How to Write Grants & Maximize Their Impact
With an unprecedented flow of federal stimulus funding out there, now is the time for public sector leaders to think creatively to win funding and deliver improved outcomes in their communities.
In This 1-Hour Session, We Covered:
- Best practices to construct a compelling grant proposal
- How governments and private sector partners can best collaborate
- Establishing community feedback loops
- Increasing equity & access in the grants process
About the Speakers
Sedale Turbovsky, Co-Founder & CEO, OpenGrants
Sedale Turbovsky is the CEO and co-founder of OpenGrants, a venture-backed startup focused on building modern infrastructure for funding. He has been an entrepreneur since childhood. After honing his leadership skills as an outdoor guide in his younger years, he started his professional career as an independent consultant focused on delivering data products and digital strategies to enterprise clients in South America. He is experienced in independent grant writing and public/private partnerships at the highest level, having worked directly with OpenGrants’ current strategic partner, Momentum.
James Ha, President & CEO, eCivis
James is the President and Chief Executive Officer at eCivis. He is responsible for guiding the company’s strategic direction and oversees all facets of business operations. Over the past decade, James has thoughtfully combined innovative technology and collaborative strategies with public sector leaders and grant professionals to revolutionize grants management in the United States. His leadership has transformed eCivis, ultimately leading to its acquisition by GTY Technology Holdings (NASDAQ: GTYH) in September 2018.
Public Sector Speakers:
Lorena Bautista, MPA, Program Specialist IV, Los Angeles County, CA Chief Executive Office
Lorena Bautista, MPA, is a 23-year County of Los Angeles employee, with 17 years in the Chief Executive Office (CEO), Service Integration Branch (SIB), which administers Board of Supervisors (Board) and CEO inter-department collaborative endeavors to better serve the families and children of Los Angeles County. She has been working mostly in administrative positions over a myriad of CEO SIB Projects and Board Initiatives. Lorena currently leads the Los Angeles County Grant Writers Collaborative, a Countywide Initiative in response to the Board’s interest in maximizing opportunities to leverage grant funding in support of Board Priorities and Countywide Initiatives.
Tara Schiff, Economic Development Specialist, Mariposa County, CA
Tara Schiff brings more than thirty years of economic/ business development and project management experience to Mariposa County. As the economic development specialist for the “Home of Yosemite”, and the current rural liaison to the California Association of Local Economic Development (CALED) board of directors, Tara has managed a variety of collaborative projects throughout her career. Prior to her position with Mariposa County, Tara was the owner/CEO of an independent full-service marketing consulting firm, where she managed accounts on both a local and national level. Tara earned a bachelor’s degree in French and International Relations from West Virginia University and studied her masters at the Université de Paris, Sorbonne.
Bashar Dimitry, Program Analyst, City of Detroit, MI
Bashar is a Program Analyst at the City of Detroit – Office of Development and Grants.. He is responsible for various grants administration tasks, including managing grant records, securing Council approval, evaluating, and scoring grant progress, and submitting reports to the OCFO for departmental grant portfolios. He is also tasked with identifying grant opportunities and leading efforts to submit applications. In 2019, he successfully led efforts in securing over $6.7 M in various Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) grants; in 2020, he helped bring in over $7.5 M from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and $6.3 M from MDOT; and in 2021 to date, he’s helped secure over $1.6 M in grant funding.
Read the Transcription
Please note, this transcription is automatically generated and may contain some spelling and contextual errors.
So welcome. My name is Sedale Turbovsky. I am the CEO and co-founder of open grants, and we’re really excited to be hosting this webinar today. The mission of open grants is to help folks really operationalize all of this wonderful capital that is in the form of grant funding from the government. So we provide a variety of tools that aggregate grant opportunities, as well as a marketplace of talent, where folks can.
Not only find opportunities to be matched, to grant funding opportunities, but also get connected to talented grant writers and practitioners, consultants who can help them capitalize on that opportunity. Right now we are in an unprecedented time, we’ve just experienced a continue to experience this pandemic and there are.
Gobs of cash just floating around. And we’ve seen folks struggle to really harness and maximize this opportunity. And it’s something that we’re super passionate about. We, I think like a lot of people right now, we want to see these businesses bounce back. We want to see the economy bounce back.
We want to see the country move forward in a positive way. And there’s some incredible tools that we hope that, leaders in the public sector. Are you going to be taking advantage of, and grants are one of those. So I’m really excited to be hosting today alongside James Han. He is the president and CEO of and they perform some really exceptional work in this space as well.
And I’ll let James introduce himself a little bit and a little bit about e-service before we go on and get into a discussion with our guests.
