Grants and Federal Domestic Assistance
Guidance and key resources to help eligible grantseekers find information on federal grants, loans, and nonfinancial assistance for projects, as well as on private funding.
Prepared by the Congressional Research Service for Members of Congress, updated April 2011.
- How Best to Find Information
- Key Federal Funding Sources
- Related Federal Sources
- Private and Corporate Funding
- Tracking Federal Funds
- 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 a DUNS number, register with Central Contractor Registration CCR number, 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.
- Learn how to write grant proposals: follow CFDA’s Developing and Writing Grant Proposals, or take the free online Foundation Center Proposal Writing Short Course.
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 DUNS (Dun and Bradstreet) number and registering at Grants.gov to apply and to track applications. For full federal program descriptions, see CFDA below.
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.
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 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.
Key Federal Funding Sources
A-Z Index of U.S. Departments and Agencies (General Services Administration)
The Foundation Center
Grant Resources by State (Grantsmanship Center)
USAspending.gov (Office of Management and Budget)
A free, searchable database of federal government spending based upon Census and General Services Administration statistical data. Grants (Assistance tab) 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 is provided for state and county levels.