Maybe you have a big question like “Does the federal government give out grants?”. When it comes to federal grants, most people are aware that the United States government provides financial aid. The assistance is for specific projects, institutions, and communities. However, the definition of a federal grant is not straightforward and can encompass a wide range of things.
At its core, a federal grant is an award of money or economic assistance provided by the U.S. government. The grants are from the general federal revenue. This can take the form of a loan, a portion of a project’s cost, or full funding for a particular undertaking.
Grants are not only available from the government but also from external sources such as foundations, non-profit charities, or non-profit corporations. Nevertheless, the government alone provides almost 1,000 different grant programs. There are 26 dedicated agencies to distribute grants and divide the grants into 21 categories.
These categories are highly specific and targeted towards particular needs or areas of development. Some examples of these categories include the arts, business commerce, and others. When applying for a grant, individuals or businesses must identify the category or categories that suit their particular area of need.
Types of Federal Government Grants
Does the federal government give out grants in form of “free money”? Federal grants are a crucial source of financial aid for businesses, individuals, and communities. But it is not in form of free money.
The types of grants available are diverse and can provide assistance in various areas of development. Understanding the specific categories of grants available is essential for those looking to secure financial support from the government and here are the types of government grants:
1. Competitive Grants
Competitive grants are available, based on the merit of the proposed project through a rigorous application process. To apply for these discretionary funds, you must first plan and budget your project. After that, you can submit a proposal to the funder.
A panel of reviewers evaluates your grant proposal to determine if it aligns with their funding priorities. Unlike non-competitive grants, the outcome of the awarding process is not predetermined. Additionally, federal funding requires strict adherence to regulations to ensure fairness and equity throughout the process.
Competitive grants are available for a variety of purposes, such as funding for arts and humanities, tuition programs, and scientific research.
When applying for a competitive grant, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the application requirements and your proposed project to make it as competitive as possible. Having grants management software can demonstrate to funders that you have the necessary infrastructure in place to manage their funds responsibly.
2. Formula Grants
Formula grants differ from competitive grants. The term “formula” refers to the mathematical allocation of grant funding to recipients. Each program has a different formula. But the recipients must meet specific criteria to get the award.
These criteria may be based on measurable factors such as population, median income, or the number of students in a district. To determine if your program qualifies, it’s essential to research government agency websites and the authorizing legislation.
The legislation and regulations established the formula for this type of funding. So, funders must adhere to the formula when awarding grants. Formula grants are for states. Also, local choices determine which projects receive support. All applicants who meet the requirements stated in the application process are to get funding, which may for several years.
Examples of formula grants include federal government contributions to state and local governments for programs like Medicaid health insurance, public education, and transportation infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act created many new formulaic grants. Supplementing a formulaic grant with competitive grants can cover any cost gaps.
3. Continuation Grants
Continuation grants provide current award recipients with the opportunity to prolong their discretionary program funding. If you have finished the first year of a three-year funded project, it is possible to apply for a continuation award. This way can secure funding for the following years.
Essentially, these grants extend funding beyond the initial budget period. While continuation awards are generally non-competitive, this may not always be the case, and you may need to compete with new applicants for funding, depending on the program.
If you want to apply continuation grants, the applications are based on the availability of funds. Also, it is based on your performance during the first or second year of the grant. Also, how your project contributes to the federal government’s interests.
To get a continuation grant, you must perform well in the first year of the award, maintain compliance, and meet your goals. Many continuation awards are granted for projects unrelated to infrastructure or construction. For example, substance abuse programs, agriculture, and funding health and human services projects.
4. Pass-through Grants
Pass-through grants are issued by federal agencies to state agencies or institutions. The institutions then transfer the funds to other eligible groups based on the award eligibility terms. States have the option to distribute these funds competitively or non-competitively, depending on the primary award’s terms and authorizing legislation. When applying for pass-through funding, applicants may receive a non-competitive formula grant for a housing program. Meanwhile, other projects may require a competitive awarding process to choose recipients.
