Thought Leadership

Preparing for the Second Round of ARP Disbursement – Maximize Your Access to Funding

State, local, territorial and Tribal governments have received relief funding through The American Rescue Plan (ARP) to help address negative economic impacts and replace lost public sector revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While local governments are in the planning phase, many find themselves still questioning how to effectively utilize the ARP funds.

This also includes factors such as understanding what are qualifying purchases or uses of funds, as well as the process of obtaining funds for individual agencies or organizations.

With the second round of disbursement of funds expected to be released approximately in March 2022, there are essential components of the ARP grant to be aware of that will best help you prepare.

How Can ARP Funds Be Utilized?

Government recipients are given a broad latitude to use funds for the provision of public safety and services. Among eligible purchases of the ARP funds are investments in the modernization of technology and services to aid in a more effective response to public health emergencies.

Below are some examples of how ARP funds can be used to address public safety:

  • Rehiring of police officers and other public servants to restore law enforcement and courts to their pre-pandemic levels
  • Investing in technology and equipment to allow law enforcement to respond to public safety concerns more efficiently and effectively

The broad scope of eligible purchases allows recipients to think critically about the issues their community or organization faces, and to plan strategically on how to find the best solutions without the constraints of a specific eligible purchase list.

Advocate for the Need

There is no formal or competitive application process for ARP funding; however, it is important to advocate for your share of the funding by approaching local leadership as if it is a competitive grant. Local governments across the country are currently assessing how the ARP funds can create opportunities to enhance community operations—which suggests that there are many ways the funds can be allocated.

Several key elements will help you best advocate for your share of the ARP funding:

  1. Communicate the Need. Identify the issues within your specific community or operations that are priority. Find the solution that not only best meets the need, but also the solution that helps modernize business processes. Your local government cannot provide your agency or organization with funding to purchase new systems and software if they are not made aware. Additionally, demonstrate the need. Show financial loss or adverse effects in operations due to COVID-19. Gather qualitative and quantitative examples that demonstrate the need. Moreover, validate the need by showing the long-term impact.
  2. Think Strategically. It is pertinent to understand and be aware of your local government’s priorities and plans. Recognize where your organizational needs align with that of your county, city, or municipality. Demonstrate how your need for funding relates to the needs of the entire community. (How will new technology contribute to public safety? How will new software allow responders to aid in public emergencies more efficiently and effectively? What are the negative results of not having access to modernized systems?)
  3. Include the Stakeholders. Allow the decision-makers to see the need and the solution first-hand. It is recommended that if you are looking to purchase new technology, include all of the important stakeholders in the demo for the product. Reach out to local leadership to find out who are the decision-makers for allocating funds, and what is the process for presenting a proposal.

We’re Here to Help

Lack of budget should never deter access to the critical resources needed for community development and operations. CentralSquare provides a free, unlimited and customized Grant Assistance Program to help secure additional funding to meet your budgeting needs.

Services include:

  1. Access Grant Database: Gain access to the most extensive grant listing database available, GrantFinder, to easily identify the best grant to fit your agency’s needs.
  2. 1:1 Grant Consulting: Unlimited, personalized grant research assistance and coaching from our team of Grant Experts specific to your agency’s project.
  3. Grant Application Help: Let our Grant Experts help you best position your grant application for success with detailed application reviews, editing or proofreading.

For additional resources and information, watch our free webinar on how to maximize your access to funding.

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