1. #1
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    Default letters of support

    Just curious if anyone knows how much impact letters of support have on choosing grant awardees?

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    Default

    According to the general thought of most here, and according to the FEMA expert at the AFG workshop this year. None.

  3. #3
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    Default Support Letters

    They may not help. but they can't hurt. The up-side is that it keeps your elected officials informed and involved.

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    Default Letter of Support

    Bhumphreys is right on the money. Although it does not influence your "peer review" panel it is always wise to make sure that your local congreessional representatives are aware that you have a Federal application pending.This is something I always teach to my students and was taught to me when I first started out in the world of grants.

    You just never know when the right conversation over lunch in Washington DC, may fall on the ears of someone with the power to "shake things up". I have seen it happen on many occassions. Typically if you got rejected this would also be the first avenue you would try to get onto a "congressional earmark" wagon as well.

    Most congressional representatives have someone on their staff that is assigned the task of monitoring grants for their consitituents. This person should be someone you are on a first name basis with, if you work the grants field correctly. Even if your AFG was denied, this person may be able to alert you to other possibilities as well.

    One of my seminar students went home and made conatct with their local staff member and within three weeks had been alerted to 3 funding opportunities that he was not aware of and subseqguently got another $20-30K into his agency in a matter of weeks.

    KB Chief Grants

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    Default Re: Letter of Support

    Originally posted by ktb9780
    Bhumphreys is right on the money. Although it does not influence your "peer review" panel it is always wise to make sure that your local congreessional representatives are aware that you have a Federal application pending.This is something I always teach to my students and was taught to me when I first started out in the world of grants.

    You just never know when the right conversation over lunch in Washington DC, may fall on the ears of someone with the power to "shake things up". I have seen it happen on many occassions. Typically if you got rejected this would also be the first avenue you would try to get onto a "congressional earmark" wagon as well.

    Most congressional representatives have someone on their staff that is assigned the task of monitoring grants for their consitituents. This person should be someone you are on a first name basis with, if you work the grants field correctly. Even if your AFG was denied, this person may be able to alert you to other possibilities as well.

    One of my seminar students went home and made conatct with their local staff member and within three weeks had been alerted to 3 funding opportunities that he was not aware of and subseqguently got another $20-30K into his agency in a matter of weeks.

    KB Chief Grants
    I agree with you on being on a first name basis with your Representative. This is beneficial for all in the fire service and especially with the AFG so that your Rep's know that it is a worthwhile program.

    However, from what I understand, with the AFG, the peer reviewers and computer scoring never even see the letter of support so it (the letter) makes no difference.

    It's been a long unanswered question as to why FEMA even allows/encourages them for the AFG considering they are of no value. The prevailing wisdom is that IF a dept. gets a grant, it gives the Rep. more bragging rights that "he/she got them the grant".......Which is not necessarily a bad thing because it makes the Rep's take more ownership in the grant program.

    After we recieved last years grant, our US Senator (who was up for reelection) made sure that it was mentioned to the public during a city council meeting that he was instrumental in us getting the grant.

    Like I said...not a bad thing if it makes him want to continue to vote for funding the program.....I could care less who takes the credit....just show me the $$$$!

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    Default Do they help?

    I do not have any insight on how U.S. Department of Homeland Security opperates their review so I need to go by the prior comments and what the workshop leader said - that Letters of Support have no impact.

    That being said, in conversations with a very senior manager of a program very similar to the SAFER program (in another government agency) - the letters of support do not mean much but a letter of support with a phone call from ideally the actual member themselves (or senior staff) gets attention and the senior program manager to review the award list (after the grading and ranking has been done) to see how the grants that he got phone calls on did. Does that mean that your application may get bumped up in that program? No! - but there is a critera for a geographic mix so it can not hurt and you never know what pressure may have. But the key is to get the elected official or the staff member that deals with the program area (and is known to the agency staff) to make the phone call themselves.

    I have seen in US Department of Transportation, Interior and Commerce certainly earmarks in programs (during the budget process) that are suppose to be competitive applications programs. I know that there is a lot of resistance to this - I know of managers of units being called to Washington to have their hands slapped for encouraging the local Congressman to earmark funding rather than going through the system.

    I know that the Homeland Security grants have a criteria for a geographic mix - I would not be suprised that powerful members of Congress are certain to have awards in their district.

    I also know on the State level that letters and phone calls from powerful elected officials are important in bumping up "competitive applications" process. I know this from both the staff and applicant side.

    Now, I have not done any letters of support for the two Homeland Security grants that I have written. But I know that when I have written and been awarded major grants from the Transportation, Interior, Commerce and Education departments - they all had major letters of support from the elected representatives and those grants were awarded. I guess I should have followed the same effort with these grants.

    Sean
    Quaker Springs VFD
    Grant Consultant (on non-fire projects)

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