There’s no denying it: America is becoming more linguistically diverse. Being able to communicate with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons is increasingly important in every sector of society. In many organizations, such as medical, governmental, and other non-profit agencies, it’s even required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among other legislation. But… what about the costs?
Fortunately, there are some government and private grants that you may be able to access to cover the cost of language services! Different grants have been made available to both individuals and organizations seeking LEP help.
Here are a few of the resources you may be able to utilize, and some criteria to keep in mind.
Government Grants to Cover the Cost of Language Services
While organizations that receive federal funding of any kind are almost always required to provide language access, there are several funding sources that can offset the cost. The most prominent are:
- The National Endowment for the Humanities: this federal program was built specifically to ensure language access for LEP people, and provides grants to certain LEP institutions and individuals. Grantees are usually “cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations” according to the NEH site, but can also include individuals. Qualifying for a grant will depend on your specific circumstances, so be sure to reach out to them to apply for help.
- Government organizations, non-profits, religious organizations, and educational organizations can also benefit from HRSA grants. The Health Resources & Services Administration is health focused, but provides a wide range of financial assistance for language access, and even provides loans & scholarships for individuals in some circumstances. A HRSA Grants Management specialist can guide you on how to allocate grant funding for language services if you qualify.
- Perhaps the easiest area in which to get financial aid for language services is in healthcare. Organizations such as the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities offer various forms of funding for increasing language access. In addition, many major government resources like HRSA and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services have funding options for states and healthcare needs.
Fortunately, federal resources are not your only option. In fact, privately funded grants can often be the fastest and most helpful way of funding language services, with fewer limitations than federal counterparts.
Large organizations like United Way provide grants, as well as countless local organizations in communities throughout the United States. Simply apply for these grants, ask for a specific amount of money, describe how you would use the funding (e.g. translated brochures, remote interpreting, etc.) and show a need (e.g. census numbers showing languages used in your area).
While you’re not guaranteed to qualify, many organizations are dedicated to promoting inclusion, diversity, and language access, and will be glad to provide aid. Be sure to seek out options like this, especially if you find that you don’t qualify for adequate financial aid.
Can Businesses Receive Financial Aid for Language Services?
While the vast majority of grants covering the cost of language service are set aside for non-profits and healthcare providers, there are unique instances in which businesses can benefit.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of grants to small businesses, which are usually managed by states (and may be handled differently from state to state). Most SBA business-related grants are geared to community/non-profit organizations that focus on entrepreneurship.
In particular, the SBA has a program called the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) that supports small businesses trying to expand export and international business opportunities. If your business qualifies, you could obtain access to financial help with internationally-focused business expansion, such as updating a website to be accessible to LEP users.
As you can see, whether your organization qualifies for grants will depend on your unique circumstances. It’s important to get in contact with the resources we’ve listed above to see if you could be eligible!
Looking for language services like remote interpretation or translation? Reach out to us!
Our top-notch team is equipped to provide translation and interpretation services in over 200 languages. If you or your organization regularly come into contact with LEP individuals, we can help you make connections like never before!