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What will President Obama do for grant writers?

President Obama has already been making headlines with his economic stimulus proposals and grant writers and grant seekers are abuzz with the prospect of increased funding in many areas.  Based on President Obama’s campaign promises and stimulus proposals, what changes can we expect in the grant world?

In three words:  more grant money!   When we break it down by areas of funding, we see exactly what this means.

Early Education: Obama and Biden have promised to quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.  This means nearly $10 billion of new funds in Early Learning Challenge Grants.

After-School Programs
: Obama and Biden will double funding for the main federal afterschool programs (21st Century Learning Centers) to serve one million more children.

Faith-Based Funding: In July, 2008, Obama called for more faith-based funding to help the poor.  His proposals outlines development of a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and $500 million a year to fund summer teaching programs.

Community Service: President Obama not only calls on the country to serve one another, but has plans to expand the Corporation for National and Community Service.  The grant-funded AmeriCorps slots will grow from 75,000 slots today to 250,000.

Nonprofits: President Obama pledges to create a Social Investment Fund Network to use federal seed money to leverage private sector funding to improve local innovation, test the impact of new ideas and expand successful programs to scale.  This may mean a much-appreciated growth in federal seed money for nonprofits.

University-Based Research: From their website: “Barack Obama and Joe Biden strongly support expanding research initiatives at American colleges and universities…(and) will provide new research grants to the most outstanding early-career researchers in the country.”  Nothing unclear about that.

Community Block Development Grants: During his campaign, Obama said that he would work with community and business leaders to identify and address the unique economic development barriers of every major metropolitan area. The additional resources he wants for the federal Community Development Financial Institution Fund may mean more CBDG grants.

Science: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support doubling federal funding for basic research over ten years. Based on what we’ve seen from his first month in office, we can expect President Obama to focus a lot of this on clean energies and green technologies. His energy policy called for a $150 billion investment over the next ten years to enable American engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid.

While this may feel like a windfall after eight years of mostly budget cuts from the Bush administration,don’t expect the increased grant possibilities to be easy money.  Obama co-authored the Federal Funding Accountability & Transparency Act of 2006.  We can assume that he will continue to demand rigid reporting and high standards for evaluating grants.

About Katie

the editor of Find Funding. Her writing about grants & nonprofits has been published in Charity Channel’s Grants & Foundation Review and NONPROFIT WORLD.

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