Fixing Nevada’s long-broken federal grant infrastructure is key to progress


This weekend marks one year since the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, one of the largest and most ambitious legislative and spending programs in our country’s history. Fittingly, the bailout has made nonprofits eligible for an unprecedented amount of funding, including grants to help pay for the lifesaving relief and recovery support they provide and, to a lesser extent extent, direct financial assistance to help them recover from the pandemic.

However, access to this funding is proving quite difficult for many. Between a lack of organizational capacity – limited access to qualified grant professionals, overburdened staff, and too little money or credit to wait for grant repayment – and the dizzying complexity of administering the program (particularly at program levels). local and state governments, which also lack capacity), some nonprofits find themselves left behind.

Meanwhile, others are receiving more government grants than ever before and now face the difficult task of rapidly scaling programs (during widespread staffing shortages) and meeting compliance and reporting requirements. Some of these challenges were unavoidable given the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic and emergency relief, but others, frustrating, are the result of more than a decade of systemic underinvestment and government neglect. Nevada Federal Grants Infrastructure.

Nonprofit organizations and public entities in Nevada (local governments, state agencies, school districts, etc.) have long struggled to obtain and fully implement federal grant programs. In reality, Nevada residents lose about half a billion dollars a year that could be invested in a range of programs, from the arts and affordable housing to education and workforce development, and the state ranks 45and nationwide in federal grants per capita. When asked, consistently grants professionals report organizational inability, outdated processes and too little collaboration and support as the main causes of our underperformance. These challenges have plagued Nevada for more than a decade. We should solve them now before they also undermine the next decade.

The broad inclusion of associations in the rescue plan, and subsequently reinforced U.S. Treasury regulatory guidelines, highlights the extraordinary role they play in America as well as the substantial economic damage they have suffered as a result of the pandemic. Local governments and state agencies in Nevada, which will receive more than $5 billion in flexible bailout and CARES Act funding and have considerable discretion in deciding how to spend it, should do all the needed to extend the lifeline of the bailout to the nonprofits we all count.

For example, providing grants to build organizational capacity and address pandemic-related gaps, in addition to funding programs. Additionally, we must finally fix the inefficient administrative and budgetary processes that have long impeded the return of federal resources to Nevada taxpayers and their communities.

Let’s start by celebrating several major recent achievements in this regard, including the largest regional collaboration never apply for federal funding, City of Las Vegas‘ Nonprofit grant list, Clark County’s creation of a collection officeand Nevada House Means Nevada Initiative. So let’s quickly move on to the full implementation Assembly Bill 445the comprehensive federal subsidy reform measure passed in the last legislative session on a bipartisan basis, and finally tackling the very long list of obstacles that prevent Nevadans from getting their fair share.

Working together and smarter, we must develop and implement a strategic vision for how federal grants can help build a stronger, more inclusive, and resilient Nevada for generations (and crises) to come.

Miles Dickson is a third-generation Nevadan and president of Nevada GrantLab, a nonprofit company he founded in 2020 that helps other nonprofits and their government partners access and administer federal grants. Before that, he spent nearly a decade in management consulting, supporting government and non-profit organizations. He also served as Chief of Staff to State Treasurer Zach Conine. Miles holds a JD from the Boyd School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNLV, and is a graduate of the executive program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.


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