Great, thanks Sedale and a technical term gobs of cash that amazing. We can all use that on a go-forward basis. My name is James Ha, CEO of eCivis. I’ve been with the company for over a decade now working with great public sector leaders, really looking at to maximize the impact of grant funding in their local communities. And I couldn’t be more excited about introducing the expert panel of speakers that we have today. The speakers that we have today, just to orient you around the subject matter. They’re gonna take a little bit of a different angle.
I know a lot of you may have attended webinars and trainings and talk about some tactics and things that you can do related to the grant proposal. But our experts today will take it a one step. Level it up one step more and talk about some of the organizational strategies that need to be implemented in order for you to do that across an organizational structure.
Our first expert panelist is Lorena about the program specialist in the CEO’s office in Los Angeles county. Lorena has done a lot of work with creating organizational capacity. I’ll let her talk about what she’s done, but. Her focus and what she’s going to share with you today is really taking a high level, look at how to build that capacity within an organization.
How do you use training and resources to create. The room that’s required to go and secure more funding and in an organization as big as Los Angeles county that’s no easy feat. So random, we’ll share some key learnings from her experience there. Our next panelist is Bashar Dimitry.
Diitry is program analyst. He works in the office of development and grants in the city of Detroit. Bashar is going to take a bit of a ground level, look at what you need to do. As an actual practitioner within a department Bashar has secured tens of millions of dollars of grant funding for the city of Detroit in a number of different areas like transportation and economic development insights around what to do on the ground floor.
I think you’re going to be incredibly benefit. To the audience and our final expert, panelist is Tara Schiff, who is the economic development specialist in Mariposa county. Tara’s had a long career in economic development. She has done a lot of work to manage a variety of collaborative projects.
So she’s going to share her insights around partnerships as well as increasing equity and access to grants. And I think what she’s got to share will have a meaningful impact to the audience. So with that, I’m going to turn it over to Lorena.
I thank you, James. Happy to be a part of the discussion. As James mentioned, my name is Lorena Bautista from the county of Los Angeles, chief executive office service integration branch. Just to give you a quick snapshot of the county of Los Angeles, the county is made up of 36 county departments and several commissions PRI providing a social service.
Services ranging from child welfare, mental health congregate meals to seniors D distributing property tax bills to residents who are homeowners in the county of Los Angeles. And so yes, we also have been taking a hard look at resources and our infrastructure to deal with the pandemic.
With that our county had an annual budget of over a little over $36 billion last year for the 2122 fiscal year. And as many of you may know, or maybe not know. Like county is one of the nation’s largest counties with over 4,000 square miles and 14 million diverse residents. So we need that cash.
And at the CEO level we’ve been. Take a much broader approach working with 36 county departments as part of the 2016, 21 Los Angeles county strategic plan that was adopted and approved by our LA county board of supervisors. A key objective. And the plan was to maximize revenue. So I know we’re going to dive a little deeper into the questions later.
So Dell with how, what recommendations and key findings we’ve been trying to better assist departments with building that internal grant capacity and building that grant management, centralizing our grant activities. So I’m going to save space there. Stop and wait for the questions to dive in with some of the key learnings that we’ve learned over the last two years with trying to meet the key objective of maximizing revenue in the county strategic plan.
Awesome. Thank you so much. Yeah, we will, we’ll definitely have we have a bunch of fun questions that we’ll be circulating through the panelists. So I’m going to go ahead and stop my screen sharing and invite up Bashar to to dive into a bit of, his take on this space and, really ground level perspectives on grant proposals.
Thank you. And thank you, James, for that introduction. Not so sure how much I agree that what level of expert I am, but I’ll do my best. I am a program analyst in the city of Detroit office of development and grants. And we do a variety of things working with about 30 city departments. To maintain the city’s grant portfolio.
It’s about a billion dollar grant portfolio. If you count ARPA and the other COVID stuff that gets close to 2 billion. So with that, what does our office do? And again, I’m going to give a ground level perspective of kind of day-to-day grants management. I’m not a project manager in the sense that like we get a grant and I’m the primary person responsible for, let’s say, a food service grant and making sure that the food gets delivered and all this stuff our role is more so helping, right?
Helping project managers in the departments, write grant applications, identify their priorities, ensure that they align with the city’s overarching mission and the mayor’s priorities. And ensure that funders are comfortable with how we’re spending their money. That’s a very critical thing to spend money timely to the greatest extent possible and do what the purpose of the funding was set out to do because you build trust and build relationships that way with funders, and it gives you a better chance for future funding opportunities.
So as a, just a general overview, and please let me know if I’m running short on time, by the way. We help city departments identified match for grant funds. We assist in grant writing, as I said we facilitate city administrative processes like council approval for new grants. We support project management for the departments by ensuring that we.
A centralized place to keep all the files, keep all the metrics understand what we need to, complete the next milestone for the grant. We confirm allowability for all grant expenditures and procurement needs. And we build relationships with public and private funders and the philanthropic community to support all city priorities.
Maintain centralized ramp workers again, across the city. And in the end we hope to document grant impacts to tell the story of what grants are doing in the city. Also something that funders like. So I am going to possibly skip over these slides. I will tell you that we document every kind of grants.
Investment donation public grant formula grants that come to the city. Some are tracking only in the sense that menial many donations. Sometimes we might get a donation for park equipment, from an organization that wants to donate something and build a place structure for that. We consider it tracking only, but it is important to document, who gave what for the city.
We use that information to. I think our, the, our donors and funders and documented fifth things like our five-year achievement reports things like that because it’s not possible without the funders. So it is important to track everything accordingly. We also document and work with our fiscal sponsors or fiduciaries, whatever term you’d dozens of fiduciaries across the city that we partnered with.
On various projects to help the residents of Detroit and everything you can think of from, construction projects have a new road for, a quasi government organization, like our Detroit economic growth corporation to, just working with a small nonprofit to implement an after-school program.
So with that, our office is broken out into four sections. We’ve got our development team, which works on the front end of grant applications, planning and administration. Which works with a lot of that grants set up when they w and recording of projects, recording of applications, tracking of data city administrative processes implementation, which actually handles our scorecards for each grant and records milestones.
And I’ll get into a bit more of that later, then our reimbursement closeout and audit support team a specific team that, that assists in ensuring. We’ve met all the requirements and completed the grant activity. So we have quarterly syncs with all our departments. All our departments that have grant portfolios, I should say.
And it’s about 15 out of the 36 the 15 larger departments, like department of public works or housing and revitalization department, which gets CDBG funds. And each department, has a grant portfolio. And with that the grants team we’ll start by reviewing the grant portfolio.
Ensuring that we’re meeting our spend and performance goals, our milestones discuss any challenges that we’re having possibly with grant funded, purchasing, or outstanding reports to funders, et cetera, and then discuss next steps. And then from there, we hand it off to our development team and our development team discusses.
And I’m gonna go to the next slide priorities with the department. So what is a priority? A priority is something that the. Wants to do as a project, but does not have funding to do. And so they fill out what’s called a priority worksheet. It explains the scope and the dollar requested. And then that priority worksheet assigned by the department director.
And it’s appears in what’s called our mayor’s chart and it’s reviewed by the mayor with with our office of developing and grants, ODG meetings with the mayor. And we fundraise for it from there. And, our development team helps with kind of scope, defining a scope of the project because a lot of times departments have these ideas.
They want to do this and that’s, and in order to identify the proper grant funding opportunities for it, we really need to help them get specific. We provide funding guidance. Provide grant opportunities that they may want to pursue. And then we assist in writing the applications and maintaining relationships with funders and creating new relationships, especially in the philanthropic community with new potential funders.
And then once a grant is awarded. It goes into our grants side of the team, which is again, broken out into the three lanes. We begin with planning and administration, all grants or donations that are going to the city directly must be approved by city council. So we ensure that they’re approved via resolution.
We record it in east of us, which is our city’s grant management system. We also in planning and administration write all the reports and by the way, I’m under planning and administration. That’s we write reports to the office of the chief financial officer and the mayor and the city council monthly reports of everything that the city has received, things that are actively open, things that are closed et cetera.
And we coordinate with our fiscal sponsors or fiduciaries to set up MOU in place or MOS, memorandums of agreements with partners to implement these projects. Then it is once it’s approved by city council, or once we have an MOU or MOA in place and we have a budget set up with a grant appropriation.
We handed off to our implementation team and our implementation team. They will schedule a, what’s called a kickoff. And in their kickoff meeting, they will review the implementation plan that we asked the department to complete a review milestones and spend guidelines give an overview of grant funded, purchasing, and finalize that implementation plan.
And, we determined from that whether a grant is on track or off track, and it’s determined by three main components. One is the files. Which is, do we have all the main files that we need? Do we, for the grant portfolio, a lot of grant contracts required require you to maintain files for a period of time after, but for just general annual audit purposes, we need all the files, things like the application the agreement any award letter all of the reports that are due and, it’s a grant by grant basis, but those are the main The main components of a grant file and the other is the spend score.
