March | April 2020

Administrator’s Message: Reaching Out to Rural and Tribal Communities

Many organizations and agencies in less populated areas of our country may not apply for federal grants because they don’t know about available funding, or because they think the application process is too cumbersome to handle. In a major outreach effort with the Office of Justice Programs or OJP, OJJDP staff traveled to nine states with representatives from other OJP bureaus to lead in-person training sessions on funding opportunities, and offer guidance for rural and tribal communities interested in applying for Department of Justice grants. The initiative was led by OJP’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katie Sullivan.

I was delighted to be on hand for the session in Minnesota along with Katie and other Department staff, where there was a high level of interest in the many funding opportunities available through OJJDP and the Department’s other grant-making agencies. I’m particularly excited about OJJDP’s fiscal year 2020 suite of programs that develop and expand Children’s Advocacy Centers in Alaska and tribal communities in the lower 48 states.

Supporting rural and tribal areas is a major focus of our Office and the Department. At OJJDP, we’re giving priority consideration in many of our funding selections to rural communities and areas of high or persistent poverty. We’re committed to enhancing public safety in economically distressed areas through the Qualified Opportunity Zones program. In addition, assigned staff across OJJDP are encouraged to enhance their knowledge about rural communities and the challenges they face, so that these staff members can provide communities with targeted and useful resources on rural issues.

Organizations in less populated areas don’t need to hire a professional grant writer or have a large staff to successfully compete for OJJDP funding. We’ve made the whole process easier. We’ve simplified our solicitations. We offer training webinars tailored individually to many of our funding opportunities, and our website provides detailed information about these topics as well. Finally, a new online tool for the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation is helping tribal communities plan and write stronger applications for funding.

These are just a few examples of our outreach to rural and tribal communities. I am certain that through these efforts, we will broaden our applicant pool and enable OJJDP funding to reach the communities that need it the most.