Grants are non-repayable funds disbursed by one party (grant makers), often a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, to a recipient, often (but not always) a nonprofit entity, educational institution, business or an individual. In order to receive a grant, some form of “Grant Writing” often referred to as either a proposal or an application is usually required.
Most grants are made to fund a specific project and require some level of compliance and reporting. The grant writing process involves an applicant submitting a proposal (or submission) to a potential funder, either on the applicant’s own initiative or in response to a Request for Proposal from the funder. Other grants can be given to individuals, such as victims of natural disasters or individuals who seek to open a small business. Sometimes grant makers require grant seekers to have some form of tax-exempt status, be a registered nonprofit organization or a local government.
For example, tiered funding for a freeway are very large grants negotiated at government policy level. However smaller grants may be provided by a government agency (e.g. municipal government).
Source and for further information about grants http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grants