Category Archives: Deadlines

What Budget Cuts? The RFPs Continue to Pour Out: Educational Opportunities Centers, Carol M. White PEP, HUD Section 202 & 811, Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control, and California’s Proposition 84

Faithful readers will have noticed a paucity of recent blog posts. There’s a reason: we’re fantastically busy. Despite all of the media gnashing of teeth regarding the Republican–Democratic tussles over the FY ’11 Continuing Resolutions (which was resolved a week or two ago) not much actually happened. A list of final ’11 CR reductions might total $39 billion—or is it $300 million?

Basically, nobody knows, but in the finest Washington tradition both sides can claim victory while getting back to the serious business of raising money for the 2012 campaign, as well as fulminating about the 2012 election (didn’t we just have an election?). In the meantime, federal and state agencies have opened the RFP floodgates, so as to not get caught with non-obligated funds when the next fiscal year rolls around. Quelle Horreur!!*

Here’s a tiny sample of the avalanche of grant funds that are currently up for grabs:

  • Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC): It took months, but our friends at the Department of Education finally got this one one out of the door with $47,000,000 available and a May 23 deadline. EOC grants provide academic enrichment to prepare secondary school students for college. Even better, the DOE promises to issue the RFP for the much larger companion TRIO program, Upward Bound in September or so. If your organization has trouble funding its basic mission and it is vaguely plausible at providing academic support, pursue EOC or Upward Bound. Given the dismal student academic outcomes in America, getting young people prepared for college is sure to be a growth industry in the coming years.
  • Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP): Another old DOE friend, PEP grants fund physical education and wellness services for K–12 students. There is about $37,000,000 available, with grants to $750,000 and a deadline of May 23.
  • Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly: HUD has $371,000,000 to build Section 202 affordable housing for seniors. The deadline is June 1.
  • Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities: Another HUD warhorse, Section 811 has $114,000,000 to build affordable housing for persons with disabilities, and the deadline is June 23.
  • Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) Program: LBPHC, another HUD favorite, usually has around $100,000,000 available, although HUD is keeping the total dollar amount a secret in this year’s NOFA. LBPHC grants are used to rehab affordable housing units to remove lead hazards, with grants to $3,500,000, and the deadline is June 9.
  • California Nature Education Facilities Program: To keep things interesting, I thought I would throw in a CA RFP. This nugget is funded by the $5,700,000,000 “Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006.” I know you think California is broke, but this particular budget pocket is stuffed with $93,000,000 for park and related “nature education” facilities. The deadline is July 1.

Now you know why we’re busy writing proposals and not writing as many blog posts as we usually do. There are many other RFPs on the street and lots more will be issued in the next two to three months. As I’ve blogged about many times in the last year or two, smart nonprofits and public agencies will go after the huge amount of available grant funds, instead of sitting in sack cloth and ashes and watching the Kabuki budget shenanigans going on in Washington or their state capitals.

Two years ago, when the barely remembered Stimulus Bill was in full stimulation mode, we were incredibly busy. While we are always involved in endless grant writing, we now find ourselves about as busy during a time of dire talk of budget cuts and deficits. I’m reminded of the wonderful 1960 film, Elmer Gantry.

Our eponymous anti-hero is discussing why people go to church with the cynical reporter Jim and says people come to a place like a revivalist church meeting, because “they got no money or too much money.” In our business, clients come to us because they think the government’s got too much money or not enough. Regardless of the reasoning, there are incredible grant opportunities available and applicant odds are better because so many agencies are paralyzed. Simply put, the fewer technically correct applications, the better your odds are of scoring.


*This is a nod to Jake, who is taking a French Translation grad school class and needs all the help he can get.

Talent Search RFP Finally Published — But What A Stupid Deadline

Last Sunday I posed the question, “Searching for Talent Search: Where Oh Where Has the Talent Search RFP Gone And Why is It A Secret?.” I still don’t know why the RFP release date was a secret, but on Wednesday, the Department of Education finally published the Talent Search application instructions. Hallelujah, or as my now 24 year old son used to say at about age five, “Hallalulah!”

One minor problem: The deadline is December 28, dead center between Christmas and New Years Day. I wonder why the Department of Education would pick such a dumb deadline. A quick check of the calendar reveals that Christmas and New Years Day fall on Saturdays. Anybody who has worked for a public agency will know that almost all Talent Search employees will, at a minimum, take off December 24 and 31, and most will be on vacation from December 24 through at least January 3. Most folks want to combine vacation days with holidays and quasi-holidays to stretch out their time off.

Thus, there will be no one home to look at proposals submitted on December 28. Likely, because of the hullabaloo in D.C. with the start of the new Congress on January 3 and MLK day on January 17 (another opportunity to stretch a three day weekend into ten days off), not much will likely happen with Talent Search applications until at least the third week in January.

So why make Talent Search applicants work right through Christmas? The Talent Search team is either venal or just plain stupid. As Forrest Gump observed, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

You be the judge. Of course, if you really want to have a Happy Holiday, let us slave over your hot Talent Search proposal and you can hit those day after Xmas sales to do your part to bring the economy back.

You know you’re a grant writer if a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Service Area Competition (SAC) deadline vexes you

You know you’re a grant writer if… You’re reading the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Service Area Competition (SAC) and discover that the deadline is July 6.

You’re frustrated because Monday, July 6 is a holiday for most people: the Fourth of July is Saturday, so the “holiday” part is the Monday after, which means that you won’t get much tech support if you need it on that Monday. You probably won’t get any tech support on Friday, July 3, either, since everyone in the federal government will probably have left—most of the Feds count that Friday as the holiday this year.

The real deadline is probably closer to July 2, chiefly because whatever genius at HRSA picked this deadline probably didn’t realize it was a holiday weekend, or simply decided to play a cruel trick on applicants. There are two possible reasons for this snafu: incompetence or malice. Neither portrays HRSA in a positive light. Oh, and applicants for this program are “Section 330” nonprofit community health centers, which are perhaps not the best targets for a HRSA practical joke, especially given how tremendously complex and difficult the applications are.

You know you’re a grant writer if… the same SAC RFP further irritates you because you have to submit a preliminary application using Grants.gov for a June 23 deadline, then submit the full application using HRSA’s Electronic Hand Books (EHB) system with a deadline of July 6 July 2. In other words, you have to learn yet another esoteric electronic system, although one that’s at least somewhat easier than Grants.gov.

You know you’re a grant writer if… you find Grants.gov’s failures and quirks amusing, causing you to write about them with some frequency.

You know you’re a grant writer if… the budget you receive from your client has no relationship to the narrative you’ve written, based on what the client told you in the first place. Actually, the budget has nothing to do with little if anything to do with anything whatsoever.

You know you’re a grant writer if… you’re the only person in America working on a holiday, other than cops and escorts.

You know you’re a grant writer if… you don’t even realize that tomorrow is a holiday—Memorial Day—and have to be told to hold the Seliger Funding Report for another day.

You know you’re a grant writer if… you’re outraged when you find that a deadline is on the holiday you hadn’t realized was there (see: first paragraph, above).

You know you’re a grant writer if… you’re inclined to write lists regarding when you know you’re a grant writer, and you actually think they’re amusing.