The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a government-wide compendium of Federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provide assistance or benefits to the American public. It contains financial and nonfinancial assistance programs administered by departments and establishments of the Federal government.
In 1984, Public Law 98-169 authorized the transfer of responsibilities of the Federal Program Information Act from the Office of Management and Budget to the General Services Administration. The transfer took place in July 1984. These responsibilities include the dissemination of Federal domestic assistance program information through the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, pursuant to the Federal Program Information Act, Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 98-169.
Responsibility for the database of Federal assistance lies with the General Services Administration. The OMB interfaces with the range of Federal agencies on behalf of the General Services Administration delivering the required oversight to the program data related to domestic assistance.
As the basic reference source of Federal programs, the primary purpose of the Catalog is to assist users in identifying programs that meet specific objectives of the potential applicant, and to obtain general information on Federal assistance programs. In addition, the intent of the Catalog is to improve coordination and communication between the Federal government and State and local governments.
The Catalog provides the user with access to programs administered by Federal departments and agencies in a single publication. Program information is cross referenced by functional classification (Functional Index), subject (Subject Index), applicant (Applicant Index), deadline(s) for program application submission (Deadlines Index), and authorizing legislation (Authorization Index). These are valuable resource tools that, if used carefully, can make it easier to identify specific areas of program interest more efficiently.
Since 1977 the General Services Administration has published printed editions of the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. Legislation required free dissemination of the CFDA to specific recipients. In 2003 the General Services Administration distributed close to 10,000 copies of the CFDA.
New rulings now gives the General Services Administration discretion in what form to produce and disseminate the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. The General Services Administration is endeavoring to move to a more paper free environment and toward that end now maintains and distributes the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance through the CFDA Website. The General Services Administration no longer prints and distributes free copies of the Catalog.