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Free Grant Terms - Reference Dictionary

Glossary of grant terminology.

A Glossary of Terms Related to Grants and Funding

501(c)(3) IRS tax code defining tax-exempt organizations. To be tax-exempt an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for one or more of the purposes set forth in IRC Section 501(c)(3) and none of the earnings of the organization may given to any private shareholder or individual. See also Operating Foundation; Private Foundation; Public Charity.
Application A formal request, as for assistance, employment, or admission to a school, or when requesting a grant. The application includes the complete presentation of the project. See also Pre-Application and Grant Agreement.
Applied Research Applied research is designed to solve practical problems of the modern world. For example, applied researchers may investigate ways to treat or cure a specific disease or improve the energy efficiency of homes, offices, or modes of transportation.
Audit (Financial) The examination of records and reports of a company, in order to ensure that what is provided is relevant and accurate. Audits are generally conducted after the end of the fiscal year. Some grant programs require an audit of grant funds at the end of the project.
Audit (Program) A review of the accomplishments of a grant funded program by the staff of the funding agency. A program audit may be mandatory or random. Also know as monitoring.
Authorization Legislation enacted by Congress that is the legal authority upon which a program is based. An authorization is normally a prerequisite for an appropriation or other kind of budget authority. See also Enabling Legislation.
Basic Research The main motivation is to expand man's knowledge, not to create or invent something. For example, a basic researcher may want to know how the universe began or how cells regenerate.
Beneficiary The donee or grantee receiving the funds from a foundation or corporate giving program. Society benefits as well. See also Target Population, Grantee and Sub-Grantee.
Bequests A gift or donation without obligation to repay.
Block Grants An unrestricted federal grant. Money from the federal budget granted to state or local governments to spend on local services. The state or local government may use the money at its discretion for such programs as education or urban development.
Boilerplate Materials A proposal that is copied from another. This is a definite NO-NO is the grant community.
Bricks and Mortar An informal term for grants that provide funds for buildings or construction projects.  
Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Notice of the government’s interest in general research and specifying the terms and conditions for the award. It welcomes proposals.
Capital Support Funds provided for buildings, construction, equipment, fixtures, furniture or for endowment purposes.
CFDA Number The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance lists all their funding programs by agency and program title. The CFDA number identifies the federal grant.
Challenge Grant A grant that must be matched with money raised by the recipient.
Change Order A written order signed by the contracting officer which directs the contractor to make changes in a program.
Community Foundation Tax-exempt organizations that make grants for charitable purposes in a specific community or region. See also 501(c)(3) and Public Charity.
Community Fund An organized community program whose giving is confined to a specific geographic area, usually for the ongoing operational support of local agencies. See also Federated Giving Program.
Company-sponsored Foundation A private foundation, mostly corporations. The assets come primarily from contributions of for-profit businesses. It maintains close ties with its parent company but is independent. See also Private Foundation.
Consortium Grant A group of investors that band together to support a project.
Continuation Grant A project approved for multiple year funding although they are typically funded for one year at a time and are contingent upon successful performance in the previous year.
Contract/Grant Officer An individual designated by the sponsor who is responsible for the business management of a specific grant, contract or cooperative agreement. This includes reviewing the grant/contract/agreement, negotiation, the award and the administration thereof. This individual also interprets the associated policies, rules and provisions. For definition of Scientific Officer, see Program Officer.
Cooperating Collection A core collection of periodicals and information from a foundations network of libraries, community foundations and other agencies that provide a broad selection of supplemental materials and services that can be useful to grant seekers.
Cooperative Agreements An award to conduct research in cooperation with the sponsor. Generally this agreement does not provide funding, but instead the grantee will work together with the sponsor, or the sponsor will provide use of its services, equipment, or facilities.
Cooperative Giving Program Corporate giving programs do not have a separate endowment. This grantmaking program is established and administered within the profit making corporation. Their annual grant totals are generally directly related to the previous year’s earnings.
Cooperative Venture A combined effort involving two or more grantmakers. The partners of the cooperative venture usually share in funding responsibilities or they may supply information and technical resources.
Corporate Foundation A corporate foundation receives its funding from the for-profit company whose name it bears although it is legally an independent body. Corporations can establish foundations with initial endowments then periodically make contributions to the foundation. The contributions are generally based on a percentage of the company’s profit. See also Company-Sponsored Foundation.
