Federal Grants Process, Foundation Grant Resources, and Non-profit Coalition Resources

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Announces Competition for $10 Million in Grants to Advance Innovation

2015 Regional Innovation Strategies Program to Spur Capacity Building and Access to Capital for Innovators and Entrepreneurs  

 WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the launch of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $10 million 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for two funding opportunities: the i6 Challenge, which funds organizations that help innovators and entrepreneurs turn innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research into viable, sustainable companies, and Seed Fund Support Grants (previously Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds), which funds regionally-focused seed capital funds that provide early-stage capital to innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth. This is the second RIS competition; EDA’s 2014 i6 and Seed Fund Support Grant awardees were announced in March 2015.
 
“EDA understands the crucial role innovation and entrepreneurship plays in economic development and creating conditions for growth,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “The RIS program is a critical component of EDA’s efforts to foster innovation and support entrepreneurs. We were incredibly impressed by the projects outlined by the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies program grantees, and we look forward to seeing the innovative ideas that will be presented by the 2015 applicants.”
 
This year’s program includes $10 million in funding for the following programs:

  • i6 Challenge ($8M): Launched in 2010 as part of the Startup America Initiative, the i6 Challenge is a national competition based on the most impactful national models for startup creation, innovation, and commercialization. In an effort to promote and support inclusion, EDA expects to award up to $2.5 million of the total $8 million to projects that provide services to rural areas, and applicants who create specific outreach plans to populations and communities that are underrepresented in innovation and entrepreneurship. Projects that propose specific, quantitative metrics to measure the effectiveness of those plans will receive special consideration. 
  • Seed Fund Support Grants ($2M): These cluster grants provide funding for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds that are offered to innovation-based, growth-oriented start-up companies in exchange for equity. Funds must include job creation in their consideration for issuing capital, and funds that reach out to underrepresented communities and populations and measure the effectiveness of that outreach will receive special consideration.

Applicants are encouraged to refer to the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for examples of both the i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support Grants. There is no requirement for applicants to submit proposals for more than one of the funding opportunities under this program. Funding for both programs is available to all communities regardless of level of distress.
 
Eligibility, matching-fund requirements, application and submission deadlines, and other information can be found in the FFO for the program at: LINK
 
In the coming weeks, EDA will conduct a webinar to discuss the 2015 RIS Program FFO. Interested parties should check the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship website for forthcoming details.
 
Launched in 2014, the Regional Innovation Strategies Program started under the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act of 2010. The 2014 grantees have begun to kick off the activities outlined in their applications. For more information on the Regional Innovation Strategies Program, visit: http://www.eda.gov/oie/ris/.
 
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

For more information, please visit EDA’s website at http://www.eda.gov  or contact Angela Ewell-Madison, EDA’s Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, at 202-482-2900 or aewell-madison@eda.gov.

Grants and Benefits Resources

Grants Process Information

 

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

 

 


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 forpersonal needsstudent loanssmall 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 in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Includes grants, loans, business and nonfinancial help.
  3. Contact federal office given in CFDA program description: if state or local office is indicated, check Regional Agency Offices at top of CFDA website for addresses.
  4. Go to federal websites given in each CFDA program description for more information and for state administering agencies responsible for managing funding.
  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 Center Cooperating Collections in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
  7. Learn how to write grant proposals: follow CFDA's Developing and Writing Grant Proposals, or take the free online Foundation Center Proposal Writing Short Course.

Key Federal Funding Sources

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (General Services Administration)
The CFDA, issued annually and updated continuously on the Web, describes some 1600 federal grants and non financial assistance programs. Grantseekers can identify programs that might support their projects and can learn the program's objectives, requirements, application procedures and contacts. Includes a detailed subject index; browsable listing of programs by applicant eligibility; and Appendix VI, Developing and Writing Grant Proposals. Appendix IV gives state, local and regional offices of federal agencies: if the CFDA program description refers to a state or regional Information contact, grantseekers should contact them before applying for funding to obtain the most up-to-date information. For current notices of funding availability, see Grants.gov or FedConnect.

Grants.gov (managed by Dept. of Health and Human Services)
Federal 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 an RSS feed 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 withSystem for Award Management (SAM), and registering with Grants.gov to apply and to track applications. For full federal program descriptions, see CFDA below. 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 by Topic

CFDA in Local Libraries (Government Printing Office)
Although the Catalog is available full-text on the Internet, some may prefer a print edition. However, only the Web Catalog is continuously updated-- the published volume is annual with no supplements. TheCatalog is available in all states in Federal Depository Libraries.

Related Federal Resources

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A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments 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 Financial Aid.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (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. EERE financial assistance opportunities are listed in the Financial Opportunities by Audience database and 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). 

Grants Funding State, Local and Tribal Governments (Dept. 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 Business  (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.

USA.gov for Nonprofits  (GSA)
Links to federal department and agency information and service for nonprofit organizations, including fundraising and outreach, grants, loans and other assistance, laws and regulations, management and operations, online services, registration and licensing, and tax information. The White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships includes information on Grants and Resources.

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.

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  (Office of Management and Budget)
OMB establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules.  OMB Circulars  are cited in Catalog program descriptions and may be printed out fulltext.

Private and Corporate Funding Sources

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The Foundation Center
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 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.