Can you apply for a grant after you already built something?

I have read: https://grants.zfnd.org/guide and it’s unclear to me if I can spend some resources on my own building something and then apply for a grant once it is ready. The grant would factor in the labor cost as if it was submitted before it was built as opposed to only accounting for maintenance cost. I think it’s pretty good considering it completely de-risk the funding (project never getting completed). From a builder perspective, it’s not so much finding what to work on than finding stuff I want to. Building and the maintaining something is extremely time consuming. If you apply for a grant, get it, build the thing, and figure out that it’s a real pain and you don’t want to do it then it’s an awkward situation for everyone.

On the other hand, we must consider the case where people retroactively ask for grant money on projects that have been out there for a while. I believe that we can rely on the good judgement of the grant committee but if this is really a policy issue then a middle-ground would be something like Github Sponsors (https://github.com/sponsors) where the foundation actively supports existing projects on a monthly basis.

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I think grants should not pay for work that is already completed, but it’s OK to support work that is underway or ongoing.

Proposals in the following spirit are very common in various grant contexts:

“I propose to do foo. I already have an initial proof-of-concept that demonstrates feasibility, and shows that I have the requisite expertise. I need a grant to implement this properly as production-ready code, solve problem bar, add feature baz, provide support, run servers, …”.

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Taking that into account, should grants support building PoCs as well or at least an ongoing PoC? Say someone is in the midst of building a PoC relevant for Zcash and as they work on it, they are increasingly convince of the project’s feasibility and potential production use. Should grants allow this as well?

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Sure, I don’t see why not!

Of course, it’s best if the proposal also includes the subsequent milestones beyond a PoC.

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