National Endowment for the Humanities – Preservation & Access Attention humanities folks in small or mid-sized institutions! If your organization is seeking funding to help preserve and care for collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, textiles, archeological artifacts, digital materials, and more, you might be interested in this opportunity. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is accepting applications for Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Universities to help institutions improve their capacities to preserve significant humanities collections.

I recently attended my first-ever Grant Professionals Association (GPA) national conference – virtually, at that (because, you know, the pandemic). It was three days of absorbing information, dialoguing with colleagues, and notating my personal takeaways. I’m what I’d call, an inbetweener in the grant profession; I’m on the cusp of entering the mid-career mark but not quite there yet years-wise. I went into this conference with excitement and hope and left with certain unanticipated lessons learned. During the opening session, our emcee (Jess Pettitt) encouraged conference attendees to record our ‘circles.’ Although she gave a definition, I took this to basically mean, review our session notes and reflect on lessons learned at the end of each day, and circle the ones that personally resonated the most. I made countless observations and learned a ton, but here’s a snippet of what spoke loudest to me.

National Science Foundation Attention higher education folks! The National Science Foundation is accepting applications for its multi-track program, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI program). The HSI program is intended to enhance the quality of undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of historically underrepresented students in these fields who are working toward associates or baccalaureate degrees. Let’s take a closer look at this grant program.

Department of Health and Human Services - Health Resources and Services Administration Does your organization provide professional training programs in the behavioral health sciences? The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently opened a funding opportunity through its Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Professionals. This program focuses on creating and expanding experiential training opportunities (such as internships or field placements) to improve the behavioral health workforce in underserved, high-demand, or rural areas. BHWET encourages building relationships with community-based partners (hospitals, crisis centers, first responders, etc.) to improve access to behavioral health services in these regions.

I always think of the last quarter of the year as the “learning season” when I attend the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) National Conference and begin thinking about the year past and ahead. This is not an easy process for me. As a grants professional, it is so easy to get bogged down in the daily grind, but this season really forces me and gives me permission to think about my own learning and goals. It reminds me of the Dr. Suess book Oh, The Places You’ll Go. A friend gave me this to me when I graduated college with my bachelor’s degree. At the young age of 20, I could not even begin to imagine where I would go. Some 20 years later, after working as an in-house grant professional and now working in a consultant role, I am using this learning season in 2020 to really reflect on where I have been and where I will still go. There are so many different paths in the grant professional’s work. This just one example – my journey.

While there are legal requirements for nonprofit organizations around transparency and disclosure of financial information, there can also be some grey areas where ethical decisions aren’t as clear. For instance, it can be tempting to apply for and accept funding anywhere you can get it. But what if you serve clients who are struggling with substance use, and a potential funder is known for contributing to the opioid crisis? If accepting money means you are straying from your mission, or if you have any doubt about the morality of doing business with a certain corporation, it may not be worth the financial benefit. Your goal should be to build funder relationships that you can stand behind and feel good about. Here, we are going to explore a few other ethical dilemmas you may run across when building relationships with funders.

National Endowment for the Arts – National Folklife Network If your organization is interested in working with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to build and manage a formal network that supports the unique local and regional cultural traditions found throughout the United States, this funding opportunity might be for you. The NEA recently opened applications for the National Folklife Network (NFN) cooperative agreement to select an organization, or “cooperator,” to establish and administer the NFN. The NFN will assist each of seven regional cohorts through training, fieldwork, convenings, collaborations, and cultural asset mapping.

The topic of ethics in grants is incredibly broad, as there are often many moving parts and people involved with grant awards. The fund-seeking agency might have a variety of staff members contributing to the process: the executive director, program staff, finance staff, a grant writer, maybe even the board of directors. And then, of course, if the agency receives an award, there are ethical considerations for managing the sometimes very large sums of money. Once again, there might be a host of individuals carrying out the program activities, reporting progress, expending the funds, and so on. In other words, the agency is responsible for ensuring ethical practices across many levels of a grant award. But for the purposes of this discussion, I want to back up a bit. What about some of the ethics that go into researching and writing the proposal?

United States Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Services Is your organization, local school district, or state agency interested in student nutrition and agricultural education? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently opened its annual Farm to School funding opportunity through its Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) office. This grant program, in alignment with the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, aims to create farm to school programs that provide eligible schools with access to local foods. Let’s take a closer look at this opportunity.

Do you remember the first time you wrote a report for a funder and had to explain away an undesirable outcome (or more)? I do. Picture it: coffee on drip. Report questions pulled, outcomes and program-related questions sent to program staff. Me, a rookie grant professional at the time, ready to tackle the report…or so I thought. And then I got the email: one of the program’s stated outcomes fell significantly short of the goal. As in, the targeted outcome was 80%, but the actual outcome was 40%. *Insert appropriate amounts of rookie-level panic here, then breathe.*