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).
Continue reading What Is a Block Grant? [Updated]
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.
Continue reading What Is a Federal Award?
This post was originally published in 2016 and updated on January 15, 2020.
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. In Part 1, 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
This post was originally published in 2016 and updated on November 19, 2019.
“Land grant” is a term you may have heard before, especially if you grew up near a state college or university that received land or funding as a result of one of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts. Before we begin our grant history lesson, let’s define what a land grant is.
A grant is the transfer of anything of value from the Federal government to a non-federal entity to carry out a public purpose authorized by U.S. law. So, a “land grant” is an award of land, instead of money, to a recipient with the requirement that a public purpose, as defined by legislation, is served through the grant.
Continue reading What Is a Land Grant? (Part 1): Land Grant Colleges and Universities
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.
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.
Continue reading What Is a Budget Narrative?
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.”
Continue reading OMB Issues Version 1 of the Standard Grants Management Data Elements
This post was originally published on December 6, 2016 and updated on October 7, 2019.
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?
When you search for “research” on Grants.gov, there are currently over 1,600 open grant opportunities! Each of these diverse assistance programs and grant opportunities are legislatively authorized federal assistance programs that federal grant-making agencies use to support research.
What do you mean by “research”?
A simple definition of research is the “careful study that is done to find and report new knowledge about something” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). While many of us may picture scientists in white coats performing lab experiments, the range of research grants is far wider.
Continue reading What Is a Research Grant?
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.
Below 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.
Continue reading Resource: GSA Publishes Q&A About Upcoming Entity ID Rollout
The What is… Blog Series is designed to serve as a gentle entry point for readers who are new to federal grants, or who might just need a refresher on a particular term. Previous installments have focused mainly on defining types of federal funding. Here, and in several forthcoming series posts, we will explore terminology within the federal grant application itself, beginning with something that is sometimes called the “heart” of the federal grant proposal – the statement of need, or need(s) statement.
Q: What is a Need Statement?
A need statement outlines a public or community need that the federal grant applicant’s proposed project aims to address.
The need statement may be a few sentences, or a few paragraphs, in length. It is typically one part – a very important part – of the larger project narrative that carries the reader from the defined need into discussion of specifically how the applicant aims to address that need.
“The need statement should … tell a story that conveys the applicant’s knowledge and insight, and demonstrate that the organization understands the issue well enough to address the problem,” reads guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In the context of federal grants, the “problem” can be anything from the need to digitize and preserve historically significant photographs to the need to protect a habitat or an endangered species, or the need to investigate a scientific finding that promises health benefits for people with cancer, or the need to support efforts to re-train workers from fading industries.
The need statement, then, conveys that the applicant is both familiar and equipped to address a problem according to the specifics outlined in the federal agency’s funding opportunity announcement published on Grants.gov.
Want to Go Deeper?
We have devoted a separate blog post focused on how to write a good need statement.
Some federal agencies also publish successful proposals on their website. Dig into these and you will find some great examples of need statements. We recommend starting with the Institute of Museum and Library Services application database.
This post was originally published on May 9, 2018 and updated on August 28, 2019.
We expect to hit some turbulence in this blog post, so we have turned on the proverbial fasten seat belt light.
The seemingly simple question, “What is a government contract?”, requires a complex answer. We have divided this blog post into four sections: (1) basic definitions, (2) five differences between grants and contracts, (3) examples of a grant and contract to illustrate these differences, and (4) resources for more information.
Continue reading What Is a Government Contract? And How Does a Contract Differ from a Grant?