Simplifying Federal Grants: A Call to Action for City Officials

May 7, 2024

Federal grants offer valuable funding opportunities to meet the diverse needs of Georgia’s cities, yet the application process often proves cumbersome and time-consuming. Fortunately, recent initiatives and legislative proposals aim to simplify and improve this process, ensuring that federal funding reaches Georgia’s cities efficiently. Below is an overview of some recent developments to make accessing and managing Federal grants easier.

Streamlining Federal Grants Act

The Streamlining Federal Grants Act is bipartisan legislation in both the Senate (S.2286) and House (H.R.5934). These bills propose simplifying the grant processes across 51 agencies administering over 1900 Federal programs. These bills aim to enhance accessibility, compliance, and reporting, particularly for historically underserved communities.

This NLC article underscores the ongoing push for passage of the Streamlining Federal Grants Act.

GMA encourages city officials to contact their member of Congress to discuss the challenges they face with the federal grant-making process and how it can be improved. Share with them the following:  

  • Is your community able to access historic federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act? Why or why not?
  • How many federal grants has your city applied for and received in the last 3 years?
  • What is the first thing you check for when deciding whether or not to apply for a grant?
  • What type of improvements to the federal grants process would be most beneficial to your city?

Better Grants Better Service

The Better Grants Better Service (BGBS) initiative by the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (USDA RD) aims to simplify access to its 30+ grant programs. Addressing various community needs from broadband to economic development, BGBS seeks to:

  • Ease grant applications
  • Enhance customer service speed and consistency
  • Improve overall application experience

USDA RD is seeking input on these goals from community stakeholders, including local governments, on ways to improve the grant experience. The agency will develop recommendations based on the input received. The first two areas of focus are equipment-only and technical assistance grants.

GMA encourages city officials to submit ideas on how to meet these goals to by May 31, 2024.

Updated Uniform Grants Guidance

On April 4, 2024, the US Office of Management and Budget released a revised Uniform Grants Guidance to simplify the process for Federal financial assistance. Recognizing the administrative burdens faced by many communities, the guidance aims to ensure critical funding reaches its intended destinations.

By May 15, 2024, Federal agencies must submit implementation plans to OMB, with the revisions effective from October 1, 2024. The new guidance emphasizes shorter, clearer Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) using plain language and essential information only.

Read more about the revisions and their impact on municipal governments in this NLC article.

Get Grant Information

GMA tracks open grant opportunities as they arise. Sign up today to get email alerts.

For grant related questions, please contact Claire Chan.

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