Apply to Government Grants
Government grants are just one of the many different types of federal financial assistance the United States government offers. Grants are provided with the purpose of funding various ideas, programs and communities in order to stimulate the economy and provide public service. There are many different types of government or federal grants, and each has a different purpose and different eligibility requirements. To learn more about federal grants, continue reading the sections below.
What is a grant?
A government grant is a sum of money that is awarded to an eligible individual or organization for a particular reason. The grant is designed and funded by a federal agency in order to support research opportunities, recovery initiatives and more. The most common recipients of a federal grant include state and local governments, researchers, universities and organizations that are planning projects that will benefit the community. Learn more about these opportunities below.
Federal Grant Limitations
It is important to understand that federal grants are not provided to individuals to cover personal expenses or to start a business. The grants are usually administered to organizations or other governments in order to fund programs that promote positive changes in the community. These grants indirectly affect many individuals, as they may be funding programs that provide benefits to the local communities. They are not to be confused with government assistance programs.
Federal grants go through what is referred to as a “grant lifecycle.” This is the process that the federal agency and the beneficiary go through in regard to the awarding of the grant funding.
- Pre-award phase:
This phase includes the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) where the different grant programs are published and announced to the public. In addition, the pre-award phase is where applicants fill out the grant applications. Then, the agency issuing the award reviews all of the applications before deciding which one to choose.
- Award phase:
The award phase encompasses the actual award decisions and announcements that are made. Once all of the applications have been thoroughly reviewed, the federal agency staff determines who will receive the grants. There are multiple checks in place, including having the recommendations reviewed by a series of levels in the federal agencies, in order to ensure that the grant decisions are completely fair and unbiased.
After the grant beneficiaries have been decided on, a Notice of Award (NOA) is sent to the individual or organization that has been selected for the grant. The NOA is a legally binding agreement that must be signed before the funds are administered. It is important to note that signing the NOA means that the beneficiary is agreeing to the terms and conditions of the grant.
- Post-award phase:
The post award phase includes the implementation of the grant, the reporting of the progress, and completing all of the closeout requirements. It is very important that any beneficiaries follow the exact conditions that are associated with receiving the grant money, and during this process, the appropriate utilization of the funding may be monitored by the federal grant agency.
Finding Grant Programs
With so many different grants available for different organizations, it can be very difficult to navigate through all of the different programs in order to find the grants that work best for a particular organization or individual. For the most part, it is generally easiest to search through the various available grants online through a federal grant catalog. There are multiple tools available that allow for specific searches and the filtering of various grants. It is very important to spend an adequate amount of time researching the grants available in order to make an educated decision about which grants to apply to.
Who awards the grants?
There are many different federal agencies that award grants to eligible recipients. These agencies all have specific purposes, and they often provide grants to organizations that promote those similar interests. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor will generally award grants to organizations that promote the welfare of those looking to earn a job, as well as to current employees or retirees by improving their working conditions, protecting their rights and more. As another example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may provide grants to organizations that protect human health and the environment.
Details to Keep in Mind
There may be information available online or in the media that states that “free grants” are available to certain people. Other false information may include that there are government grants available to needy individuals to cover personal expenses, education costs, home repairs and more. Both of these pieces of information are generally false, and they may lead readers to grant scams. It is crucial to ensure that a grant is legitimate and not fraudulent before filling out applications and providing personal information. It is also important to understand that a grant offered by an actual federal agency is not going to ask for a processing fee in order to administer the grant funding.
Government Grants vs. Loans
Often, government grants are confused for government loans. Grants are usually administered to organizations, governments, universities and researchers while loans are provided to various recipients, including individuals and households. In addition, loans vary from grants because the recipients of a government loan must pay the money back and often with interest. Conversely, government grants are not meant to be paid back, as the funding is provided to the recipients in order to provide support for a project or idea.
A few of the loans that are available to eligible recipients include student loans, housing loans, home improvement loans and small business loans. These loans can be a big assistance to individuals who need funding in order to go to college, purchase a home, remodel a home or start up their own business. It is very important to understand that federal loans are different from federal grants so that interested applicants have a good idea of which type of government funding to apply for. Anyone interested in obtaining a government loan must first contact the agency offering the loan in order to gain more information about the program.