The Federal Government awards billions of dollars in grant funds to state and local governments, businesses, nonprofits, industries, universities, and other organizations every year. In fiscal year 2011, the federal government provided $607 billion in grants to state and local governments. Those funds accounted for 17 percent of federal outlays, 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and a quarter of spending by state and local governments that year. (whitehouse.gov)
Where is all this money going? Who is handing it out?
Believe it or not the US needs these grant dollars to keep flowing through our state and local governments. The money is typically used for things like infrastructure, security, health, education, etc.. Without this system where would you be right now? Lots of players in the grant game, both government and foundations give away money. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) goal is to increase the use of energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy. Sure not a bad idea considering where this world is headed in terms of resources and pollution. All Federal grants can be found at grants.gov, she’s the mother-ship of all grant resources. There you can search for grants, submit grant proposals, and obtain training. Then you have foundations, like the Home Depot Building Healthy Communities foundation which provides grants to non profits under two different programs: the Affordable Housing Built Responsibly Program and the Healthy Community Trees Program. Obviously this isn’t government money, but large corporations do get some tax breaks when funneling money through those foundations. Another source of grant money for non profits is USA.gov, they list federal grants for nonprofits, as well as tax information, loans, and other forms of assistance. The last but not least on my list is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): FEMA provides several types of grants to emergency personnel, governments, individuals, and non-profits. They helped 1,000’s upon 1,000’s “get right” after Hurricane Katrina, good use of our tax dollars and you better bet there were millions if not billions more in funds from foundations.
So while the projected $61 billion dollar increase in 2014 stings at first, especially if you listen to all the doom and gloom deficit talk on foxnews.com, it’s being spent on things that we as American need. Now I’m with you, the funds are not always spent efficiently. But this is a large machine held up by understaffed organizations and lead by at times corrupt humans. What do you expect?