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Federal Funds for Organizations That Help Those in Need
If you are in the business of caring for people in need, you need money to do your job. Chances are that if you had a little more money, you'd be able to help more people and do your work better. That's where Federal grants come into play. If you run an organization to help those in need, you may be eligible to receive Federal money through grant programs.
This booklet provides some basic information about the Federal grants process. It also lists close to 200 programs that may interest your organization. Grants programs are organized into general categories ranging from programs for elders and the homeless to those that serve at-risk youth and people making the transition from welfare to work.
How Federal Agencies Use Grant Money
The Federal government uses two kinds of grants:
Therefore, you can apply directly to the Federal government or you can apply for funds to an entity that distributes money it receives from the Federal government.
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Identifying Federal Funding Opportunities
How can our organization find out about funding opportunities?
First, you must become familiar with what's available. The following list contains general information on close to 200 programs operated by multiple Federal agencies. Use this list as a starting point. If you find a program that interests you, you can get more information about when and how you can apply for funds from the agency contact in each listing or from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, or CFDA. To use the CFDA, locate the CFDA number at the end of each listing. Enter that number into the "program number" box on the CFDA's website (http://www.cfda.gov/public/faprs.htm). Agency websites also contain information on funding opportunities. In particular, faith-based and community groups should check for information on the website for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (www.fbci.gov), as well as on the websites for the Agency Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Many States and cities also have liaisons that can help faith-based and community applicants identify grant opportunities.
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We've found some programs we're interested in. What's next?
All Federal grants have to be announced to the public. These announcements (sometimes called a "Program Announcement," "Request for Proposal," "Notice of Funding Availability," or "Solicitation for Grant Applications") are the government's way of looking for charities and other groups to provide a Federally-funded service. Each grant announcement will contain instructions on how to apply, including where to get an application packet, information the application should contain, the date the application is due, and agency contact information.
Grant announcements are issued throughout the year. Unfortunately, there is no single document that contains every Federal grant announcement and no uniform format for these announcements, although the President's Administration is working to change this. In the future, it hopes to have all Federal agencies publish grant announcements electronically, in a single format and on a single website (www.fedbizopps.gov).
Currently, most grant announcements are listed in the Federal Register, a daily publication that can be accessed on the Internet (http://www.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html) and at major public libraries. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (www.cfda.gov) also contains information about grant announcements. You can also call the agency contact identified in the list that follows and ask that person how you can get a copy of the grant announcement.
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How can our organization get more help?
Most Federal agencies have experts who are available to help organizations apply for and manage their grants. Applicants should call the contact identified in the grant announcement or contact an agency's regional office. These agency staff are available to answer questions over the phone. They may also refer applicants to local or nearby technical assistance workshops or to organizations that are under contract with the Federal government to provide this kind of assistance. A listing of agencies' regional and local offices can be found on the CFDA's website (http://www.cfda.gov/public/cat-app4-index.htm).
Assistance may also be available from over thirty organizations funded by the Department of Health and Human Services's Compassion Capital Fund. These organizations help small faith-based and community organizations learn about the grants process. They may also help small groups with other challenges, such as training volunteers and staff or expanding the reach of the services they provide. They do this at no cost to your organization. You can learn more about the Compassion Capital Fund and the organizations it funds at www.fbci.gov or www.hhs.gov/fbci.
In addition, for general questions about writing a grant proposal, many state governments and cities provide grantwriting workshops, as do a number of nonprofit organizations and foundations.
Also, be sure and check the information provided in the brochure Guidance to Faith-Based and Community Organizations on Partnering with the Federal Government. That brochure is available directly from the White House Office, as well as at www.fbci.gov. It addresses some of the questions that are frequently asked by faith-based and community organizations that are interested in receiving government funds.
Finally, be sure to visit www.fbci.gov and the 7 Cabinet Centers' web sites regularly for new and useful information on navigating the grants process.
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