Grants at Home
My Sunday morning ritual includes a walk with my son to our neighborhood farmers market. It’s a mix of the donut truck, county council candidates, and farmers and ranchers. My son buys the eggs, green bars, and donuts while I make my way down the line, checking out stalls from the orchard, to the couple with the elephant garlic, to my rancher, to the veteran who somehow has greens year round, and more…hungry yet?
This weekend I’m going to add some “shop talk” to my hellos because I found out about a grant program that could be helping them. The USDA Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501) program could be helping farm enterprises like Biggs Rigg’s – run by an Iraq war vet. And that helps me get healthy greens on my table every week. It’s in my interest to eat well while supporting my community. This USDA program is an example of how a policy (i.e., supporting farmers and ranchers in need) is put into action through grants.
Not too surprisingly – I had not heard of this program until last week when I learned of it from one of our GMCPTM graduates who supports this program. With only $9.1M in available funding in 2015, the 2501 program is not going to create headlines inside the beltway. I think of small programs like these as the work horses that provide monies to our communities – our homes – in small yet impactful amounts.
Learning about this program also reminded me that basically everyone in your community could receive directly or indirectly Federal financial assistance funds. That of course goes beyond the mandatory programs like Medicaid. Last month I asked about how Uniform Guidance was going for your organization. Maybe you didn’t respond because it you thought, “my organization? It’s me, myself, and I managing my grant.”
Fair enough. So if you find yourself in this situation, remember that in your community, you are probably not the only de facto grants professional. Consider finding out who among your network close to home touches grants. This might allow you to form a “community of grants” practice, share smart practices on grants compliance, get recommendation on auditors, learn about FAPIIS, etc. Just know that you’re not alone in this multi-billion dollar grants world. Even at home.
On October 1, 2015, the micropurchase threshold increases to $3,500 due to a change in the FAR. The Uniform Guidance ties this level to the FAR at 2 CFR 200.67.