The state government has the flexibility and autonomy to decide how to award these federal grant funds. However, prospective applicants must apply through their state’s grants office for pass-through grants. Currently, many cities, counties, local, and tribal governments are acting as pass-through entities for the first time while allocating their grant funding from the American Rescue Plan’s (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF).
ARPA-funded projects include public health initiatives, offsetting the pandemic’s economic impacts, maintaining public services, improving water and technological infrastructure, and providing direct payments for essential workers. Grant management software, can help grant makers allocate funding faster and manage subrecipients more efficiently.
Does the Federal Government Give Out Grant? For Whom?
New grant applicants often ask about the eligibility criteria for federal grants. The answer is that federal grants are available to “everybody,” including individuals, non-profit organizations, small businesses, and state governments.
However, it’s important to note that federal grants are typically pre-designated for a specific type of applicant, such as a state government or a non-profit community organization. Therefore, applicants need to pay close attention to the details and filtering process. This will determine if they meet the specific requirements for the grant they are interested in.
Although there may be some grants available to different types of applicants, potential grant recipients generally fall into distinct categories. To save time and effort, applicants should check the pre-requisites for a specific grant before starting the application and grant proposal process. This will enable them to determine early on if they are eligible to receive a particular grant.
Most federal grant funds are initially distributed to state governments, which in turn allocate the funds to smaller local and community programs. This process has a trickle-down effect, where states receive the funds for a specific purpose or area of need, such as education, defense, public assistance, or medical services, and then distribute the money to the organizations or regions that require it the most.
In fact, federal grants constitute a significant portion of a state’s yearly budget. According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Charitable Trust’s Fiscal Federalism Initiative, federal grants accounted for over one-third of state budget revenues in 2011.
Public Housing Authorities/ Indian/Native American Housing Authorities
These organizations belong to a distinct category. The organizations are eligible for a range of grants specifically designated for their classification.
Does the federal government give out grants for educational institutions?
Under the Educational Organizations category, all types of educational institutions and schools, whether public or private, are included. Eligible recipients for this category comprise Independent School Districts, Public and State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education (such as state and public universities), and Private Institutions of Higher Education (such as private colleges).
Does the federal government give out grants for nonprofit?
To qualify for a grant under the Nonprofit category, organizations typically need to have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. However, there are cases where nonprofit organizations without the 501(c)(3) designation can be considered. Institutions of higher education and schools are not included in this category, as they have their own unique classification.
does the federal government give out grants for small business?
Certain grants and loans are eligible for Small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provide the criteria to define “small business”. The maximum number of employees and annual revenue caps required for qualification vary by business type, and thus, small business applicants should review the details to ensure their specific organization meets the necessary requirements.
For instance, wholesale trade industries can have up to 100 employees, while manufacturing companies can have up to 500 employees. In terms of annual revenue caps, retail and service industries must have an annual revenue under $6 million, while construction industries must have a revenue under $28.5 million, and agricultural industries must have a cap of $.75 million.
It is important to note that there are specific grants available solely for women-owned and minority-owned small businesses, in order to promote entrepreneurship, leadership, and equality in small business. Prospective recipients who fall into these groups should carefully review the available grants.
Additionally, many of the grants are specifically for research, development, and expansion in underrepresented regions, rather than for start-up or marketing costs. Moreover, the grants may only cover a portion of the necessary funds, with the small business matching the grant amount to meet its proposed goal. Therefore, small business applicants should thoroughly read the grant’s guidelines to ensure that the funds meet their specific needs before applying.
Does the federal government give out grants for personal?
Federal grants are available for individuals, but these grants are generally not intended for personal financial assistance. However, there are still a few hundred grants available for individuals seeking to achieve various goals, such as education, research, or compensation for specific groups of individuals like veterans or Native American tribe members.
