Almost five years ago, I wrote about the strange phenomenon of grant programs rising from the dead like The Mummy in “Zombie Funding – Six Tana Leaves for Life, Nine for Motion.” Two events reminded of this post.
First, the Huffington Post reported that Turhan Bey has passed to the great beyond. As those of you of a certain age will remember from late night TV, Turhan Bey played the sinister Mehemet Bey in the seminal Universal Pictures monster movie, The Mummy’s Tomb. Like federal Program Officers for programs facing cutbacks, Turhan Bey was responsible for keeping Kharis alive with the mysterious tana leaves.
Second, politics and grants are intersecting—you can see one example in the way President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney got into a fight over Big Bird in their debate, which was really over funding for public broadcasting. Then, Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan got into a spirited tiff about Ryan writing support letters for Stimulus Bill grant proposals from his District, even though he vocally opposed the Stimulus Bill.* Leaving aside the politics of these exchanges and regardless of who wins the election, it’s clear that grants are going to be a big part of the national discussion as the feds approach the fiscal cliff.
There will be much hand wringing and gnashing of teeth over possible cuts to domestic competitive grant programs, as interest groups flood Washington to save their particular bacon. As Honey Boo Boo puts it, “A dolla makes me holla.”** I’m not a betting man, but I will venture a dollar that funding for Big Bird survives the fiscal cliff, as will funding for most other grant programs. Some may get a severe haircut and others may be living underground on six tana leaves, but almost all will eventually get nine tanna leaves and walk among us again.
For nonprofits, all the hubbub means that it is critical to stay on top of the federal RFP process. Toward this end (this is free proposal transition phrase), it pays to root around like a truffle pig looking for tasty grant morsels on the federal forest floor. It turns out, for example, that our pals at the Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) just posted a forecast of FY ’13 Upcoming Funding Announcement. Early 2013 will bring a temping $40,000,000 for “The Make It In America Challenge,” followed closely by our old friend YouthBuild, Serving Adult and Youth Ex-Offenders through Strategies Targeted to Characteristics Common to Female Ex-Offenders Generation II and Serving Juvenile Ex-Offenders in High –Poverty, High-Crime Areas Generation III.
It clear that the ETA plans to keep shoving RFPs out of the door, and it behooves nonprofit to position themselves in advance of RFP issuance so they can prepare compelling proposals. Or you can just hire Seliger + Associates to be your personal Grant Truffle Pig.
* We have several clients in Racine, which is in Congressman Ryan’s district, and it is entirely possible that we drafted the support letter for a Stimulus Bill proposal that riled Uncle Joe.
** Jake was sent this Onion article and did not realize that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is an actual show.