Preparing Your State, Local or Tribal Government for American Rescue Plan Act Funding

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 is designed to provide economic relief from the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering $350 billion for eligible state, local, and tribal governments to respond to the pandemic emergency and bring back jobs.

There are five major categories of approved funding use:
• Support public health expenditures
• Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency
• Replace lost public sector revenue
• Provide premium pay for essential workers
• Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure

Within those categories, recipients have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet the needs of their communities.

 

The ARPA funding approach of allows state, local, and tribal governments to drive recovery from their unique position and respond quickly to their known challenges and needs. While the funds offer many benefits and timely action, tracking outcomes becomes more challenging for grant professionals.

Grant management is not just one process. When managing grants, organizations need to foster cross-functional communication, be aware of activities occurring across all departments, oversee various budgets, and track performance goals, all while remaining compliant with grant management legislation.

With an unprecedented volume of funding, managing grant funding processes and reporting in disparate systems can have several consequences, including:

  • Inability to share grant information with stakeholders
  • Unintended internal competition for the same awards
  • Unaccounted for funds
  • Loss of funding

Grant management centralization and standardization is not just a preferential choice anymore - it is a necessary practice.



With payments beginning to be distributed from the American Rescue Plan Act, AmpliFund has compiled a list of action items you can take now to prepare for the challenge of best tracking outcomes as funds are put to work.

1. Create Structured Policies

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A standard set of grant guidelines is critical to ensuring your grants team is informed of internal processes as well as federal regulations. While every organization’s funding procedures will vary, there are some general topics that should be covered in your organization’s grant guidelines. This checklist will ensure you cover all the standard elements needed in a thorough set of grant guidelines.

2. Define Data Reporting Requirements and Standards

Rescue Plan funds are varied and diverse in how and where they can be used. As a result, centralized reporting structures are essential so you can foster cross-functional communication and stay compliant.

Rules-standards_unsplash-4The Uniform Grant Guidance requires standard reporting to ensure compliance and good controls are in place during an audit; however, what those standard reporting processes must entail is not very prescriptive. This ambiguity forces your organization to answer the following questions when deciding what your processes can, or should, look like.

  • How can you create standard processes that drive best practices?
  • How can you help maintain your organization's existing effective workflows, or create new workflows?
  • How can you maintain compliance?

The processes that your organization may choose to implement, or already follow, can include additional steps that are not specifically required by any key legislation, and may include the addition of departmental specifics, people, and additional data collection practices. This blog post provides some best practices for both grant seekers and grant makers that an organization can implement to maintain compliance and maximize your outcomes.

3. Procure & Leverage Technology

There are so many data elements accompanying grant management; consequently, trying to manage them all manually or in disparate systems introduces human error and the inability to communicate about important aspects of the grant lifecycle. In order to truly achieve centralization and standardization, organizations should adopt a purpose-built Grant Management Software platform that:

iconsai_Select-1Provides accountability and visibility over funds

iconsai_Select-1Has a configurable reporting to filter for COVID-19 funds

iconsai_Select-1Allows for tagging funds with meta-data for tracking down through the award to the recipient

iconsai_Select-1Supports linking all outputs to the meta-data and to the funds

iconsai_Select-1Allows for segmentation in reporting

iconsai_Select-1Allows for coding of funds for central tracking and reporting

4. Review Available Resources

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The U.S Department of Treasury continues to issue new information for funding recipients. Several critical pieces are linked below for quick reference: