Friday, August 7, 2009

Grant Money Still Available For Local Disaster Relief

There is still grant money available in the state of Iowa for victims of specific disaster areas! A committee is now accepting applications for their disaster grant program. These grant funds can not duplicate any other financial support, assistance, or grants provided by any other federal or state government, nonprofit agency, or faith-based agency.

The eligibility requirements for these grant funds include:

  • being a FEMA registrant

  • Residing in a specific county at time of the disaster after May 24, 2008 and before August 14, 2008

  • Having unmet needs related to his/her disaster recovery. Reimbursement is only for certain expenses incurred due to disaster after May 24, 2008 and August 14, 2008

  • Having a household income at or below 300% of the 2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Please remember that this is an income based program. Applicants need to be at or below 300% of poverty level.

If you have any questions, Please call the program's coordinator by phone.


Financial Program

To Help Ease


Financial Difficulties

Of Deployment

An all-volunteer nonprofit organization will be offering up to $5,000 in grants to families that can show they have taken a financial hit because of deployment. More than 200 families have already received money, which is gathered from businesses and fund-raising events throughout the state.

The organization's 30 volunteers have already raised $1.3 million and allocated $600,000. The grants offer help to family members who have a lot more than money on their minds.

Although some military organizations have many resources for the soldiers and their families, sometimes its hands are tied when it comes to financial assistance. For example, a survey found that roughly 20 percent of National Guard families find themselves in financial trouble because of a deployment. The survey was conducted before the recession started.

These grants can fund anything from home and auto repairs to child care and car payments. The most common applications are for rent and mortgage payments.

Two types of grants are awarded.

  • Family Grants - The maximum family grant is $5,000. Every grant application has to go through the grant committee. It is estimated that 90 percent of the applications are approved. The organization pays the bill directly to whomever it is owed, usually within about a week.

  • Business Grants - The maximum business grant $10,000. The business grant is designed for soldiers who own businesses and come home to find they were badly managed. So far about a dozen of these grants have been given out.

So far about 20 applications have been received in the last two weeks. According to a spokesperson for the program, "There's a lot of people who came back and don't have jobs now," he said. "People are coming back, and they had a salary when they are in uniform. Now they're out looking for a job." Under a federal law, returning service members are entitled to their old job back. If the job itself has been eliminated, however, the service member must look elsewhere for employment.

Members of the organization say they don't expect to run out of grants, but if they do, there's always more fundraising. "If it's not there, then we're going to go back to the communities and say, 'Hey, look, you know what? We have all these grants coming in and we need your help. People don't even hesitate." The organization's fund-raising events include spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts, dinner-dances which are always well attended because people are so willing to give. A range of businesses have helped out, donating food and drinks for the organization's events. Community groups have also helped out as well.

Another Way

That Your


Can Get


Money Is.......

Another way that your business may be able to get government money is by your business becoming a contractor for the government.

With all the stimulus money that is out there your business can take advantage of it by becoming a contractor for the government. What is this? Basically what it means is that the government becomes your client.

For instance AT & T has has earned Millions of Dollars simply by being a contractor for the government by provide services and products to the government for government use! While AT & T can't go after stimulus funds directly, their clients include many government agencies that are on the receiving end of those funds. And that puts AT&T in a strong position. (And it can put your own business in the same position as well!) According to an AT & T spokesperson, "We have full teams, assigned to every agency in the federal government, who try to better understand the nuances of every agency's mission and what they need. On a weekly basis, we'll say, 'Here's another idea about how you may want to do something.'"

Now you may think that this kind of thing only applies to big companies but it does not! The government needs everything from consultants to food services and everything in between!

You could take a lesson from AT & T as to how they go about getting their government contracts! The company said the process is identical to how it goes about hunting for other government contracts, which AT&T said is a roughly a $65 billion business for tech firms annually. Sometimes agencies give projects a direct go-ahead, but more often they request formal proposals so projects can be opened up for broader bidding.

AT&T's first stimulus-related contract came about through a prior relationship with a client: $419,000 to upgrade circuits in several Social Security Administration offices across the country. It's small relative to the $14.3 billion in stimulus funds already awarded to companies. But the vast majority of stimulus projects (more than $250 billion worth) have yet to be funded, and when the money begins to flow faster, AT&T will be well-positioned to be a part of bigger contracts. The company is also a good candidate help hospitals integrate electronic health records, which is being funded with $20 billion of stimulus money. AT&T has already signed a contract with the state of Tennessee to custom build a virtual private network for e-health information exchange. AT&T is also working hard to get involved with broadband services in rural America, smart grid wiring, and other health IT programs.

(To see my other blog posts relating to more information about the grants relating to providing broadband services just click here.)

Analysts say big firms like AT&T are more likely to get stimulus funds than smaller competitors, as they have the resources to quickly act on a wide array projects and have the infrastructure to bid on a large number of contracts. Experience counts. AT&T has been working on government projects for years, and at one time, it was the only game in town. AT&T was a monopoly until the mid 1980s. In fact, it wasn't until 1989 that the government opened up its first telecom contract to a company other than AT&T, when 40% of the government's communications contracts were awarded to rival Sprint (S, Fortune 500), giving "just" 60% to AT&T. AT&T struggled through the 1990s. And when those big federal telecom contracts were up for renewal 10 years ago, the company was completely left out for the first time ever. But since then, AT&T has clawed its way back to the lucrative federal sphere, gaining scores of federal networking contracts with 20 different agencies when they were again up for renewal in 2006. The company said those contracts are worth more than $1 billion, with the first three alone worth $700 million.


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