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 1,800) administered by the 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, there’s always the online version.
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).
Who is Eligible to Apply for Grants?
The program’s entry in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance will list which organizations or individuals are eligible to apply for the grants. The CFDA entry for all programs will also explain:
- How grant money can be used
- How to apply including detailed contact information
- How applications will be reviewed, judged and awarded
- What is expected of successful grantees including reports, audits and performance standards
Along with the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, the federal agencies themselves are great sources of grant availability information.