User Guides

KCResearch User Guides offer advice to specific sets of KCResearch users that may not necessarily be research about Kansas City, but will help build stronger communities.

There are currently three user guides: Tips for Grant Seekers, Tips for New Entrepreneurs, and Tips for Educators. The first provides thorough information about what you need to know if you have a project or research idea that needs funding to go through and includes a list of local and regional grants that may be of interest. The guide for new entrepreneurs offers steps to making a business plan and getting funding to make your business dreams a reality. The last guide, though still in development, will provide resources for teachers of varying levels about how KCResearch and similar types of resources can be integrated into the classroom.

If you have an idea for a guide that would be helpful to groups of people visiting KCResearch, please contact us via e-mail and propose it!

Tips For Educators


The KCResearch team is currently working with a team of educators to create this guide.

Tips for Grant Seekers

KCResearch provides many types of studies and articles to help grant writers find facts and statistics to use when writing grants. However, grants must be identified before they can be written.

This guide provides tips on how to identify grants appropriate to your needs.

If you are researching information on a particular topic for your grant, check out our KCResearch Topic Guides or browse our resources.

Research Considerations

There are basically four considerations in conducting grant research. You will need to research as much as you can with regard to:


You first want to check to see what foundations offer the kind of assistance you’ll need. This can be achieved by using the three approaches listed above.


You can glean information about specific companies to determine whether or not they would be a good match for your proposal. See how their mission matches with your goals to determine which would be the best partner.


Found out what kinds of grants have been awarded and who received them. Many grant-issuing foundations list past projects and types of grants have been awarded. By studying what kinds of grants have been issued in the past, you can better know how your proposal would fit in with the past grantees.


A "990" is a document submitted by the grant-maker to the IRS each year. This document contains detailed information about the grant, including how much was awarded. It provides valuable information for the grant-seeker as it breaks down the grant into its specific, component parts.

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

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Finding Grants

There are different ways to go about finding grants, but many grants are funded by Foundations. In order to conduct grant research, it is crucial to understand the role of a foundation and what it does.

A foundation is a non-profit corporation or a charitable trust whose mission is to make available grants to organizations or individuals for cultural, educational, religious, scientific, or other charitable purposes.

The successful grant seeker should conduct exhaustive research in order to find right foundation. Foundations can be the sector of a corporation, a private non-profit aiming to further specific purpose, a federal agency designated to promote a specific cause, or even a Labor Union. This process might require extensive review of both print and online resources.

There are essentially three approaches to grant research. Both print and electronic resources may be used:

Subject Approach

This approach is perhaps the most often-used, as foundations will express an interest in funding subject-specific programs. Look for foundations that are most likely to fund your proposal. Many government agencies and labor unions such as the National Education Association (NEA) offer grants and lists of grants relevant to the subject area.
Grants for:

Geographic Approach

Since foundations will often limit where they will fund projects to their region or location, you may want to include this approach as part of your overall searching strategy. For information on several local foundations, see Regional Grants below.

Types of Support Approach

This type of approach is usually used in conjunction with Subject or Geographic research, and should not be confused with the Subject Approach. "Subject Approaches" will list programs that foundations want to fund, whereas "Types of Support" will offer what kinds of assistance the foundations will fund. For example, requests for funding for building/renovation, equipment, seed-money, or technical assistance would fall into the category of "Types of Support."

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

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Regional Grants

Below is a list of regional grants by topic.

Arts and Humanities Grants

Francis Family Foundation
To be eligible for a Small Arts Grant, an organization must be located within the greater Kansas City area (60-mile radius); a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity with a federal Employer Identification Number, or partner with another organization that can serve as a fiscal sponsor; and an arts organization with annual revenues of less than $300,000 last fiscal year, or a non-arts organization – regardless of budget size or mission – with a community-based arts program that provides access to arts and culture opportunities in traditional and non-traditional sites throughout the greater Kansas City area. The application deadline is August 31. The Francis Family Foundation’s areas of interest not specific to the Kansas City region are pulmonary research and lifelong learning with a particular emphasis on early childhood development.

Missouri Humanities Council
The Missouri Humanities Council award grants to non-profit organizations in support of locally generated programs. The Council provides grants for activities designed principally for adults in Missouri, particularly projects that help humanities institutions improve their programming and interpretive practices, and institutes and conferences for teachers. Grants are awarded by MHC board members in open competition, with multiple submission and review dates each year.

Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation
This private foundation's mission is to support programs that contribute to the quality and accessibility of the performing and visual arts in the greater Kansas City region. Grants fund general operations, program support, specific productions, fundraising events, and capital campaigns. Grant proposals are accepted from current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, and are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Health-related Grants

Jewish Heritage Foundation of Greater Kansas City
The Jewish Heritage Foundation provides grant opportunities “to promote health and well being in the Greater Kansas City area, with a priority to serve the Jewish community.” Grants are awarded to current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The application deadline is March 1.

Menorah Legacy Foundation
This Foundation supports programs that foster the delivery, quality, or affordability of healthcare or healthcare-related social services in the Kansas City area’s Jewish community. Three grant categories exist with application deadlines of March 1 and January 15.

General Grants

Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation
This Foundation was established by Bess Spiva Timmons in 1967 “to enable her children and grandchildren to carry on an already existing program of assistance in the areas of education, health, medical research, the arts, and programs with emphasis to benefit minority groups, social services, and ecology.” The Foundation accepts grant proposals from organizations in the United States west of the Mississippi River. Grants range to $10,000. No application deadline is stated.

Edward G. and Kathryn E. Mader Foundation
The Edward G. and Kathryn E. Mader Foundation supports the health, education and welfare of children in Greater Kansas City. The Foundation accepts grant applications from 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the Greater Kansas City area. Awards typically range from $5,000 to $30,000. Applications are accepted from March 1 to May 1 of each year.

Hall Family Foundation
The Hall Family Foundation concentrates its philanthropic efforts in the Kansas City area. Grants fund programs and organizations dedicated to education; children, youth, and families; the arts; and community development. Grants are made to charitable organizations, which qualify as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. No application deadline is stated.

Helen S. Boylan Foundation
This Foundation funds organizations and programs working within the Kansas City Metro region. The Foundation considers a wide range of proposals within the following areas: arts, education, health, human services, environment, and public interest. Grants are awarded to non-profit charitable organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or to public governmental units. Applications are considered four times per year; and must be received by March 31, June 30, September 30, or December 31.

The Sosland Foundation
“The Sosland Foundation awards grants in a broad area called social welfare to address the issues related to poverty in the United States specifically in Kansas City. We support programs that promote self-reliance and economic independence and positively contribute to the quality of life for the underserved.” Grants are awarded to I.R.S. Section 501(c)(3) approved organizations in the Kansas City area. The grant review committee meets quarterly; grants range from $1000 to $5000.

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

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Grant Fraud

Department of Justice Grant Fraud Guide

Grant Fraud is an issue that you, as a grant seeker, need to be aware of. Grant fraud happens when the money appropriated for a grant is misused due often to conflicts of interest, lying or failing to properly support the use of funds, and outright theft. This set of slides, prepared by the United States Department of Justice, outline how grant fraud can occur by outlining what constitutes a conflict of interest, “lying” and theft of funds appropriated for specific purposes. This is something to be particularly aware of if you are applying for federal grants, as it is taxpayer money that must be accounted for. There are people who investigate grant fraud and these cases are tried in federal courts with penalties, such as prison time or steep fines that may exceed the award of the grant that has been taken fraudulently.

If you are uncertain of whether or not you might be viable to commit grant fraud, your risk can be mitigated by following these steps:

  • Examine your operations to determine your fraud vulnerabilities.
  • Implement specific fraud prevention strategies including educating others about the risks–the more people are aware of the issues, the more they can help prevent problems or detect them as early as possible.
  • Maintain a well designed and tested system of internal controls.
  • Ensure all financial or other certifications and progress reports are adequately supported with appropriate documentation and evidence.
  • Identify any potential conflicts of interest issues and disclose them to the granting agency for specific guidance and advice.
  • Follow a fair and transparent procurement process especially when utilizing consultants.
  • Ensure the rate of pay is reasonable and justifiable and that the work product is well-defined and documented

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

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Additional Resources

You may also want to consult these titles in the Block Business and Career Center at the Kansas City Public Library:

The Foundation Center's Guide to Winning Proposals by Sarah Collins (2008)
Collins assembles actual grant proposals that have garnered actual money for nonprofit organizations, as a guide for newcomers to grant writing. She presents them in sections on special single-year and multi-year projects, endowment, building or renovation, general and operating support, seed money, and planning grant. She also provides examples of letters of inquiry, cover letters, and budgets. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

How Foundations Work: What Grantseekers Need to Know About the Many Faces of Foundations by Dennis P. McIlnay (1998)
In this groundbreaking book, Dennis McIlnay offers a unique and remarkable look inside foundations, exploring the complex workings of the mysterious and often misunderstood organizations that so often determine the success or failure of a nonprofit's fund raising ventures. Drawing on his extensive research and on insights from foundations, McIlnay gives the grantseeker an edge in the highly competitive world of foundation grants by both debunking many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding foundations and including more productive strategies for dealing with them. Structured around six perceptions of foundations—judges, editors, citizens, activists, entrepreneurs, and partners—this book provides a thorough understanding of what makes foundations tick and how this affects their interactions with nonprofits. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

