There is no such thing as 'free money.' On average, only 1 in 10 competitive proposals submitted to a funder will receive a funding award. A key to success is preparation. You can take action in advance to make the best use of a professional grant writing process. Provide good lead time before a grant deadline - start to develop content 60 - 90 days in advance (or more if the project is complex or involves construction) as a best practice. Other best practices are thoroughly researching your funder, their priorities, and their past funding awards. If you can, call them in advance and talk your project through to ascertain if your proposal fits the funder's goals and projected budget for making awards. You can also take our "Grants Readiness Survey" to help you think through what you have and may still need to develop to create a funding proposal with the best chance of success!
Questions? Email us for a complimentary initial consult.
Grants Readiness Survey
Very rarely have funders or the community at large received education on the Tribal communities in our midst and the funding realities that they face. The Q&A below provides some overview information to help increase understanding.
Grantwriting in Indian Country Background
Q - How many Tribal Nations are there in the United States? A - The National Congress of American Indians says "There are over 570 federally recognized Indian tribes, bands, nations, pueblos, rancherias, communities and Native villages in the United States. Approximately 229 of these are located in Alaska; the rest are located in 33 other states." There are also many other 'state recognized' but not federally recognized Tribal Nations who often provide for their communities using a 501 (c) (3) organization. Though both types of entities are tribes - they have differing levels of eligibility for federal and other types of funding.
Q - Can Lord & Associates provide services to both federally recognized and state recognized Tribes? A - Yes
Q - What's the difference in seeking funding for a Native Nonprofit, a Mainstream Nonprofit, and a Tribe? A - From a fundraising and development perspective while both entities are tax-exempt nonprofit entities, Native Nonprofits generally receive around 5 cents for every $1 that a mainstream nonprofit can expect to receive in foundation grant funding awards. That means that native nonprofit efforts are often underfunded by 95% in comparison to mainstream nonprofits. Startlingly, Tribal Nations fare even less well. For most folks living in the United States, Tribal Nations and Native Nonprofits remain invisible as recipients of charitable donations or philanthropic contributions - and so therefore un- or under-funded. Tribal Nations have responsibilities like a local government; and according to the IRS, are peers to state governments, but are precluded, in most cases, from generating tax revenues and therefore are comparatively economically hamstrung in this regard. Although 'to be treated as states for certain tax purposes" according to the Indian Tax Status Act of 1983, Tribal governments are not allocated regular annual funding on a parity basis to states from the federal government.
Q - How has Lord & Associates' work helped individual Tribes get Federal Grants or Direct Loans? A - Here are a few examples:
Grants & Direct Loan Funding Proposals
Federal Direct Loans:For one Federally Recognized Tribe we obtained $12.7 Million from a USDA Community Facilities direct loan award. The low-interest funding was secured based on leveraging the Indirect Costs projections and recoveries that the Tribe could receive from federal formula funding awards to secure financing.
New Funding: We've brought first-of-its-kind funding in for nearly every tribal nation with whom we've worked, here are a few of the dozens of federal agencies from which we've obtained funding:
HUD Indian Housing Block Grant ($50K/yr) funds into a tribe that had been denied that funding for 13 years prior to working with us - and now will receive this sustainable funding every year moving forward. We've also planned, written, reported upon and maintained HUD IHBG funding ($50K - $700K+ per year) for other tribes.
EPA GAP funding to start a tribe's first environmental work - with an initial award of $75K and an ongoing sustainable annual award amount of $100 - $125K into the future.
DHHS Child Care Development Fund funding based on strong negotiations with the state and federal DHHS offices we were able to understand and leverage the formula for this funding into an award that maintains over $150K in annual funding for a tribe that had never received this funding before their work with us.
USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan - A direct loan of $650K+ allowed for culturally significant lands to be freed of encumbrances - and placed into the tribe's Lands-In-Trust application.
Maintained Funding: Writing and successfully negotiating PL 93-638 contracts for BIA and for IHS funding; and maintaining funding from dozens of other federal agencies.
Q - How has Lord & Associates' work helped individual Tribes with Trainings for Tribal Leaders or Professional Development for Tribal Staff? A - Here are a few examples:
Training for Tribal Leaders & Staff
New Tribal Leaders often want or need an overview of what their fiscal and regulatory responsibilities & opportunities are in managing federal funding awards - we have the training experience to provide that education customized to the community's unique priorities. We designed and delivered a three (3) day intensive overview training for new Tribal Leaders beginning a further multi-year relationship to help them strengthen their grants administration operations. Results included: implementation of fund accounting systems; revised chart of accounts; creation of a Section 17 Tribal Economic Development Corporation; and many new grants awards.
New Tribal department directors often need an overview of how to efficiently map and meet their reporting, budgeting and project management responsibilities in order to successfully implement, close out or leverage new federal funding into their communities. We implemented a Tribal Development Office and over the course of 3+ years trained 5 tribal member employees in federal grants administration - due to our relationships outside the tribe, and upon the recommendation of our Principal Consultant, 2 of those 5 tribal members went on to be accepted into a Masters of Science program in Community Economic Development. One of the tribal members trained by Lord & Associates later became a Tribal Administrator, another came to lead the Tribe's economic development corporation. The commitment to strengthening tribal capacities in-house so that tribal members can best meet tribal needs - is a core value of our work in everything we do.
Q - How has Lord & Associates' work helped individual Tribes with Coaching? A - Here are a few examples:
Sometimes, all a client needs is an extra set of experienced eyes to help guide a proposal's development and to suggest ways to improve its fundability - our Coaching services are an economical way to improve the likelihood of funding while teaching best practices to build staff capacity in-house. We provided a thorough criterion checklist, grant outline, and other materials, along with personalized coaching, to help our Clients write and submit their own funding proposals. Based on over a decade's experience as federal grant reviewers - we bring a practical set of guidelines that can help build the capacity of tribal leadership or staff to efficiently identify the points that your funder is most concerned with accomplishing and then bridging those priorities into the needs of your community to result in new or increased funding awards.