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ACL Grants Overview

ACL awards more than one billion dollars in grants, primarily to state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and small businesses. Some are awarded in accordance with formulas (mandatory grants) established in legislation, while others are awarded in a competitive process (discretionary grants). 

ACL awards grants to states and organizations that provide services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities, conduct research, and develop innovative approaches to doing both. Learn more about the differences in grant types and how to apply.

Drawdown Memorandum to Grantees of ACL Discretionary Grants

Drawdown Memorandum to Grantees of ACL Mandatory/Formula Grants

Drawdown Memorandum to Grantees of ACL Older Americans Act State Unit on Aging Grants

Notification of Retirement of FCTRs in PMS


Mandatory (or Formula) Grants

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, tribes, territories, and other organizations specified by legislation).

Discretionary (or Competitive) 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.

ACL announces competitive (discretionary) grant funding opportunities through the Funding Opportunities section of this website and at Each FOA contains all information needed to apply for a grant.

ACL Prize Competitions

Learn more.


Other sections of this website (Applying for a Grant, Managing a Grant) contain information on how to apply for a grant, general tips for writing and submitting an application as well as general information on how to manage an ACL grant.

Learn how to become a peer reviewer for ACL.

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

Information regarding past awards can be found at

Last modified on 07/17/2024

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