HHS launches Grants.gov

Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson officially today launched a grants portal, which lets organizations find and apply for government grants online.

Grants.gov serves as the common face for federal grant program information and applications.

The site directs grant seekers to over 800 programs offered by the 26 grant-making agencies and streamlines the process of awarding over $360 billion annually to state and local governments, academia, not-for-profits and other organizations.

The apply-for-grants feature, which includes a simple application for all grants, went live Oct. 31 following a pilot that included 20 agencies and 100 grant applicants. (Click for GCN story)

The site provides a single source for finding grant opportunities in a standard manner and security when applying for those grants online. Organizations may also receive e-mail notification of grants.

Five agencies to date have posted grant application packages on Grants.gov. The site received its first submitted application today from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences for a grant from the Commerce Department, said Charles Havekost, Grants.gov program manager. Agencies have the ability to post a grant application package and start receiving applications the same day, he said.

“By putting relevant information in one place, we’re helping to level the playing field for organizations less familiar with federal grant programs so that they too can identify and apply for appropriate grants,” Thompson said.

Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for IT and e-government, said Grants.gov will transform the grants process. “Mining for federal funds is getting more challenging for many organizations,” Evans said.

Many organizations do not have the staff or the familiarity with the grants process to know to look for opportunities in federal domestic assistance sources, scan the Federal Register or search multiple government sites, she said. “Grants.gov helps make transactions for government funds cheaper, easier and more comprehensible,” Evans said.

Since October, Grants.gov has received 500,000 hits per week to find grant opportunities and 100,000 hits at the application feature, Havekost said. Over 300 organizations have expressed interest, set up a profile, or received user identifications and passwords, he said.

Northrop Grumman Corp. provides systems integration and IBM Corp. the content, software applications and customer service. Organizations will use e-forms from PureEdge Solutions Inc., of Victoria, British Columbia, to apply for grants.

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