What Is a Block Grant? [Updated]

A block grant is a specific type of federal financial assistance for a broadly defined function. Before getting into the nuance of block grants, it may be helpful to know what we mean by the terms “federal financial assistance” and “grant.”

Block grants are primarily awarded by the federal government to U.S. state or territory governments, although some block grants are awarded directly to local governments (e.g., Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Entitlement Program to cities and counties on a formula basis). The block grant recipients then implement the programs within those broadly defined functions (i.e., the purpose & parameters defined by legislation).

Continue reading What Is a Block Grant? [Updated]

What Is the Office of Management and Budget? (And How Does It Relate to Grants?)

What is blog series logoThe Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is an Executive Branch office that oversees the implementation of the President of the United States’ vision across government agencies (WhiteHouse.gov – OMB).

This relates to the grant programs implemented by federal agencies, how they are managed, their budgets, and the forms applicants complete when applying for a grant.
Continue reading What Is the Office of Management and Budget? (And How Does It Relate to Grants?)

What Is Federal Financial Assistance?

Federal financial assistance is the transfer of anything of value, most often money, from a federal agency to a non-federal entity. In the most general sense, federal financial assistance is a tool the government uses to serve public purposes as defined by Congress.

Federal financial assistance is a very broad term, and it can take on a variety of more precise forms. One of the most common forms is a grant, which we write about quite often on this blog. Continue reading What Is Federal Financial Assistance?

Where to Find Federal Grant Applicant Resources on University Websites (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our series, we introduced the idea of seeking out free online applicant resources from federal government agency websites. In this post, we turn our attention to resources published on university websites.

To be sure, your best bet is always to seek out resources from the federal agency that posted the grant for which you are applying. But helpful tips and guidance can also be found elsewhere. Continue reading Where to Find Federal Grant Applicant Resources on University Websites (Part 2)

Where to Find Free Online Resources for Federal Grant Applicants (Part 1)

So you have zeroed in on a federal grant opportunity that is aligned with your organization’s mission using Grants.gov Search. You’ve previewed the grant application’s forms. You’ve taken notes on the range of information you will need to provide in the grant application. Now, you think, “If only I had some guidance, or some resources to help me stay on track.”

The federal grant application process can be daunting, but a lot of folks have been in your shoes and have produced helpful – and free – online resources. Continue reading Where to Find Free Online Resources for Federal Grant Applicants (Part 1)

What Is a Grant Manager? (Part 1) Federal Agencies

To make sure grants are awarded and implemented effectively, grant managers perform a wide range of duties. As a result, the job title “grant manager” can refer to many different job responsibilities depending on the size and type of an organization as well as the size and type of a grant.

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Before distinguishing between specific types of organizations or grants, there is a higher-level distinction to make when answering the question, “What is a grant manager?” These grant professionals, after all, can be found at both grant-making organizations and at grant recipient organizations.

Continue reading What Is a Grant Manager? (Part 1) Federal Agencies

4 Ways to Learn Grants with Grants.gov [Video]

Today, Grants.gov supports a growing community of applicants, grantors, and others interested in learning more about federal grant eligibility.

Continue reading 4 Ways to Learn Grants with Grants.gov [Video]

Grant Writing Basics: Look for the Little Details

Planning and completing a grant application is a lot of work, so in the rush to meet the application deadline it can be easy to overlook little details. That is why it is important to identify all requirements listed in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) near the beginning of the process (even if it does not seem like a big deal).

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Examples of “Little” Details (that are actually important)

These are specific examples of requirements for certain FOAs—these are NOT requirements for all grant applications.

Continue reading Grant Writing Basics: Look for the Little Details

Gift Cards for Grants? No, Thank You.

Know this: the Federal Government will never call you and promise you a grant in exchange for any form of payment, whether it’s a gift card, a small monthly payment, or a one-time fee.

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Look out for scam artists who call and pose as government employees – including people who claim to work for Grants.gov.

Some may even use a fake Facebook page in an attempt to convince you that they are legitimate. They are not legitimate; don’t give them your money.

Continue reading Gift Cards for Grants? No, Thank You.

What Is a Grant? [Updated]

Editor’s Note: We updated & expanded this article to create a more complete answer to the question—what is a grant? The original publication on May 4, 2016, was our first entry in the ‘What Is…” series, which makes grants more accessible by discussing the grant lifecycle and grant types.

A grant is one of the government’s tools for funding ideas and projects to provide public services, stimulate the economy, and benefit the general public. Grants can be awarded for a wide-variety of activities, such as innovative research, recovery initiatives, infrastructure building, or any of the other hundreds of funding programs in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).

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Examples of U.S. federal grant programs include those that support justice and law enforcement, social services and health research, and research in science and technology.

The process of successfully serving the public through grants, though, can be quite complex. Grant programs originate from laws, and then are administered by the appropriate federal agency. For example:

Continue reading What Is a Grant? [Updated]