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).

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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.
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What Is a Grant Forecast?

Sunny with a slight chance of competition? Cold and gloomy thanks to freezing funds?

While federal grant applicants may at times face such varying climates, the grant forecasts we refer to here are previews of potential funding opportunities that a grant-making agency plans to announce in the future.

Applicants can search for grant forecasts just as they would for funding opportunities – by using Grants.gov Search.

How to Search for Grant Forecasts

By checking “Forecasted” under Opportunity Status, searches can be tailored to turn up forecasted opportunities.

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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?

What Is a Grant Manager? (Part 2) Grant Recipients

The grants lifecycle is complicated and requires an array of skills to manage. That is why grant managers are so important. In Part 1 of What Is a Grant Manager? we discussed federal grant managers, and in part 2 we will focus on the staff who manage grants received from federal agencies.

First, the job title “grant manager” is not necessarily the title everyone will have, but to keep it simple we use this term to refer to the grant professionals working to plan, write, implement, and report on federal grants.

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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.

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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]

What Is the OMB’s ‘Uniform Guidance’ for Grants?

With a name like Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called “Uniform Guidance”), you’re unlikely to mistake this government publication for a comic book or romance novel. But, unless you’re a federal grants expert, you may have some difficulty pinning down the Uniform Guidance’s main goal.

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In plain English, the Uniform Guidance is simply a set of authoritative rules and regulations about federal grants from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This “guidance” is designed to keep everyone in the federal grants community – Congress, grant-making agencies, and applicants – on the same page.

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What Is a Research Grant?

Within the realm of federal government grants, research and development grants are some of the most numerous and diverse. What types of research grants does the Federal government support?

Well, if you search for the keyword “research” on the Catalog of Federal and Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Program page, you will receive 811 different federal financial assistance programs that include, to some degree, research. These CFDA programs that include research range from Agricultural and Food Policy Research Centers to Mental Health Research Grants to Welfare Reform Research, Evaluations, and National Studies.

Today, when you search for “research” on Grants.gov, there are over 1,500 open grant opportunities! (You will probably want to narrow your search for federal grants).

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What Is a Land Grant? (Part 2): Grants to Individuals for Homesteading and Settlement

A land grant is an award of land to a recipient with the requirement that a public purpose, as defined by legislation, is served through the grant. Last week, we covered land grant colleges and universities, which are great examples of land grants achieving lasting benefits in the United States of America.

Land Grants for “Homesteading”

The passage of the Homestead Act of 1862 established a land grant program that allowed individuals, both U.S. citizens and intended citizens, to apply for 160-acre plots of land. “Homesteading” was a term referring to the process of moving west onto land in unsettled territories and cultivating the land.

Continue reading What Is a Land Grant? (Part 2): Grants to Individuals for Homesteading and Settlement