Some grants are also available to personals, small businesses or organizations to start and expand their training in particular fields. It can be a Law Enforcement Grant that supports technicians or law officers to get training on the physiological make-up and effects of illegal drugs.
Regardless of the field an individual specializes in, there are plenty of options available, with topics ranging from housing to scientific research, employee training and retention to community services. Prospective applicants will need to do a detailed search to ensure that they consider any grants that are relevant to their field of interest or specific goals.
With thousands of grants available, it can be daunting to narrow down the options, but individuals can easily filter their search to just grants by applicant type to ensure that their grant application meets the necessary requirements.
Other government bodies, including local city or township governments, special district governments, and federally recognized or other Native American Tribal governments, are also eligible for a range of grants. While grants may be available to all these classifications, certain grants are exclusively designated for Native American Tribal governments.
Guide to Applying for Different Types of Grants
Does the federal government give out grants and how to apply for the grants? For those new to grant writing, it is crucial to understand the differences and similarities between competitive, formula, and continuation grants. By doing so, you can determine which type of funding is perfect for your mission.
1. Competitive Grants Applications
Competitive grant applications are for foundation or government funding. Foundation funders usually post announcements online. Meanwhile, the government agencies issue either a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) or a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). These announcements are very important because they provide the specific requirements that applicants must address in their grant application.
Federal healthcare funders, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), refer to these opportunities as “discretionary grants”. There is some discretion involved in deciding which applicants should receive the grant. However, federal agencies are generally more calculated with their requirements compared to other types of funders. They are also more specific with the priority points they award to each section of the grant application and how they rank the application.
2. Formula Grants Applications
Formula grants are also non-competitive grants, are available for a unique grant program. As previously stated, formula grants are for each eligible organization or individual. These grants are often distributed among states according to a legislated formula. Next, the local officials then decide which projects to support using the funds.
Recently, funding for formula grants has decreased. But eligible applicants that meet the criteria of the preset formula or standard will still get funding. Additionally, formula grants are recurring, providing ongoing support for the selected projects.
3. Continuation Grant Applications
Continuation grant applications are for in multi-year projects. The funding is available for successive budget periods. Funders evaluate these applications based on available funding, performance during the initial year of the grant, and whether continuation of funding is in the best interest of the Federal government.
To ensure success in securing continued funding, it’s important to meet the established goals and comply with all reporting requirements and criteria. Failure to do so may result in losing the multi-year grant project.
Now that you understand the different types of grants and their applications, you can better prepare to achieve your mission. When applying for pass-through funding, carefully review the funding announcement to determine the appropriate grant type. For competitive grants, focus on creating a compelling application that sets you apart from other applicants. For non-competitive formula or continuation grants, typically only the necessary requested materials are required.
To qualify for a grant under the Nonprofit category, organizations typically need to have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. However, there are cases where nonprofit organizations without the 501(c)(3) can get an exception. Institutions of higher education and schools are not included in this category. It is because they have their own unique classification.
Tips for Successful Grant Applications
Does the federal government give out grants without applications? No. You must compose a grant proposal, and it can be quite a challenging task. Even for the most experienced grants professional. Writing a successful grant application demands considerable time and effort. You may face a complex application process that necessitates supporting documentation and proof.
This challenge is compounded when there are multiple funding opportunities to pursue simultaneously, making the entire process appear overwhelming. You might be asking yourself, “Isn’t there any advice to assist me in navigating this process?” To avoid any setbacks during the grant application process, follow these two key steps:
Clarify the purpose of the funding
Before writing a grant application, it’s important to determine precisely the use of the funding and why it is necessary. This will assist you in developing a more comprehensive perspective, which will be beneficial during the application process. By identifying this aspect of your project or idea, you’ll be able to assess its likelihood of success and determine whether it’s already being supported. It’s critical to establish a convincing case for financial assistance.