It’s determined in the implementation plan. How much of the grant has been spent by what point? And that’s important to determine to, to calculate whether a grant is on track or off track. And the final is the performance score is, are we meeting our milestones? So milestone may be like, we want to put together the bid package and select a vendor for our grant by X date.
And have we met that date? And if not, what can we do to expedite that? So these three things are individually calculated and then you’ve come up with an overall score of what it is out of one. You might have 0.7, seven for our grants when you add up those three things. And then we have a percentage of the.
And the goal is to always get to a hundred percent because that represents the minimum risk. That means that our spending is on time. Our milestones are being met and we have the full grant file. All the reports are being submitted to the funder. All the reimbursement requests are complete. And the grant is on track and, most of the time, a lot of departments we’re at, 90% or so, which is still good.
It just means that, we have a little bit of work to do. And when we get to a hundred percent, we also like to remind departments. That is a kind of floor that we’re looking at. And once we’re at a hundred percent consistently, it’s time to take the next step and figure out how can we raise more funds or.
Re-scope projects to meet community needs. How can we interact with the community more? And it’s a trigger for the department to think about it that way as well. But our, this is what our quarterly assessment score looks like, that we share with the departments. The meetings usually have 10 to 15 people, or so of the people in our department assigned and the department directors of the department that we’re meeting with.
Let’s say the general services departments, we’ll talk, we’ll record all the funds overall funds raised to date number of wards, number of funders. Any outstanding applications. I know this is hard to see, but I’m going to say it as we go through. This is the score page and then that’s basically it for that.
We, again, review any challenge. Our implementation team also helps with allowability obviously grant contracts and spending grant dollars as hard. It’s not as easy as spending dollars that are in your general budget. So it’s important to make sure that we’re meeting what is allowable and our part of our job as a check to make sure that if that’s not done that we stopped that purchase or that we, work with a funder, let’s say if a department wants to spend money on something, That they think can help the project.
We can work with the funder to determine if that’s allowable and explain why we need it and possibly change the scope. But our goal is primarily a role of assisting one and making sure that the funder is happy and two, and making sure that the department is happy and they’re getting to accomplish their mission and their vision for how they want to serve the residents of the city of Detroit.
Finally, our reimbursement and closeout team will work with either the direct city departments to ensure that we’ve spent all the money or our sub-recipients, especially in HUD programs, our CDBG grants, ESG and home grants, et cetera and ensure that everything is allowable and ready for draw down from funders and, especially for formula grants.
Ensure, 90 days before the grant is set to expire that we are on track to close it out, or do we need an extension and, take the proper steps to review the implementation plan, come up with new milestones and request the extension accordingly or close out the grants. And all of this, requires a lot of data management to do.
We use e-service almost at every step of the way in, in various ways, our, for priorities and for new funds that we track we identify grants and , it does make it easy to, search a lot of grants and use the the tools of understanding, due dates and bring all that stuff up.
And I know open grants portal does a lot of the same and works with each of us on that. We track our overall funds raised. So we have various projects that we track in each department dashboard. We track the grant score, the final score for the grants that we’re support implementation for in their We do not track customer service and use of this, but that is something that is an important component.
We do send out a survey to all our departments to see how we’re doing and see where we can support them more. What’s working and what’s not. And we, again submit the CFO or office of the chief financial officer monthly report, which also goes to the mayor and the city council through reports, ran and use of us and our on assessment in our quarterly reviews.
And then we also track grant impacts and we’re able to run reports that show the impact of each grant. And we use that To aggregate data and that’s still a work in progress if I’m being honest, but we use that to aggregate data in a, to put together an annual impact report and show it to funders.
And we always have a list of all the, funders or donors to the city because it’s important that they’re recognized too. And that they’re appreciated. So I I think that’s it. I would keep talking, but I think I’ve reached my 10 minutes and happy to answer any questions at the end.
Awesome. Thank you so much. I’m just going to go ahead and invite a Tara. And I’ll let you dive into to the things that you are going to be addressing. Thank you so much for your comments Bashar, and we’ll be circling back and also answering questions in a moment falling tires, presence.
Good morning everybody. And thank you for having the ease to this. I’m going to talk a little bit about how to target the right funding opportunity to use in partnerships. More importantly, I really wanted to share a rural perspective this morning. You’ve just heard from Los Angeles and the city of Detroit and Mariposa county is much, much smaller.
I’m going to give you a little bit of county profile where actually our claim to fame is where the home of Yosemite national park. So I’m sure. A lot of you probably don’t know America. But now you will. But I bet a lot of, you have so many national park. So this is our backyard.
