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Federal Grant Info

Grants and Federal Domestic Assistance Guidance and key resources to help eligible grantseekers find information on federal grants, loans, and nonfinancial assistance, as well as on private funding.

 

Prepared by the Congressional Research Service for the U.S. Senate, updated January 2011.


How Best to Find Information

  1. Find out Who is eligible for a Grant? Other government websites may be more suitable for personal need, student loans, small business assistance, or other business opportunities such as government contracting. The website Government Benefits, Grants, and Financial Aid may also be of help.
  2. If eligible, search for programs in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Includes grants, loans, business and nonfinancial help.
  3. Contact federal office given in CFDA program description: if state or local office is indicated, check Regional Agency Offices at top of CFDA website for addresses.
  4. Go to federal websites given in each CFDA program description for more information and for state administering agencies responsible for managing these programs.
  5. Check current federal grants opportunities at Grants.gov, obtain a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, register with Central Contractor Registration (CCR), and apply online (links and instructions given at the website).
  6. Search foundations for project funding: use the Foundation Center website or Foundation Center Cooperating Collections in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
  7. Learn how to write grant proposals: follow CFDA's Developing and Writing Grant ProposalsWriting Grants Proposals, or take the free online Foundation Center Proposal Writing Short Course.

Key Federal Funding Sources

Grants.gov  (via Dept. of Health and Human Services)
Federal grants website that allows eligible grantseekers (see Who is eligible for a Grant?) to find and apply for current competitive grant opportunities from ALL federal agencies. Grantseekers can check on notices of funding availability (NOFAs) posted in the last 7 days; access RSS feeds of grant opportunities; and apply for federal grants through a unified process by downloading the application and submitting online. The website guides grantseekers in obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, registering with Central Contractor Registration (CCR), and registering with Grants.gov to apply and to track applications. For full federal program descriptions, see CFDA below.

State 'Single Points of Contact'  (Office of Management and Budget)
Under Executive Order 12372, some states require federal grants applicants to submit a copy of their application for state government level review and comment. The state offices listed here coordinate federal financial assistance and may direct federal development. For help in identifying state-level grants, other state government agencies websites may be found at State and Local Agencies by Topic.

CFDA in Local Libraries  (Government Printing Office)
Although CFDA is available full-text on the Internet, some may prefer a print edition. However, only the Web version is continuously updated-- the published volume is annual with no supplements. The CFDA is available in all states in Federal Depository Libraries.


Related Federal Resources

A-Z Index of U.S. Department and Agencies  (General Services Administration)
To better develop a grant proposal, search a department or agency's Home Page to learn more about its programs and objectives. The site USA.gov also links to Government Benefits, Grants and Financial Aid.

Homeland Security State Contacts and Grant Award Information  (Department of Homeland Security)
Click on map for state allocations and contact information. Most Homeland Security non-disaster grant programs are designated for state and local governments and specific entities such as colleges, etc. Unsolicited applications from individuals are generally not accepted. Includes Urban Area Security Initiative, Citizens Corps, Medical Response System, Operation Stonegarden (border security), Infrastructure Protection. Programs for firefighters may be found at Assistance to Firefighters.

USA.gov for Business  (GSA)
Includes contracting with the federal government, international trade and exporting, and small business. See also financial assistance links at Business.gov and the Small Business Administration websites.

USA.gov for Nonprofits  (GSA)
Links to federal department and agency information and service for nonprofit organizations, including fundraising and outreach, grants, loans and other assistance, laws and regulations, management and operations, online services, registration and licensing, and tax information. The White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships includes information on Grants and Resources.

Student Aid on the Web (Department of Education)
Financial assistance for education beyond high school is generally "needs-based" and often includes loans and work-study, in addition to some grants. College and university applications, websites, and brochures usually include financial aid information for prospective and incoming students.

GovBenefits.gov  (via Department of Labor)
Government grants are not direct assistance to individuals, but fund state and local programs providing help to those in need. This online screening site can be used to identify state and local government benefits and how to apply. Covers direct payments, loans, insurance, training, or other services.

FTC Consumer Alert  (Federal Trade Commission)
The FTC warns consumers to beware of paying "processing fees" for information that is available free to the public. Ads claiming federal grants are available for home repairs, home business, unpaid bills, or other personal expenses are often a scam.

OMB Grants Management Web Site   (Office of Management and Budget)
OMB establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules.  OMB Circulars  are cited in Catalog program descriptions and may be printed out fulltext.


Tracking Federal Funds

  • USAspending.gov (OMB)
    A free, searchable database of federal government spending based upon Census and General Services Administration statistical data. Grants and Contracts must be searched separately: by individual organization or grant recipient; by place of performance, including by congressional district; or by federal department or agency.
  • Federal Aid to States  (Census Bureau)
    FAS details actual expenditures of federal grant funds to state and local governments. Figures are presented to the state level by program area and agency.
  • Consolidated Federal Funds Report  (Census Bureau)
    In CFFR, grants generally represent obligations and include payments both to state and local governments and to nongovernmental recipients. Data are provided for state and county levels.
Merete F.Gerli, CRS

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