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Applying for Grants

Each year, Congress appropriates funds to ACL to support community living through a variety of programs. ACL, in turn, provides the funding to states and local governments, community organizations, colleges and universities, and other organizations who conduct research or provide services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities. Grants and cooperative agreements are the major vehicles through which ACL transfers its appropriated funds to organizations providing, supporting, or researching community living.

There are two basic types of ACL grants:

  • Discretionary, or "competitive," grants allow ACL to exercise discretion in selecting the projects to be funded and determining the amount of the award. Discretionary grants, once awarded, provide grantees with significant flexibility and control over how grant objectives are achieved (within the scope of the approved application). If the nature of the grant requires substantial ACL involvement, ACL will administer the grant as a cooperative agreement, which affords the agency a role in grant decisionmaking.
  • Mandatory, or "formula," grants are on-going programs, which require no application or competition. Eligibility and funding levels for mandatory grants are based on legislation which often uses a formula to determine the allocation of grant funds across eligible entities such as states. View the tables with mandatory grant awards. For questions about mandatory grants, see the programmatic and fiscal contacts list.

Grantees and Organizations Seeking Grants

ACL's goal is attract top-notch proposals from a wide range of applicants by providing clear, easy-to-find information about the application process and managing grants.

This section of the website contains information on how to apply for a competitive grant, a list of open funding opportunities, and information on how to manage a grant once it has been awarded.

ACL does not provide grants directly to individuals. The Find Services and Other Help section (see box at the top of the page) provides information to connect older adults, people with disabilities, and their families and caregivers to programs and organizations that provide services and supports directly to consumers. 

If you have questions about specific grant opportunities, please contact the designated program staff indicated in the funding opportunity announcement.

Last modified on 07/14/2023

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