The county was founded in 1850. We’re on actually highway 49, which has the 49 or gold brush. We’re a very rural county located more than 30 miles from Eva. Maria said, and about an hour and a half from Fresno our population in 2019 was 17 to we’re hoping that this new census. We’ll increase a little bit.
We’ve actually had a lot of influx of people moving to the county during COVID. I think they found that a rural lifestyle was a lot better for foreign team than the urban areas. So we have had quite a few people moving to the area. Our whole entire county is that incorporated. So that is quite different from Los Angeles.
In order to target the right funding and opportunities, I’m just going to walk you through what I do of a rural county and we are a rural county, but we’re also a high-profile county because we are the home Tia, somebody we get about 5 million visitors throughout the year. And we worked very closely with the state and the federal government.
So first of all, whenever I’m going to apply for. Grant, I define the funding situation. And in most cases with Mariposa county it is an emergency. So we have actually experienced 15 emergencies in the last five years. If you’ve heard of Mariposa, you’ve probably heard of us through our fires.
LED’s other emergencies. And then of course we does experience COVID with the rest of the world. First of all, if it’s an emergency, I’ll define the term. Is it a natural disaster? Is that health? We’ve had all other health emergencies over and above. Hope that we’ve actually had hunter virus here in the county.
The plague, we had the plague here. And then what other type of disaster emergency is your county or jurisdiction experiencing? So then after you, you decide if it’s an emergency you’re going to prioritize your needs. Is that business system since I’m the economic development specialist, most of the grants that I target are business related to help our local businesses, particularly during COVID.
That’s really what I did was I did a lot of business relief grants to help our local businesses with their. Bottom line and re really recoup all the revenue that they lost. So other departments will have other needs. So you really need to prioritize your priority, prioritize your needs for your grant funding.
And then with this assistance, is that loans, is it grants? Is that TA. You need to define that before you target and start searching for grants, because obviously the grants have different requirements and there’s different grants for each need. So once you prioritize your needs, Then you’re going to decide is it business assistance?
Is it infrastructure? And if it’s infrastructure, is it housing or is it for commercial business? Is it general is a public utilities or government? In Mariposa county we have one public utility company that is separate from the government. And I will work with them on we’ll do ML use and I usually do the grant local for answer for them.
And then once you’ve defined those prioritize priorities and the needs, you’re going to want to define your partners. So like I mentioned is that public utility department. Who are the stakeholders? Is that other departments in the county with Mariposa county? Because we’re so small. We work very closely together.
I work very closely with building planning. Public works, HHS a with COVID emergency at work barrier. I’ve worked directly with public health in our public health offices. Or is it a nonprofit organization? Is it your local chamber, your tourism bureau, your economic development corporation is at the school district.
We do partner with a school district quite a bit, although they do get their own grants. We do work within a them and we share grants Impartner on grants. And then you can work the direct recipients. Like I mentioned with me a lot of times it’s businesses or it could be the general community.
And then how do you do it? I use the use of as grant research. And I’ll type in a keyword or I’ll type in the agent. And there’s also additional search criteria that you can use, which I just wanted to show you and you can specify. So is it ad is a fire. Mariposa of times that Spire, unfortunately, or you’re trying to target senior citizens.
Are you working with your local library, which I have done that before. And then that will give you even more grants. If you can really fine tune that information in. That will give you a lot more brand opportunities. So then once you type that in, you click all you click search and then the grants will come at.
And then you can go through those grants and decide what works for you. So that is it.
Thank you so much. That was awesome. We are going to dive in then to some of the discussion questions for the panel. I’m so super excited. And then we will get to some of the questions that have been coming in over the chat. And as you listen to the conversation. Please feel free to direct your questions to to Kate.
And she will make sure those get queued up and addressed. One of the first things I wanted to dive into and, happy to have the panel, perhaps where you’ll just go in the order that the presentations are done in sort of the Loraina and the Basho and then Tara first question is what is it like in terms of your process to find and apply for funding.
Just give us some thoughts on perhaps what that process looks like. What makes it hard, that kind of thing.
Thank you. So a great question. So as I mentioned before, at the seal level, we been at a much larger, broader scale. We work with departments who are working on identifying and applying for grant opportunities.
So we. Working right now to better assist departments. We’ve conducted several assessments where we’ve identified some looming gaps and challenges with grant identification and for them to apply for those available grant opportunities, but similar to Chicago. And Mariposa county. We’ve also procured as a tool where and we launched it.