Corporate Giving Program Established and administered within a for-profit corporation. This type of grantmaking program is not subject to the same reporting requirements as corporate foundations since their annual grant totals are directly related to company profits.
COS A subscription only global resource on the web for hard-to-find information critical to scientific research and other projects across all disciplines.
Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) Standard accounting procedures used for classifying, recording, and allocating current or predicted costs intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting and spending funds.
Cost Sharing That portion of project or program cost not covered by the federal government.
Cost-Reimbursement Type Contract/Grant A type of grant/contract that provides for payment by the sponsor for allowable incurred costs. These contracts estimate total costs and establish a ceiling which cannot be exceeded without the approval of a contracting officer except at the contractor's own risk.
CRADA or CRDA Cooperative Research and Development Agreement - Mechanism for cooperation between government and outside scientists that legally defines intellectual property rights and financial and other responsibilities.
CSR Center for Scientific Review (National Institutes of Health) - CSR organizes the peer review groups that evaluate the majority (70%) of the research grant applications sent to NIH. The Center also receives all grant applications for NIH, as well as for some other components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Davis-Bacon Act Enacted In 1931, a law that requires workers on federal construction projects to be paid a wage at or above the level determined by the Department of Labor to be prevailing for the area. See also Prevailing Wages.
Deadline The date when an application must be submitted. Either the postmark deadline (date by which an application must be postmarked) or the receipt deadline (date by which an application must be received by an agency.)
Declining Grant A multi-year grant that grows smaller each year. It is expected that the recipient’s home organization will raise other funds to make up the difference.
Deficit An excess of liabilities over assets (usually over a certain period).
Demonstration Grant A grant made to establish an innovative project or program that will serve as a model to demonstrate the feasibility of an approach or theory. If successful, it may be an example for others.
Direct Costs Cost items directly related to producing the end project or providing services specified in the grant or contract. Categories of direct costs include labor, other direct costs, indirect costs, overhead costs, travel, communication, equipment and general and administrative costs.
Discretionary Grants Competitive grants where funds are distributed according to a donor or trustee’s discretion rather than by predetermined priorities.
Distribution Committee The committee responsible for making grant decisions.
Donee The recipient of a grant. See also Grantee and Beneficiary.
Donor A foundation or individual that provides the funds for a grant. See also Grantor.
Drawdown, Draw The method used by a grantee to request money from the funding agency. A draw is the frequency (i.e., weekly, monthly, quarterly, single lump sum, etc.) of the request. Quarterly draws are the most common.
EDGAR Education Department General Administration Regulations – It governs direct grant programs; State-administered programs; the administration of grants and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations; and the uniform administrative requirements for grants and cooperative agreements to State and local governments.
Eminent Domain The right of the state to take private property for public use; the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution requires that just compensation be made to the owner.
Employee Matching Grant A contribution by an employee to a charitable organization that is matched by a similar contribution from his or her employer. Many companies have employee matching programs for higher education. This encourages their employees to give to the college or university of their choice.
Enabling Legislation Legislation that gives appropriate officials the authority to implement or enforce the law. See also Authorization .
Endowment The act of providing a permanent source of income.
ERIC Education Resource Information Center - The world's largest bibliographic database of education literature.
Expenditure Responsibility The requirement of a non-profit private foundation to guarantee that funds will be used for the intended charitable purpose. Most grantee organizations are public charities and many foundations do not make "expenditure responsibility" grants.
Family Foundation Organized giving through a single private family. The Council on Foundations defines a family foundation as one in which the donor or the donor’s relatives plays a significant governing role.
Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act (FFAMIA)/P.L. 106-107 Public Law 106-107: Enacted on November 20, 1999 to improve the effectiveness and performance of Federal grant programs, simplify grant application and reporting requirements, improve the delivery of services to the public, and facilitate greater coordination among those responsible for delivering such services.
Federated Giving Program A group of fundraising organizations that have joined together to form a larger organization. In turn they distribute the funds contributed to non-profit agencies. For example, the United Way and Community Chests or Funds, religious appeals and the United Negro College Fund. See also Community Fund.
Fellowship Funds awarded to educational institutions to support fellowship programs. Some fellowships also include funding for living expenses, books and travel related to the fellow’s area of academic interest. They are awarded at the undergraduate, graduate, post graduate and professional level of study.
