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2023 Federal Grants Forum For IHEs On-Demand

Session 1: Be Careful What You Promise: Submitting a Grant Proposal With a Budget That You Can Live With, and Objectives That You Can Deliver

Whether a grant proposal is written by a faculty member, a departmental content area expert, or an external consultant, there are common elements that should exist in every proposal to ensure that the potential project will be compliant and successful. This session will focus on best practices for pre-award procedures that contribute to the reasonable assurance of the project’s success and help avoid common mistakes made during proposal development that often set up grant projects to fail.

Session 2: Time and Effort Reporting: The Reason Why it is the Number One Audit Finding for IHE

Effort reporting/payroll certification…. how hard can it be? Yet, year after year, IHEs reimburse the federal government millions of dollars for disallowed personnel costs that derive from incorrect, incomplete, or missing effort reports. Effort reporting should not be complicated, cumbersome, or mysterious. Effort reporting should just be compliant. This session will examine best practices that promote an effort reporting system that will contribute to a state of audit readiness.

Session 3: Post-Award Requirements Impacting Grant Writing

In this session, we will cover Uniform Guidance’s post-award requirements from the perspective of the pre-award phase within the grant lifecycle. We will discuss certain considerations for post-award requirements and how they should impact your organization’s planning and preparation during the development of grant applications and budgets in response to Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). This discussion will include practical advice and tools for post-award professionals to aid proposal development teams’ focus on compliance throughout the pre-award process. Furthermore, we will discuss what processes and controls your organization should have in place as the federal agency evaluates your grant application to ensure that your organization is operating within compliance on day one of your anticipated federal award. By proactively setting your organization up for success, you can promote the effective management of your federal programs while greatly reducing the likelihood of falling into potential non-compliance.

Session 4: Advanced Procurement Standards

This session will discuss why procurement is the most prescriptive post award administration topic and represents the highest compliance risk to institutions with federally funded research awards. The Federal Acquisition Regulation and 2 CFR 200 are great at telling institutions ‘what’ they must do when procuring goods or services under federal awards, however, they do not tell institutions ‘how’ to establish a compliant procurement system. During this session, we will address adequate procurement policies, roles and responsibilities of key individuals, operational workflow for each method of procurement, and how to conduct adequate cost or price analysis.

Session 5: Choose Wisely-Developing Grant Partnerships and Monitoring Subawards Without Losing Your Mind

There are two grant worlds. The ideal world is where we get to choose our grant partners who are competent, capable, reasonable, experienced, and contribute to project outcomes. Then there is the real world, where most grant managers live. This session will focus on navigating the political waters where we are expected to “make it happen” by examining monitoring procedures contributing to compliant and successful grant partnerships.

Session 6: Developing, Revising, and Operationalizing Institutional Policies to Comply with the Uniform Grant Guidance

Like all nonfederal entities, Institutions of Higher Education must have specific written policies and procedures to manage their federal award. Grant management training often focuses on the policy mandates of the Uniform Grant Guidance but falls short on the how-to operationalizing these requirements. This training is intended to demystify the required and necessary written policies every institution should have to implement compliant and successful grant projects. Discussions will also include the challenges of internal politics and overcoming procedural pitfalls when implementing effective policies and procedures.

Session 7: Property Management: A Growing Risk Area for Grantees

Single audit findings have shown a steady increase in noncompliance related to the property management standards contained in the Uniform Guidance. These often-overlooked requirements contain prescriptive requirements, and noncompliance with these requirements can carry significant consequences for recipient organizations. If your organization must make critical decisions on the allowable usage of their federally funded equipment or supplies, this session is a can’t miss learning opportunity for you.

Session 8: Intro to Indirect Cost Recovery

While the Uniform Guidance enables nonfederal entities to negotiate a federally negotiated indirect cost rate to assist in recovering these costs, many organizations still have not taken advantage of this benefit. The Uniform Guidance enables organizations concerned about the effort to determine such a rate to negotiate a 10% de minimis rate, and the recently revised version of the guidance made this option available to a wider range of recipients. Organizations owe it to their mission and to their stakeholders to take full advantage of and recover every dollar of funding that is available. In this session, we will discuss the basic principles of indirect cost recovery including direct vs indirect costs, pools vs bases, allocation methods, cost principles, distorting items, proposal timelines, and the application of rates.