County-wide provided training to departmental staff in the 36 county departments to use the Civis as the first step to receive grant alert. And to start that process ground level with applying for grant opportunities. We are still working on what that centrally mechanism looks like across the county.
We just started. With developing a grant toolkit and resource guide where we’ve laid out in a visual flow chart, some of the key steps that departmental staff will need to to do as part of the process. For example, if a grant requires ma grant matching funds, what does that process look like?
How do they work with their departmental? Fiscal team and with the CEO budget analysts if the department does not have delegated authority to the income for the ground funds, what that process looks like. So we are mapping those processes out right now, but we do know that building internal grant capacity is a priority.
And as well as with grant writing. So we’re exploring several mechanisms to better assist departments right now with those challenges.
For us at the city of Detroit, we’re actually required by a city code to seek council approval for all grant applications that are directly applied for by, by city departments.
And the reason for that is years ago and leading up to the city of Detroit bankruptcy in 2013, a lot of departments and staff were just applying for grants that they saw. S figuring out the match later as one of the main reasons for that. So it’s important on the front end that we identify an account string for a match.
If it’s required at schools, choose the office of budget it’s written in the resolution and then it’s submitted to council to review. It’s also goes to the mayor’s office to approve. This is, is this a priority? Ideally in an ideal world, we get that, all that done before the application.
And reality that hardly ever works out. Because as you may know, grant opportunities may come on the fly you might especially on the private side, you might have a funder that just reaches out to you and say, Hey, submit this. And in the next week we like this proposal or something along those lines.
For in the case that we ever don’t get approved we could work with the funder to pull our application. But that is important. And then the other important thing is making sure that one, the funders or the department is going for a grant that’s really worth their time.
Sometimes in previous experience, we had one organization that I’m not going to name them obviously, but that required a lot for a grant for rather small grants and, we determined in in the next. If they went to apply for it, we said, Hey, do you really want to do this?
Because you’re spending a lot of time not a lot of money. And is this the best use of our time? And we determined not to apply for it. Another one that we had that I can name is we had our police department wanting to apply for a tips grants. And they had an existing one that did have a lot of issues that wasn’t getting spent.
And. In that case, our office and our director said no to applying because we really needed to spend the money on the existing grants. It’s making sure that you’re applying for the right things. The other thing is search for grant opportunities. Cause you know, you don’t necessarily need to have a department ask you for something.
You can also. Send them something that’s an opportunity that they may not have thought of. And if it aligns, with their priorities, that may be a good opportunity to go after. So basically up for us.
So I’m just going to jump in in dovetail app, out of afterward, as char said Mariposa county does require that we take All grants.
I want to believe over $5,000 for board of supervisors approval, but over and above that, I’m just going to take it a step further because I know a lot of you work with CDBG. A lot of our grants require public notice too. I do exactly what Bashar does. I report directly to our county administrative officer.
And I’ll usually run the grant opportunities for the CAO. And then we’ll have to public notice it, I’ll put it on our agenda and then it will have to have at least three to a vote of three positives in order to get the resolution. And I know with our CDBG grants, they weren’t flyer a an approved and adopted resolution.
These are the steps that I take after I’ve determined which brands are a good fit for our county. And I take it to.
Awesome. Very cool. Thank you. And James, feel free if you want to drill down on any of the responses, feel free to chime in as well. But I’m going to hop into kind of a maybe a bit of a different lens, but, as you, as the panelists are thinking about your approach and these programs do you think your communities, receiving their fair share of grants and however you wanted to find that’s great, but.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on just how you see live participation. And how you feel that these programs are running.
Still, I just wanted to chime in there and just say that I know that San Francisco county is getting. Either three or four times more per capita than it. Los Angeles county is according to the USA spending.gov website. So we are again, working with departments and at CEO level working with executive leadership on how can we frame and participate with our legislative folks to to raise our per capita, to get our fair share here in Los Angeles county.
So priority grant identification and application is becoming more of a priority for Los Angeles county. Again with stream helping departments with streamlining processes developing the necessary tools and resources to help departments with applying for these grant available grant opportunities.
Just looking at. What San Francisco is doing. We want to be able to get our fair share with getting these grant dollars into LA county.
I’m at the program level. So I can’t speak to that as much. Those decisions are made by our directors and our mayor, but I will say this, the city has a strategic neighborhood. Which was designed to, support, specific neighborhoods that are underserved in the city of Detroit.
We have our affordable housing leverage fund which again is a huge project where we undertake. We try to get funding sources from all over public and private to raise money, to support affordable housing development and support residents and being able to stay in this. We have the people plan, which is our newest large initiative by the mayor, which is to help people with wraparound services, job training, and other things for some of the recent economic developments that have happened in the city.
