|Federal Government Grants: No Free Lunch|
How the federal grant process works
Program or Project Budget Approval
Through the annual federal budget process, Congress passes laws making money -- lots of it -- available to the various government agencies for doing major projects designed to assist some sector of the public. The projects may be suggested by the agencies, Members of Congress, the President, states, cities, or members of the public. But, in the end, Congress decides which programs get how much money.
Finding and Applying for Grants
Once the federal budget is approved, funds for the grant projects start to become available and are "announced" in the Federal Register throughout the year. Grant projects that have been announced will appear in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). The CFDA is a listing of all grant and assistance programs (currently over 1,420) administered by 57 federal agencies. Best of all, searching the CFDA for grants is free. Most larger public libraries and any college library will have a current copy, and the CFDA can be found online at: http://www.cfda.gov/
Newly available grants programs are also announced in the Weekly Federal Funding Report, published by the House of Representatives and in the Federal Register as a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).
Here is one of the new grant programs as listed in the Weekly Federal Funding Report for May 8, 2000:
DEPARTMENT: Housing and Urban Development
|CFDA#: 14.854||AMOUNT: $22,000,000|
|PROGRAM TITLE: Public and Indian Housing Drug Elimination Program|
FR Date: 05/11/00
|PAGE: 30501||DEADLINE: 07/10/00|
CONTACT: Tracy C. Outlaw
|TELEPHONE: 303 675-1600|
|SUMMARY: Applications are invited for Public and Indian Housing Drug Elimination Program, for fiscal year 2000.|
This tells us that Congress has budgeted $22 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop and implement a "Public and Indian Housing Drug Elimination Program."
Eligible persons or organizations with plans for a project they feel will in some way contribute to the overall "Public and Indian Housing Drug Elimination Program" may apply to HUD for part of the $22 million -- a grant -- to fund their project.
Who is "eligible" to apply? By looking up the program's entry (CFDA#: 14.854) in the online Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, you can see that "public housing agencies (PHAs) and tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs)," can apply for money to pay for projects to help in, "reducing/eliminating drug-related crime."
The CFDA entry for all programs also explains:
- How grant money can be used
- How to apply including detailed contact information
- How applications will be reviewed and awarded
- What is expected of successful grantees including reports, audits and performance standards
The government agencies themselves are also excellent sources for finding grants.