Governor's Grants Office News
   Martin O'Malley    Anthony Brown
   Governor              Lt. Governor                                                                    December 2014
View of the opening session at the 2014 Grants Conference
Governor's Grants Conference 2014,
a Smashing Success!
"The Times, They Are A-Changing" was this year's theme 
It's a wrap for this year's annual conference!  600 professionals in state and local government and nonprofits convened on November 13th at the Marriott Conference Center in College Park to discuss the latest trends in federal and state grants opportunities and federal grants management reform. 

Approximately 40 speakers from the state and federal government presented throughout the day and at lunch we were treated to an update on The Open Data Act on the federal side, by Hudson Hollister, director of the Data Transparency Coalition, and State Senator Bill Ferguson, the author of Maryland's Open Data Act. The largest and most intense session was the afternoon Uniform Guidance training conducted by Victoria Collin of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, accompanied by Terry Ramsey, of U.S. Health and Human Services.  Their session was moderated by James Ha, president of ecivis, a sponsor of this year's conference who declared that no one else (other than Maryland) is doing this training.  That's why delegates from a dozen different states - as far away as Hawaii - attended the Maryland Governor's Grants Conference. The attendees from Hawaii Department of Defense are hoping Hawaii will pattern a centralized grants office for their state after Maryland's.  They said they went home and "bragged to the adjutant general of the Department of Defense" about how good the Maryland conference was. Victoria Garcia wrote, "It was very helpful in reinforcing for us how a good office can pull together resources efficiently. Thank you for your enthusiasm and energy in setting up this very important conference."

Rota Knott, executive director of the Somerset County (Maryland) Local Management Board wrote in to say, "it was a wonderful conference.  Thank you for all you do to assist those of us who subsist on grant funding."  (Thanks to those of you who took the time to write in about the conference.  Your kudos are much appreciated!)

Our thanks to the many invaluable speakers, moderators, facilitators, registrars and videographer who volunteered their time and talents to ensure a successful conference experience for all. Several colleagues have helped out numerous times over the years. A special shout out goes to our good friends and colleagues Lynne Kelleher of the Maryland Judiciary and Tom French of the Maryland Department of Environment for helping us every year for the past decade. Thanks to our other sponsors this year - SB & Company, (a perennial sponsor) and GovLoop for their contributions that helped keep the price tag incredibly low. So low, if fact, we sold out a month in advance with the Early Bird rate! (You might keep that in mind for next time!)

The conference Powerpoint presentations are posted to our homepage along with a videotape of the Uniform Guidance training.  Visit us often for these and many resources to help you find, win and manage grants:

A recent GGO workshop at MFRI

"Basic Grants Training for Small Nonprofit Organizations"

This session is back by popular demand and will feature grants professionals Jennifer Jones and Pat Pasqual offering their insight and tips on finding and winning grants for small nonprofit organizations.  

Make a News Year resolution to boost your organization's success in 2015! Join us on January 6, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. - noon at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute in College Park on January 6, 2015.  (IMPORTANT: Snow date will be Thursday, Jan. 8th.) This course is free of charge, and there is ample free parking on site. The seating is limited to 100, and you must pre-register online. 

We're almost full already, so if you really need this training, don't hesitate to register.  CLICK HERE.     

Federal Grant Reform: A Call For Internal Controls
OMB's New Guidance: Challenges and Impacts Chart 

I subscribe to eCivis' free "All Things Grants-related" blog.  Here's a neat little chart they picked up from that can augment your preparation for the implementation of federal grants management reform. 

