Grants coordination

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Saying North Carolina does not get its fair share of federal discretionary grants, a group of state-government grantwriters has renewed a request to Gov. Mike Easley to endorse their plan for a privately-financed resource-development office for state government.

Modeled on similar offices in Texas and other states, the plan says centralized grantwriting support and coordination could generate at least $34 million in additional funds over four years.

The new office, which would employ three people could be launched with a grant for $235,000 and support itself by charging for services, including grantwriting workshops, and through additional grants, says Mark Ezzel, community outreach coordinator for the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund.

Over 10 years, he says, new applicants who attended development workshops run by Texas’ resource-development office secured more than $400 million in new funds.

Tom Ross, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, says a state resource-development office might be a reasonable expenditure of state and possibly private funds.

While private funders might not want to provide a substitute for state funds, Ross says, “a startup grant for something like this often is an appropriate role for a private funder.”

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