If you’re managing a state or local parks and recreation agency and have counted on an annual grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), then you’ve probably been pacing back and forth wondering if this 50-year-old act will be funded again. In researching the LWCF for one of our eCivis clients, I found some background and current status tracking websites to keep you updated on pending congressional actions.Read More
|Zion National Park. Photo by author.|
You’ve heard the refrain many times before: If Congress doesn’t act by x date, y funding for z programs will be cut. Well, the song remains the same for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), whose funding over the last 50 years has provided more than $4 billion in matching grants for projects such as parkland acquisition and facility development, including the acquisition of California’s Big Sur coast and Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. The fund sunsets in September if Congress does not act in time.
Fortunately, the City Parks Alliance (CPA) has released an excellent report on the subject detailing the variety of benefits that come from investing in our state and urban parks: promoting public health, generating jobs, attracting residents and businesses, leveraging private-sector investment, and lowering infrastructure costs for cities. Of course, not all benefits are measurable, like beauty, but they underly what we quantify.Read More
The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) aims to make federal spending more accessible, increase the availability of the data to the public, and improve oversight of federal funding. Passed by the House in November (H.R. 2061), the bill will be taken up by the Senate (S. 994) early this year. As referenced in my previous blog article, the legislation expands the provisions within the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), extends the Recovery Act reporting deadlines, and sets a new expiration date for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) until 2017.
Last month, the House of Representatives adopted H.R. 2061, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), introduced by Congressman Darrell Issa. The bill aims to make federal spending more accessible, increase the availability of the data to the public, and improve oversight of federal funding. The legislation is also intended to offer a way to track federal spending, reduce compliance costs, improve transparency, prevent fraud, and improve the quality of data submitted on www.USASpending.gov.
The Grant News Grab Bag covers multiple topics that concern funding trends affecting local governments and nonprofit organizations, among other organizations; it also offers a bit of grant writing assistance (PFA sources below!). All this is distilled into a digestible (or so I hope) "week in review"-like blog post:
The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy has undoubtedly led to public momentum for gun control legislation, notably in President Obama’s gun control package, “Now Is the Time,” which proposes $500 million for curbing gun violence. Mayors have echoed the president’s call, stating that gun violence has long been a widespread epidemic in major cities. The shootings in Newtown, Conn., have also spurred a review of mental health policies. And the implications for grant funding are significant.
The White House announced last Friday that it would redirect $473 million of “idle” earmark funding to highway projects as part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative. The plan will redistribute unspent earmarks from FY 2003-2006 and would be “immediately available to states for projects,” including eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, and port projects, “that will create jobs and help improve transportation across the country.” Some of the earmarked highway funds are nearly 10 years old.
States must identify the projects for which they plan to use the funds by October 1, and must obligate them by December 31, 2012. "Use it or lose it" is the name of the idle earmarks game.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on Capitol Hill, or any average American for that matter, who’s not in favor of federal financial accountability and transparency, particularly in the wake of the GSA Las Vegas spending scandal. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (H.R. 2146), commonly referred to as the DATA Act, is intended to take federal transparency to the next level, making recipients and subrecipients of federal funding more accountable for how funds (grants, loans, or otherwise) are used.
Grants come with stipulations. That's a given. And an effective grant proposal comes with verified, accurate, and timely information that supports your statement of need. Fortunately, there are a number of useful federal websites you can take advantage of to compose a winning proposal as well as keep track of legislation affecting local government agencies like yours.