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Federal Grant Info

Informational Guidelines For Applying For Federal Funding

The federal government allocates funds to federal agencies for grant and loan programs. The following preliminary steps, registration reminders, and federal links will help you research federal funding opportunities.

If you have questions about federal grants after reading this page, our grants coordinator, Theresa Walsh, is available to help. Contact Theresa at theresa_walsh@toomey.senate.gov or (610) 434-7524.

Preliminary Steps

1.)  Create a list of projects and prioritize them by listing them according to their importance and urgency.
2.)  Choose a project to pursue and write a project title that would fit into a category: business, emergency, education, health, housing, rural, or transportation.
3.)  Construct a working summary (tell your story) which can be used to create the project narrative.
4.)  Itemize the budget and be ready to provide match or in-kind financial support.
5.)  Know the timeframe. Will the project be shovel ready if awarded?
6.)  Impact. What's the big picture?
      • Does the project affect the community, city or county?
      • Will there be an increase in employees, retention of employee base?
      • Can the project be a collaborative effort with a local college or non-profit organization?

Registration Reminders

7.)  Before registering with Grants.gov, make sure you are eligible: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/grant-eligibility.html
      • If you have not already done so, find your Dun & Bradstreet number: http://www.dnb.com/
8)   Register with Grants.gov: http://www.grants.gov/
9)   Register with the System for Award Management (SAM:) http://www.sam.gov
      • The System for Award Management (SAM) is a free website that consolidates federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. Currently CCR, FedReg, ORCA and EPLS have been migrated into SAM. More systems will be migrated during the next few years.

Federal Links

10.)  After completing these steps, go to the Federal Department locator (http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.shtml). Then choose the appropriate grant program currently open and apply.

Popular departments include (please click on a name to go to the website):

U.S. Agriculture Department

U.S. Economic Development Administration

U.S. Education Department

Federal Emergency Management Administration

U.S. Health and Human Services Department

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department

U.S. Small Business Administration

U.S. Transportation Department

For more detailed information about federal grants programs, please see the resources below.

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 May 2014.  

How Best to Find Information

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  1. 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.
  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 System for Award Management (SAM), and apply online (links and instructions given at the website). Additional notices appear at FedConnect.
  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

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance   (General Services Administration)
The 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.

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 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 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. For help in identifying state-level grants, other state government agencies websites may be found at State and Local Agencies.

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 -- click on FDLP Public Page.

Related Federal Resources

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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.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Funding (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. See also EERE Financial Opportunities and listings on Grants.gov or FedConnect. 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  (Department 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 federal 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 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 CFDA program descriptions and may be printed out fulltext.

Private and Corporate Funding Sources

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The Foundation Center
Gateway to information about private funding sources, the grantseeking 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.

Grants 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.

Merete F.Gerli, CRS

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