It would be disheartening to put in the effort to prepare and submit a grant application, only to discover that your organisation is ineligible. To avoid this scenario, research the funding provider’s criteria early on to determine eligibility. Verify that you meet the requirements before proceeding with the application. If you’re still unsure after reviewing the application guidelines, get in touch with the grant organiser, who will have representatives available to assist all applicants.
Build a community of support
The more individuals who are aware of and endorse your project or idea, the better. Some grants may require letters of support, making it important to engage with your community and demonstrate how your endeavour will benefit more than just yourself. The inclusion of community support, statistics, and evidence will significantly enhance the value of your application. Consider collaborating with established organisations that may endorse your proposal.
Investigate the funding body and past grant recipients
Competition for grants can be fierce. To improve your prospects, we recommend conducting thorough research into the funding provider and past recipients of the specific grant you want to apply for. This can help you identify where previous grants have been awarded. In some cases, provide examples of the types of responses the funding provider seeks. Understanding the priorities of a funding body will shape your case for support.
Establish realistic goals and ideas
Ensure that your application outlines attainable and clearly defined objectives. This may require research to support why your project or idea is deserving of funding over others. Also, ensure that your proposal is unique to your organisation or community and that no one has presented the same concept or established a similar project successfully.
Review the grant guidelines and confirm that your organisation is a good fit for the funding opportunity. Then, support your claims and create a persuasive argument as to why you require financial assistance.
Prepare a thorough budget
In any grant application, the budget is a chance to demonstrate that your project or idea is cost-effective, and feasible. A well-crafted budget will illustrate the attainability of your objectives and where the funding will be utilized. Include quotes where necessary and provide a complete list of income sources, with corresponding income and expenditure totals. Ensure that your budget is comprehensive, and that every single items are useful in your project. Grant providers want to see that the funds will benefit the community as much as possible.
Infuse your proposal with enthusiasm and vitality
As a grants reviewer, imagine assessing numerous applications. A proposal brimming with enthusiasm will not only help make your points stand out but also set your application apart from the rest. However, bear in mind that you’re writing for someone with limited time, so ensure that your ideas are clear and with concise tone.
Keep your passion alive by using current and accurate data, straightforward language, and concluding complex points with a sentence that summarizes the bigger picture. Remember, the goal of a grant application is to persuade the reviewer that your project or idea is exciting and deserving of funding.
Review, edit, and seek feedback
Your objective is to create a grant application that is concise, persuasive and effectively communicates your project or idea. Grammatical or spelling mistakes, vague ideas, and long-winded sentences can negatively impact your application. Collaborate with a trusted source to revise and edit your proposal, and solicit their feedback. Take their suggestions onboard and revise your application if necessary.
To increase your chances of success, it’s important to submit your grant application ahead of time and not wait until the last minute. This will allow you to avoid any unexpected errors and ensure that you have enough time to review your application before submission.
Grant writing requires time, perseverance, and dedication, and following the tips provided can help you prepare for your next grant submission. If you need further assistance, you can always consult with Grants Experts or use online directories like The Grants Hub, which offers access to over 1500+ open national and state-by-state funding opportunities with features to make searching and applying easier.
Does the federal government give out grants? Federal grants are a type of financial assistance. It is from the United States government to eligible recipients for a specific purpose. These grants are typically for individuals, organizations, or state and local governments to fund projects that benefit the public good. Federal grants are not the same as loans and you do not have to repay for it. Therefore, grants are the attractive source of funding for many organizations and individuals.
There are various types of federal grants available, including formula grants, project grants, and block grants. Each type of grant has its own specific requirements, and eligibility criteria vary, depends on the type of grant to apply for. You can use Federal grants for a wide range of purposes, including education, research, healthcare, and community development. The federal government offers many resources to help individuals and organizations navigate the grant application process and maximize their chances to get the grant. Overall, federal grants can be a valuable source of funding for those who are eligible and can help support important projects that benefit society as a whole.