Local Government and Grant News for May 28, 2015

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on May 28, 2015 10:15:00 AM

How can local governments better serve their communities? One step is to read up on demonstrated successes, from economic development ideas with proven effectiveness to the innovative ways that cities are leading in energy efficiency. Here are some annotated stories to get you going:

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Topics: Local Government, Grant News

"What Works Cities" Initiative for Mid-Sized Cities

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on May 5, 2015 6:00:00 AM

How can municipalities use data to improve the lives of their residents? This is the question at the heart of the "What Works Cities" intiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Similar to the 2012-2013 Mayors Challenge, which called for innovative ideas from local leaders and facilitated collaboration with experts, this $42 million, three-year program will provide expertise and time to cities that want data-driven solutions for their biggest challenges.

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Topics: Local Government

Smart Growth Strategy: Spotlight Madison

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Apr 21, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Sprawl can cost a city. Just look at infrastructure costs to sprawling communities. Consider the extent of sewer lines, the number of school busses that must go further to pick up children, the garbage trucks that have more miles to burn more fuel, and so on. The distances separating houses and businesses in urban sprawl are frequently associated with higher costs than in compactly built neighborhoods where residential, commercial, recreational areas are in close proximity to one another.

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Topics: Local Government, Urban Planning

Collaboration Done Right: When Local Governments and Nonprofits Apply for Grants Together  

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Apr 8, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Capacity is everything. When it comes to applying for a grant, you need to ensure you have the proper organizational, human, and financial capacity to apply for and manage the award should you win funding. And sometimes it’s a lack of capacity, particularly a scarcity of human capital capacity, that prevents an organization from pursuing certain grant funding they could really use. Maybe you have a story that comes to mind about this topic. 

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Topics: Nonprofits, Local Government, Grants Management Best Practices

Indirect Costs: Deconstructing the “Overhead Myth” in the Uniform Guidance

Posted by Rachel Werner on Apr 6, 2015 8:24:00 AM

In the summer of 2014, almost everyone either participated in or knew someone who participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a win/win situation – The ALS Association gained exposure through various social media outlets, and experienced a near 1,000 percent increase in donations from the previous year at that time. However, people started to look a little deeper and wonder, Where is my money going? Is it really supporting research? They are shocked to discover that some of the donation funds actually go toward administrative costs and overhead. While those unfamiliar with a nonprofit budget might find this disenchanting, this is actually common and accepted practice, and must be understood in more detail to clarify some misconceptions. 

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Topics: Nonprofits, Local Government, Indirect Costs, Uniform Guidance

Knight Cities Challenge Program: A Path to Civic Innovation  

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Apr 2, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Research shows that three things make cities successful: talented people, economic opportunities, and engagement. 


What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

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Topics: Nonprofits, Local Government, Foundation Grants

How Local Governments Can Leverage Storytelling from the Numbers

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Mar 10, 2015 3:00:00 AM

You’re probably familiar with the buzz term “open government,” the principle that citizens deserve access to the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight. That concept is clear enough, but what are some tangible examples of how local governments effectively implement this principle? And how do you translate the budget details into stories for the average citizen?

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Topics: Local Government

International Grant Professionals Week, March 16-20

Posted by Kim Richardson on Mar 5, 2015 3:00:00 AM

Monday, March 16, launches International Grant Professionals Week. The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) is rolling out a full month of social media activities to recognize its members around the world. Currently, there are 21 active members based outside of the U.S., and many more professionals who access information and network through the Association’s social media forums. Since its inception, GPA has increased its membership in staggering numbers, and enhanced international awareness is a contributing factor. 

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Topics: Nonprofits, Grant Writing, Local Government, Grant News

Community Development Block Grants Serve the Needs of Nonprofits

Posted by Kim Joyce on Jan 14, 2015 6:00:00 AM

The first time I heard the acronym "CDBG" as a brand new grant writer, I didn’t know what to think. What did those four letters stand for ("Community Development Block Grant"), and why were they so important? As a grant writer located in Maricopa County, Arizona, I know that most cities have some form of CDBG funding—in fact, practically every city in the County (Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Chandler, Peoria, and the Town of Gilbert). Why are these grants are so important? Because with other funding sources drying up, CDBG grants are an excellent source of funding that nonprofits have come to rely on over the years.

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Topics: Federal Grants, Nonprofits, Local Government, Formula Grants, CDBG

Tips from a Grant Contractor to Municipal Managers

Posted by David Rappoport on Dec 29, 2014 4:45:00 AM

For many years, I have worked as a consultant to units of government, as well as private institutions, to develop and submit complex proposals to the federal government. When I encounter challenges working on these projects, they are typically in one or more of three areas:

  • Capacity
  • Finance
  • Data

Thinking about these factors before you begin work with a consultant may help you get the best out of him or her.

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Topics: Grant Writing, Local Government