Earmark grants are explicitly specified in appropriations of the U.S. Congress. They are not competitively awarded and have become highly controversial because of the heavy involvement of paid political lobbyists used in securing them. In FY1996 appropriations, the Congressional Research Service found 3,023 earmarks totaling $19.5 billion, while in FY2006 it found 12,852 earmarks totaling $64 billion. Free Money No Pay Back
"...legal instrument reflecting the relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local government, or other entity when 1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to the State or local government or other recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government; and 2) substantial involvement is not expected between the executive agency and the State, local government, or other recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement."
You’ll have to propose a program approach that can realistically produce the results you expect to achieve. That means you’ll have to provide convincing evidence that the program is likely to work as you expect. Many federal agencies dictate that nonprofits use evidence-based approaches in programs supported with tax payer funds. Learn all you can about your field and what types of approaches have been proven to produce results. Gather documentation. Get your ducks in a row. Federal Grant Guidance
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Take the early 2000s, for example. During the recession caused by the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the Fed lowered rates almost to zero, yet the stimulative effect was strikingly weak. Aside from today’s economy, the 2000s expansion was by far the weakest in postwar history, despite being driven by a housing bubble of world-historical proportions and enormous deficit spending. Then came the financial crisis in late 2007 and early 2008. When the economy fell into recession, the Fed started to lower rates sharply and reached near zero by late 2008. (For complicated reasons, the Fed refuses to go all the way to zero.) This action, coupled with the sizable fiscal stimulus of 2009, was enough to stave off a full-blown depression, but it was not enough to prevent mass unemployment, which spiked to over 10 percent and, more importantly, has come down at an agonizing pace. The prime working-age employment rate collapsed during the crisis, and has barely budged since (see Graph 4). Federal Grant Reporting
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