Federal Grants In The United States
In the United States, federal grants are economic aid wasnt issued by the United States government out of the general federal revenue. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States.
Grants are federal assistance or loans to individuals, benefits or entitlements. A grant is not used to acquire property or services for the federal government's direct benefit.
Grants may also be issued by private non-profit organizations such as foundations, not-for-profit corporations or charitable trusts which are all collectively referred to as charities.
Outside the United States grants, subventions or subsidies are used to in similar fashion by government or private charities to subsidize programs and projects that fit within the funding criteria of the grant-giving entity or donor. Grants can be unrestricted, to be used by the recipient in any fashion within the perimeter of the recipient organization's activities or they may be restricted to a specific purpose by the benefactor.
Federal grants are defined and governed by the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, as incorporated in Title 31 Section 6304 of the U.S. Code. A Federal grant is a:
"...legal instrument reflecting the relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local government, or other entity when 1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to the State or local government or other recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government; and 2) substantial involvement is not expected between the executive agency and the State, local government, or other recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement."
When an awarding agency expects to be substantially involved in a project (beyond routine monitoring and technical assistance), the law requires use of a cooperative agreement instead. When the government is procuring goods or services for its own direct benefit, and not for a broader public purpose, the law requires use of a federal contract.
Read more about Federal Grants In The United States: Types of Grants, Information Provided in Grant Applications, Criticism
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