Grants and Federal Assistance
This information page, prepared by the Congressional Research Service for members of Congress, gives guidance and key links to information on federal grants and non-financial assistance, as well as to private foundation funding.
Locating Grant Information
Find funding programs and learn how to write grant proposals:
Search or browse the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) by keyword or other indexes for federal grants, loans, and business and non-financial assistance.
Contact Federal office indicated in CFDA program description: State or regional addresses and telephone numbers are given in CFDA Appendix IV: Federal Agency Contacts in Region/State.
Search other Web sites that access Federal program and grant information for special grant seekers, for example the Business Advisor, the State and Local [government] Gateway, or the Non-Profit [organizations] Gateway.
Search for Private Foundations that might be interested in a project. Use the Foundation Center website or Foundation Center book collections in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
Key Federal Funding Sources
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
The Catalog (CFDA), issued annually and updated continuously on the web, describes some 1,400 federal grants and non-financial assistance programs administered by the departments and agencies of the federal government. It helps grantseekers identify programs that meet specific objectives of their projects and is intended to improve coordination and communication between the federal government and state and local applicants for federal assistance.
Developing and Writing Grant Proposals (CFDA)
Find guidance for formulating federal grant applications, including initial proposal development, basic components of a proposal, review recommendations, and referral to federal guidelines and literature.
Federal Agency Contacts in Region/State (CFDA, Appendix IV)
Much of the federal grant budget moves to the states through formula and block grants—state, regional, and local federal offices often handle grants applications and funds disbursement. Each federal agency has its own procedures: If the CFDA program description refers to a state or regional Information Contact as listed in Appendix IV, constituents/applicants should contact the federal department or agency office listed here before applying for funding to obtain the most up-to-date information.
State Single Points of Contact (CFDA)
Under Executive Order 12372 of 1962, federal grants applicants may be required to submit a copy of their applications for state government level review and comment. The state offices listed here coordinate government (both federal and state) grants development and provide guidance to grants seekers.
CFDA in Print (Government Printing Office, GSA)
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 local depository libraries.
- Order the Catalog from the Government Printing Office.
Related Federal Resources
Official Federal Government Web Sites
To better develop a grant proposal, search a department or agency's home page to learn more about its programs and objectives. Some government departments or agencies have web pages specifically designed for grant seekers (see below).
Los Sitios Web Federales en Espanol (Oklahoma Department of Libraries)
Find federal websites in Spanish that describe programs of connected to key U.S. government departments and agencies, including Commerce, Small Business Administration, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Grants.gov (Department of Health and Human Services)
This is a pilot site for the federal government's e-grants initiative (FedBizOps) which will provide potential grant applicants with a single location for finding federal funding opportunities, applying for and managing federal grants, as well as facilitating "the quality, coordination, effectiveness and efficiency of operations for grant makers and grant recipients."
U.S. Business Advisor
Small Business Administration Web page intended to provide business with one-stop access to federal government information, services, and transactions. Covers business development, laws and regulations, international trade, work place issues, and buying and selling.
Government Gateway (for State and Local Governments)
Thousands of grants and loans are made by the federal government to state and local governments and other public entities. This site provides one-stop access to grants management and federal assistance programs, in addition to resources about acquisition and procurement, financial management, and taxes.
Links to federal department and agency information and services to assist nonprofit organizations. For example:
- Education: Funding Opportunities
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Housing and Urban Development: Funding
- National Institute of Health Grants
- Transportation: Grants Information & Policy
Federal Register (National Archives)
The Federal Register, printed each business day, publishes updates and notices affecting federal assistance programs. Scroll down to check current year. Scroll down further to enter Catalog program number, or subject/keyword "AND CFDA" in search terms box.
Federal Funding Report (House Information Resources)
Weekly compilation of items published in the Federal Register that affect federal domestic assistance programs. The summary consists of three parts: (1) Federal Register Summary, (2) Early Warning Grants Report, and (3) Disaster Loan Applications.
OMB Grants Management Web Site (Office of Management & Budget)
OMB establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules. OMB Circulars are cited in Catalog program descriptions: some program descriptions on the Internet version of the Catalog link directly to OMB Circulars required for program management, others just give OMB Circular numbers, which may then be printed from this website.
Private and Corporate Funding Sources
The Foundation Center
Gateway to information about private funding sources (including national, state, community, and corporate foundations), the grantseeking process, guidelines on writing a grant proposal, addresses of state libraries with grants reference collections, and links to other useful websites. The Center maintains a comprehensive database on foundations, produces print, web, and CD-ROM directories and guides, conducts research and publishes studies in the field, and offers a variety of training and educational seminars.
- Proposal Writing Online "Short Course" on developing a good grant proposal.
- Foundation Finder Search by name for address and basic information about the more than 61,000 private and community foundations in the U.S. Includes links to IRS filings and foundation websites.
- Foundation Center Cooperating Collections, listings by state Free funding information centers in libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit resource centers that provide a core collection of Foundation Center publications and a variety of supplementary materials and services in areas useful to grant seekers.
Grantsmanship Center (TGCI)
In addition to useful links to government resources, this site includes information on community foundations and international funding. Community Foundations (by state) are often particularly interested in local projects and maintain diverse grants programs. TGCI also offers publications, training, and workshops in proposal writing, grantsmanship, and fundraising for nonprofit organizations and government.
Federal Funds Express (House Information Resources)
This resource page, compiled for congressional offices, covers public and private web links under a variety of funding categories, including:
- Where to Find Federal Grants
- How to Apply for Grants
- Help with Managing the Grant Process
- Nonprofit Charitable Organizations
- Corporate Charitable Giving
- Small Business Resources
- International Trade & Development
- State & Local Government Funding Resources
- Disaster Assistance
- Money for College
- Scholarships—Specific Fields of Study
- Internships/Summer Employment
- Computers for Schools and Communities
- Other Educational Resources
- Surplus & Unclaimed Property
- Consumer Protection
- Demographic and Statistical Resources
- Other Helpful Resources
Geographic Tracking of Federal Funds:
Two U.S. Census Bureau publications are the federal government's primary printed documents detailing the geographic distribution of federal monies to states, counties, and congressional districts.
Federal Aid to States (FAS) U.S. Department of Census
FAS details actual expenditures of federal grant funds to state and local governments only. Figures are presented to the state level by program area and agency.
Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR) U.S. Department of Census
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.