There are two main types of grants available through the federal government: 1) Categorical and 2) Block Grants, that also include Project, Formula and Matching Grants.  

Categorical grants provide for specific programs and include requirements. Highway programs and education grants are Categorical grants

Block grants provide funding for eligible activities identified in authorizing legislation. Community development, education, health service and crime controls are some examples of Block grants.  Large block grants include Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)* and Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG). 

Community Development Block Grant’s (CDBG) must fall within one of the approximately 25 categories, including: Historic preservation; real property acquisition, demolition, site preparation and disposition; economic development and job creation; housing assistance; public service activities; assistance to nonprofit entities. 

Project grants are similar to categorical grants and fund specific projects and services.

Formula grants are allocated based on a decision rule, such as x dollars per public school pupil.  The purpose is to allocate funding based on quantifiable variables.  

Matching grants require that the recipient contribute something towards the project costs.  Some block grants also have a match requirement. 

For more, please visit our comprehensive list of funding opportunities at various federal agencies.