Who's Who in the Federal Grant Policy-Making Community


The Federal policies that determine your application workflow – from eligibility and applying to winning an award and reporting on your program outcomes – didn't just materialize in a book full of rules and regulations.

Below, you will find a table breaking down every main body involved in the Federal grant policy-making process – who they are, what they do and what role they play in contributing to grant policy.

Federal Bodies Involved in Grant Policy Formation

Body Description Activities Role in Grant Community
Congress Senate and House of Representatives Passes statutes and regulations that are signed into law by the President Lays the foundation for Federal grant policy through legislation

Appropriates funds to Federal agencies
The White House (President of United States of America) Executive Office of the President Ensures that laws are implemented and enforced

President serves as head-of-state and commander-in-chief

President signs or vetoes legislation from Congress
Appoints heads of Federal agencies that award grants to applicants

Issues Executive Orders relevant to grant policy formation and legislation
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Largest component of the Executive Office of the President Manages the budget development and execution of Federal government departments and agencies

Guides their implementation of laws and regulations
Issues circulars with guidance for grant-making agencies, such as the "Uniform Guidance" that was implemented in 2014

Receives recommendations from the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR)
Grant-making Federal departments and agencies Bodies that serve and protect the public and receive funding from Congress Run programs that serve the public

Assist Congress in the drafting of regulations
Award grants with funds from congressional appropriations under the direction of the agency head

Create agency-specific, grant-related policies (internal and external) based on guidance from OMB
Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) Created in 2011 by the OMB

Replaced the Grants Policy Council and the Grants Executive Board

Comprised of Executive Branch officials from different agencies
Provides recommendations to the OMB on grant policy

Shares best practices with departments and agencies disbursing financial assistance awards
While COFAR cannot directly create grant policy, its work contributes significantly to reforms being implemented by Congress, The White House and the OMB.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Investigative organization that reports to Congress Audits and generates reports on work done across the Federal government

Ensures that taxpayer dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently
Publishes occasional reports on Federal grant policy