Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
A free MMA webinar yesterday offered an overview of federal and state grants available to municipalities, as well as best practices for writing grant applications and administering grants.
Jennifer Raitt, executive director of the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments, began by reviewing different funding sources, eligibility requirements, and tips for building a strong planning foundation. She said municipalities should use demographics, metrics and planning reports to demonstrate need in grant applications.
Raitt also emphasized the importance of diligent project management to meet funding prerequisites and fulfill long-term project goals. By tracking the outcomes of grant-funded projects, municipalities can highlight changes that result from the funding received.
Kate Hartke, the director of grants development and external funds in Somerville, discussed the grant lifecycle and award stages, as well as assessment criteria. For any funding opportunity, she said, a community should analyze its viability before preparing submission materials.
When developing a proposal, Hartke suggests appointing a project lead to engage stakeholders, compile data to drive an argument, and demonstrate the municipality’s prior successes.
Kristina Johnson, the planning and community development director in Hudson, reviewed the challenges that grants present. With limited staff capacity, it can be difficult to prioritize applications, compete with other cities and towns for limited funding, and manage complex reporting and data tracking.
Johnson offered tips for project financing, emphasizing the importance of building a comprehensive, multi-faceted financing strategy to ensure long-term success.
Panelists shared several resources that attendees can use as they plan for upcoming state and federal opportunities. For grant guidance and management, members can refer to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Online Grants Financial Management Training, Philanthropy Massachusetts, and U.S. Department of Transportation Navigator. The National League of Cities is also offering boot camps for municipalities on a variety of infrastructure grants.
• Grants 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Finding Funding and Going After It presentation – Somerville (370K PDF)
• Grants 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Finding Funding and Going After It presentation – Hudson (4M PDF)
• Grants 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Finding Funding and Going After It presentation – Northern Middlesex Council of Governments (100K PDF)