ProgramCOVID-19 Federal Assistance e311
TopicsCommunity Engagement & Local Partnerships, Federal Funding Streams
What are some best practices to ensure the efficient and expeditious distributions of federal stimulus funds, while involving necessary stakeholders in the disbursement process?
Municipalities can prioritize including and incorporating feedback from key community stakeholders. These stakeholders, including local residents, business owners, chambers of commerce, and civic leaders, are often the best source available for understanding local needs. Their ability to reach out to communities that are traditionally underrepresented, such as immigrant populations, seniors, and students, will make them important partners in administering federal funding.
Below are some good practices for municipalities to consider in facilitating the efficient and expeditious distribution of funds while incorporating community stakeholders, taking into consideration the relevant federal funding source and municipality capacity:
- Understanding and setting expectations regarding scope and eligibility of each funding source before any stakeholder engagement. Funding source eligibility requirements may include, but are not limited to:
- required local match;
- reporting requirements;
- compliance requirements; and
- monitoring requirements.
- Identifying relevant funding source deadlines, including application, expenditure, and reporting deadlines and closeout requirements.
- Ensuring that these timelines and deadlines are easy to understand and accessible to stakeholders.
- Understanding and communicating any federal or local match requirements during preliminary discussions with stakeholders.
- Understanding the structure of fund distribution (i.e. reimbursement, direct allocation, etc.)
- Identifying potential stakeholders including (but not limited to) civic society organizations, chambers of commerce, not-for-profits, local residents, civic leaders, and government entities that would be eligible to receive funding based on funding eligibility criteria.
- Ensuring awareness and implementation of all notice and public hearing requirements, as required by federal regulations or local jurisdiction requirements.
- Setting up town hall meetings (in-person or virtually) with local community groups in order to solicit questions, garner feedback, and review funding sources, eligibility, and distribution plans.
- Participating in local community meetings (in-person or virtually) to educate the community on these funding sources, timelines, and what relief is available.
- Conducting presentations and distributing outreach literature, ensuring that materials are available in the relevant local languages (typically defined in local or municipal laws).
- Setting up a municipal website and opening a hotline for residents to submit questions regarding the eligible funding sources.
- Working with local chambers of commerce and civic leaders to identify critical community needs. A bottom-up approach will ensure community members are included and feel invested in the decision-making process.
Based on the municipality’s priorities, it is critical to set goals and expectations with the community from the start. The above practices can build a solid foundation for grant administration and delivery down the road thus ultimately facilitating fund distribution more quickly.
Last Revised: May 4, 2021
 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/legislation/2021/01/20/president-biden-announces-american-rescue-plan/; https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/21/executive-order-ensuring-an-equitable-pandemic-response-and-recovery/; https://home.treasury.gov/news/featured-stories/fact-sheet-the-american-rescue-plan-will-deliver-immediate-economic-relief-to-families.