Federal grants – or financial assistance from a federal agency – can be awarded to individuals as well as non-profit organizations like foundations and charities. Grants are to be used for public purposes of support authorized by law.
If you are seeking a federal grant, the Congressional Research Service for Members of Congress has provided guidance and key resources (below) to help grant-seekers find information on federal grants, loans, and nonfinancial assistance for projects, as well as private funding.
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HOW TO BEST FIND INFORMATION
Find out Who is Eligible for a Grant? Other government websites may be more suitable for personal needs, 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.
If eligible, search for program information in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Includes grants, loans, business and nonfinancial help.
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.
Go to federal websites given in each CFDA program description for more information and for state administering agencies responsible for managing these programs.
Check current federal grants opportunities at Grants.gov, obtain a Dun and Bradstreet ( DUNS) number, register with System for Award Management (SAM), and apply online (links and instructions given at the website). Additional notices appear at FedConnect.net.
Search foundations for project funding: use the Foundation Center Web site or Foundation Center Cooperating Collections in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
KEY FEDERAL FUNDING SOURCES
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (General Services Administration)
The Catalog (CFDA), issued annually and updated continuously on the Web, describes some 1600 federal grants and non financial assistance programs. Grantseekers can identify programs that might support their projects and can learn the program’s objectives, requirements, application procedures and contacts. For current notices of funding availability, see Grants.gov or FedConnect.net.
Grants.gov (managed by Dept. of Health and Human Services)
Federal 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 (NOFA) posted in the last 7 days; access an RSS feed 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 and registering with System for Award Management (SAM) and registering with Grants.gov to apply and to track applications. For full federal program descriptions, see CFDA below. See also website FedConnect.net for additional grants and contracts opportunities.
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.
CFDA in Local Libraries (Government Printing Office)
Although the Catalog is available full-text on the Internet, some may prefer a print edition. However, only the Web Catalog is continuously updated. The published volume is annual with no supplements. The Catalog is available in all states in Federal Depository Libraries (click on link FDLP Public Page).
RELATED FEDERAL SOURCES
A-Z Index of U.S. Departments 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.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Department of Energy)
Grants are EERE’s primary funding vehicle for businesses, industries, universities and others. Most EERE grants are awarded on merit on a competitive basis. EERE financial assistance opportunities are listed in the Financial Opportunities database and on Grants.gov or FedConnect.net. For state-by-state information on state, local. utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, search DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency).
DHS Financial Assistance (Dept. of Homeland Security)
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. Contact homeland security State Offices. Programs for firefighters may be found at Assistance to Firefighters.
USA.gov for Business (GSA)
Includes contracting with the U.S. government, international trade and exporting, and small business. See also financial assistance links at the Small Business Administration website.
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 Initiatives includes information on Grants and Resources
Student Aid on the Web (Dept. of Education)
Information on funding education beyond high school, including grants, loans, and work-study assistance to qualified students.
GovBenefits.gov (via Department of Labor)
Includes information on over 1,000 government assistance programs, and how to apply. Covers direct payment, loan, 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.
PRIVATE AND CORPORATE FUNDING SOURCES
Foundation Center Grants Space
Gateway to information about private funding sources, the grant seeking process, guidelines on writing a grant proposal, addresses of state libraries with grants reference collections, and links to other useful Internet websites. The Center maintains a comprehensive database on foundations; produces print and electronic directories and guides; conducts research and publishes studies in the field; and offers a variety of training and educational seminars.
Grant Resources by State (Grantsmanship Center)
Click on state map to find links to information about a state’s foundations, community foundations, corporate giving programs and the state’s home page.