Federal Assistance Basics: Part 2
See Related Article: Government Aid & Money - No Grant Needed
All of the discretionary grants, loans, payments, and other forms of assistance discussed in last week's article are contained and explained in a massive document called the "Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance" or CFDA. From huge urban renewal programs conducted by local governments to the innovative projects of private individuals, the search for government assistance starts in the pages of the CFDA.
The CFDA contains the objectives, eligibility requirements, application and award process, contact information, levels of funding available, and other important details of each assistance program.
The CFDA Online
There are two main online sources for researching the full CFDA:
Services Administration's CFDA Search
This is a simple (but fast) search-only interface into the CFDA. The GSA's interface accesses the most current and complete revision (currently July 7, 1999) of the CFDA. To use the GSA's CFDA search, just type a related word or phrase into the "Search for:" box, set the other options and see what comes up.
For example, click on the GSA link above (The page will load in a new browser window.), enter "farming" in the "Search for:" box and click the "Submit Query" button. You should soon see a list of about 14 projects and programs to assist farmers and the farm industry. Each project listed links to a simple text page full of information about the project.
The Department of
Health and Human Services CFDA Index
HHS provides a good looking and easy to use indexed interface of the December 1998 edition of the CFDA. Using the HHS site is self-explanatory, but first-timers should read the Introduction.
The Subject or Topic Index is probably the quickest way to find applicable programs.
Descriptions of each program are also indexed with links to the various categories of information. A very nice touch.
The HHS site also provides listings of deleted, new, and changed assistance programs, as well as links to other related Government Web sites.
Hard Copy CFDA
The CFDA is published annually in June with an update coming out each December. Copies are given free of charge to all local governments and libraries.You can also obtain (for a fee) a copy of the CFDA on tape, floppy disk, or hard copy from the Government Printing Office at the address below:
Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog Staff (WKU)
General Services Administration
Ground Fl., Reporters Bldg.
300 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, DC 20407
Warning! No Free Rides
Please don't make the all too common mistake of believing that the CFDA is full of "Free Money From the Government" programs. The application processes alone are difficult and often expensive. City Governments employ entire departments just to find and apply for Block Grant programs. Those who do land grants are expected to perform according to schedule, spend all the money they are given, and account for every cent of it. In addition, all projects and procedures are subject to Government requirements, inspections, and audits.
Maybe we can help each other. Share your needs and successes on our public forum.
Books From Borders on the Federal Grant Process
Funded: A Complete Guide to Proposal Writing
by Mary S. Hall
The standby beginning guide to proposal writing for many years. Paperback
to NIH Grant Programs
by Samuel M. Schwartz
A very complete guide to the many grants offered by the National Institutes of Health. Hardcover