Distinguishing Among Different Types of Federal Awards, Including Block Grants, Cooperative Agreements & More

Over the last three years, we have published a wide range of blog articles that explain the ins and outs of federal grants. In some of these posts, as part of our “What Is…” series, we define key terms that applicants might encounter when browsing opportunities from federal grant-making agencies.

In this post, we review the various types of federal funding opportunities and provide a link for readers to want to learn more about a specific type of federal award.

 

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What is an Award?

A federal award is a legal instrument through which you (i.e., an applicant) are awarded a grant agreement or cooperative agreement by a federal grant-making agency (i.e., a grantor). Click here to go deeper.

 

Continue reading Distinguishing Among Different Types of Federal Awards, Including Block Grants, Cooperative Agreements & More

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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Continue reading What Is a Block Grant? [Updated]

What Is a Block Grant?

Click here to read the updated “What Is a Block Grant?” post.


The term “block grant” refers to grant programs that provide federal assistance for broadly defined functions, such as community development or social services. Block grants allow the grant recipient more discretion than other grants in determining how to use the funds to meet a broader program goal.

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Federal block grants are typically for U.S. state or territory governments and allow these government entities to determine specifically how to allocate and spend the funding. Of course, there are rules and guidelines for implementation that vary with each grant program as defined in the authorizing statute. Continue reading What Is a Block Grant?