Each year, Congress provides federal agencies with money to support local efforts for housing, small businesses, public safety, rural development, and more. Getting federal dollars back to Washington state to support its communities and economy is a top priority for Senator Murray, and her office is able to help organizations navigate the federal grants process.
Most federal grant funding (more than 80%) goes to states in the form of formula or block grants that are then distributed by state agencies through grants or contracts to local entities that run specific programs or offer specific services. Click here to learn more.
The Assistance Listings page on SAM.gov is the primary source of information on federal assistance programs. This searchable resource provides information on federal assistance programs, including formula and project grants. The listings include information on eligibility, how to apply, and matching requirements, among other things. Please note that the actual funding of specific grant programs depends upon annual congressional budget appropriations. For background information on SAM.gov and the Assistance Listings resource, click here and here.
Grants.gov is a website that grantseekers may use to get information about and apply for competitive federal grant opportunities. In general, these are grants that are awarded directly by a federal agency.
Information on funding through formula or block grant programs is available from the entity that received the prime federal grant.
- Define the need: What problem are you trying to solve? What community need are you trying to meet? Gather statistics. Who would this benefit? Is there an organization in your community providing the same or similar services that your project would address? If so, we recommend not duplicating existing services that are meeting this need. Instead, work with the organization to enhance their services.
- Build a coalition: Bring together other people, organizations, and government agencies who want to work together to solve this issue. Try to get community buy-in. The broader the support, the more competitive your project will be.
- Develop your proposal: Start putting together your proposal by asking these key questions: How will this project solve the problem? How will it be structured? What are the costs? Is there a more direct solution? Could you cut the cost and speed the results by using existing resources? Have you reached out to the communities which your project aims to help? Do they find value in your approach and project parameters?
- Register: Get your organization and the applicant (if different) registered through SAM.gov and grants.gov. Make sure everything is in order before you start looking for funding so that you can apply on time. Click here for more information on how to register, and click here to start the registration process at SAM.gov.
- Search for grants: Determine which category of funding is relevant (there is more information on this below). If you need help with your search reach out to Senator Murray’s office and the Grants Director is happy to help with your research. The best listing of all federal grant opportunities is SAM.gov, which allows you to search for by topic or agency name. When you find a potential grant, read the eligibility criteria carefully. It’s important to diversify your search for funding, so you should also find out if there are formula grants to the state that you could be eligible for or if there are foundations or companies that offer grants for which your project may be eligible.
- Pull together application materials: A best practice is to divide the work up, but have one person responsible for submitting the final application on time. It’s best to ask several people to proofread your application, including someone from outside your organization. This will help to ensure your application is written in a way that is clear to others who are not directly involved in the project. Ask outside reviewers whether they feel your proposal answers the questions posed in the grant application criteria.
- Gather letters of support: Senator Murray’s office may be able to provide a letter of support for your application. Reach out to her office to request the details on how to submit a request.
- Submit your application: When your application has been reviewed and you have letters of support you can submit the proposal. You can ask the funding agency to confirm they received your application so you know that it arrived on time. It will take the agency several months to select an awardee(s). If your grant is not funded, you can ask the agency how you might improve your application and make changes to apply the following year. If your proposal is funded, use the news of the grant as a springboard to attract more supporters and advocates. Either way, thank everyone who helped you complete your proposal.
Unfortunately, Senator Murray’s office is unable to write, review or proof-read grant proposals. However, we are able to help in other ways. The office can assist you in researching grants you may be eligible for and we may be able to provide a letter of support for your project that we would send directly to the federal agency once you have submitted your application.
Senator Murray does NOT make any decisions when it comes to federal grants. Those decisions are made by the cabinet department peer review committees based on objective criteria.
Usually not, but click here to review the Small Business Administration for more information.
Click here to visit our small business grant section below for more information about available grant opportunities.
Generally, federal grants do not cover the cost of new construction or capital improvements. However, you can apply for funding for operational and programmatic costs and can divert the money you would have spent on that towards construction costs.
Click here to visit Grants.gov to find federal grant opportunities. For a full list of open and closed funding opportunities, click here to visit SAM.gov.
Most federal grants are awarded to non-profits like charities, schools and community organizations, state & local government agencies, federally-recognized tribes, and public safety agencies like hospitals, police and fire departments.
No, grant writing is a lot of work and applying for a grant can be a full-time job. You’ll need time to research and develop your project and write the proposal. It often takes the funding agency several months to select the awardees, and if your application is successful, there are a lot of requirements to meet when using the funding. This process is not quick or easy, but it is possible.
Grants by Category
These are some of the main categories of grant opportunities available. For the full list of additional opportunities, click here to visit SAM.gov.
- U.S. Department of Education Grants and Contracts Webpage
- List of Current Grant Competitions that are Open
- Forecast of Funding
- Office of Indian Education Programs
- National Endowment for the Arts
- NEA – “Arts Education”
- National Endowment for the Humanities Grants
- NEH Education Grants
- Technology Opportunity Programs (TOP)
- USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program
- National Science Foundation
- United States Department of Energy
- EPA Office of Environmental Education Grant Program
Click here for federal, state, local, regional, and foundation funding opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy from the U.S. Department of Energy Western Regional Office.
EPA Region 10’s main office is located in downtown Seattle at:
Park Place Building
1200 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 800-424-4372 or 206-553-1200
- Office of Indian Education Programs
- Native American Library Services
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Block Grants
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing
- Indian Health Service
U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs – Northwest Region
911 Northeast 11th Avenue Portland, OR 97232-4169
Phone: (503) 231-6702
Fax Number: (503) 231-2201
NOTE: Tribes may apply for grants other than the specific “tribal only” grants; please see Eligibility Requirements (Applicant Eligibility and Beneficiary Eligibility) of individual grants to determine if tribes may apply or receive the funds in question.
Contact information for the HUD Regional Office (Seattle)
Phone: (206) 220- 5101
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) is an excellent place to begin your search. While SBA does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, they do offer loans. Click here for more about SBA Federal Grant Resources.
- Starting a Small Business
- Financing Your Business: SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) -Counselors to America’s Small Business, Seattle SCORE
- SBA Business Development Centers
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
- SBA – Office of Women’s Business Ownership
- SBA Office of Native American Affairs
- Department of Commerce – Minority Business Development Agency
- USDA – Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business and Utilization (OSDBU)
- USDA – Small Business Innovation Research
- USDA – RD Small Business Cooperative Service
- HUD – Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
- SBA – Veteran’s Business Outreach Center
Contact information for the Washington Small Business Development Centers (Lead Office)
Local SBA Offices
Seattle District Office – (Serving Western Washington)
General Information 206-553-7310
Business Enterprise Center 206-553-7311
SCORE Desk 206-553-7320 or 1-877-732-7267
Portland District Office – (Serving Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Skamania Counties)
- U.S. Department of Education homepage has information on Financial Aid.
- HRSA Health Professions grants and cooperative agreements support innovations and targeted expansions in health professions education and training. HRSA Nursing Scholarships
- NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (“Space Grant”). For more information, visit the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program online
Federal Student Aid Information Center
General information about student financial assistance programs, such as Pell Grants and student loans
Questions about the application process, status of loans and location of lenders, and information on teacher loan forgiveness can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov or by phone at 1-800-4-FED-AID* (1-800-433-3243, and TTY at 1-800-730-8913