No, really. Are you Grant Ready?
In the middle of last week, I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed for the latest and greatest. And then I had one of those stop everything moments to read the posted article. One of our grants instructors was offering to volunteer her services to save Claude Moore Colonial Farm.
Who’s Claude and why does he have a farm?
Claude Moore was the last owner of a farm that eventually ended up National Park land. A few decades ago, a nonprofit was formed to establish a farm and settlement circa 1771. Not a mansion on the site. Definitely rustic. It’s the place where you go to a festival and at least one elementary school field trip. My son brought home a dipped candle in first grade.
Now my colleague’s post caused me to jerk a bit because my family had just gone to a winter market at the farm less than two weeks ago. There was no indication that this charming place was in trouble.
According to the Washington Post, things had not been well for a long time. I learned for the first time that Claude Moore Colonial Farm was in operations based on a cooperative agreement between NPS and the Friends of CMCF. The NPS has agreements with similar organizations across the country.
Short story: NPS terminated its agreement with the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm for not complying with terms and conditions of getting Federal funds. Read the article for the details.
This is an example of an organization choosing not to be grant ready nor compliant. I am frankly surprised that NPS let things go on as long as it did. I wonder how, what, when, and how much technical assistance NPS offered to bring this group towards a minimal amount of compliance.
I’m even more shocked that the organization signed an agreement without asking itself internally how it was going to be successful beyond educating visitors.
Let this serve as a cautionary tale that before your organization applies for a Federal grant, you must ask if you’re grant ready. Federal money has many, many strings attached that flummox the best grants manager. You have to look beyond the programs you’re diving into the depths of bureaucracy. And if you don’t have any bureaucracy, you’re going to need just a little bit.