Getting Grants: The Complete Manual of Proposal Development and Administration by Alexis Carter-Black (2006)
Getting Grants deals with every step of the process: how and where to find sources of funding the pre-proposal planning and development stage the components of a grant proposalthe role of the grant writer and/or grants office in an organization the role of the project director in the grants process proposal writing (with tips gleaned from a decade of experience), and moreThe primary markets for the book will be non-profit organizations, public and private K-12 schools, public and private universities and colleges.The book includes a CD-ROM with forms, job descriptions, rules for a grants office, and useful excerpts from successfully funded proposals.

Grant Writing Made Simple: 87 Tips for Great Grants by Sally Stanton (2009)
With an approach based on common-sense principles, the book offers plenty of advice from foundation grant reviewers, writing instructors, grant-writing students, and others -- a compendium of the best and most useful tips and techniques. These little nuggets of wisdom are small enough to fit in your already-crammed-full-of-facts brain, but big enough to help you out when you get stuck just before that important grant deadline.

Demystifying Grant Seeking: What you Really Need to do to Get Grants by Larissa Golden Brown
Written for nonprofit professionals and fundraisers of varying levels of expertise, this guide provides crystal clear, practical guidelines for writing grants, based on a five-step program and a definition of the principles that underpin a successful grant-seeking process.

For additional assistance and information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center expert by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

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Tips for New Entrepreneurs

This guide exists to assist you, if you are looking to fulfill the dream of owning a business. Some of the advice offered in this user guide will help the potential entrepreneur start on the path towards a successful business venture. We have broken it down into three useful guides for you. If more help is needed, please feel encouraged to visit the H&R Block Business and Career Center at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. It is an excellent resource for new entrepreneurs. To contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center librarian by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

How to Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a multi-purpose document.
It will:

  • Show whether your business idea is feasible (and can make a profit)
  • Help you to think through your business and stay on track
  • Help you communicate your ideas to others, such as bankers, suppliers, partners, etc.

A business plan outlines your business and should include:

  • The goals you have for your business and your strategy for accomplishing the goals.
  • An explanation of the day-to-day operations of your business.
  • Your reasons for believing your business will be a success.

Your business plan should be read and reviewed frequently so that you can update it as conditions in your business, industry, and/or economy change.
Most business plans include six to eight key sections:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Business/company description
  3. Products and/or services
  4. Market analysis and marketing plan
  5. Management team/key personnel
  6. Operation plan/strategy and implementation
  7. Financial plan/projections
  8. Appendices

Let's look briefly at each of these sections.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is a brief (2-3 pages) overview of your company. It should contain:

  • Your mission statement
    • 101 Mission Statements (2007) Jeffrey Abrahams
    • Say It and Live It (1995) Patricia Jones
    • The Mission Statement Book (1995) Jeffrey Abrahams
  • Goals and objectives
  • A synopsis of all of the other sections of your business plan.

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2. Business/company description

The business/company description section is where you describe the structure of your business. Include:

  • Company name
    • Check to see if the name you have selected for your business is currently being used by an incorporated company in Missouri by going to the Missouri Secretary of State’s
    • You can also check to see if the URL address you would like to use for your business's web page has already been claimed by going to a Whois Service
  • Legal form of ownership (sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.)
    • Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Book on Forming Corporations LLC's, Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships (2004) Michael Spadaccini
    • Forming a Partnership (2007) Ira Nottonson
    • LLC or Corporation? (2010) Anthony Mancuso
  • Basic description of the industry in which you operate
  • Your company strengths
  • Niche or problem your company will fill
  • Your reasons for starting the company.

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3. Products and/or services

The products and/or services section is where you explain what your company will do.

  • Detailed description about your product or service
  • Pricing information
  • Your product's competitive advantage

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4. Market analysis and marketing plan

Outline who your customers are, where they are located, the current and projected state of the industry and your competitors. Describe how you plan to market, promote, and encourage growth in the demand for your product. Think of this section as the place to justify the need for your product and to explain why your company will be successful.
Describe in detail who your customer is:

  • Consumers or individuals are defined in terms of demographic characteristics: age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, income, etc.
  • Identify how large this population is and where it is located by using ReferenceUSA, American FactFinder, USA Counties, MO Census Data Center, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), and books such as Community Sourcebook of Zip Code Demographics and CEDDS: The Complete Economic and Demographic Data Source, available at the Kansas City Public Library.
  • Business customers are defined by industry, size, and location. Obtain data on the potential size of your business customer base by using the Economic Census, ReferenceUSA, and Sorkins' Directory of Business & Government.

