Grant Glossary of Terms – State Department of Education


Abstract – summarizes the purpose, importance and scope of the proposed project. Also called a Summary or Executive Summary.

Annual Report – yearly publication focusing on financial, program and governance information of a corporate giving program or foundation.

Annual Support – a grant paid to the same recipient each year for the same amount.

Applicant – the agency requesting a grant.

Application Guidelines – set of instructions issued by fund entities outlining the steps necessary for proposal review (e.g. submission deadlines, letter of intent, contact person, mail address). These guidelines vary among the different funding organizations.

Award – financial or other assistance to accomplish a purpose. Awards can include grants, cooperative agreements or contracts that provide money or property in lieu of money, to eligible recipients.

Budget – a financial plan that estimates an agency’s income and expenses for a specific period of time. Budgets may describe project or program activities or your entire organization’s activities, and are primarily used to estimate and compare against actual financial results.

Budget Narrative – the word-based explanation of the numeric information provided in the budget itself.

Capacity Building Grant – an investment in an organization’s ability to function more effectively, scale up, or become more self-sustaining.

Capital Campaign – intensive fundraising effort to meet specified dollar needs related to building construction, expansion, remodeling or equipment acquisition.

Capital Grant – a grant to provide funding for buildings, construction or equipment, rather than program operating expenses.

Central Control Registration (CCR) – all grant seekers who wish to submit a proposal to the federal government must first register with CCR in order to use the online portal

Collaboration – one of the people or groups with common goals, and shared or complementary interests, assets, and professional skills, that work cooperatively for the community’s benefit.

Consortium grant – a master grant to one institution in support of a project that will be carried out cooperatively with other institutions or profit-making organizations which are legally independent of the funded institution.

Continuation Award – a grant or contract that re-news support of a previously funded project.

Contract – a binding agreement used to procure specified services. The purchase of an identifiable product or service under specified terms.

Cooperative Agreement – an agreement between a funding agency and a grantee or between collaborative agencies which provides an outline of proposed services by all agencies. Extends to the funder some degree of programmatic control.

Corporate Foundation – foundation which receives contributions from a profit-making entity, such as a corporation. Many foundations fund programs which directly impact communities located near their company operations.

Cover Letter – a letter that accompanies a proposal submitted to a private funder, and is usually less formal and prescribed.

Direct costs – costs determined to be specific to a project.

Donor – an individual or organization that makes a contribution.

DUNS Number – an organizational identification number necessary to apply for federal grants. Federal funders use the nine-digit DUNDS (Data Universal Number System) numbers to track applicants. Grantseekers can obtain a DUNS number for free through Dun & Bradstreet or Central Contractor Registration.

Electronic Submission – turning in a grant application for funding online, usually through a formal process on the funder’s website.

External Evaluation – an evaluation conducted by a person or persons who are not members of the project staff and can provide an objective outside view. In many instances, a mandatory or integral part of a funded program.

Family Foundation – a private foundation funded by a family. Usually family members set the grantmaking priorities and make the funding decisions.

Form 990-PF – information statement submitted by foundations which outlines their assets and annual giving. This form is submitted to the State Attorney General’s office and is made available for public review. The public record information return that all independent foundations are required by law to submit yearly to the Internal Revenue Service.

Formative Evaluation – an ongoing process of evaluation intended to influence a program as it develops and progresses.

Formula Grant – a grant a Federal agency is directed by Congress to make to grantees, for which the amount is established by a formula based on certain criteria that are written into the legislation and program regulations; this funding is directly awarded and administered in the Federal agency’s program offices.

Fringe Benefits – nonwage remuneration paid for by an individual’s employer. Examples include FICA contributions, workers compensation, tax withholding, and health insurance. Also referred to as Employee Benefits.

Funding Cycle – the schedule of events starting with the announcement of the availability of funds, followed by the deadline for submission of applications, review of applications, award of grants and release of funds.

Funding Priorities – a means of focusing a competition on the areas in which the agency is particularly interested in receiving applications. Priorities take the form of specific kinds of activities that applicants are asked to include in an application to receive preference in the review process.

Grant – contribution of money to an organization, institution, group or individual to accomplish a specific or general purpose.

Grant Agreement/Contract – a statement, signed by both the grantor and the grant recipient, describing how the grant is to be used and what reporting is required.

Grantee – an organization that has been awarded financial assistance for a project. The grantee is the entire legal entity even if a particular component (e.g., department, office ,or agency) caries-out the grant –funded activities. The grantee is legally responsible and accountable to the funder for the performance and financial aspects of the grant-supported project or activity.

Grant Manager – a designated position or positions responsible for the business management aspects of grant activities.

Grantor – a governmental unit, foundation, or other entity that awards grants.

Grant Request – a request for funds that may be in the form of a short exploratory letter or a complete proposal.

Guidelines – procedures grantseekers must follow when approaching the funder for funding.

Indirect Costs (IDC) – facilities and Administration costs: those costs related to institutional infrastructure, both physical and administrative, that are necessary for research to be conducted (space, utilities, custodial services, security, library services, animal facilities, information systems, shared research facilities, institutional review board, institutional animal care and use committee, bio-safety, payroll, purchasing, grant management). These costs are not itemized in grant applications. Typically, indirect costs are calculated as a percentage of all or part of the direct costs.

