Grants and Federal Domestic Assistance
Guidance and key resources to help eligible grantseekers find information on federal grants, loans, and nonfinancial assistance for projects, as well as on private funding. Prepared by the Congressional Research Service for Members of Congress, updated March 2021.
How Best to Find Information
- 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 Loans may also be of help.
- If eligible, search for program information at SAM.gov Assistance Listings. Includes grants, loans, business and nonfinancial help.
- Contact federal office given in each SAM.gov Assistance Listing program description.
- Go to federal websites given in each SAM.gov Assistance Listing program description.
- 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). Additional notices appear at FedConnect.net.
- Search foundations for project funding: use the Foundation Center Web site or Foundation Center Funding Information Network resources in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
- Learn how to write grant proposals: Take the free online Foundation Center Proposal Writing Short Course or see other tips and sample proposals at Grantspace's How Do I Write a Grant Proposal?
Key Federal Funding Sources
Assistance Listings (CFDA) at SAM.gov (General Services Administration)
Official descriptions of more than 2,200 federal assistance programs (including grants, loans, and other financial and nonfinancial assistance) can be found on SAM.gov. The website, produced by the General Services Administration (GSA), is currently in beta, and it houses federal assistance listings previously found on the now-retired Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Each federal assistance program has a corresponding CFDA program number; these CFDA numbers are still used as numerical program identifiers. Programs are searchable at the "Assistance Listings" domain at SAM.gov; descriptions are updated by departments and agencies, and they cover authorizing legislation, objectives, and eligibility and compliance requirements. The site will eventually be renamed SAM.gov. For current notices of funding availability, see Grants.gov or FedConnect.net.
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 (NOFA) posted in the last 7 days; access emails 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 and registering with System for Award Management (SAM) and registering with Grants.gov to apply and to track applications. For full federal program descriptions, see CFDA below. See also website FedConnect.net for additional grants and contracts opportunities.
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.
A-Z Index of U.S. 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 Loans.
USA.gov for Businesses and Nonprofits (GSA)
Includes contracting with the U.S. government, international trade and exporting, and small business. See also financial assistance links at the Small Business Administration website.
Official website posting business, contracting, and procurement opportunities with the federal government. Useful information for vendors, including FBO Demonstration Videos and Frequently Asked Questions, appear under the Getting Started tab. Search options include an advanced search form for more targeted filtering of current opportunities.
Student Aid on the Web (Dept. of Education)
Information on funding education beyond high school, including grants, loans, and work-study assistance to qualified students.
Benefits.gov (via Department of Labor)
Includes information on over 1,000 government assistance programs, and how to apply. Covers direct payment, loan, 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 Guidance (Office of Management and Budget)
OMB establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules.
Private & Corporate Funding Sources
Candid (formerly the Foundation Center) Grants Space
Gateway to information about private funding sources, the grant seeking process, guidelines on writing a grant proposal, addresses of state libraries with grants reference collections, and links to other useful Internet websites. The Center maintains a comprehensive database on foundations; produces print and electronic directories and guides; conducts research and publishes studies in the field; and offers a variety of training and educational seminars.
Grant Resources by State (Grantsmanship Center)
Click on state map to find links to information about a state’s foundations, community foundations, corporate giving programs and the state’s home page.
There are more than 750 community foundations in the U.S., which are grantmaking public charities dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. The Council on Foundations has a listing of community foundations by state.
Also see these Congressional Research Service reports available to the public: