I believe we all share the goal of working to improve the quality of life and economic well-being for all of our hard-working families, children, and communities in North Carolina. Every year, the federal government makes federal grant funding available to individuals, nonprofit organizations, local governments, businesses and start-ups, and other groups. My staff and I stand ready to help you and your organization identify, apply, and track federal grant opportunities.

Navigating federal grant opportunities is often a complex task, and my office is committed to helping along the way. This guide provides you with useful information needed to better understand the federal grant world, and I have compiled a few of the key resources available to help you and your organization get fully prepared to apply.

We must all work together to build a stronger and better North Carolina. I look forward to being your strongest advocate in Washington and working with you to deliver results and ensure future prosperity for our state and people. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you need further assistance or if we can be helpful moving forward.

Grants and Federal Domestic Assistance

Guidance and key resources to help eligible grantseekers find information on federal grants, loans, and nonfinancial assistance, as well as on private funding.

Prepared by the Congressional Research Service for the U.S. Senate, updated July 2019.  

How Best to Find Information

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  1. Find out Who is eligible for a Grant? Other government websites may be more suitable for personal needs, student loans, small business assistance, or other business opportunities such as government contracting. The website Government Benefits, Grants, and Financial Aid may also be of help.
  2. If eligible, search for programs at Assistance Listings. Includes grants, loans, business and nonfinancial help.
  3. Contact federal office given in each Assistance Listing program description.
  4. Go to federal websites given in each Assistance Listing program description for more information and for state administering agencies responsible for managing these programs.
  5. Check current federal grants opportunities at Grants.gov, obtain a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, register with System for Award Management (SAM), and apply online (links and instructions given at the website). Additional notices appear at FedConnect.
  6. Search foundations for project funding: use the Foundation Center website or Foundation Information Network resources in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
  7. Learn how to write grant proposals: Take the free online Foundation Center Proposal Writing Short Course, or see other tips and sample proposals at Grantspace’s How Do I Write a Grant Proposal?

Key Federal Funding Sources

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Assistance Listings at beta.SAM.gov   (General Services Administration)
Official descriptions of more than 2,200 federal assistance programs (including grants, loans, and other financial and nonfinancial assistance) can be found on beta.SAM.gov. The website, produced by the General Services Administration (GSA), is currently in beta, and it houses federal assistance listings previously found on the now-retired Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Each federal assistance program has a corresponding CFDA program number; these CFDA numbers are still used as numerical program identifiers. Programs are searchable at the "Assistance Listings" domain at beta.SAM.gov; descriptions are updated by departments and agencies, and they cover authorizing legislation, objectives, and eligibility and compliance requirements. The site will eventually be renamed beta.SAM.gov. For current notices of funding availability, see Grants.gov or FedConnect.

Grants.gov  (via Dept. of Health and Human Services)
Federal grants website that allows eligible grantseekers (see Who is eligible for a Grant?) to find and apply for current competitive grant opportunities from ALL federal agencies. Grantseekers can check on notices of funding availability (NOFAs) posted in the last 7 days; access RSS feeds of grant opportunities; and apply for federal grants through a unified process by downloading the application and submitting online. The website guides grantseekers in obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, registering with System for Award Management (SAM), and registering with Grants.gov to apply and to track applications. See also website FedConnect for additional grants and contracts opportunities.

State Single Points of Contact  (Office of Management and Budget)
Under Executive Order 12372, some states require federal grants applicants to submit a copy of their application for state government level review and comment. The state offices listed here coordinate federal financial assistance and may direct federal development. For help in identifying state-level grants, other state government agencies websites may be found at State and Local Agencies.

Related Federal Resources

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A-Z Index of U.S. Department and Agencies  (General Services Administration)
To better develop a grant proposal, search a department or agency's Home Page to learn more about its programs and objectives. The site USA.gov also links to Government Benefits, Grants and Loans.

U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)
EDA’s flexible programs and structure enable nimble operations and allow for innovation and responsiveness to changing economic needs and conditions faced by its local and state government partners. Grants made under these programs in planning, technical assistance, and infrastructure construction are designed to leverage existing regional assets to support the implementation of economic development strategies that make it easier for businesses to start and grow.

USDA Rural Development
USDA is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. USDA offers loans, grants, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services such as housing; health care; first responder services and equipment; and water, electric, and communications infrastructure.

U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
USDOT offers a suite of grant programs aimed at building and maintaining a fast, safe, efficient, and convenient transportation system. There are grant programs that provide funding for projects that address highway, rail, airport, and other infrastructure needs. 

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Funding (Department of Energy)
Grants are EERE's primary funding vehicle for businesses, industries, universities, and others. Most EERE grants are awarded on merit on a competitive basis. See also EERE Financial Opportunities and listings on Grants.gov or FedConnect. For state-by-state information on state, local. utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, search DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency). 

