.
If you’re finding that you can’t find any grant for your specific program or community, you may need to adjust your search. The overall scope of some federal grants may be focused on community-based youth development but not have an obvious youth sports component. This is where someone who specializes in grant writing could help!
For example, a grant opportunity could be available to an organization that provides positive community development through afterschool programs. If you have a sports facility where activities take place, you may qualify for a recreational facilities grant!
Take a look at the links below and think big picture about what your organization provides to those within your community. You may find that your organization is eligible for more grants than you expected.


FederalGrants.com contains a database of all grants as well as provides resources and information about securing grants in general.
federalgrants.com database for youth sports grants


Youth.gov Funding Search is a database of all youth program related grants. You can type in keywords to initiate your search.
youth.gov grants for youth sports


Grant.gov Search is another database of all forecasted, posted, closed and archived federal grants. You can use their search bar and filters to narrow down the results.
grants.gov federal youth sports grants


USGrants.org is another site that allows you to select your state to find grants that are location-based.
us grants for youth sports

Finding the best funding opportunities for your organization

Securing funding for your youth sports organization can be challenging but very rewarding. 
Many youth sports programs turn to sports sponsorship, asking for online donations and fundraising within the community, these efforts, though necessary, can yield relatively modest outcomes. 
Federal grants can instead play a pivotal role in advancing the organization’s mission and impact through increased revenue. 
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