HOLLYWOOD — From May 2 to 3, more than 50 people representing tribes throughout the U.S. visited the Native Learning Center in Hollywood for free grants management training.
The training, formally called “Grant Management with the New Uniform Guidance 2 CFR Part 200,” focused on how tribes and their employees can efficiently and effectively apply for federal grants. Topics at the training included compliance standards, monitoring and reporting requirements, procurement standards, allowable and unallowable costs, conflicts of interests, and more. The training was led by Lucy Morgan, a CPA who runs MyFedTrainer.com.
Vince Franco, compliance and resource development director at the Native Learning Center, said that NLC offers the program because tribal entities that use federal funding must abide by specific federal regulations. Many of those regulations can be challenging to understand.
“[The training] helps people so much. Not only does it raise the bar a little bit and make everyone in the playing field just a little more savvy in what they do, it also helps our Tribe and a lot of other tribes have the skill sets they need and the know-how to keep their programs on track,” Franco said. “If they’re audited, everything will be clean.”
The federal grants discussed in the training come from the various federal departments, including the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Education. Franco said that although many grants offered are science and research based, there are millions of dollars of funding available for all topics, including youth issues, elders and senior care, and training and education. All of the available grants are applied to through grants.gov, a federally run website that provides information on grants, their policies, applicant and granter information, and more.
Robert Delorimiere, accounting grants compliance coordinator, said the training was a great way to learn updated information about grants and the federal regulations surrounding them. In his position, Delorimiere makes sure the Tribe is eligible for grants departments are interested in and ensures that those grants will not infringe on Tribal sovereignty or be an overall negative investment.
While Delorimiere has attended multiple grants management trainings in the past – even leading a few alongside Franco – he said the event was interesting and Morgan did a great job of keeping the audience’s attention.
“Even though most of this stuff was a refresher for me, it was nice to attend and make everyone realize that even though I’ve been doing this for 18 years or so, you can always learn something new,” he said.
Accompanying the topics was a lesson on the federal websites newest feature: Workspace. Workspace is a process that allows multiple people to work on a grant application simultaneously. Prior to its development, only one person could access an application at a time, making the application timeline long and strenuous and usually resulting in one person doing the majority of the work. Workspace seeks to expedite that process so applicants get faster access to grants they apply to.
The NLC hosts this training and many others throughout the year, all free of charge to tribes and tribal entities. The training is not available for non-tribal entities. Franco said that while a lot of the information the center presents is available online, much of it is confusing and can lead to many people not fully understanding the information. Having the in-person training allows people to have all their questions answered and better understand the material so they can effectively use it.
“It’s so much more user friendly this way [rather than online] because the people we have doing this, like Lucy for example, have 20 years of experience if not more. And they’re right on top of federal regulations,” Franco said. “You need to have that level of expertise to facilitate these programs. Just about any question you can think of to ask Lucy, she knows the answer to it. That’s the same with a lot of our instructors.”
Now in its 10th year, the NLC has worked with more than 100 tribes. All upcoming trainings are listed online at NativeLearningCenter.com.