Towson, Md. (September 21, 2011): On Monday, September 12, the Maryland Governorís Grants Office held its 2011 conference, ďLeading the Way through Best Practices,Ē at the University of Maryland University College campus in Hyattsville.†In attendance were members of the staff of Towson Universityís Office of Sponsored Programs & Research (OSPR), who sought to expand their collective knowledge on finding grant opportunities and writing winning proposals so as to best encourage and facilitate the acquisition of grants within the Towson University community.†The scheduled sessions each discussed different topics of interest pertaining to Maryland grants-seekers within both nonprofit and government sectors.
The various topics addressed throughout the day included, but were not limited to; strategies for success in seeking, applying for, and administering grant funding, including the essentials of researching, writing, and reporting grants; the basics of OMB Circular A-133; and working with family, corporate, and community foundations in securing funding. Provided below are a few of the many interesting insights gained by attending Towson University staff members from the conferenceís various sessions:
·†††††††† It is important when developing your grant proposal to engage as many allies as possible: build a framework for dialogue and the trading of information with persons and organizations possessing information that may prove useful to any current or future proposals;
·†††††††† Work with your elected leaders on grants-related initiatives;
·†††††††† Remember, take full advantage of the resources available to you while keeping in mind that, by doing so, you will accomplish more while using fewer and fewer resources; and
·†††††††† Compliance is important now more than ever. (At Towson University, the OSPR is responsible for, and committed to, ensuring compliance with all applicable regulations.)
Of paramount importance and applicability to all sectors was the content of the plenary session delivered by Nancy DiPaolo, Assistant Director of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.† Her focus was the recently introduced Data Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA, and its implications for the grant-seeking community. This reform will ultimately establish an independent body to track federal spending (which includes grants, contracts, loans and agenciesí internal expenses) on a single electronic platform, employing consistent reporting standards and data identifiers, and making all of the information easily accessible to the public. DATA will allow agencies, Congress, and citizen watchdogs to catch fraud, waste, and abuse in stimulus spending, to discover waste and inefficiency in government, and to expose systematic fiscal management problems that lead to improper payments.† The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board will be tasked solely with receiving, organizing and making accessible federal spending information. This Board will function as a model for building and maintaining a transparent and accountable government.
As the fulfillment of all obligations to the American public is a best practice applicable to all parties involved in the grantsí process, this discussion of DATA served to establish collective responsibility as the general context for the more specific sessions that comprised the 2011 Governorís Grants Office conference.
Many of these sessions were coupled with slide show presentations, all of which can be accessed and viewed at the Maryland Governorís Grants Office website at www.grants.maryland.gov. This regularly updated, user friendly site offers a wealth of information on currently available grants, news and legislation pertaining to the grants process, listings of resources, webinars, educational materials and annual reports on federal funds to Maryland state agencies.† The OSPR strongly encourages faculty and staff members interested in any aspect of the grants process to consult this invaluable website for guidance.
The OSPR staff is ready and willing to offer assistance, guidance, and support to the university community in navigating and engaging the complex world of grants and funding. Colleagues are welcome to visit us in our new location, the 212E Administration Building, or to contact us by telephone or email. We can be reached by phone at extension 4-2236 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.††††††† †
Office of Sponsored Programs & Research