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Brian Footer – Local Government Grant Program

The essay below has been selected as one of the 15 finalists for the GovLoop and NASPAA Scholarship program. To vote, simply sign in to your GovLoop account (Not a member yet? Sign up for free now!) and then click the big ‘Awesome’ button at the bottom of the post. Everyone is encouraged to vote for as many essays as they deem worthy, but only one vote is allowed per essay per profile, so don’t forget to tell your friends to offer their support as well!

“Local Government Grant Program”

If the U.S. government had only $100 million left in the budget, I would begin devising a grant program to direct money to local governments in the pursuit of assisting the most fragile and disenfranchised populations. I believe government’s inherent social value is establishing services essential to provide basic human needs. This, however, is not a mandate for government to deliver services. Rather government should be a coordinator of parties and resource, and no one understands the unique demands of each geographic community better than local government.

The grant program would award money to local governments who would then contract with partners in accordance with the approved application. Requirements within the application for funding would have two basic mandates. First, in order to maximize the dollars being allocated, applicants must outline plans to raise private funds to match the exact amount of the grant. Second, applicants must demonstrate at least one partnership with a local, state, or national non-government organization committed to serving the identified population. The objective of both these mandates is to ensure collaboration between groups working on similar projects, and ensure that local governments are outsourcing the delivery of services. Ideally, by contracting services out the dollars are not only assisting those in need but are also stimulating local economies.

Grant recipients will be chosen based on maximizing efforts to reduce costs of services, draws in multiple partnerships (both government and non), selects partner organizations that are locally based, and maximizes the number of people being served. For example, the New York City Department of Homeless Services and New York City Human Resources Administration partner with multiple non-government organizations to create a new program that serves food to homeless and individuals eligible for food stamps. Additionally, the application outlines efforts to secure bulk purchasing power by partnering with food manufactures within a 90-mile radius and New York based farms that results in reduction of costs and supporting local business.

Applications would be open to all agencies for any project that serves basic human needs. It is important for the language to be broad in order to keep the pool of applicants open. I understand that in order to make the grants substantial, different regulations (minimum size of grant, total number of grants awarded, etc.) would need to be instituted. But, the grant program would not reach its maximum potential if it restricts agencies based on a perception set by national trends. It is up to the local government to identify the areas in need that are unique to their community. I believe this is how we address the different demands of such a large and unique society, rather than a one size fits all fix that diminishes the diversity of our culture.


Read other finalist essays for the GovLoop/NASPAA Scholarship.

– Evan White – “Promise Neighborhoods for a Promising Future”

– Mark Van Horn – “Using Computer Games to Simulate Policy Problems in the United States”

– Mauricio Cifuentes – “The Social Innovation Fund: Implementing Effective Bottom-up Solutions”

– Jay Sher – “Federal R&D Prizes for Technological Investment and Innovation”

– Danny Vasconcellos – “Government Getting it Right: The GAO”

– Kevin Sonoff – “Primary and Secondary Education: The Path to Recovery”

– Maggie Healy – “Funding the Information Age, Beyond Infrastructure”

– Alex Luboff – “A Fiscal, Social, and Environmental Sustainability: Urban Agriculture Fighting Poverty”

– Joseph Towner – “Community Service Grants”

– Elizabeth Selbst – “Fund Local Land Banking to Reverse Urban Sprawl”

– Neil Patrick Reilly – “A Boost to Rentals and Public Housing”

– Lee Blum – “The World’s Best Vocational Institute”

– Peter Thomas – “Government Knowing Its Constituents”

– Daniel Turner – “Invest in the Future”

Don’t forget to VOTE for this essay by clicking the AWESOME BUTTON below.

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Kenn Agata

Brian surely deserves the grant. I am sure it will be put to good use for the citizens of New York City of which I have been one for 65 years.

Neil Bonner

We must be collecting to much in the way of taxes if we are just turning around and giving the money back to state and local governments. Why not use the $100M to reduce our obligations to the Chinese?