Musings from the Maryland Governor’s Grants Training Conference

November 18, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

maryland-flag-639323-mWith an audience of more than 600 attendees, the Maryland Governor’s Grants Training Conference provided an excellent opportunity to find out what is on the minds of both those providing grants and those applying for and receiving grants. The following are some of the concerns I heard:



  1. How do you define performance? One federal agency official I talked to said that the emphasis on performance under the uniform grant guidance could prove challenging to her agency. In some federal programs, defining performance during the period of the award may not be quite that simple, especially for awards designed to provide a long-term end product, such as the construction of a health center or bridge. It will be interesting to see how awarding agencies address this quandary.
  2. How is a small community expected to compete for a federal award in its grant application when it is competing against larger communities and cities? Many small municipalities nationwide often struggle with this concern on a regular basis. They just don’t have the resources available to author a truly competitive grant proposal. Creating contacts with awarding agency official can help, but time typically is limited. We suggest building partnerships with other regional officials to help develop a unified strategy to enhance the proposal. Once they do receive an award, garnering future awards will be that much easier. We here at Thompson have provided articles in the past on grants partnership that can be of use to such smaller communities.
  3. Why do I have to fill out the same information on so many forms? One attendee I talked to was quite livid about the numerous forms she had to fill out as part of her grant program, providing the same information for each one. She begged for a consolidation of forms that would maintain her information across forms and ease the burden. Perhaps this is something the uniform grant guidance and DATA Act can begin to address. We may not get down to a “one-form-fits-all” solution, but maybe we’re going down a path to ultimately make things easier for recipients.

There was a lot of other good discussion at the conference, and attendees came from as far away as Puerto Rico and Hawaii. If you can, attending such conferences is always a worthwhile idea to keep in touch with the latest development in grants and to share stories with your colleagues, even if they are not in your state.

What reaction do you have about these questions and concerns? Let us know.


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