Final Report The final financial or technical report required by the sponsor when a research project is complete.
Fiscal Sponsorship A close association with an existing non-profit organization for the purpose of receiving grants.
Fiscal Year (FY) Any twelve month period for which accounting books are kept, usually July 1 - June 30.
Force Account Monies donated by the grantee for labor to complete a project. This cost is not covered by the grant, but is part of the grantee’s match.
Form 990 The Internal Revenue Service’s form filed annually by public charities. The IRS uses this form to assess compliance with the Internal Revenue Code. It includes the organization assets, receipts, expenditures and compensation of officers.
Form 990-PF The IRS form filed annually by private foundations. Similar to Form 990 but including a list of grants awarded during the previous year. See also Form 990.
Formula Grants Grants which are structured, designed and allocated based on a specific formula. These grants are sent directly to the states who disburse moneys according to the formula.
FR The Federal Register - The official Federal publication communicating proposed and final regulations and legal notices issued by federal agencies. It also includes announcements of the availability of research funds once approved by Congress.
Fringe Benefits Employee benefits paid by the employer, such as FICA, Worker's Compensation, Withholding Tax, Insurance, etc.)
Funder An organization, agency, corporation or individual that makes funds available for a grant.
Funding Agency The organization that funds a grant.  
Funding Cycle Starting with the announcement of available funds it includes all phases of the grant, die. deadline for application submission, proposal reviews, award, issuance of grant documents, release of funds and fiscal reporting. If funds are re-appropriated after the first round, the cycle starts over.
General / Operating Support Rather than for a specific project, this grant is made to further the general purpose or work of an organization. It is also called an unrestricted grant or basic support.
General Purpose Foundation Grants awarded by an independent private foundation for numerous fields of interest. See also Special Purpose Foundation.
Grant An award of money, which generally does not need to be paid back, given to finance a particular activity or facility.
Grant Agreement A legally binding contract between a grantee and a grantor. Based on the proposal submitted by the grantee the agreement specifies the terms and conditions of the grant.
Grant/Contract Officer An individual designated by the sponsor who is responsible for managing the business aspect of a grant, cooperative agreement or a contract. This includes reviewing the grant, negotiations, and interpreting the administrative policies.
Grant Seeker A grant applicant.
Grantee The person, organization, school district, etc. that receives the grant. See also Beneficiary, Donee, Grantor, Grantee, Sub-Grantee
Grantee Financial Report A detailed report outlining how the grant funds are spent. This is required by many corporate funders. It includes expenses, revenue, assets and liabilities.
Grantor, Grant Maker The foundation, individual, or government agency that makes a grant. See also Donee, Grantee, and Sub-Grantee
Grassroots Fundraising Society or individuals at a local level. The funds usually come from people who live in the locality who put on fundraising activities via membership drives, raffles, or auctions.
Guidelines The goals and procedures of the funding agency.
Incremental Funding Grants that are funded with specific spending limits below the total costs.
Independent Foundation: Classified by the IRS as a private foundations. They are independent foundations sometimes called family, general purpose, special purpose or private non-operating foundations. See also Private Foundation
Indirect Cost Costs not directly associated to a specific project including accounting, payroll, purchasing, administrative services, building maintenance and operation, depreciation of equipment.
Indirect Cost Rate The device for determining the proportion of an organization’s general expenses that each of its projects should bear.
In-Kind Rather than cash, it is a donation of goods or services such as labor, equipment, supplies or the use of facilities.
Institutional Grant Institutional grants, like federal and state grants, do not have to be paid back. They are awarded on a formula basis taking into consideration the number of grants. They usually require detailed proposals.
Interim Funding Limited funds expended on a project before the award document has been received from the sponsor.
Investigational New Drug Application ( IND) An application to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to administer an investigational drug to humans. Authorization must be received prior to administration and any interstate shipment of any new drug that is not the subject of an approved new drug application.
Investigator-Initiated Proposal A proposal that is not in response to a RFP, RFA or program announcement.
Invitation for Bid (IFB) When a funder sends out a solicitation to prospective bidders. The Invitation will give details on everything that is required from the bidder including how they will be evaluated. There is no negotiations and the Award is based upon the lowest bid.
LEA Local Educational Agency – The overseer of a district’s educational department that applies for and manages the grant.
Letter of Intent / Letter of Inquiry A written statement of the intention to enter into a formal agreement. The grantor expresses their willingness to commit to funding a project if certain conditions are met.
