The Federal government uses two kinds of grants:
- Grants given by an agency of the Federal government (also known as "discretionary" grants) -- for instance, a homeless assistance grant given out by the Department of Health and Human Services to a homeless shelter.
- Grants that put Federal money in the hands of States, cities, or counties for them to distribute to community groups, charities, and other social service providers, usually under their own rules and regulations (also known as "formula" or "block" grants).
You can apply directly to the Federal government or you can apply for funds from an agency/organization that distributes money it receives from the Federal government. More money is available from programs administered by States and localities than from the Federal government directly.