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How to Find Grants through Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog

You can find all sorts of information about grants offered by the federal government in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). The CFDA contains information about every competitive and formula grant program administered by departments and agencies of the federal government. (You can also find the CFDA available at any public library.)

How the CFDA is organized

The CFDA divides programs into nearly two dozen categories and more than 170 subcategories that identify specific areas of interest. Here are the basic categories into which programs are grouped:

  • Agriculture

  • Business and Commerce

  • Community Development

  • Consumer Protection

  • Cultural Affairs

  • Disaster Prevention and Relief

  • Education

  • Employment, Labor, and Training

  • Energy

  • Environmental Quality

  • Food and Nutrition

  • Health

  • Housing

  • Income Security and Social Services

  • Information and Statistics

  • Law, Justice, and Legal Services

  • Natural Resources

  • Regional Development

  • Science and Technology

  • Transportation

What’s provided in the CFDA

The entry for each federal program in the CFDA includes general information on the

  • Federal agency administering the program.

  • Five-digit code that identifies the federal grant-making agency and subagency distributing the grant or cooperative agreement funds.

  • Authorization upon which the program is based (the federal legislation that created the program).

  • Objectives and goals of the program.

  • Types of financial and nonfinancial assistance offered under a program.

  • Uses and restrictions placed upon a program.

  • Eligibility requirements.

  • Application and award process.

  • Assistance considerations (whether the grant has formula or matching requirements).

  • Post-assistance requirements (the general expectations for grantee reports, audits, and record keeping).

  • Financial information (how much money Congress allocated to this program) and estimated average award sizes.

  • Program accomplishments (generic history of what this federal program has done recently to fulfill its mission).

  • Regulations, guidelines, and literature relevant to a program.

  • Information contacts at the headquarters, regional, and local offices.

  • Related programs based on program objectives and uses.

  • Examples of funded projects. Look for funded projects that sound like the project you’re seeking grant monies for.

  • Criteria for selecting proposals.

What isn’t included in the CDFA

The CDFA doesn’t give you the estimated number of awards because you’re reading generic information that may not be up-to-date. You can find information on the current estimated number of awards and estimated average award size in the actual grant opportunity announcement on Grants.gov, the one-stop federal grant information Web site.

Also, note that the CDFA doesn’t give specific deadlines for any grant-making agencies. All specific information, such as grant deadlines, is posted in the grant opportunity announcement.

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