The Trump Presidency: Expectations for Federal Grant Funding


I just returned from the annual Grant Professionals Association National Meeting where I had the pleasure of working with Rob Bradner to develop and deliver a presentation on the future of federal grant funds under the Trump presidency. While Rob could not make the trip to Atlanta to co-present this information with me because of a last minute conflict, he provided many of the specifics that form the basis for our predictions.

The days between the campaign and governing signal an important transition time for any newly elected official during which campaign promises become tempered by the political and economic realities in which the new president (or governor or mayor) has to govern. We have 71 days between the election and the inauguration for that very reason. You can view our full presentation for some of the political and economic realities that the Trump administration faces. Because of this, things will likely change in the coming weeks and months as the Trump Administration takes shape and the Republicans finalize their agenda.

But, as of Friday, November 9 at noon when we finalized this presentation, some of the grant priorities that we see emerging for a Trump presidency include:


  1. Increased defense spending including research: The Department of Defense is the largest single funder of R&D in the country and the second largest funder of health research to the National Institutes of Health. As the new administration seeks to increase the defense budget overall, they will likely increase funding for research. Not involved in the nation’s defense? The DoD funds all types of research from basic R&D to medical research and outcome research especially for social issues that impact members of our military. For example, have a new program to combat domestic violence? See if you can describe it as a model or pilot study that the military could implement to combat domestic violence in their ranks.

  2. Infrastructure spending: The Trump campaign advocated infrastructure improvements very similar to those that Clinton proposed. You may see grants to improve the nation’s infrastructure for their own sake and to create job that spur economic development, especially in low income and underserved areas. Even if you do not directly work on your community’s infrastructure, does your new building or addition require changes to the sewer system? A new road? You might find some funding through new infrastructure spending bills.

  3. Training for police officers: The safety and security of our officers and inner cities also ranked as priorities for the Trump campaign and look to do the same for his administration. Look for more funding to improve training for police officers on the street and in the classroom.

  4. More grants for health safety nets: Regardless of who won this election, both sides agree that the Affordable Care Act needs work. This administration will likely take up that issue fairly early. While little detail has emerged about what the Republicans might propose to replace Obamacare, one proposal floated by Republicans suggests providing more funding for health safety nets like Community Health Centers. These types of organizations will likely bear the brunt of caring for individuals who lose their insurance if Obamacare goes away. If you work in any aspect of health care, you should pay attention to the different options that Congress will debate and the administration will put forth over the coming weeks and months.

  5. Jobs initiatives for non-college educated individuals in rural and manufacturing communities: Trump won this election largely because non-college educated individuals in the rural and manufacturing communities in the middle of the country want him to “make America great again.” He needs to deliver on those promises and will likely create some job training, re-training or economic development funding to help those in rural and manufacturing communities who have suffered economically in recent years.


This information will change over the coming weeks and months. Our next blog post will outline ways in which you can stay on top of these changes and even help influence them.