Frontline nonprofits may significantly benefit from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. Are you ready to apply for grant funding?
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, the federal government has committed $1.9 trillion to alleviate the pain of the covid pandemic. A significant portion of this funding will benefit providers delivering frontline services, including rental assistance, substance use prevention and treatment, mental health treatment, homelessness prevention, and education.
Is your organization ready to apply for funding?
Throughout the covid pandemic, foundations and government agencies stepped up admirably to provide technical support along with billions of dollars of funding. That funding, however, wasn’t always easy for nonprofits to access.
To get grants out quickly, funders turned to first-come-first-served models, or announced grant cycles that only lasted a few weeks. This led to a chaotic dash, with organizations putting in emergency application after emergency application. In some cases they applied only to find that all the funds had already been allocated. In other cases, nonprofits gave up and didn’t try for the funding at all.
Of course, that was an extreme situation, and lead times have been lengthening. But there are some things nonprofits can do right now to be ready when these new funding opportunities are announced:
- Gather electronic versions of the commonly-asked for supporting documents. This includes your IRS determination letter (“501c3” letter), annual budget, annual report, last two years’ audits, latest 990, board of directors list, conflict of interest policy and EEOC policy.
- Create a library of text for the questions commonly asked in grant applications. While the purpose for which you’re requesting funding might change, some things—like your mission, vision and organizational history—should stay the same. The Common Grant Application Form is a good starting point.
- Draft a few paragraphs describing how COVID has impacted your organization. How has it affected your programs? What is the impact on your staffing and finances? What are your plans for reopening?
Nonprofits have been strained like never before. You’re making adjustments on the fly and may have been spending all of your energy trying to keep the organization and its programming afloat. By taking some time to collect this information, you can put your organization in a better position to access the funding you deserve. And if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out.