There is a great deal of speculation on the future of federal grant funding based on the new Administration’s budget plans. To get a reality check on the prospects for grants offered by federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Justice, we sat down with our subject matter expert, Michael Paddock, CEO of The Grants Office, LLC. Michael shared reassuring insight with us; read on to find out what he had to say.
There’s been a lot of speculation about what will happen to federal grant funding in the next fiscal year based on the preliminary budget released by the Administration. But what we need to remember even in the face of potential drastic cuts is that the proposed budget is nothing like the actual budget that will emerge out of the Congressional debate process. Congress, even with its partisanship, is a moderating influence on the budget especially because programs funded by federal grants affect the daily lives of their constituents and supporters.
At the start of every budgeting process for at least the last four administrations, federal grant funding has always ‘faced cuts.’ But at the end of the day, the funding allocated to each major grant area fluctuates slightly, but never deviates far. Also, another thing to remember is that grants change names to keep in line with major projects supported by the current administration and, moreover, additional grants become available to support those special interests. For example, during the George W. Bush Administration, homeland security grants were added to federal funding, despite the initial cuts proposed. And, during the Obama Administration social justice grants were favored such as the $1 billion allocated to fighting the opioid crisis. This time around, infrastructure grants, like the Department of Transportation’s TIGER grant will likely be a priority.
What becomes important in looking for grant funding is to follow the funding path. What I mean by this is to keep an eye on grants your organization has applied for previously to watch for name changes in existing grant programs and then, within areas of special interest look for ways those new funding blocks can be applied to your existing programs. To return to the Obama Administration’s funding to support communities in their fight against the opioid epidemic there were grants to support education, healthcare, and IT – which are, essentially the core areas of federal funding. In other words, funding continued, just in slightly different packaging. Other funding opportunities, such as workforce training grants funded by the fees collected from the H1-B visa program, will continue to be funded based on their perpetual funding model.
If you continue to be concerned about continuity of funding for a particular program the best strategy is to research other opportunities outside of federal programs. There are three main sources of funding to explore: block grants, state and local government programs, and foundation funding. While none is as complete as federal funding they can provide gap funding and short term funding. For these grants, it’s a little harder to know when they’ll be released but joining mailing lists, and looking to resources like NetApp’s Grant Support Program for information helps eliminate the guess work.
So, as that popular post says: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Federal grant funding is here to stay.