February 27, 2023
Six Month Spotlight
Department Creation Per AB445 (2021)
Per AB445 (2021), effective July 1, 2022, the Nevada Grant Office transitioned to the Governor’s Office of Federal Assistance (OFA). To date, the Office of Federal Assistance has been engaged on multiple fronts to accomplish the new goals and objectives of the department.
Reengagement with Statewide Stakeholders
After a period of dormancy and vacancies, the OFA team has made concerted efforts to actively reengage with its statewide stakeholders The OFA staff are working diligently to provide the sought after federal grant support needed to the State of Nevada. Grant support has included, but is not limited to, the following: direct technical support with federal application project management, creation of targeted resource packages, assistance with SAM.gov challenges, providing useful templates, trainings, and offering best practice guides. The ability for the department to be immediately responsive has greatly benefitted OFA’s stakeholders as well as increased the visibility of the newly restructured department.
Virtual Open House
The OFA hosted a Virtual Open House in September 2022, introducing the new department to stakeholders and providing the updates regarding its transition, compliments of AB445 (2021). During the Virtual Open House, attendees were given an overview of the department and an introduction to the department staff. Additionally, in the effort to reach as many stakeholders as possible, the Virtual Open House recording and presentation slides have been placed on the department website.
OFA has commenced its capacity building efforts through monthly trainings. In January 2023 OFA staff were invited to provide a comprehensive Grants 101 presentation at the Western Nevada Development District Summit. OFA also hosted and presented its virtual Grants 101 training to more than 150 attendees, for free. The recording and presentation slides are accessible on the department website. Allowing for even greater access to those seeking training on federal grants.
In this time, OFA staff engaged in Strategic Planning to ensure its office activities align with the goals outlined in AB445. Staff generated clear goals, strategies, and tactics to ensure success. This plan aims to reduce barriers and provide inclusive, collaborative, and centralized support in obtaining federal dollars for Nevada.
Laying the Groundwork
Additionally, the OFA staff have created the office’s first logo, mission, vision, and branding, while making several large adjustments to the website, launching the department newsletter, and thoroughly updating the Nevada Grant Manual. These efforts by the OFA team further worked toward the goals of collaboration and communication.
Grant Matching Program-Now Permanent
During this period of foundation building, the OFA successfully administered the Grant Matching Program. With the passage of AB445(2021), the Grant Matching Program transitioned from being a pilot program to one that is now permanent. This much needed program helps reduce match barriers, resulting in bringing more federal grant dollars to the State of Nevada.
Centralized Grant Management System
OFA staff began the work of implementing a Centralized Grant Management System. Per NRS 223.478, from language contained in AB445 (2021), the department is to acquire and implement a Centralized Grant Management System. Prior to initiating the process of procuring the software for grant management system, the department needed to first gain understanding and input from the stakeholders that would be utilizing the system.
From March 2022 to June 2022, the Office of Federal Assistance conducted a Nevada Centralized Grant Management Needs Assessment, utilizing the services of consultant TriMetrix. TriMetrix employed an assessment survey and held stakeholder interviews, resulting in an all-encompassing review of state agencies current grant management processes, needs, and concerns.
Utilizing the information compiled and provided in the completed Nevada Centralized Grant Management Needs Assessment, the department worked with State Purchasing and was able to identify a software provider that can provide the grant management system needed within the allotted budget and limited timeline.
OFA selected current State web-based grant management software IGX Solutions Corp., and the proposed contract is currently pending approval by the Board of Examiners. If approved, the department will immediately begin working with the contractor to ensure the project is completed by end of June 2023.
Cloud-Based Grant Identification Tool
Finally, the Office of Federal Assistance identified a cloud-based Grant Identification Tool offered by US Digital Response (USDR) that automates the discovery and identification of federal grant opportunities, for free. The goal is to provide an efficient resource to aid in the cumbersome process of identifying federal grant opportunities for our stakeholders through the automation of grant discovery. Developed in collaboration with the OFA staff and the USDR non-profit team, the tool provides an online platform where a user can easily program eligibility codes and preset keywords to generate a focused federal grant award list targeted to their needs.
In September 2022, OFA introduced the USDR Grant Identification tool to the Governor’s Infrastructure Subcabinet. This pilot group was intentionally selected in anticipation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which revealed the need to identify potential collaborations between the state government entities. This tool reduces barriers to identifying those federal grant opportunities. Six of the eleven agencies requested team members to be onboarded to participate in the pilot program. This resulted in the OFA successfully onboarding 34 individuals into the tool.
In the short time that the Office of Federal Assistance has been in existence, its staff has made great efforts to meet and exceed the directives outlined in AB445(2021). The OFA has had the pleasure of reconnecting with its stakeholders, once again. Our team here at the OFA is excited for what the future holds and will continue to build momentum as the whole department works to fulfill its mission to reduce barriers by providing inclusive, collaborative, comprehensive, and centralized support in obtaining federal dollars for Nevada.