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  1. #1
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    Default Happy, but frustrated.

    First I want to say THANK YOU to all that have worked so hard to make the FireAct a reality. Second, I want to say THANK YOU to all that have volunteered countless hours to the process.

    Frustration: In Texas, Round 1, West University was announced their award. HELLO, the average price of a West U. House is between 500,000 and a Million dollars. It is inside the city limits of Houston! It is 5 minutes from the Medical Center and Rice university. NEEDY??

    In their success story the Houston Chronicle reported they had congressional letters of support. The FEMA meeting I went to, clearly stated...don't do that, it will have no bearing. If no bearing was given, then why is it in the success story?

    Solution: Give to the needy first. This is not about me and mine, this is about the intent. Poor departments ARE clearly receiving awards, I just don't understand this one.

    Thanks again to all that made this Grant happen, you are truly appreciated!


  2. #2
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    Default Letters of Congressional Support

    Your comments about what you were told about the letters of congressional support are very interesting. If they are irrelevant, why did they include the address to which they should be sent in the electronic application submission confirmation? I would hope that they don't factor into the process much, but I went ahead and got them from my Representative and Senators just in case.

  3. #3
    Forum Member dragonfyre's Avatar
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    Default

    Don't know what meeting you went to but the ones here in PA clearly told us to get the letters of support.

    Last year we were told that it wouldn't do any good but this year was different.

    Is the department you're complaining about paid of volunteer? Remember that FEMA has a guideline for funding both. Also, do "poor" departments have the funding for the matching share? It doesn't matter how needy you are if you don't have that you will not get a grant.

    As I've said in other forums all this complaining is not going to do any good for future programs. We should all appreciate the fact that we even have such a program after years of neglect. The longer we have this the more companies will get grants as they learn to play the game by the Fed's rules.

    Also, since the game isn't anywhere near over, why is there so much discontent about the outcome? We really don't even know who won yet!
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
    Volunteers are never "off duty".
    http://www.bufd7.org

  4. #4
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    Default Really?

    We did not have the chance to attend a grant writing seminar. We found out one day before the class where it was to be, and it was over 1.5 hours away. We couldnt get anyone to make it on such short notice. So I found some web resources for grant writing. Guess they were not so good huh? Although, I remember reading an article on this site where the writer specifically stated, "this is not the time for congressional letters of recommendation." I called my congressman and asked him to give us one, much to my surprise he told me that they were informed not to give them as well. I explained to him about the statement on the fire application telling them where to send them to. He then, happily, provided a letter for me and sent it to where FEMA requested.
    I am sure it has some bearing, but how much I do not know. Well, put it this way, we didnt get anything yet so??? I don't think we will either.


    Good luck to all,



    Pete

  5. #5
    Member ffemt1's Avatar
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    Default

    First, just a word of warning, DO NOT look at individual awards. I have been yelled at for doing it. Just a warning.

    Second, with last years grant process, maybe the department that is so poor they do not even have the matching dollars could have filled out the first request asking for the money to put toward the second request. This year, with only one request possible, they are just out of luck.

    Third, "actual need" and "implied need" are two different things. The department that does not have enough money to meet the matching part of the grant process and is therefore eliminated in the beginning has actual need. Odds are that they don't even know about the Fire Act grant anyway. The department that pays 5%-8% of the grant total off the top to fund a grant writer who can write a narrative using just the right words and therefore paint a desperate picture of the department's plight and that will bring a tear to the eye of the grant evaluators has implied need. It seems like it is much more important "how" you say something, not "what" you say. Maybe that is the way the game is played.
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  6. #6
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    Default Grant writers

    Of the 40 or so departments that I know personally which received the Fire Act Grant in 2001 or so far in 2002, including the well to do Texas department, only one used a grant writer. By the way the well to do department's chief wrote his own application. The one using a professional was a large professional metro type department who's city has several grant writers on staff. They were awarded funding for an engine which they no doubt do indeed need.

    So far as I know there is no degree offered in grant writing. But I have taken the time to attend a couple workshops on grantsmanship, grant writing and grants management. I have also tagged along with other grant writers to open RFPs, and other grant workshops.

    Our administrators must begin to get competitive in this area. I know chiefs who would rush into a burning building in a heartbeat but are intimidated by the thought of sitting in a classroom for such classes.

