What Are Federal Grants?
Federal grants are financial assistance given by the United States government to support groups and agencies. There are grant programs being offered by federal agencies, every year there are about 1,000 grant programs offered. Grants can be used by the non-profit and non-government organizations like foundations and charities.
Those who can apply for a grant should establish that they are organizations established for public purpose. Federal grants are provided to increase the capability of the organization to provide public service and public-driven activities.
Aside from encouraging non-government organization to assist the public, federal grants also help the federal government to establish a working relationship and partnership with other organizations without spending too much. These grants also help in combining resources and expertise from the government and those in the non-government organizations for the benefit of the public.
One thing is clear with federal grants though, it cannot be used to acquire or buy any property or services for the benefit of the federal government. But it can be used by any means by the recipient through any kind of activities created by the organization or by any means following the restrictions created by federal government who granted the assistance.
Even with the intention of helping out the public, the grant cannot be used on any expeditious method of acquiring services. There are always requirements and particularities mentioned in the contract upon the presentation of the grant.
The truth is federal grant is not “free money or financial aid”. A grantee or the recipient of the grant is required to fulfil obligations expected by the federal government who awarded the grant. If the recipient for any reason failed to comply with the responsibilities that the grant requires, the recipient would definitely face legal woes.
Most of the projects by non-government organization who received a grant would include re-training of workers who have just recently lost their jobs, projects that would attract investors in depressed localities, street or road projects, and other projects or programs similar to these.
Aside from fulfilling the obligations awarded along with the grant, the recipient should also be prepared for complete financial auditing that the government will do. The grant money spent should be properly accounted for and have followed the restrictions that come with grant money. The money not spent is forwarded to the National Treasury. If there would be changes while the grant money is being used, the government should be notified and approve the said changes. If there is a time frame or project phasing, the dates should be met accordingly.
Usually, a grant will be take as long as 3 years. All those three years should be properly accounted for. Government audits are done at least annually. Not following these rules or any guidelines stated by the grant could result to imprisonment due to theft of public funds and other economic and legal trouble.
Federal grants also have similar programs outside the United States. There are subsidies offered by other countries’ governments to charities and foundations to subsidize and continue their projects.
To acquire for a grant, it is important to prepare it like how you prepare a business plan. When writing or applying for a grant, the reasons for applying and the how to public will benefit fro the project should be clearly stated. You would like to make an impact on the federal agency reviewing the federal grant application.
Government money came from the public, therefore it is important to make sure that the public’s money serve the people. And that is what federal grants are for.