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Fundraising & Development

Government Grants

Like foundations, grants from Federal, State or municipal governments tend to be very specific in focus. You will have to review grant guidelines carefully to be sure that first your organization and second your program will qualify for the grant.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the largest grant-making agency, awarding approximately 60 percent of Federal grant dollars. HHS manages more than 300 grant programs designed to promote research in basic and applied science, public health, income support, child development and health and social services. In Fiscal Year 2004, HHS awarded more than 75,000 grants totaling $258 billion.

HHS awards two types of grants: mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory grants are those that a Federal agency is required by statute to award to States. Discretionary grants are those that permit the Federal government, according to specific authorizing legislation, to exercise judgment, or “discretion,” in selecting the applicant/recipient organization, through a competitive grant process. Discretionary grant awards fund health and social science research and social and health services throughout the country.

Each Federal agency, or operating division, has grants and program offices that jointly administer grant programs. These offices are the best sources of information on HHS grants. Program offices are responsible for the technical and/or scientific aspects of grant programs. Grants offices are responsible for issuing grant awards and overseeing the business and financial management of grant awards.

To find out more about Federal grants you can visit one Web site,, to access the annual grant funds available across the Federal government. This Web site provides:

  • A single source for finding grant opportunities.
  • A standardized manner of locating and learning more about funding opportunities.
  • A single, secure and reliable source for applying for Federal grants online.
  • A simplified grant application process with reduction of paperwork.
  • A unified interface for all agencies to announce their grant opportunities, and for all grant applicants to find and apply for those opportunities.

In addition to simplifying the grant application process, also creates avenues for consolidation and best practices within each grant-making agency.