Meet Your Instructors
Toni DeMaglio
Toni DeMaglio has performed post-award grant management duties and served as a compliance officer at two higher education institutions for over twenty-five years. In this capacity, she provided interpretation of policies and rules to ensure the conformance of federal and state laws, rules, regulations, and agency/program policies. Her primary responsibility was keeping grants in the state of audit-readiness by providing technical assistance to college personnel in fiscal integrity related to programmatic activities. She worked closely with project directors and financial services to prevent and identify activities and charges that would be unallowable under grant regulations and, if required, recommended corrective action plans. Toni designed grants management training for grant project directors, administrators, and support staff. She also assured that statutory/administrative requirements and grant conditions had been met during the closeout of each grant project.
In addition to State and private foundation grants management, she has extensive experience providing oversight for grants from the US Department of Education; the National Science Foundation; the US Department of Labor; Health and Human Services; and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her previous grants management experience included serving as a project director for federal, state, and private grants; under her leadership, grants consistently exceeded their objectives.
As a grant management consultant, she has been retained as a compliance expert, where she assesses post-award management gaps, recommends processes and procedure improvements, evaluates post-award management needs, and designs grants management professional development training. Additionally, Toni provides programmatic evaluation of grant projects. Her comprehensive grant knowledge and abilities offer a strong and reasoned approach to evaluation that employs fidelity assessment designed to create quantitative and qualitative data to measure the project’s effectiveness for formative and summative evaluation reports. Her client base includes entities representing state and local governments, non-profits, and institutions of higher education.
As a grants management trainer, she developed an online course for subrecipient grant management; designed and delivered one and two-day grants management training programs, as well as developed and delivered national training webinars on topics including grants policy requirements, development and implementation; site visits; reporting; travel; effort reporting; procurement; allowable cost; personnel payroll documentation; policy requirements; and subrecipient monitoring.
Toni is often requested to present at national and statewide conferences on compliance and grant management issues and has served as a peer panel reviewer for seven federal grant award competitions. She has chaired the Education Committee, served on the Board of Directors for the National Grants Management Association, and was one of the six subject matter experts who developed the content of the Body of Knowledge for the Specialist Certification in Grants Management. Currently, she serves on the Thompson Grants Editorial Advisory Board.

Benjamin Sedelmeier, Manager, Capital Edge Consulting
Benjamin Sedelmeier has over five years of experience in supporting government contractors and Federal award recipients to address various accounting and compliance issues related to Federal government contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements. Ben’s expertise includes but is not limited to Cost Proposal Support, Financial Modeling, Contract Administration, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), and Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal awards to nonFederal entities (Uniform Guidance). Ben is well experienced in working with both government contractors and Federal award recipients of varying size and industry focus. Ben has complied numerous hours supporting clients with the development of indirect rate structures and forensic investigative analyses.
Ben has assisted clients with Business Systems Compliance, Policy and Procedure Development, Indirect Cost Rate Proposal Development, Indirect Rate Structure Assessment, Subrecipient Monitoring Support, Audit Support, and Risk Assessment,
Audit Findings Remediation, Procurement System Compliance, Internal Controls
Assessment, and other regulatory compliance matters.

Levi Zielinski, CPA, Manager, Capital Edge Consulting
Levi Zielinski is a Manager with Capital Edge Consulting, Inc., based in the company’s Pittsburgh, PA office. Levi has over a decade of experience in addressing various accounting and compliance issues related to Federal government grants, and internal control assessments. Levi’s expertise includes Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), FAR Cost Principles, and Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal awards to non-Federal entities (2 CFR 200, Uniform Guidance).
Professional Experience: Levi is well experienced in working with government contractors and Federal award recipients of varying size, complexity, and industry focus in the areas of accounting and internal controls. Levi has also supported clients with Business Systems Compliance, including risk assessment and Policy and Procedure Development. He has also assisted clients with Subrecipient Monitoring, Audit Support, Audit Findings Resolution, and other regulatory compliance matters.
Prior to joining Capital Edge, Levi was an audit manager for Maher Duessel, CPAs, a member of the AICPA’s Government Audit Quality Center. While at Maher Duessel, CPAs, Levi supervised and performed audits over both not-for-profit and governmental entities, including Single Audits under both OMB Circular A-133 and Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200, Subpart F (Single Audit).
Professional Affiliations: Levi is a registered CPA with the Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).