The Quick and the Dirty for ARRA Information for Texas

27 Apr

I was relieved to find that many of my colleagues are as confused about the ARRA situation as I am. I thought it was just me, which was quite embarrassing considering how long I’ve been doing this!  One of the things I want to do with this blog is share resources and information so that we don’t have to spend time chasing our tails. Maybe we can all just chase the same tail together.

That being said, this site is much more helpful than other sites I’ve seen on the subject. The situation seems to be that some ARRA funds are indeed available from the feds, but some go to the state or some other county or city entity for redistribution.

What I have seen, and what I was told I would see by a wonderful, very savvy friend of mine who is also a grant writer, is that NEW RFPs are not actually being released–which I think is what we are used to and what I was assuming would happen. The reality is that there are deadlines for money being spent, so new RFPs are a rare possibility. What is happening is that existing grant recipients are being contacted for a very short and vague response to a mini RFP to have the chance to receive more funds. We are seeing this with AmeriCorps.

We are also seeing currently open or just closed existing RFPs being funded at a higher level. Thus, instead of the four proposals that were to be funded with the original allocation, we’re seeing that 40 will be funded. This is a nice windfall for agencies that are already eligible for and plugged into those funding opportunities.

In an “out of the blue” approach, we are also seeing the federal government go back to previously closed and funded RFPs and being able to offer funding to the 5-10 applicants that did not make the first cut. Again, this is not a NEW opportunity into which just anyone can insert themselves. It seems to be a rather closed process, accessing these ARRA funds, at least at the federal level for nonprofit agencies that are doing business as usual and not pursing widly new and innovative projects, like researching a new energy source for batteries.

New opportunities are possible further down the food chain. Check the websites for your city, county, and school district for more information.


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