Leveraging Ratio Grant money that is used to gain other money. A 1 to 1 ratio would be that for each grant dollar awarded the grantee will need to acquire one dollar from another source.   See also Matching Funds.
Limitation of Cost (LOC) This is a mandatory clause for cost reimbursement contracts. The sponsor is not required to reimburse the contractor for monies over the stated amount in the clause.
Matching Funds When the grantee is required to pay the difference in the amount of funds from the sponsor and the amount funds required for the project. See also Force Account, In-Kind and Leveraging Ratio.
Misconduct in Science When public funds support research there are expectations about how they will be expended. "Scientific misconduct" refers specifically to violations of the expectation of honesty in reporting scientific findings.
Monitoring Overseeing the accomplishments of a funded project. See Audit (Program).
New and Competing Proposals First-time proposals or existing projects that need to re-compete for funding prior to the expiration of the initial award.
Non-confidential Disclosure When access to a confidentiality agreement is given to a potential licensee of an invention in order for them to determine the feasibility of the patent.
Not For Profit When an incorporated organization’s trustees and stockholders to not share in the profits. See also 501(c)(3).
Notice of Grant Award A legally binding document serving as notification to the recipient and
others that a grant or cooperative agreement has been made. The notification contains or references all terms and conditions under which the project will be conducted.
On Spec On Speculation. Preliminary work done on the “speculation” that the project will be funded. Lawyers, consultants and others may do work for free on the belief that additional work will be forthcoming. Some funding agencies have ethical concerns with this type of arrangement.
Operating Foundation Tax-exempt private foundations whose primary purpose is to conduct research and provide charitable programs or services of their own. In rare circumstances they make grants to outside organizations. In order to qualify as an operating foundation, the organization must follow specific rules in addition to the applicable rules for private foundations. See also 501(c)(3).
Operating Support Grant Rather than for a specific purpose or project. This is a grant made to further the general purpose or work of an organization See also General/Operating Support.
Pass Through Foundations that receive monies and then disperse those same funds to a sub-grantee. Little or no money is kept by the foundation. See also Audit (Program), Grantee and Sub-Grantee.
Payout Requirement The minimum amount that a private foundation is required to spend for charitable purposes which includes grants and necessary and reasonable administrative expenses. Ordinarily, a private foundation must pay out annually five percent of the average market value of its assets.
Pipeline Terminology used when grant applications score acceptably but not high enough to be awarded. If additional funds become available, or other projects do not take place, one of the applications in the “pipeline” may be funded.
Pre-Application A summary statement of the intent of an applicant to request funds. The funding agency will make an assessment on the ability to compete with other grant applications and may even discourage those with little change of success. See also Application.
Prevailing Wages Wage rates for laborers and mechanics that are required to be paid for projects covered by the Davis-Bacon Act.  The wages are determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.  See also Davis-Bacon Act
Priority Score Average score a proposal receives from an NIH IRG. This is the primary determinant of success. Range is 100 to 300 (lower is better) if 50% of applications are triaged to a "Not Scored" group.
Private Foundation A tax-exempt, non-profit organization with a principle fund or endowment of its own. These foundations are set up to help social, educational, charitable, or religious actions that serve the common good of society. See also 501(c)(3); public charity.
Private Sector Grants and Funding For-profit foundation and corporate grants that allocate money to strengthen education and community based interests.
Pro Forma A anticipated, proposed or hypothetical set of numbers for a project, generally the budget.
Program Amount Internally administered funds from a foundation or corporate giving program that support a particular program
Program Announcement A document issued by a sponsor describing the existence of a funding opportunity and requesting grant applications. It may describe new or expanded interest in a particular program or be a reminder of continuing interest in a program.
Program Income Revenue generated by a project including, but not limited to, the sale of real estate or equipment, rental income, interest on loans, interest earned or money collected through special assessments. This revenue can be subject to all terms and conditions of the original grant.
Program Officer A staff member of a foundation responsible for reviewing and analyzing grant requests, processing the applications and managing the program strategies. See also Grant/Contract Officer.
Program-Related Investment (PRI) An investment or loan (not a grant) made to another organization for a project which is similar to the interests and purpose of the foundation making the loan.
Progress Report A scheduled report (usually annually) required by the funder that summarizes the project to date.