Your business plan needs to include information on your competition: highlighting specifics on your major competitors, including their size, pricing, advertising methods, and quality of goods. Some of the research you employ in this section will need to be primary research.

  • Identify your competitors and their market size by using the ReferenceUSA database. Our Researching a Company guide will provide you with additional sources.
  • Identify indirect competitors. The MONASH Marketing Dictionary defines indirect competition as: "a product that is in a different category altogether but which is seen as an alternative purchase choice; for example, coffee and mineral water are indirect competitors." You can find your indirect competitors through the ReferenceUSA database.

Create a SWOT analysis of the industry that you are operating in. A SWOT analysis looks at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to the industry. Identify the maturity of the industry, the growth potential, the underserved population, your niche, changes in the industry that will provide opportunities and/or threats, and consumer trends. Reveal what might impact the industry for good or bad, be it the economic climate, growth in competitors (domestic and international), change in governmental regulations, advances in technology, and lifestyle changes.

Marketing Plan
Now that you have outlined your customer base, your competition and the industry arena, explain the strategy for marketing your product or service.

  • Word of mouth is often stated as a primary method as it appears to be inexpensive and not time-consuming. However, to be effective, you need to be proactive in guiding this approach. You might want to read some books about word of mouth marketing.
  • Network with people in your business, other entrepreneurs, and potential customers or clients
  • Paid advertisements is another common approach. Newspapers, radio, magazines, billboard signs are all locations where ads can be placed. Check out these library for rates and outlets:
    • Standard Rate & Data Service
    • Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media
  • If you wish to hire someone to write and place your ads you might want to consult the Advertising Red Books as a way of learning about advertising agencies.
  • Websites, blogs, podcasts, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are all inexpensive ways to present your product and/or service. The many ways in which these can be employed effectively can be learned by reading:
    • Twitter Revolution (2008) Deborah Micek
    • Blog Marketing (2006) Jeremy Wright

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5. Management team/key personnel

  • Name key employees/advisors, their backgrounds and qualifications
  • List professional services you have employed (lawyers, insurance agents, accountants)

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6. Operation plan/strategy

This is where you describe the details of the daily operation of your business.

  • Location
  • Building/office description and size
  • Customer/supplier access (parking, highways, airports, warehouses)
  • Suppliers: ReferenceUSA, print directories
  • Permits, licenses (link to business license page)
  • Federal regulations
  • Staff and compensation: Salary Facts Handbook (2008) JIST Works, Inc. and Bureau of Labor Statistics

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7. Financial plans and projections

Your finances:

  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Projections

A key source to use when evaluating your financial statements is Annual Statement Studies Robert Morris Associates. This source gives the ratios that are average in your industry and is used by bankers when evaluating loan prospects. A similar source is Dun & Bradstreet's Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios.
The following books can provide you with a more complete understanding of financial reports.

  • Streetwise Finance and Accounting for Entrepreneurs (2006) Suzanne Caplan
  • Keeping the Books (2008) Linda Pinson
  • Financial Management 101 (2008) Angie Mohr

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8. Appendices

  • Copies of contracts
  • Prepared promotional information
  • Photographs and/or maps of operating locations

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There are many sources in the library that can assist you in the writing of your plan. You can read actual successful business plans in the Business Plans Handbook.
The following books will give you additional information about business plans:

  • Ernst & Young Business Plan Guide (1991) Daniel R. Garner
  • Your First Business Plan (2005) Joseph A. Covello
  • How to Prepare a Business Plan (2001) Edward Blackwell

For additional information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center librarian by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,
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Financing a Small Business

One of the major reasons for new business failures is lack of sufficient capital. Yet developing a good funding package can be difficult.

The primary structures of financing are:

  • Debt/Loan: this is money that you will need to pay back and is the most prevalent type of financing
  • Equity: you usually do not need to pay this money back, but you will be giving someone else partial ownership and partial control of the business. You will usually have to share profits with your financing partner.


