The CARES Act 2020: 8 Experts Weigh In
By Rachel Bennett on June 30, 2020
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is the latest relief package to support individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic and economic downturn. Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants are part of the CARES Act to provide relief to entities that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
As a leading provider of grant management solutions, we understand the importance of a grant, the evolving nature of the grant process and the critical role we can play. Since this is a widely discussed topic right now, we decided to respond by reaching out to numerous experts in the world of grants and grant management.
We asked them this simple question,
“How will CARES Act Funding Impact Grants Management?”
And once we compiled their answers, we thought they were all so insightful that we decided to publish all of their responses below, in no particular order…
1. Johna Rodgers – GPC, GPA Vice President
“The CARES Act means the same thing for grant managers over the next 12-18 months as the receipt of any other type of funding or guidance from the previous 12-18 months. Grant managers who make the old phrase “document, document, document” their mantra will fair well. It remains a key best practice for managing grants. With the CARES Act, a lot of flexibility is provided that must be documented, but there has been very little guidance for just how to do that. Grant managers who have been around for a while know what’s coming. One day soon, someone will ask about what you did with the funding and why you did it. They will want to know what internal processes each agency used to monitor or implement or distribute that funding. They will ask about the number of people served. And more. Grant managers with great processes and an understanding of how to document will weather this better than others.”
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2. Denny Anderson, CGMS, Harris Health System
“I guess I’d have to say that the CARES act basically awarded the grant, then asked for the application/budget. Obviously, this doesn’t really follow the lifecycle of grants. I say this because all of our COVID19 and CARES act funding comes from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). We had no idea that the money was coming. However, I do understand the need for organizations to get started with testing and treatment of the disease (I am from a safety-net healthcare organization, so we do appreciate the funding).”
3. Amanda Day, GPC, President of the Grant Professionals Association
“The CARES Act is bringing much needed relief to nonprofits, hospitals, and other agencies. Money is coming in fast, and organizations are clamoring to access funds. I think it is imperative for everyone to consider the implications of any federal funding. Federal grant management is time consuming, complicated, and overwhelming at times. Organizations not experienced in federal management will want to provide professional development funding to their staff or consider consulting with experts to ensure vital steps are not overlooked. My first federal grant implementation was like drinking water from a fire hose, and I feel fortunate to have survived unscathed.”
Check her out as a podcast co-host on Fundraising HayDay
4. Becky Heisinger — Falls Consulting LLC
“My number one insight into the CARES Act is the passion, commitment, and desire of the American people to assist the most vulnerable populations and those that serve them. The legislation provides financial resources and compliance flexibility to empower government and non-government entities to respond, maneuver quickly in a life-threatening environment.”
5. Carol Kraus, CPA, CGMS, Director of Grant Accountability and Transparency Unit — Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, State of Illinois
“The CARES Act brings many challenges to grant managers due to limited guidance that accompanies the funding. Many States are struggling with how to distribute the grant funds effectively and efficiently to many different types of needs to combat the COVID 19 virus while ensuring compliance with the loosely written and sometimes conflicting guidance. Another concern is the multiple funding sources that states, local governments, and nonprofits are receiving that essentially have the same objectives. This duplication could result in “double dipping”, as well as increase the likelihood of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement due to lack of guidance and rules as well as significant decreases in revenue by the recipients.”
6. Mike Chamberlain, MBA, CAE, CEO — Grant Professionals Association
“My number one insight on the CARES Act is the importance of having a clear understanding of both the ethical and legal aspects of applying for and managing these grant funds. As organizations look to access new or expanded grant programs that are part of the legislation, it is critically important to recognize the important role that grant professionals play in understanding all of the requirements of federal grant programs. Grant professionals who work with federal grants understand the complexities of the application process along with the 2 CFR 200, sometimes referred to as the Uniform Grant Guidance, which provides the rules for how the grant is used when it is awarded. There will be those who will attempt to take advantage of the situation including encouraging organizations to pursue funding they may qualify for but do not understand the requirements which can not only cause problems for the organization in the short term but can potentially impact the relationship between the organization and the funding agency (and other federal funding programs) in the future.”
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7. Tim Thorson, Principal — Thorson Development Consulting
“As with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, grants to quickly stimulate the economy favor shovel-ready projects, which are projects that have plans, permits, a known price tag and strong community support. Economic stimulus towards recovery is part of the Legislature’s plans for some of its $1.25B in federal CARES Act funding. It is also very likely that stimulus spending will be included in the next recovery package approved by Congress. As Wyoming shifts towards recovery, the communities with strong planning and engaged leadership will benefit most from these stimulus efforts. If a community does not already have a Capital Improvement Plan or other list of shovel-ready projects, this preparation could make a big difference in how much good these funds do our communities in both the short- and long-term.”
8. Jerry Ashworth, Editor — Thompson Grants
“From the grant applicant/recipient perspective, the COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous concerns about the logistics of their programs, ranging from determining how to monitor subrecipients while working from home to paying salaries for employees who are unable to perform grant-related tasks. In an attempt to address these concerns, federal awarding agencies have issued numerous guidance documents and FAQs to answer questions pertaining to the administration of grant programs under these emergency conditions. Thompson Grants has launched a free website that provides a continuously updated list of almost 200 links to the CARES Act and other supplemental funding legislation, OMB guidance and awarding agency guidance and FAQs. Many of these agency documents address the management of funds provided under the CARES Act, and some of the FAQs are even in the third or fourth iteration of their original document. We advise grant applicants and recipients to continuously stay abreast of any updates to these agency documents, as they may provide new answers to CARES Act questions that they may be struggling with.”
The CARES Act relief package helps support individuals and businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.
At AmpliFund, we understand the importance of the ever-changing grant management process and how this widely discussed topic surrounding the relief package will impact the grants and grants management industry.