What Is a Land Grant? (Part 2): Grants to Individuals for Homesteading and Settlement

This post was originally published in 2016 and updated on December 4, 2019.

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.

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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

What Is a Land Grant? (Part 1): Land Grant Colleges and Universities

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.

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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

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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What Is a Research Grant?

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.

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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.

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What Is a Need Statement?

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.

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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.

What Is a Government Contract? And How Does a Contract Differ from a Grant?

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.

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What Is the Office of Management and Budget? (And How Does It Relate to Federal Grants?)

This post was originally published on May 1, 2017 and updated on July 23, 2019.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is an Executive Branch office that oversees the implementation of the President of the United States’ vision across government agencies (WhiteHouse.gov – OMB). This relates to the grant programs implemented by federal agencies and affects how they are managed, their budgets, and the forms applicants complete when applying for a grant.

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What Is Federal Financial Assistance? [Updated]

This post was originally published on April 17, 2017 and updated on July 3, 2019.

Federal financial assistance is the transfer of anything of value, most often money, from a federal agency to a non-federal entity.

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In the most general sense, federal financial assistance is a tool the government uses to serve public purposes as defined by Congress.

Federal financial assistance is a very broad term, and it can take on a variety of more precise forms.

  • One of the most common forms is a grant, which we write about quite often on this blog.
  • Other examples of federal financial assistance include cooperative agreements, donations of property, direct appropriations, food commoditiesloans, interest subsidies, and insurance.
  • Each type of federal financial assistance serves different purposes and has different legal and regulatory frameworks that govern how that specific assistance can be used.

Continue reading What Is Federal Financial Assistance? [Updated]

What Is a CFDA Number?

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), an E-Gov initiative managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), is a list of all federal financial assistance and nonfinancial assistance programs available to a variety of applicants.

The CFDA, now called Assistance Listings on beta.SAM.gov, helps users find general information about the assistance, identify program objectives, eligibility requirements, and links to current opportunities on Grants.gov related to a particular assistance listing.

CFDA numbers are the system for identifying and sorting the 2,000+ federal programs. Each CFDA number contains five digits and appears in the following format: ##.### (e.g., 10.001 or 98.102).

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GSA recently moved the CFDA from the now retired CFDA.gov to beta.SAM.gov, and it is now referred to as Assistance Listings.

To search the Assistance Listings, go to beta.SAM.gov, select the “Assistance Listings” option from the search drop-down menu, then type a keyword or number and click the Search button. Here’s a direct link to the Assistance Listings as well.

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What Is a Subaward and a Subrecipient?

To understand the definitions of “subaward” and “subrecipient”, it helps to think in terms of a grant that has just been won. If you are not sure what an “award” is, start with the What Is an Award? post then come back.

Rather than the grantor (i.e., the grant-making agency) entrusting just one entity with carrying out a federal program, sometimes multiple awardees will shoulder the responsibilities.

In such cases, one entity – the one who submitted the grant application – will serve as a pass-through to the partnering entities, which are called subrecipients.

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