Grants, or money that does not need to be repaid, are practically non-existent for small businesses. You might have seen infomercials about government grants to start your business, but these grants do not exist except in very restricted situations. Any grant that might be available from the federal government can by found by searching the Loans and Grants search engine or

Sources of Financing

  • Personal savings
  • Friends and relatives
  • Banks and credit unions
  • Venture capital firms

Preparing Your Financial Request

  • Before asking for money for your business, have your financial needs organized and your business well thought out. This starts with a good business plan (link to business plan help page).
  • Prepare several financial documents outlining your company's finances. Have these documents ready before you talk to your lender. These documents include, but are not limited to:
    • Cash Flow Statement
    • Income Statement
    • Balance Sheet
    • Personal Finance Statement

Financial Documents

  • Cash Flow Statement – a document that shows monthly cash coming in and going out and the net cash balance.
  • Income Statement – shows revenue and expenses over a period of time: the difference between the two is your profit.
  • Balance Sheet – the statement showing the value of your assets compared to the value of your debts or liabilities.
  • Personal Finance Statement – This document is a personal balance sheet. Lenders expect you to provide a certain amount of your own money and assets to finance your business. They also want to see how you have managed your personal finances.
  • Other statements. Depending on the lender, there can be a number of additional forms, statements, and sources of information you will be asked to provide.

The 3 C's

There are three areas that a lender evaluates when looking at a loan application.

  • Character: Have you managed money responsibly in the past, do you have the proper background, education, and skills to run your own business?
  • Capacity: Does your cash flow cover the loan payment?
  • Collateral: Do you have something of value that can be used to service your debt if you can't repay the loan?

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a number of financing programs for start-up and existing small businesses. The most active is their Basic 7(a) Loan Guaranty. The purpose of the loan guaranty is to help small businesses who might not otherwise qualify for a conventional loan. The loan is not given directly by the SBA, rather SBA guarantees a large percentage of a loan made by a commercial bank which reduces the bank's risk exposure.

Other Resources

Library resources

The Library has numerous books that can help you learn about business financing. They can be found by using the subject heading of small business finance and small business loans. Some sample titles include:

  • Entrepreneurs Guide to Raising Capital (2000) David Nour
  • Financing Your Small Business (2006) James E. Burk
  • How To Raise Capital (2005) Jeffry A. Timmons
  • SBA Loans: A Step by Step Guide (2002) Patrick D. O’Hara

For additional information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center librarian by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

Licensing a Business in Missouri

When forming a business, there can be many forms that need to be filed with a number of state and local governmental offices. The forms vary depending on the legal formation of your company (partnership, LLC, etc.) and whether you have employees, retail sales, a franchise business, and many other variables. Businesses can be subject to tax filings, zoning clearances, occupational licenses, permits, and much more. Hiring the services of a qualified lawyer and accountant can ease you through the process.

  1. Starting Off
  2. Register the Name of Your Business
  3. Missouri Sales Tax
  4. Obtain Local Business Licenses
  5. Kansas City, MO Earnings and Profit Taxes
  6. Federal Identification Number/Employer Identification Number
  7. Additional Licenses, Clearances, Taxes, and Forms
  8. Additional Sources of Information

1. Starting Off

A good starting place to learn what needs to be filed is the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers. You are encouraged to go to their website for more complete information.

2. Register the name of your business

  • To check on the availability of a business name, search the Secretary of State's Business Entity database.
  • The name you choose must be registered with the Secretary of State (573) 751-4153 by filing the necessary forms and paperwork. The way to register a name is different for each type of legal structure. Choices of Legal Structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or corporation. A discussion of the issues involved in the legal formation of your company can be found at

3. Missouri Sales Tax.

Both wholesalers and retailers need to be registered with the Missouri Department of Revenue. Go to their website for forms or call at (573) 751-2836 to get a sales tax number or sales tax exemption.

4. Obtain local business licenses.

For Kansas City, Missouri, minimally you must have both a zoning clearance and an occupational license. There can be additional licenses and/or permits you need depending on the nature of your business. See the city's web page for forms and additional information.
Additional county forms, licenses, permits, and taxes might need to be filed. Make sure you check with your county's requirements.

5. Kansas City, MO Earnings and Profit Taxes

need to be filed with the city. Check with the Finance Department for additional information.

6. Federal Identification Number/Employer Identification Number

Some businesses need to have a Federal Identification Number and/or Employer Identification Number. Go to the IRS web site to learn more and to apply online.

7. Additional Licenses, Clearances, Taxes, and Forms

There are many additional licenses, clearances, taxes, and forms that might need to be filed for your business. It is important to contact the local, state, and federal licensing, taxing, zoning, economic development, and other possible agencies to learn what is required for your particular business. Qualified lawyers and accountants can be of great help to you in this process.

8. Additional sources of information.

Websites that give good overviews include:

For information about licensing a business in the state of Kansas, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from the Kansas Business Center.

For additional information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center librarian by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail,

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