Since we last checked in on how the current administration will affect federal grant funding, we have a slightly better idea of the White House's budget ideas, as the President's budget request was released in May.
The budget proposes numerous cuts to programs across a variety of departments, including quite a few programs that would be cut entirely, such as the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration and Minority Business Development Agency, the Education Department's 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants, the Department of Health and Human Services' Community Services Block Grant, and other independent agencies including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. (In total, the budget proposes eliminating 66 programs.)
But keep in mind that the White House's proposed budget is just a document indicating what the President and his administration would like to see in regards to allocations for the upcoming year. It is not a binding document, as Congress must go through the process of passing the actual budget.
The next fiscal year for the government's budget begins October 1. Now that the President has submitted his budget request, the House and the Senate will begin the process of passing a series of budget resolutions, as well as working on and then voting on appropriations bills that will set the budget for the next year.
There is some hope that budget cuts might not be as bad as some of us are expecting. For example, the science community was worried about potential massive cuts to science funding, particularly at the National Institutes of Health. However, in a session to figure out funding for the rest of the current fiscal year, Congress decided to fund the NIH at an additional $2 billion over the next six months, even though President Trump had proposed cutting funding by $1.2 billion.
While we don't yet know the funding allocations, as we stated last time, it is best to be proactive, not reactive. Now is the time to start planning and coming up with a grantseeking strategy. If the program your organization relies on isn't cut, that's great, and you will also have new avenues to explore for funding. If your program is cut, hopefully you will have researched enough options to keep your organization and programs running without a hiccup.
So how do you start planning? If you are a GrantStation Member, our Grantseeking Calendar is a great place to start. In addition, you may be submitting more grant applications than usual, so our guide to Creating Time and Making Space for Grant Proposals is also useful. If you aren't a GrantStation Member, you will still want to spend some time developing a calendar to make sure you stay on top of both your research and applications.
In addition to forming a calendar strategy, you also want to take some steps to make yourself more aware of the current situation and potential sources of new funding. GrantStation and the GrantStation Insider are great sources for information. (And you've found our blog, but also check out our Facebook page.) You may also want to consider sources like Inside Philanthropy for information on trends in the sector. And hunting down an email newsletter specific to your field is also a great idea.
One thing you definitely want to be aware of is exactly where your funding is coming from. If you have a grant directly from the National Endowment for the Humanities and that agency gets cut, you obviously know that will affect your future funding. But the NEH also provides a portion of the funding for the state humanities councils, so a cut to federal funding might affect funding at the state level. Federal funding tends to have a trickle-down effect. So know the ins and outs of your current funding sources.
Lastly, be an advocate for your area of interest. The budget is not yet set, so call your representatives and let your voice be heard. Encourage the people who use your programs and organizations that you collaborate with to do the same. Do not be silent!
Next time, we will start our coverage of individual program areas, and of alternate sources of funding to help offset potential federal cuts.
Action steps you can take today
Be prepared! Make a calendar and stick to it.
Be aware! Sign up for newsletters and follow the news so you get timely updates on the situation and ideas for new funding streams.
Be an advocate! The budget isn't solidified, so write or call your representative and tell your constituents to do the same.
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