DHS Financial Assistance  (Department of Homeland Security)
Most Homeland Security non-disaster grant programs are designated for state and local governments and specific entities such as colleges, etc. Unsolicited applications from individuals are generally not accepted. Includes Urban Area Security Initiative, Citizens Corps, Medical Response System, Operation Stonegarden (border security), Infrastructure Protection. Contact homeland security State Offices. Programs for firefighters may be found at Assistance to Firefighters.

USA.gov for Businesses and Nonprofits  (GSA)
Includes contracting with the federal government, international trade and exporting, and small business. See also financial assistance links at the Small Business Administration website.

FBO.gov  (GSA)
Official website posting business, contracting, and procurement opportunities with the federal government. Useful information for vendors, including FBO Demonstration Videos and Frequently Asked Questions, appear under the Getting Started tab. Search options include an advanced search form for more targeted filtering of current opportunities.

Student Aid on the Web (Department of Education)
Financial assistance for education beyond high school is generally "needs-based" and often includes loans and work-study, in addition to some grants. College and university applications, websites, and brochures usually include financial aid information for prospective and incoming students.

https://www.benefits.gov/  (via Department of Labor)
Government grants are not direct assistance to individuals, but fund state and local programs providing help to those in need. This online screening site can be used to identify state and local government benefits and how to apply. Covers direct payments, loans, insurance, training, or other services.

FTC Consumer Alert  (Federal Trade Commission)
The FTC warns consumers to beware of paying "processing fees" for information that is available free to the public. Ads claiming federal grants are available for home repairs, home business, unpaid bills, or other personal expenses are often a scam.

OMB Grants Management Web Site   (Office of Management and Budget)
OMB establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules.  OMB Circulars  are cited in beta.SAM.gov Assistance Listing program descriptions and may be printed out full text.

Private and Corporate Funding Sources

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Candid Grants Space
Gateway to information about private funding sources, the grantseeking process, guidelines on writing a grant proposal, addresses of state libraries with grants reference collections, and links to other useful Internet websites. The Center maintains a comprehensive Foundation Directory Online database on foundations; produces print and electronic directories and guides; conducts research and publishes studies in the field; and offers a variety of training and educational seminars.

Grants Resources by State  (Grantsmanship Center)
Click on state map to find links to information about a state's foundations, community foundations, corporate giving programs and the state's home page.

Community Foundations There are more than 750 community foundations in the U.S., which are grantmaking public charities dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. The Council on Foundations has a listing of community foundations by state.

 

Results for North Carolinians: How My Office Helps Communities During the Grant Process

Disaster Recovery Economic Development Project for Fair Bluff— EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance Program:
Fair Bluff was one of the hardest-hit communities by Hurricane Florence, and I saw the damage firsthand in a visit days after the storm made landfall. My staff conducted follow-up visits, counseled local leaders on grant programs to pursue, and hosted follow-up meetings with senior federal officials to advocate for the project. Fair Bluff was awarded a $4.8 million investment to construct a 24,746 sq. foot small business center that allows the community to relocate its downtown from damaged facilities in the floodplain.

Wastewater Treatment Project for Pembroke— EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance Program:
After Hurricane Florence hit, the Town of Pembroke sought an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to mitigate damage from the storm and eliminate potential sewer collection disruptions in Robeson County. My office met with local leaders, sent a letter of support on their behalf, and advocated directly with senior EDA officials on this important project. Ultimately, Pembroke was awarded a $6.3 million investment to help meet their current and future economic needs.

Infrastructure Project for Mooresville— USDOT Former BUILD Program (Now the RAISE  Program):
Infrastructure Investment—The Town of Mooresville applied for a USDOT BUILD grant (now called the RAISE Program) for the construction of a new 1.7-mile roadway. My office worked closely with town officials to facilitate meetings with the USDOT throughout the process. Mooresville was awarded a $13 million grant that will fund a new, safer route to better connect the town to Lowe’s Corporate Campus and the Department of Defense Contractor Corvid Technologies.

Broadband Project for Moore County— USDA Rural Development RECONNECT Program:
Like many communities across North Carolina, Moore County has been working to close the digital divide. My office worked with a local service provider and senior USDA Rural Development staff to help secure funding for Moore County’s broadband project. While the provider’s first application was not successful, my staff continued to provide them with counsel and encouraged them to reapply. The following year, a $2.3 million USDA investment was awarded to help provide quality and reliable broadband to northern Moore County.

Firefighter Grant Application for Blowing Rock Fire & Rescue in Blowing RockFEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program:
When Blowing Rock had fire equipment that was obsolete and well beyond its life cycle, they sought federal assistance. My office sent a letter of support and engaged with senior FEMA staff to highlight Blowing Rock’s needs. With the help of my office, Blowing Rock Fire & Rescue was awarded $202,857 from FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.