SLED stands for State, Local, and Education. The SLED Market includes many entities besides state and local government such as K-12 and higher education, public safety, research institutions, and public healthcare. Federal grants have always been available for this market, but due to a challenging application process, clients looking to fund IT projects often found it difficult to understand which grants they qualify for, how to access the funds, and or, lacked the necessary resources to research and pursue the grants.
In response to COVID, the government created the CARES funding program, followed by the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan. Combined, these three stimulus packages totaled $5 trillion dollars of funding. Adding these three stimulus packages to an already complex grant landscape made the environment even more overwhelming. Add to this the fact that different stimulus packages were funding different areas of the SLED market plus the qualifiers, timelines, and expiration dates of projects funded all varied—now you get complex tapestry stimulus packages.
The SLED market is larger than many realize and countless agencies are eligible for federal funding. These agencies include colleges, universities, research collaboratives, courthouses, fire and EMS, plus human services, public libraries, cultural institutions, housing authorities, and non-profit healthcare organizations. Prior to COVID, the awarding of grant funds typically took 24-48 weeks following the announcement of the grant program. But the cycle time for stimulus funding has been significantly reduced to just 6-20 weeks to get funds distributed as quickly as possible and to help clients challenged with distance learning, telemedicine, etc.
This funding is available for everyone, and everybody should be taking advantage of it.
First, organizations need to work with a strategic partner who can begin an information-gathering process to identify what they’re trying to solve. A typical funding report produced by a partner should answer four key questions:
The first three questions are important because funding for K-12 is different than funding for hospitals, higher ed, and state government forces. Often, the governor allocates the funds however they see fit. For instance, one governor may invest more in education while another may invest more in public safety. However, the fourth question covers a lot of territories. For example, education services might include distance learning for rural students or enhanced campus safety. State and local government-services projects could include citizen-services projects such as online DMV services or community-based Social Security services. And further, still, healthcare projects could include patient services such as telemedicine for rural communities.
Answers to these four questions get submitted to the grant consultant who creates a detailed funding report (30-40 pages) and answers any client questions about the available grants. This is followed by a discussion of IT projects, for example, just to ensure the most appropriate grants have been identified.
Strategic partners and consultants help organizations through the entire application process which often go in varying directions. For example, some clients possess a high level of expertise and just need a second set of eyes before they submit their application. But most clients are challenged by the entire grant application process. In this case, the grant consultant works closely with the client to produce a tight application that aligns with the parameters set forth in the grant and omits any superfluous information that might jeopardize the request.
Why is this help needed? Because often an applicant will wait for as long as ten months, only to learn they lost the grant because they forgot to check a box or didn’t answer a question correctly. By preventing common errors from happening, a strategic partner or consultant accelerates access to grant funds and ensures a larger percentage of wins.
To maximize their potential funding, organizations are encouraged to fill out as many grant applications as they have needs. Your grant partner or consultant will look at the entire funding landscape—not just the stimulus funding. If your organization has three projects on the docket for the coming year, you would create three funding reports for three different grants. There’s no limit to the number of projects an organization is allowed to create funding reports for. In short, a grant partner or consultant streamlines the application process to help you find grant money fast.
In many cases, funding can be obtained for necessary infrastructure upgrades such as the following:
The next step for an organization after they have decided to participate within a SLED program is to approach a qualified partner or consultant to determine which grants are best suited for their specific needs. Companies need to gain the help of an experienced partner or consultant who knows the landscape and understands which grants are useful and applicable, rather than having to conduct all that research on your own.
Let Anexinet’s federal funding assistance program make you a grant-award hero at your organization. Our experts help you determine if funding is available for your specific use cases. All it takes is engaging Anexinet to identify those use cases by conducting a brief data collection process before creating the funding report. Leverage our program today to help you find the money to accelerate your projects of tomorrow.
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