Government Grants in the United States
Welcome to USGrants.org. We are an established portal for information on government grants in the United States. Although we are not affiliated with the United States government, we have helped many businesses and organizations learn more about government funding opportunities that have been made available every single year. If you are looking to learn more about government funding and grants, you have come to the right place.
Quick facts about government grants
- The United States government has been issuing grants for the past century.
- Grants are offered to eligible applicants in order to support specific public purpose. Therefore, the United States government does not offer any grants to support any individuals or organizations for their own financial gains.
- The majority of the funding opportunities are for businesses and organizations. Therefore, government grants are not for everyone.
Be aware of government grant scams!
- The only way to apply for government grants is through the official grants.gov website. If any website or anyone is asking for "application fee", it's a scam. It is free to apply for government grants.
- There's no one universal "application package". Each funding opportunity requires different materials from the applicant. If any website or anyone is asking you to buy an "application package", it's a scam.
- The government does not offer "free money for everyone". For example, there are no "housing grants for first homeowners". Government grants are mostly awarded to organizations that support specific public purposes based on the economic plans of the current government. For example, if the government is currently supporting green initiative, there may be funding opportunities made available for businesses and organizations that support the initiative.
- You are not guaranteed to receive funding. Each funding opportunity may have hundreds or thousands of applicants. The funding officials will decide and choose the proposals from organizations that they feel will best utilize the funding to support the funding initiative. In short, government grants are carefully awarded to a selected group of applicants.
- Small business grants are not for all "small businesses". Only the businesses that match SBA's size standards may be eligible to receive grants. For example, if you operate a full service restaurant, you will not qualify for government grants if your business does not generate more than $7.5 million dollars a year in revenue.
Government grants are mostly available for:
- Government organizations
- Education organizations
- Public housing organizations
- Not for profit organizations
- For profit organizations matching SBA's size standards
Applying as an individual
There are rarely funding opportunities available for individuals. Ask yourself this question - what are you going to do with this funding? Is it for your own financial gain, publicity, or any other self-interest? If so, you will not find any assistance from the government.
An example of grants available to individuals is research grants where the government officials believe the funding provided to the researcher will result in positive outcome that will benefit the society or a specific and current economic initiative.
Individual application process:
- 1. Find a funding opportunity that is available for individuals and obtain the funding opportunity number.
- 2. Complete the registration form as an individual on grants.gov and obtain a username and password.
- 3. Submit the application package containing all of the materials required by the funding opportunity. Obtain a tracking number.
- 4. Track the status of the application with the tracking number.
Remember, when you apply for a government grant opportunity for individuals, you are not guaranteed to be awarded of the funding. Your application package will compete with other application packages submitted by other individuals. The funding officials will carefully select the recipients based on the content of these applications.
Applying as an organization
Not all organizations qualify to receive grants. If your organization is not a government, education, public housing, and not for profit organization, your organization must match SBA's size standards in order to qualify to apply for grants.
Organization application process:
- 1. Obtain a DUNS number. This is a unique 9-digit identification number provided by Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) for your organization. This is a mandatory step and will take up to 2 business days to complete.
- 2. Register with the System for Award Management (SAM). The United States utilize SAM (which is why some people reference government grants as Uncle Sam's money) to manage funding applications for organizations. This is a mandatory step and will take up to 4 weeks to complete.
- 3. Complete the register form as an organization on grants.gov and obtain a username and password.
- 4. Submit the application package containing all of the materials required by the funding opportunity. Obtain a tracking number.
- 5. Track the status of the application with the tracking number.
Government grants are not easy to obtain
The preparation of an application package is a complex process. The United States government has created an online tool - workspace - as an additional option to help applicants to collaborate and prepare files in an application package. A funding opportunity may require a numerous amount of materials including your organization's business plan and historical and current data.
Remember that your application package will be competing with application packages submitted by other individuals and/or organizations. Therefore, it is in your organization's best interest to spend a substantial amount of time in preparing for your application package.
Applying for grants takes time
Not only it takes (should) a significant amount of time to prepare for and submit an application package, the time it takes for the funding officials to review and approve your application can vary from weeks to months.
Unlike loans, government grants do not need to be paid back. Therefore, government grants are often being advertised as "free money". Although the funding may appear as free money, it is not. The government is choosing to invest in the selected applicants for specific purposes. From the perspectives of the funding officials, they are investing in you to obtain results, whether if it's for job creation, public safety, education, or any other economic or public cause.
Since applying for government grants is a complex and time consuming process, sometimes hiring a professional grant proposal writer with relevant experience can be a cost-effective investment to obtain government funding. Do keep in mind that no one can guarantee the approval of grants. Beware of scammers promising you of success. One should also ask him/herself - why should the government invest in you or your organization?
Grant Application Guides and Resources
It is always free to apply for government grants. However the process may be very complex depending on the funding opportunity you are applying for. Below are some of the published guides that have been helpful to past recipients: