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2.0 Background

The District of Columbia government depends on grant funds to provide support for a wide range of programs and services for its citizens.  Indeed, grant funds comprise approximately one-fourth of the District’s annual budget and, as such, contribute significantly to government’s ability to meet the needs of its most vulnerable citizens. 

While such funds offer tremendous opportunity, they also represent potential pitfalls. For example, Federal grants are awarded in a variety of forms including block grants, formula grants, and competitive grants, among others.  The District of Columbia also receives a significant number of private grants such as corporation and foundation grants.  Most grant funds, no matter the source, are made available to assist the District in meeting specific public goals and objectives within set time periods.  In order to maximize the amount of grant funds available to promote public objectives, it is essential that Agencies pursue all relevant funding opportunities and assure that all grant funds are used according to the applicable statutes and regulations.

Failure to adhere to the pertinent guidelines could result, in the best case, in loss of future funding and, in the worst case, an obligation to repay grant dollars already expended.  Consequently, the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Director of the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services expect that adherence to the guidelines in this Sourcebook (and any applicable District or Federal statute or regulation), and forms contained in its Appendices, will promote effective, efficient and consistent use of available grant funds.

This Sourcebook provides important guidelines to assist the District of Columbia’s grant-making entities in understanding the requirements applicable to them in their grantmaking functions, regardless of the source of the grant funds.  It is intended to serve as a guide to them in making and monitoring grants using Federal, District, or private funds to ensure that grant funds are being used as intended.  It identifies important policies and procedures that District Agencies, serving both as grantors and “pass-through entities” (PTEs), should adopt and monitor to ensure that recipients remain in compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations. 

Where Federal grant funds are involved, District PTEs must comply with specific statutory and/or regulatory requirements that in turn apply to the pass-through recipients.  For example, the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133 requires PTEs to, among other things, monitor the activities of sub-recipients as necessary to ensure that program goals are met and federal awards are used appropriately.  This document provides guidance to Agencies in meeting these requirements.

Local grants are typically governed by the appropriations statute or enabling legislation that authorized or created them.  Subgrants, on the other hand, must be obligated and expended by District grantmaking Agencies in accordance with Title 1 DCMR, Chapter 50.  Any entity meeting the subgrant recipient criteria will be subject to monitoring by the awarding Agency.  In response to Federal and District law, the OPGS is publishing this Sourcebook to facilitate a coordinated approach to grant administration and monitoring by District Agencies that make subgrants subject to Title 1 DCMR, Chapter 50, and that make other grants using locally appropriated dollars.  A coordinated, consistent approach should help to target scarce resources to areas of greatest need, obtain better information from the grant-making and monitoring process and reduce required audit costs.