eCivis Blog

Federal Grant Reform: A Call for Internal Controls

Posted by Jennie Larry Johnson on Nov 19, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Rumors and whispers concerning federal grant reform became real with the release of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) on December 26 of last year. Commonly known as the Super Circular or Omni-Circular, the Uniform Guidance takes effect the same date this year. The new regulations are intended to improve the federal grant award process by providing a framework that focuses on performance over compliance; ensuring financial integrity and enhancing existing or future federal award guidelines; streamlining the administrative, costing principles, and audit administrative for federal awards; and strengthening federal grant oversight to better protect against “waste, fraud, and abuse.” The overarching goal is to provide “a backbone for sound financial federal award management.”

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Topics: single audit, internal controls, grants management best practices, super circular

Grant News Grab Bag for November 2014

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Nov 17, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Pittsburgh's Progress. Once the center of the steel industry, Pittsburgh had an astonishingly high unemployment rate by the early 1980's and had shuttered three-quarters of its steel-making capacity by end of the decade. By the 21st century, the city had transformed itself into one of America's most livable cities (dubbed so by Forbes and The Economist, for instance), with robust nonprofit and biotech sectors. Pittsburgh's economic progress has come with the help of public-private partnerships, business friendliness, and, most recently, the highly engaged Mayor Bill Peduto, profiled in the following article: Read about Pittsburgh's turnaround.

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Topics: grant news

Publicizing Your Grant-Funded Project

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Nov 12, 2014 5:00:00 AM

After your department has completed a grant-funded project, what are your next steps to show off your success? 

During last week's eCivis-ICMA webinar, "Managing a Grant Without a Dedicated Team," a slew of important topics related to grants management were covered, including bringing publicity to your local government grant-funded project. Two of the presenters—Austin Bleess, city manager for the City of Caribou (population 8,189), Maine; and Mary Modelski, division chief, auditor, for Alameda County (population 1,510,271), California—discussed ways that they have publicized projects. Here are some tips from them.

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Topics: local government, grants management best practices

How Local Governments Can Land Private-Sector Grants

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Nov 10, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Local governments are not necessarily precluded from pursuing private-sector grants. By creating a 501(c)(3) foundation, local governments, and even police departments, can become eligible for grants from private-sector grantors that indicate in their guidelines that they only award grants to nonprofits. During ICMA's September webinar "The Language of Grant Writing," one of the last questions during the Q&A secton came from a local government official that brought up this very issue:

“I’m with the city and we have never considered going after private-sector funding. How can we position ourselves to win foundation grant awards?”

The answer deserved transcription, so I've quoted it at length below. Dr. Beverly Browning, who hosted the webinar, responded as follows:

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Topics: grant seeking, nonprofits, local government

Grant Success Spotlight: Chisholm Kids Plus

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Nov 6, 2014 10:29:00 AM

Chisholm Kids Plus is a nonprofit coalition established by the Northland Foundation to improve the well-being of children and youth in the rural town of Chisholm, Minnesota. This year, the organization applied for the Office of National Drug Control Policy's Drug-Free Communities Support Program. With the assistance of eCivis' grant writing team, Chisholm Kids Plus won a $625,000 matching grant that will go toward substance prevention efforts among youth in Chisholm.

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Topics: nonprofits, grant writing

Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) FY2014 Is Here

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Nov 3, 2014 4:00:00 AM

The application period for the FY2014 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) opens today, November 3, 2014, at 8:00 A.M. EST and closes on December 5, 2014, at 5:00 P.M. EST. Total funding available for FY2014 is $304,503,764, with the number of available awards set at 2,700.

The AFG program provides financial assistance to enhance the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel and to provide support for emergency responders regarding fire, medical, and all-hazard events. This year's objective is to award grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated EMS organizations, and SFTAs for critically needed resources to protect the public, train emergency personnel, foster interoperability, and support community resilience. Eligible activities requested that have an immediate impact on the safety of emergency responders, other personnel, or the public may receive additional consideration during the application review process.  Read More

Topics: AFG, firefighter grants

How to Acquire Awarded Federal Grant Applications

Posted by Carolyn Felden on Oct 27, 2014 4:00:00 AM

Grant program solicitations often provide great detail regarding what is required for an application. But writing it can be a bit like composing an essay for a teacher you've never had before: It’s not clear what communication style may appeal to the reviewer, and what unspoken points are of particular importance. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a copy of an A+ essay as a model to go by?

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Grants Management Without a Grants Team (Webinar for Local Government)

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Oct 23, 2014 4:00:00 AM

Grants_management_webinar_with_ICMA_and_eCivisSo you're tasked with managing grants but you have no grants team. You're not alone: Most local governments lack a grants management team to pursue and manage grants; instead, staff members work grants management into their already heavy workload. The result is an inefficient strategy and lost opportunities for awards.

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Topics: local government, webinars, grants management best practices

Grant Basics: Competitive, Formula, and Continuation Applications

Posted by Paul Oostenbrug on Oct 21, 2014 4:00:00 AM

Let's review some grant basics. If you're new to grant writing, this article can help you determine the similarities and differences among competitive, formula (or non-competitive), and continuation funding. Pass-through grants—federal funds provided to a state or local government and then "passed through" to sub-recipientsare discussed thoroughly via the link provided.

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Topics: federal grants, grant writing, formula grants, continuation grants

What Is a Grant, and What Is It Not?

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Oct 15, 2014 4:00:00 AM

The new federal fiscal year is here, so let's take a moment to look at the basics—our definitions and assumptions about grants. What image comes to mind when you hear the term "grant"?

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Topics: federal grants

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