In-Kind – a non-monetary contribution of equipment, supplies, property, space, staff time, etc.

Internal Evaluation – evaluation conducted by members of the project staff.

Letter in Inquiry (LOI) – initial contact with a funder outlining the proposed project or plan. A more detailed description of the project is often requested if the initial proposal is “accepted.”

Logic Model – A graphic representation of a project that shows the relationships between what you propose to do and the results you will achieve.

Matching Funds – monies which accompany of “match” the funder’s contribution. These funds can come from either the grantee or a third party.

Matching and Challenge Grants – promises to equal any support from other sources. Challenge grants are specific invitations to others to give equal amounts.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – an agreement developed and executed among partners relating to their roles in a joint operation.

Multi-Year Grants – commitments that are paid out over several years. The grant may
be subject to a yearly review by the funder prior to funding.

Narrative – a proposal narrative is the word-based description of the project, as distinct from charts, photos, and budgets.

Need Statement – the section of the proposal that answers the question, What is the problem that warrants attention? This section is where the applicant identifies the problem, states who else agrees it’s a problem, and what data and statistics lead you to believe there is a problem.

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) – a term used for the announcement of a funding competition.

Objective – a specific statement that explains how a program goal will be accomplished. For example, an objective of the goal to improve adult literacy could be to provide tutoring to participants on a weekly basis for 6 months. An objective is stated so that changes (in this case, an increase in a specific type of knowledge,) can be measured and analyzed. Objectives are written using measurable terms and are time-limited.

Operating Costs – the costs of administering the organization as a whole, so the organization is in a position to implement the project. Utilities, general administrative expenses, and depreciation of equipment and facilities are some examples of operating costs.

Organizational Chart – a graphic representation of the key positions in an organization that illustrates the chain of command and the relationship among the different departments and positions.

Outcomes – the result of the program, services, or products you provide and refer to changes in knowledge, attitude, or behavior that you expect to occur as a result of implementing the project or program, service or activity.

Outcome Evaluation – designed to assess the extent to which a program or intervention affects participants according to specific variables or data elements. These results are expected to be caused by program activities and tested by comparison of results across sample groups in the target population. Outcome evaluation is also known as impact or summative evaluation.

Outcome Objectives – differences, including the changes in knowledge, attitudes, awareness, or behavior that you expect to occur as a result of implementing your program component, proposal, service, or activity. Outcomes should flow directly from program goals and may be long or short-term.

Operating funds – administrative costs and other day-to-day expenses of the organization.

Peer Reviewer – an individual who reviews and scores a competitive proposal. Reviewers are chosen for their subject-area expertise and typically serve on a panel or “technical” panel of at least three members.

Pre-Application – prior coordination or approval process sometimes required before submission of a formal application

Private Foundation – a non-governmental, nonprofit organization with funds usually from an individual, family or corporation. It is managed by its own trustees or directors and is established to maintain or aid social, educational, religious, cultural or other charitable activities serving the common welfare, primarily through the making of grants. Funding priorities of private foundations are usually based on the personal philosophies of the founding members (i.e., health care for all people).

Program – a coherent assembly of plans, project activities, and supporting resources contained within an administrative framework, the purpose of which is to implement an organization’s mission or some specific program-related aspect of that mission.

Program Income – money that is earned or received by a recipient or a sub-recipient from the activities supported by award funds or from products resulting from award activities. It includes, but is not limited to, income from fees for services performed and from the sale of items fabricated under an award; usage or rental fees for equipment or property acquired under an award; admission fees; broadcast or distribution rights; and royalties on patents and copyrights.

Project Director – a designated position responsible for the management of a particular project or program activities.

Public Foundation – a charitable foundation that raises money from the public to be
granted to worthy applicants.

Proposal – a written plan submitted to potential funders. The proposal usually addresses the program’s goals, objectives, methods, budget, and evaluation. A formal request for funding.
Request for Proposal (RFP) – a solicitation issued by a governmental agency or a foundation requesting grantseekers to submit proposals requesting funding to address specific subject matters.

Section 501(c)(3) – Internal Revenue Code section that defines exempt organizations – those organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, educational, or similar purposes.

Seed Money – a grant used to start a new project or organization.
Single State Point of Contact (SPOC) – state contact that an agency must use when applying for certain federal grants. Does not apply to all states.

Solicited Proposal – a proposal submitted in response to an invitation initiated by the grantor. The funder contacts preselected organizations and invites them to submit a proposal for a specific kind of project or constituency that the funder has already identified as a funding priority.

Subcontract – allowance for a secondary contract to undertake some of the obligations of the primary grant or contract

Summative Evaluation – a final evaluation intended to give an overall appraisal of the program or product at its conclusion.

Sustainability – a project’s ability to continue after the grant funds end.
Unsolicited Proposal – an arrangement whereby a proposal is prepared and submitted without specific technical content guidance or input from the sponsoring agency. The project concept originates with the principal investigator or applicant agency.

Grant Glossary of Terms – State Department of Education – Download

Grant Glossary of Terms – State Department of Education – Download [Optimized PDF]

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