From Amazon's website:
Amazon.com offers grants and sponsorships for nonprofit author and publisher groups that share our obsession with fostering the creation, discussion, publication, and dissemination of books. If you represent such a group and would like to be considered for a grant or sponsorship, please fill out the form below. Please note that in order to be considered through this form, your group must be registered as a 501(c)(3) organization with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Briefly describe how your group helps foster the creation, discussion, publication, and dissemination of more books for more people in more ways. (Max. 50 words.)
Yes, the grants are limited to nonprofit entities (i.e., 501(c)3 to be specific), but with many independent presses already being nonprofit, here's a chance to coax a publisher to seek funds to publish you . . . and maybe a few others. There's also nothing wrong with offering to write the grant, only in this case, the grant is a measly 50 words. Talk about tight writing!
Keep in mind that the majority of grants in the US are devoted to nonprofit institutions. While that's depressing to an individual, you still can capitalize on those grants by either getting a nonprofit to apply for the grant on your behalf (i.e., fiscal agent), or you can collaborate with a nonprofit and have them incorporate your project in their grant proposal. Some writers even form their own nonprofits in order to qualify for grants. Nonfiction topics with social impact often pursue this route. So do children's authors. By becoming nonprofits, they enable businesses, schools and any group or individual needing a tax break to purchase their books and consider it charitable in nature.
I shouldn't have been so surprised that Amazon has grants. I let my personal feelings about Amazon and its adversarial tendencies to override the fact they are a corporate entity with a charitable arm. Almost all corporations have that from WalMart to Target, from Kroger to Coca-Cola, from Chik-fila to McDonalds.
Our tax code make grants more accessible to nonprofits, but some individual opportunities are available. We post them in FundsforWriters and TOTAL FundsforWriters, as well as at the website - http://www.fundsforwriters.com/ . Just don't forget that the diligent, motivated, savvy individual can also tap that grant stream to nonprofits. You just have to be creative about it with great networking tendencies.
For more information about fiscal agents: http://foundationcenter.org/getstarted/faqs/html/fiscal_agent.html
For information about letting a school be your fiscal agent for an educational project: http://www.neafoundation.org/pages/educators/knowledge-and-resources/grantee-resources/fiscal-agent/
Hopefully I haven't confused more than helped. At least know this . . . corporate entites offer grants. If you can somehow team with a nonprofit, school or charitable group, you might use this to your advantage.