Project The planned program, the goals and objectives for which the grant funds are being requested.
Project Director or Principal Investigator (PI): The person responsible for fulfilling the terms and conditions of the grant or contract. Sometimes, the terms "project director" and "principal investigator" are used interchangeably.
Project Period (PP) The total time for which support of a project has been approved. A project period may consist of one or more budget periods.
Proposal A document that contains all information necessary to describe project plans, project budget, staffing needs and capabilities, and funds requested. The proposal is submitted to a funding agency.
Proposal A written application containing all necessary information describing project plans, staff capabilities, budget and supporting documents, submitted to a foundation or corporate giving program in requesting a grant.
Public Charity A tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that receives its financial support from a broad segment of the general public. See also 501(c)(3); private foundation.
Qualifying distributions The amount of money spent by a private foundation to satisfy its annual payout requirement, including grants, normal and reasonable administrative expenses, loans and program-related investments, plus any amounts paid to purchase assets used directly in carrying out tax-exempt purposes.
Recipient The receiver of the grant funds. See also Grantee.
Regulations The contractual rules and regulations issued by the sponsor of research projects.
Request For Proposals (RFP) When grant money is available a solicitation is sent by the funder seeking applications from potential grantees.
RFA Request for Application – Like a RFP, but in a format that is not as complex.
RFP REMOVE - DUPE
SEA State Education Agency (State Department of Education) Applies for and oversees the grant.  
Seed Money Money used for setting up a new project or enterprise. Seed grants can cover the operating expenses and salaries.
Set-asides Foundations can set aside money for specific purposes or for projects that are counted as qualified distributions toward the foundation’s required annual payout. Amounts for the project must be paid within five years of the first set-aside.
Small Grant Often limited to a beginner researcher, this type of grant award is typically for one year.
Soft Costs Soft costs are considered money required for building or renovating a project but not including labor and material. Generally the costs include the architects, attorneys, fees associated with title searches, permits and closing costs.
Special Purpose Foundation A private foundation that concentrates on providing grants to very specific areas of interest. See also General Purpose Foundation.
Step-Funded Grant A project grant normally given for a three-year period. The initial grant is 100% of the amount for year one, 2/3 for the second year and 1/3 in the final year. After the first year, if the project is approved to be continued, the grant will fund 1/3 for the second year, 1/3 for the third year and 1/3 in the fourth year.
Sub-Grantee The receiver of pass through grant funds from a grantee rather than from the grantor. The sub-grantee is required to follow all the policies and rules of the original grant plus any additional conditions added by the grantee. See also Pass Through, Grantee and Grantor.
Subgrants A grant awarded by federal agencies on the basis of a set formula. For example an amount per population, per capita income, or enrollment. The principal recipients are state governments.  
Sub-Recipient See sub-grantee.
Target Population The specific population intended as beneficiaries of a program.
Task Order Agreement (TOA) A supplement to a basic contract that authorizes work and appropriates funds.
Tax-exempt Organizations not subject to taxation such as federal, state or corporate taxes.
Teaming Agreement When two or more parties make an agreement to participate in a research project or teaching activity.
Technical assistance Management or operational assistance given to non-profit organizations including budgeting, financial planning, fundraising assistance, legal advise, marketing as well as program planning. See also In-Kind Contributions .
Terms of Award The legal requirements of an agreement that may include both standard and special provisions considered necessary to protect the funder’s interests.
Triple Net Lease A lease requiring that the tenant pay for all maintenance expenses, plus utilities, taxes, and insurance. This results in lower risk for investors, who usually form a limited partnership.
Trustee A foundation board member occupying a position of trust who assists in making decisions about the way grant monies are spent.
Turnkey A complete and ready-to-use project constructed by a developer then sold or given to a buyer.
Unilateral Award Unilateral awards are most often given when unsolicited proposals receive favorable treatment and competitive proposals are not considered. See also Unsolicited Proposals.
Unrestricted Funds Funding that has no requirements or restrictions for use. Gifts are usually considered unrestricted funds while grants, contracts and cooperative agreements are considered restricted.
Unsolicited Proposal Proposals A proposal that is not in response to a RFP, RFA or program announcement. See also Investigator-Initiated Proposal.
Zero-Based Budgeting A budgeting method where all expenditures must be justified in each new period, as opposed to only explaining the amounts requested in excess of the previous period's funding.
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