So you’ve heard about these ACF grants and are wondering if your organization might qualify. The good news is that these Administration for Children and Families grants aim to support organizations that provide services to children, youth, families, and communities. Whether you run an after-school program, a healthcare clinic, or a job training center, there’s a good chance there’s an ACF grant that matches your mission and goals. The key is finding the right grant opportunity and submitting a compelling application. In this article, we’ll walk you through the different types of ACF grants, eligibility criteria, and tips for crafting an application that will catch the reviewers’ attention. By the end, you’ll be well on your way to securing funding to help your organization thrive and better serve those who depend on you.

What Is the ACF Grant Program?

The ACF Grant Program provides funding for community projects aimed at strengthening families and communities. If you have an idea for a program that could benefit families in your area, you may qualify for an ACF grant.

Who Can Apply?

Non-profit organizations, local governments, tribal organizations, and faith-based organizations are eligible to apply for ACF grants. Individuals cannot apply directly but can work with an eligible organization to develop and submit a grant proposal.

What Kind of Programs Qualify?

ACF funds programs that promote the economic and social well-being of children, families, and communities. This includes programs for:

  • Childcare and early childhood education
  • Youth development and after-school programs
  • Parenting education
  • Healthy marriage and relationship education
  • Financial literacy and economic stability
  • Community economic development
  • Transportation and infrastructure in underserved areas

The Application Process

Applying for an ACF grant involves several steps:

  • Review the funding opportunities on the ACF website and identify programs that match your organization’s mission and experience. Make sure you understand the specific objectives and eligibility criteria for each grant program.
  • Develop a proposal that outlines your program goals, activities, timeline, budget, and the impact your program will have on the community. Gather input from community partners and people who will benefit from the program.
  • Complete the application forms which will include details about your organization, program activities, budget, evaluation plan, and community support. Submit any required attachments like letters of support or commitment.
  • If selected, work with an ACF program specialist to finalize grant details. Grantees must comply with reporting requirements to continue receiving funding.

With time and dedication, an ACF grant could help turn your vision for strengthening families into a reality. The application process may seem daunting, but the rewards of securing funding for your community are well worth the effort. Don’t hesitate to contact ACF with any questions you may have along the way.

Who Qualifies for ACF Grants?

To qualify for Administration for Children and Families (ACF) grants, you need to meet certain criteria. The specific qualifications will depend on the grant program, but in general:

  • You must be a non-profit organization, local government agency, community group, or tribe providing human services. Some programs are open to for-profit organizations as well.
  • Your organization must serve low-income individuals, at-risk youth, families, or communities. Most ACF grants target groups with economic or social disadvantages.
  • You will likely need to provide matching funds or in-kind contributions. While ACF grants don’t always require a match, providing some share of the total project cost is viewed favorably.
  • Strong grant writing and management skills are important. Applying for and administering federal grants requires experience with budgets, reporting, and program implementation. If needed, consider hiring a grant writer or consultant to help prepare a competitive application.
  • DUNS number and SAM registration are required. To apply for any federal grant, you must have a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM).
  • Meet eligibility criteria for the specific grant program. Each ACF grant will have additional qualifications related to the populations and services it supports. Carefully review the program guidelines to ensure your organization and project meet all eligibility criteria before applying.

With the right qualifications and a well-written application, an ACF grant could provide funding to help your organization support children, families, and communities in need. Check the ACF website frequently for new funding opportunities and apply when there is a good match. Success is often a numbers game, so keep applying and don’t get discouraged easily!

How to Apply for an ACF Grant

To apply for an ACF grant, you’ll need to follow a few key steps:

Find the Right Grant Opportunity

Browse the ACF website to find grants that match your organization’s mission and priorities. Pay close attention to the eligibility criteria to ensure you qualify. Some grants may be limited to specific types of organizations, locations or populations served. Make note of the deadlines for applications—some are offered annually, while others may be one-time opportunities.

Review the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

The FOA provides all the details about a specific grant including eligibility, priorities, deadlines, award amounts and the application process. Study this document carefully to understand exactly what the ACF is looking to fund. Ensure your proposed project or program aligns with their goals before moving forward with an application.

Complete Required Registrations

Some ACF grants require organizations to register with and obtain a DUNS number. Complete these steps well in advance of the application deadline. Also make sure your organization’s SAM registration is up to date. Outdated registrations can delay the review of your application.

Address All Application Requirements

Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible to apply and obtained the necessary registrations, it’s time to start preparing your grant application. Carefully address all questions and follow the required formatting and instructions. Submit all requested documents, such as:

  • Project proposal
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Proof of non-profit status
  • Letters of support
  • Key staff resumes

Reviewers will evaluate how well you address the FOA priorities in your proposal and budget. Provide as much detail as possible within the page limits given. Have others review your application for clarity and completeness before submitting.

Submit Your Application on Time

Most ACF grants require electronic submission through Double check that you’ve addressed all errors or issues with your application before the deadline. Late applications are not accepted. Submit early in case you experience any technical issues with the system.

With careful preparation and review, your organization can submit a strong application for ACF grant funding. But remember, these grants are highly competitive—so make sure your proposed project or program is innovative, impactful and aligned with their goals. Best of luck!

ACF Grant Application Requirements

To qualify for an ACF grant, you’ll need to meet certain requirements. These help ensure only legitimate organizations and programs receive funding.

Program Eligibility

Your organization must operate programs and services that align with ACF’s mission to promote the economic and social well-being of children, families, and communities. Eligible programs include:

  • Child welfare and abuse prevention
  • Low-income assistance
  • Healthcare and Medicaid
  • Native American programs
  • Disability services
  • Nutrition assistance

Nonprofit Status

Most ACF grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Some grants may be available for state and local governments, public institutions like universities, and tribal organizations. If you’re a nonprofit, you’ll need to provide documentation proving your tax-exempt status.

DUNS Number

To apply for any federal grant, you’ll need a DUNS number—a unique 9-digit ID provided by Dun & Bradstreet. This helps keep track of your organization and any federal funding received. You can request a free DUNS number on

Good Standing

Your organization must be in good standing in the state where you’re located. This means you have no unresolved issues with state charity regulators or licensing boards. You’ll have to provide documentation from your Secretary of State confirming your good standing status.

Matching Funds

Some ACF grants require matching funds, meaning you have to contribute a portion of the total project cost. Match percentages typically range from 10 to 50 percent. In-kind donations of goods, space, and volunteer time may count toward your match. Check the specific grant program for details on match requirements.

Following these guidelines and gathering the necessary documentation will put you in a good position to submit a competitive application for ACF grant funding. Be thorough, thoughtful, and make sure your program aims match ACF’s objectives. With persistence, you’ll gain access to resources to help your organization thrive and better serve those in need.

REA ALSO: A Guide to CDC Grants: Determine Your Eligibility and Apply for Funding


So there you have it, the basics on ACF grants—who’s eligible and how to put your best application forward. While the application process can seem daunting, don’t get discouraged. Take it step by step, do your research, and ask others who have applied before for their tips and advice. If your organization provides valuable services to the community, especially those most in need of assistance, you have a solid chance of securing funding. And remember, even if you get rejected the first time, use the feedback to strengthen your next application. Perseverance and determination pay off. With hard work and the right grant, you could be well on your way to making an even bigger impact and changing lives.

Originally posted 2023-10-09 11:12:42.

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