    In the area of grants, the days of Chief Bubba are over! I find it very hard to believe that in most communities across the nation, there isn't somebody qualified to assist in getting this job done. English teachers, bankers, CPAs, Librarians, just to mention a few suggestions should all be amply qualified to compose a decent narrative for your grant.

    No I am not Bubba bashing, I just realize that we all have to compete for limited funding on equal terms.

    LDS

  7. #7
    Member ffemt1's Avatar
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    Default

    At the FEMA grant workshop I attended in late Feb., of the 150 or so department attending, only about 100 had applied the year before. When ask how many had been successful, 4 people said they had received grants. One of them was a grant writer from the Chicago area who said, and had a list of, 14 applications she had completed, and she had received 14 grants. She was obviously trolling for new clients. The class instructor, a Region 5 FEMA employee, when ask, said it would probably be money "Well spent" to let a professional apply for you. He was also an evaluator last year. The lady gave out several business cards that day. I contacted a grant writing team in central Indiana who had only done 3 application last year, but they got 2 of them. They were working on 11 when I contacted them in early March. I am very glad to hear that you know of several departments who got grants without using grant writers, but that has not been my experience.
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  8. #8
    Member ffemt1's Avatar
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    Default

    By the way, I also spent the time and effort again this year and did my own application.
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  9. #9
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    Default More of Me...

    Again, I can not thank those who made this grant happen, enough. Last year I had little faith in the grant. This year is completely different. I talked with 2 of the grant peer reviewers, the stories are heart wrenching.

    The common statement was "we wanted to give them money from our pockets, if we could have." After hearing about the "Truly needy" I no longer felt sorry for my department. I have a renewed appreciation for all that we have. When a department is asking for a set of tires because that is all the matching they can come up with - it all becomes real.

    Needy First! - We can wait, after all, we did last year and we are still here!

    Jeff

  10. #10
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    Talking

    We did not hire a professional grant writer, this year or last year. Our grant was written in house at no cost to the taxpayers. And for the time spent researching and working on the grant, they got a huge amount of savings for what I've seen get charged by professional grant writers. (If I had to put a price on the work I did, I'd say it would have cost several thousands of dollars).

    Last year we did approach the city to assist us with our grant, but their paid staff of grant writers were too busy to help write them. They did hold a little grant writing workship for the 5 Vol FDs in my city. To be honest the only thing I learned from them was to use New Times Font (Size 12)and double space. I actually gave them alot of information about the FIRE Grant program.

    Funny thing is, after my FD got a grant last year, so guess who tried to request access to our application this year?

    With respect to the USFA/FEMA grant workshops, the closet one to me was two hours away, and I didn't go, so I can't say anything about being told to get the letters of congressional support. But I do remember after submitting my application on line, a little screen popped up and said to send letters of congressional support to, blah, blah, blah.

  11. #11
    Forum Member jmkfire's Avatar
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    Question Interesting

    Just got off the phone with the Director of Community Projects from my Senators office. She makes the phone calls to the departments that recieved awards in the first two rounds that were in Sen. Brownback's district. She was trying to find out something about our application. Apparently FEMA is being really tight lipped this go around and won't release any information to their office (as of today). She informed me that in the first couple of rounds they recieved the information a couple days in advance of the public release in order to contact depts. As of this evening they have NOT recieved word on any depts in the Senators district that would recieve an award. (roughly 1/2 of Kansas) She wasn't sure why they haven't heard anything yet with the next round scheduled for Sunday eve. She was hoping that they would maybe hear something tomorrow.
    She also told me that FEMA did not take into consideration any letters of support from congressional members, that it was based on the peer review and the letters made no difference. (we didn't have one any way)Good luck to all

    "Just remember. No matter where you go. There you are!"

  12. #12
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    Default Update on Announcement

    Here's an update:

    The next round will now NOT be updated Sunday. It is now expected to be announced next Wednesday, according to USFA. Thus, Senatorial offices and such would not have the notifications at this time.

  13. #13
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    Default Congressional Support

    As for letters of congressional support.... Sen Fitzgerald (D)IL, recieved my request for his support in late May, his office stated the US mail (snailmail) has been backed up severely to congressional leadership since the anthrax crapola. Anyhow, his office has been and continues to be very supportive. A town directly next to mine in the same district recieved a round 2 grant, and recieved no prior notification from his or the Republican Senators offices. I informed them of thier success; as I must have been up earlier to check the website. Keep the collective chin up!

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