Federal Grants

Finding and applying for grants can be challenging. Below, you will find helpful information on how to write a successful grant application as well as information on key funding sources.

For additional information, please download and print "Federal grants: Information, opportunities and helpful hints for Nebraska's Third District."

You can also contact my Grand Island office for additional questions about federal grant opportunities. 

How to Find Information

  1. 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.
  2. If eligible, search for programs in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). It includes grants, loans, business and nonfinancial help.
  3. Contact the federal office given in CFDA program description: if a state or local office is indicated, check the list of Regional Agency Offices for addresses.
  4. Go to the federal websites given in each CFDA program description for more information and for state administering agencies responsible for managing funding.
  5. Check current federal grants opportunities at Grants.gov, obtain a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, register with System for Award Management (SAM), and apply online (links and instructions given at the website).
  6. Search foundations for project funding: use the Foundation Center website or Foundation Center Cooperating Collections in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
  7. 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.

Key Federal Grant Sources

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 (NOFAs) 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 Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, registering with Central Contractor Registration (CCR), and registering with 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 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. Includes a detailed subject index; browsable listing of programs by applicant eligibility; and Appendix VI, Developing and Writing Grant Proposals. Appendix IV gives state, local and regional offices of federal agencies: if the CFDA program description refers to a state or regional Information contact, grantseekers should contact them before applying for funding to obtain the most up-to-date information. 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 (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.

Related Federal Resources

A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies (General Services Administration)
To better develop a grant proposal, search a department or agency's Home Page to learn more about its programs and objectives. The site USA.gov also links to Government Benefits, Grants and Financial Aid.

Homeland Security State Contacts & Grants Award Information (Dept. of Homeland Security)
Click on map for state allocations and contact information. Most Homeland Security non-disaster grant programs are designated for state and local governments and specific entities such as colleges, etc. Unsolicited applications from individuals are generally not accepted. Includes Urban Area Security Initiative, Citizens Corps, Medical Response System, Operation Stonegarden (border security), Infrastructure Protection. Programs for firefighters may be found at Assistance to Firefighters.

USA.gov for Business (GSA)
Includes contracting with the federal government, international trade and exporting, and small business. See also financial assistance links at Business.gov and the Small Business Administration websites.

USA.gov for Nonprofits (GSA)
Links to federal department and agency information and service for nonprofit organizations, including fundraising and outreach, grants, loans and other assistance, laws and regulations, management and operations, online services, registration and licensing, and tax information. The White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships includes information on Grants and Resources.

Student Aid on the Web (Department of Education)
Financial assistance for education beyond high school is generally "needs-based" and often includes loans and work-study, in addition to some grants. College and university applications, websites, and brochures usually include financial aid information for prospective and incoming students.

Government grants are not direct assistance to individuals, but fund state and local programs providing help to those in need. This online screening site can be used to identify state and local government benefits and how to apply. Covers direct payments, loans, insurance, training, or other services.  

FTC Consumer Alert (Federal Trade Commission)
The FTC warns consumers to beware of paying "processing fees" for information that is available free to the public. Ads claiming federal grants are available for home repairs, home business, unpaid bills, or other personal expenses are often a scam.

OMB Grants Management  (Office of Management and Budget)
OMB establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules.  OMB Circulars  are cited in Catalog program descriptions and may be printed out.

Tracking Federal Funds

USAspending.gov (OMB)
A free, searchable database of federal government spending based upon Census and General Services Administration statistical data.  Grants 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.