The big three auto have all announced new or rehabilitated factories in Detroit where we’re built, where we’re building electric cars. So we’re hoping to train Detroit residents Especially those who are underserved to do these jobs. It’s done for us. I can say more so at the priority level and determined and get that way.
So I just wanted to mention another aspect. Lorina had mentioned. Los Angeles. I’m not receiving as many brands as San Francisco and rural counties and California are noticing. We really have had a difficulty getting the same level of grants as the urban communities. I actually happened to be the rural liaison into the California association of local economic development health.
And I am working with them closely to try to get more Relevancy to the rural communities actually make up more than 50% of California’s geography. But I want to say less than 5% of the population, something I’ve thought those statistics somewhere. Because of that, we don’t have the boys and we weren’t getting the brands.
So I am working on with a committee that has been lobbying for more grants to the community, to the rural communities, put your non entitlement. And I can speak specifically about that. Here’s that funding rural communities had to go through CDBG for our CB grants. I don’t know how many of you.
I applied for a CV, but that was directly from those water emergency funding from the cares act. And to date, Mariposa county still has not received our CB. We have reached out to legislate link laters. I’ve worked directly with Senator Feinstein’s office and we’re hoping to get those funds within the next month.
And I know that the urban communities because they were not. Non entitlement because they were entitlement communities. They did not have to go through CDBG as a pass through. So those are things that when we have difficulty we reach out to our legislators and this put a little more pressure on the funding, on the vendors.
And it works.
Let me also offer up a different point of view. I think in our experience since as a solution provider, we’ve spent years trying to answer that question for our customers. We’ve worked with thousands of government agencies and I think. There’s a few ingredients that the audience should consider.
I think first is a part of your fair share is knowing what your priorities are. If you know what your priorities are, then you can take the next step, which is trying to determine what the universe of funding is for those priorities. Yeah. I think it’s a function of being able to get to funding that will help you make the impact that you want in your community based on those priorities.
So the formula there is important. I agree with Tara that there’s also all these resources and things that you can do around effectively executing now, getting that funding once you’ve identified it. So there’s, those two parts that I think is important to take it to.
Yeah. Thank you for that, James. I wholeheartedly agree. And in the interest of time, because we got a lot of them, we’re gonna, I’m gonna go dive into some some questions from the audience here. And one of the first ones that I think is super relevant, I’d love to hear y’all y’all’s take on this.
This question comes from Elena. She says, I would like to know what are some of the common mistakes that panelists see? In grant applications
I can take a little bit of a stab of that. One is not clearly defining a scope. So that’s important. That’s something that a fonder will look for too, is just not being, not having a clear and, related to that, I should say is not having. A set budget. And you really have to think about those things even before a grant opportunity presents itself which makes writing the grant application a lot easier.
The other thing is always just read the no-fault read, read the first thing I do is one check, things like eligibility, are we even eligible who’s eligible and due date, just to check feasibility of, can we apply? Because there are, thousands and thousands of grant opportunities out there.
But a lot of them probably aren’t right for you or you’re not eligible for. And then search a lot, look for a lot of grant opportunities. You might find one that you want to go for, and that looks good, but keep looking. Cause there might be a better one out there. And develop efficient ways to search and narrow down what you’re looking.
Shara, I was just gonna add although I don’t work around level with applying for or developing grant applications, however, As part of the grant resource guide and tool kit, I have put the grant life cycle process in there and made it clear for staff who, who do apply for grant opportunities to have a clear scope of narrative ensure that they’re meeting the critical deadlines to the.
The grant application deadlines, but also our internal county with seeking their management approvals and ex board of supervisors approval. If they need to encumber those grant dollars, once the. And is awarded and then working with their budget team. I agree with you having a clear scope of project and budget narrative is very helpful in the grant app.
I was going to mention, not only is it really helpful to have the clear scope of work for the grant application, but it’s imperative for your board of supervisors approval and for your agenda approval. I have made that mistake. I will. I have I been with the county for almost 10 years and I, because I have worked on grants for so long.
Sometimes I. Clearly articulate what the grant is going to do on a more community basis and it’s interpreted wrong. And I just had that happened at a board meeting last week and I spent about 45 minutes explaining what I wanted the grant really to do. So one thing that a former CAO told me that I thought was really good at bias.
And I always try to do that. This is when you’re writing your agenda item specifically for a grant and, A lot of times are way above other people’s heads. They don’t, they don’t understand what you’re trying to do and they don’t understand how they work. So there’s Dao told me to always prior to the rant, like her grandmother would be re reading it.
