Helium Grant

Helium Grants are no-strings-attached grants for whatever you can't stop thinking about.

About the grant

Apply for a grant

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For 2018, at least one $1,000 grant is awarded every three months, for a total of three grants. Application deadlines are below. Please keep these dates in mind when considering the timing of your project.

  • June 30th, 2018 (12 grants awarded, thanks to sponsors)
  • September 30th, 2018 (6 grants awarded, thanks to sponsors)
  • December 29th, 2018 - 1 x $1,000 grant available

Additional grants may become available thanks to other sponsors. If so, they'll be awarded according to the same schedule.

Apply for a grant


Is this real?

Yes! This is a personal experiment in income distribution. Here's the backstory, and here's the announcement about the first set of grants that were given out in 2017. So far, 20+ people have received a Helium Grant.

What types of proposals do you fund?

These grants are meant to enable you to take action towards a project or idea you can’t stop thinking about. Examples of previous grants include: equipment or tools, travel costs, a class or workshop, or time to work on a research project.

Creativity is encouraged! You can use the money however you feel it furthers your goals. Just make sure you can explain to a stranger (me) why it's important.

There are a few exclusions: Helium Grants are intended for individuals (not organizations); they cannot be used to repay debt; and you must be able to accomplish your entire proposal with the $1K grant (additional funding sources are fine for a bigger budget, but you should already have that money secured).

I’ll prioritize proposals where:

  • Funding isn’t readily available for this type of proposal
  • You've taken action already, or can otherwise demonstrate your commitment
  • You have an interesting backstory or unusual insight into your work
  • Impact extends beyond the grant's timeline
  • Grant timeline is shorter (ex. 3 months) vs. longer (ex. 3 years)

When you say “no strings attached”, what does that mean?

If you're selected for a grant, I’ll email you to arrange payment details. I'll send you a followup email to hear how it went. That’s it!

Can anybody apply?

Yes: any age, country (see caveats below), industry, job title, philosophy, or stage of life.

How will you send the money?

I can send money via PayPal (you need a PayPal/bank account), TransferWise, Venmo, or mail a check.

I’m outside of the U.S., can I apply?

Yes, as long as you use PayPal or TransferWise. I’m not an expert on international payments, so there may be country-specific issues I’m unaware of. If I follow up on your application, I’ll do extra research to make sure we’re all on the same page about fees and legal rigmarole.

I have a question about applying for a grant. How can I get in touch?

Email info@heliumgrant.org. (For my sanity, I will ignore any other means of communication. Please only use this email address!)

How can I get updates on this project?

Sign up below. I'll email infrequently (mostly when new funding cycles are announced), but I promise to keep in touch!

Can I start my own version of this?

Of course! Feel free to adapt these grant terms to your own needs. If you start your own version, I'd love to hear about it.

Do you know of any other grant opportunities?

Yes, I've started a list. If you're aware of other microgrant programs, I encourage you to add them to that list.