-- Susan

U.S. Flag sunlit 
  • The U.S. Treasury and Office of Management and Budget  invite input from the grants community on federal spending data elements. Click here to view the list of 49 existing data elements under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) currently displayed at and the 10 additional elements to be posted to comply with the DATA Act. To encourage open collaboration, interested stakeholders can directly comment through the website and in response to questions posed there.
  •  The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing December 3 on the status of DATA Act implementation. This Federal Times news article summarizes the hearing.  A video recording of the hearing can be found here.
  •  December 18 marked the culmination of a three-year collaborative effort on grant reform across Federal agencies . The rule, released by the cross-agency Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR), will effectively implement OMB guidance on grant-making across Federal agencies.  These measures will reduce the total volume of financial management regulations for Federal grants and other assistance by 75%, and reduce administrative burdens and risk of waste, fraud, and abuse for the approximately $600 billion in Federal grants expended annually.
  • Last December 2013, based on extensive public input, OMB published the guidance, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards ("Uniform Guidance"),  to agencies in the Federal Register that would streamline eight Federal regulations into a single, comprehensive policy guide (2 CFR 200). OMB set a one-year timeline for the Uniform Guidance to take effect, allowing enough time for Federal grant-making agencies and award recipients to update their policies to fully realize the benefits of the Uniform Guidance.  The action taken on December 18 implements the Uniform Guidance across Federal grant-making agencies through an interim final rule, which will allow for additional feedback on the rule during a 60-day public comment period.  The interim final rule will be effective for new awards made on or after December 26, 2014. Key policy reforms in the Uniform Guidance will:
  1. Allow state, local, and tribal governments to work in partnership with universities and non-profits to design the programs that best meet their local communities' needs and obtain flexibility and enhanced coordination from the Federal government.
  2. Allow universities to hire staff to do the administrative work that directly benefits grants so that scientists can focus on science.
  3. Allow nonprofits and other organizations that have never been reimbursed for indirect costs to use a standard minimum rate that supports the fundamental operations of the organization; removing a key barrier to entry and opening up competition for Federal awards.
  4. Publish Single Audit reports online, eliminating a burdensome paper-chase for reporting and providing the public with key information to strengthen oversight of Federal tax dollars.
  5. Raise the threshold for required audits from $500,000 to $750,000 in Federal awards expended per year, maintaining oversight for 99% of dollars audited now, but focusing the resources to reduce risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.
  6. Emphasize the long-standing requirement for non-Federal entities to have strong internal controls that are appropriate to the organization, while relaxing overly prescriptive and obsolete procedural requirements.
Taken as a whole, this historic reform will transform the landscape for financial assistance for generations to come.  To realize today's actions, the COFAR in coordination with OMB, engaged the larger public for direct input and worked directly with stakeholders to navigate between competing priorities, facilitate implementation, evaluate effectiveness, and push this important reform effort forward.

The COFAR has already begun work with Federal agencies and non-Federal stakeholders to evaluate the impact of this guidance based on key metrics.  Join the conversation at to support smooth implementation of the guidance and identify further opportunities for improvement.

  • Earlier this month Pew Trusts released an analysis, called "Federal Spending in the States, 2004-2013."  This anaylsis is part of its Fiscal Federalism initiative, which combines public data sources to show the state-by-state distribution of federal spending. This is Pew's effort to replace the Census Bureau's discontinued Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR). This is good news for the Governor's Grants Office, because we used to rely on data in the CCFR report to include in our Annual Report on Federal Funding in Maryland. 

Have you tried "AskUsNow!"?

Available for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Go to and check it out for your grants applications. 

AskUsNow! is a new interactive information service that uses the expertise of librarians to provide answers to your questions, research guidance, and help navigating the internet.  AskUsNow! is a cooperative service of Maryland libraries available for any Maryland resident or student.  Go online from your computer or your mobile device and choose a library to be connected to an information expert!
REMINDER to renew your registration if you want to apply for a Federal grant!  
There are twoSAM logo things you must do to be ready to apply for a federal grant. First, you must register for a D-U-N-S number from Dun and Bradstreet and also, you must register at, the federal government' s System for Award Management.  And, you must renew your registration annually!

We have some great how-to information on our homepage. Under "Quick Reference," you will find a "Quick-Start Guide for Registration." Under "Recorded Webinars," you will find several presentations to assist you like, "All About Sam Registration," "A Federal Grants Primer," and "The D-U-N-S number in the Federal Grant Process."  It's all free - so please avail yourselves of this great information.

Happy Holidays from Annapolis, Maryland.  Wishing you a happy, healthy and lucrative New Year!