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Guide to securing Congressionally directed funds

Understand the distinction and implication of Congressionally Directed Spending and Community Project Funding


Starting from the fiscal year 2022 appropriations, Members of Congress initiated a new method for requesting funds.

Photo/Mariam Zuhaib via AP

In recent years, the process for securing federal funding for specific projects has undergone significant changes, particularly with the introduction of more transparent practices. Gone are the days of “earmarks"; instead, we now navigate the realm of “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS) in the Senate and “Community Project Funding” in the House. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this process and understand how agencies can effectively secure funding for their initiatives.

Understanding the process

Starting from the fiscal year 2022 appropriations, Members of Congress initiated a new method for requesting funds for particular projects. This process demands transparency and accountability from all involved parties. Key to this new approach is the requirement for Members to furnish comprehensive information regarding the purpose and recipient of the funding, ensuring the avoidance of conflicts of interest. Additionally, the involvement of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) serves as a watchdog, tracking the utilization of funds to ensure adherence to regulations.

Senate vs. House submission

It’s important to note the distinction between the Senate and House submission processes. While both aim to allocate funds for community-centric projects, the terminology and procedures vary. Senate Members engage in Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS), whereas House Members oversee “Community Project Funding.” Despite the terminology differences, the overarching goal remains consistent: to address pressing community needs through federal appropriations.

Navigating funding constraints

Despite the noble intentions behind CDS and Community Project Funding, agencies must navigate certain limitations. The Senate Appropriations Committee has capped the funding available for CDS items, creating a competitive landscape where many worthy projects vie for limited resources. Thus, submission of a request does not guarantee federal funding. However, agencies can take solace in the opportunity to reapply in subsequent cycles or explore alternative avenues, such as competitive federal grant funding opportunities.

Preparing for future cycles

Looking ahead, agencies must prepare diligently for future funding cycles. Submission for Fiscal Year 25 (FY25) occurred earlier this year, with the next submission window slated for February to April of 2025, in preparation for the FY26 budget cycle. It’s crucial to note that funded projects typically commence 9-15 months after the initial request, underscoring the importance of proactive planning.

Tips for success

To maximize the chances of securing funding through Federal Elected Officials in the House or Senate Committee appropriations for FY 2026, agencies should adhere to a structured process:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Ensure alignment with Federal Elected Officials in the House or Senate Appropriations Committee priorities.
  2. Prepare Your Request: Compile comprehensive documentation detailing the project’s purpose, outcomes, and budget.
  3. Engage with Federal Elected Officials: Garner support from Federal Elected Officials representing your state.
  4. Submission of Requests: Meet deadlines outlined by the Federal Elected Officials in the House or Senate Appropriations Committee.
  5. Transparency and Compliance: Adhere to ethical guidelines and transparency requirements.
  6. Follow Up: Maintain communication with Federal Elected Officials and committee staff to address queries.

For further guidance, agencies can refer to the official Senate or House committee page on appropriations requests.


Securing Congressionally Directed Funds requires diligence, transparency, and strategic planning. By adhering to the outlined process and seeking assistance from resources such as the Lexipol Grants Team, agencies can navigate the complexities of federal funding and realize their community-oriented initiatives.

For additional information and personalized assistance, agencies are encouraged to reach out to the Lexipol Grants Team. Our dedicated experts are committed to helping agencies identify relevant funding opportunities, craft successful applications, and effectively manage awarded funds.

Contact the Lexipol Grants Team for comprehensive grant assistance tailored to your agency’s needs.

EMS1 is using generative AI to create some content that is edited and fact-checked by our editors.

Samantha L. Dorm is a senior grant consultant for Lexipol, serving, and PoliceGrantsHelp. She first began working as a consultant for the grants division of Praetorian Digital (now Lexipol) in 2010. Dorm has been instrumental in providing grant writing guidance to various public safety and non-profit agencies throughout the United States to enable them to obtain alternative funding as well as provide instruction on statistical compilation, analysis and program development. Dorm is a reviewer for several federal agencies and also instructs grant writing workshops.