What Is a Block Grant? [Updated]

Note: This blog post was originally published in 2017 and updated on January 21, 2020.

A block grant is a specific type of federal financial assistance for a broadly defined function. (Editor’s note: Before getting into the nuance of block grants, you may want to review the terms “federal financial assistance” and “grant.”)

Block grants are often 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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How Grants.gov Is Preparing for SAM’s Rollout of the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)

Last July, we wrote about SAM.gov’s planned introduction of the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), which is currently scheduled to replace the DUNS Number around the end of 2020. You can get the most up-to-date information about the UEI rollout on the GSA’s Unique Entity Identifier Update page.

In this post, we begin preparing Grants.gov applicants for what the UEI rollout will look like within the Grants.gov system – particularly, what users will see when working on an application or taking other actions within Workspace.

Fields formerly labeled “DUNS” within Grants.gov will now be labeled “UEI” starting in March 2020

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Grants.gov Mobile App Update: Enhanced Notification Options

Note: This blog post was updated on January 3, 2020 to indicate that the latest Grants.gov mobile app update has been released.

The new Grants.gov Mobile App Update, now available, brings several improvements to notification management. (Don’t have the app? Download it today on Google Play or Apple’s App Store.)

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What Is a Federal Award?

This post was originally published in 2017 and updated on January 2, 2020.

When you hear the word “award,” do you envision the federal government conferring funding to you to implement a public-serving project? Some of you grant professionals did, but it is understandable if you thought of this year’s Best Film, the league MVP debate, or your child’s T-ball participation trophy.

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Federal Funding Spotlight – Ten of the Most Viewed FOAs of 2019

Every month, hundreds of federal funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) are published on Grants.gov. The programs represented range widely across categories like space science, healthcare, law enforcement, job training, human rights, climate change and much, much more.

In this post, we highlight ten of the most-viewed funding opportunity announcements from 2019. (Note: Some of these opportunities have already closed and are no longer accepting applications.)

Federal Funding Spotlight

These ten FOAs are reflective of the vast array of opportunities published on Grants.gov every week. If you’d like to keep up with the funding opportunity announcements posted on Grants.gov, you can create saved searches for each area of interest. You will be notified when an opportunity matching your interest is published.

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What Is a Budget Narrative?

The What is… Blog Series is designed to serve as an entry point for readers who are new to federal grants, or who might just need a refresher. Click here to read more posts in this series.

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What Is a Budget Narrative?

A budget narrative provides explanations about line items from the grant applicant’s standard budget. In federal grant applications, a budget narrative is sometimes called a budget justification or a budget detail.

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OMB Issues Version 1 of the Standard Grants Management Data Elements

The Office of Management and Budget recently issued Version 1.0 of the Standard Grants Management Data Elements. The data elements had previously been made available for public comment from November 2018 to February 2019.

As part of the announcement, OMB, on behalf of the Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Results-Oriented Accountability for Grants Executive Steering Committee (ESC), also published an infosheet explaining how the  Standard Grants Management Data Elements fits within the broader federal government goal of “maximizing the value of grant funding by applying a risk-based, data-driven framework that balances compliance requirements with demonstrating successful results for the American taxpayer.”

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Two Ways to Save Your Grants.gov Search Queries

Grants.gov users now have two ways to create saved searches and receive notifications about relevant, new opportunity announcements, whether they are sitting behind a desk or they are out and about with only a phone.

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Resource: GSA Publishes Q&A About Upcoming Entity ID Rollout

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently published a set of questions fielded from users, along with answers, about upcoming changes to the unique entity identifier used to do business with the government.

Beginning in December 2020, the D-U-N-S® number will be replaced by a “new, non-proprietary identifier” requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management. This new identifier is being called the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), or the Entity ID.

Q&A Resource

Learn more about the Entity ID rolloutBelow are some examples from the new GSA Q&A resource:

Q: Will the GSA automatically assign the new UEI or does the vendor have to take action to register?
A: Existing registrants will be automatically assigned a new UEI. New registrants will be assigned a UEI as part of their SAM registration.

Q: For entities that receive a subgrant from a recipient of a federal award, will they be required to obtain a unique identifier from SAM.gov?
A: Yes. Sub-awardees will need to obtain a UEI to adhere to regulations. Instead of going to D&B for a DUNS number like they do today, the sub-awardee would go to SAM.gov to request a UEI. They will not be required to complete the full entity registration process.

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