GRANT SEEKING INFRASTRUCTUREFormalized Structures to Expand Grant Capacity
Great Circle is one of the largest behavioral health service agencies in the state of Missouri, delivering trauma-informed, culturally responsive services — including in-home counseling, crisis intervention, caregiver respite, foster care support, K-12 education, residential care, day treatment and family assessment and stabilization — to over 30,000 children, family members and caregivers annually. Created through a 2009 merger of Boys & Girls Town and Edgewood Children’s Center, the organization had grown exponentially to include multiple campuses across the state, each with their own locally-based program staff and some with designated development personnel. Great Circle was delivering over 40 nationally-accredited behavioral health, education and health literacy programs across five (5) regional Missouri campuses, but their grant seeking and contracting activities were outpacing the capacity of their development office. Regional campuses pursued grant opportunities on their own, resulting in a range of disparate performance metrics. After investing in a robust quality improvement structure and process, they wanted to dovetail their sponsored programs and grant seeking activities with the broader strategic priorities of the organization. They knew they were poised to pull in more federal dollars, but they needed to align their resources better to ensure consistent metrics and compliance protocols. Great Circle wanted to design a set of processes, protocols and strategic investments that would ensure that grant seeking was coordinated through the central development and finance offices, but that also allowed regional teams the flexibility to be nimble and assess impromptu opportunities that require a swift response. Great Circle was ready to invest in personnel expertise and technology infrastructure that would keep them focused on their strategic vision for external funding and sponsored programs, while also promoting grantee compliance and mitigating risks associated with federal grant stewardship.
RESULT: Increased Grant Revenue
- Reviewed strategic plan, annual reports, prior grant applications and organizational structure documents, then conducted interviews with administrators and program staff to distill and reflect common priorities, gaps and objectives for grant seeking
- Delivered draft organizational design for grant seeking infrastructure that reflected elements of Great Circle’s people, structures, systems, processes and culture
- Provided concrete recommendations for infrastructure investments and organizational design, including technology systems, staffing plan with position descriptions, proposal workflow, grant seeking policies, approval processes, and grant management protocols
- Conducted audit of existing registrations and system permissions to recommend updates or revisions to ensure preparation for federal grant seeking
- Provided analysis of personnel competencies and gaps to advise investments in staff and consultants (new personnel and skill building for existing staff)
- Provided matrices for evaluating candidates for positions to be hired under revised structure
- Advised and supported search for permanent grants administrator to connect all campuses under a single grant seeking strategy
- Reviewed OMB regulations and industry practices to advise leadership about the requirements, challenges and benefits of a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement
- Provided specific guidance and recommendations regarding financial infrastructure to support federal grant management, OMB compliance and risk mitigation
- Delivered practical tools, templates and training materials to promote collaborative, effective grant seeking and compliance across campuses and divisions
As a rapidly growing behavioral healthcare organization in the Midwest, Great Circle faced exciting challenges through expanded grant opportunities. Rather than patch our efforts, we launched a critical review of our organizational structure to strategically build staff and processes for success. Teresa was instrumental in creating the supportive and knowledgeable framework for that review, identifying where strategic investments could improve efficiency and communications across teams. She creatively helped synthesize and articulate a cohesive distillation of our organization’s culture, values and priorities as they related to grant seeking. We also valued her technical expertise in financial grant compliance, which helped advise decision-making about negotiating an indirect rate and organizing our post-award staffing. The result? Streamlined grant seeking processes with protocols and policies, improved staff expertise, and increased grant revenue in year one. An investment well worth it!
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