So put it in very clear terms and tell exactly what you’re trying to do, what the objective is and exactly what the money is being used for. Otherwise it can be misinterpreted.
A hundred percent. Thank you so much for that. I’m going to hop over to this question from Elliot and I just want to say, I know we’re not going to get to all your questions.
There’s a lot of great ones. We’ll certainly work through providing some Q and a and notes on this presentation, as well as the presentation and slides itself afterwards. But one of the questions I think really interesting to hear discuss live from Ellie, please discuss the experience with EDA infrastructure grants.
For instance, if a new business wants to move into community and the government agency wants to partner. What is the lead time to get funds. And I think generally the EDA is an interesting organization, an interesting agency, and a really great resource in terms of economic development. So I’d love to hear the panelists thoughts on working with the EDA, what that experience has been like and how fast they were able to move those kinds of things.
I’ll jump him right now because we’re actually working on an EDA grant that was awarded eight year ago. It’s a $6.3 million infrastructure grant, which is huge for a county. The size of Mariposa and the grant is to resurface all of our roads in our downtown commercial district, in our historic area.
And many of those roads have not been raised her. Since the 1970s, and we’re also going to update water sewage which has not been touched since the 1930s. And it. I’m actually having a very good experience with the ADA. It took a while to get the brand. I want to say it was out of gear, going back and forth getting really getting them that information that they needed.
But once we’ve got that, we’ve got the award and They gave us a standard agreement really quickly. And they’ve been very understanding with COVID. We were hoping to move forward last year, but COVID really stopped that. Public outreach process. They realized that was key. And we, right now, we had to prove that with EDA, with infrastructure grants, they want to show ownership.
So we had to show the, we own the easements for all of those roads and all the infrastructure. I took a while, but they were really. Understanding. And I’ve, I just, I’ve had a great experience with our ADA office so far with. We’re hoping to I just send all the information for the easements yesterday actually.
And we’re hoping to start our design phase in the next couple of months and be able to do some public outreach now that we don’t have the COVID constraints and then start construction in the fall. And we’ll have all new roads and parking lots, Maricopa county. I hope that answers your question.
And I also worked on two grants that were awarded one for 4 million, one for 2.5 million. And, as a Tara can tell you, there’s a lot of work to finish off getting the actual grant. But the number one thing I would say, and this is for all grants is work with the program officer, EDA is split up into regions and there was a certain amount allocated to.
Five, which includes Michigan. We developed I think six proposals and created executive summaries of them and just an overview of the ask and asked to meet with them to go over each proposal. And they said we liked this one. We liked that one, not so much. These still ended up applying for all of them, because that was just the decision handed down from the mayor’s office.
I would have preferred not to and we ended up getting the ones that they told us they liked and they gave us feedback. So just communicate with the program officer and try to develop that executive summary and meet with them because they will help you and they do want to help you succeed.
Lorena, I didn’t know if you wanted to add in anything. You’re welcome to if you’d like to.
No, just thank you again for hosting this. And I look forward to any resources. That you’ve been able to compile, and it may seem that it’s a work in progress here in LA county with grant management and centralizing all these grant activities.
But we were able to implement a tool. With the Civis that has helped us manage this process. And so yes we have board priority areas of immigration anti-racism power poverty, sustainability. So there’s some key areas that we continue to focus on to help beat the charge in the strategic plan of maximizing revenue.
So thank you again for having this chat would love to, to participate on another one. If there’s another one coming up.
Thank you so much. And thank you all for joining. I did, we did get a lot of questions about resources, and so I want James, if you wanted to take a moment here and just talk about the grant proposal playbook and I’ll just really quickly say that we, you can also create an account for free on open grants and that can really help you search and find additional grant funding.
But yeah, I’ll just turn it over to James real quick to talk about the great resources you can find it easily.
Thank you. And thank you again to the panelists for such a great discussion. So we do have a lot of resources on the website, but in particular here’s a resource that you can download, which is a grant proposal playbook.
So it helps you identify the types of grants that you can apply for as well as some best practices and steps. As you put together your grant proposal, and if you want more information please reach out. I can fill it. He said this.com. Certainly happy to answer more questions and we have a number of brand experts on staff, as well as you can see a great collection customer experts that are providing great resources.
And so they all and hoping grants appreciate the opportunity to be on this webinar.
Yes, thank you for joining us and thanks to everyone who attended as mentioned, we will make this available for your review post events. So thank you all for coming. Thank you for so many of your questions and engaging, and we look forward to hosting hosting more hopefully very helpful events after this.
Thank you all and have a lovely day. Take care.