Hello everybody, and welcome just about noon and I think folks are just joining us so give it another minute or so before we begin.
Right again, welcome to this this weekly meeting of AFN navigator program, a meeting where FNX and the Alaska Municipal League collaborate to provide a space for tribal governments ARPA recipients to talk through and share insights into a variety of issues as they relate to the American rescue plan funds that you've received. Today's topic is partnering with others and we do just have a small group today. So we'll keep this fairly informal. And, and really conversational. I think when it comes to partnering with others, really what we're talking about is how to make the most of your ARPA funds. For for tribal governments, you've received funds directly from from Treasury and the guidance that applies to your funds also applies to your city or boroughs. funds to the states are both funds and to a variety of other potential partners around the state. And I think really we want to take the opportunity to to have you think about what those partnerships might look like. And when it comes to partnerships, I think the most straightforward and the one that AML is probably Oh, sorry. My name is Neil censorious and Alaska Municipal League I always forget that piece at this point and the number of sessions we've had. The one the partnerships that we're most familiar with it at ama would be your city or your borough. They've separately received federal funding and that from ARPA, so when you're thinking about things like infrastructure projects related to water and sewer, or helping get grants out to residents, we really do encourage you to be reaching out to and planning with your city. Your municipal government. I think that's a straightforward way to think about how do you make the most of the funds that you've both received through art and, and that have the same purposes and to make sure that there's no duplication, I think, really avoiding duplication avoiding conflict or kind of other priorities that that go hand in hand with that, that partnership that it's maximizing the funds on the one hand and making sure you're not running into each other. On the other. So you're, you're sitting on government is a good natural partner, your school district is another natural partner or if you have a campus, a university campus in your community both university system and school districts have received different types of art funding specific to public education, to mitigating the impact of COVID in classrooms. But there are provisions in the ARPA guidance that allow you to contribute to the needs of schools in your communities. And so having those conversations with your with your principal at the school, in your community with the school district with the school board, is a one way to think about how to make the most again of the funding that you've received. If you're following along in the chat bar, the video and audio recordings of the sessions will be posted to the AFN website following the following the session. And again these sessions occur every week. So we'll at the conclusion of this one. We'll look forward to seeing you next week when we tackle next week's topic. Other partnerships that that I've seen emerge over the last few months you know, for specific to kind of the you know, tribal health or health clinics that might be in your communities working with a and THC on either clinics or water and sewer issues, sanitation those have been natural partnerships that are out there.
And, and the others would be just businesses in the community, making sure that if they've been impacted by by the pandemic if they've had economic kind of contraction then you know, working with them, having conversations with your local businesses to make sure you have a good sense of their health and whether they need support or not. That's another form of partnership. I'm gonna maybe pause for a second and just kind of open it up what kinds of questions do you have about partnership? What have you had any conversations already with any of those entities? Or what other ideas you have for how to think about partnership? I think you can either post comments or questions in the chat bar, or I think unmute yourself and we'll have a conversation that's really what what these sessions are for. Any thoughts initially on partnership? Yeah, Sarah, did you have any thoughts or April? Oh, go ahead.
I was. I was also thinking in the terms of in because if the infrastructure Act passes, there's going to be such a wide variety of grants in the reporting the reporting effort on in compliance for all of these programs, it's going to be extreme for a lot of small communities. And if the city the village corporation and the tribe or or other entities such as you mentioned, and THC or school districts are able to partner on any of these efforts, they can divvy up some of the responsibility that and it seems to me as a unified or sub regional effort, or community effort or sub regional effort. However, these programs or grants are ranked or reviewed. I think that that would bounce them up.
That's, that's a great way to think about partnerships. So it's not just about you know, the project work that might occur in a community or region. But how do we actually support one another in the reporting and compliance? Who else can we work with? Make sure that you've got the capacity to be successful in managing these funds and reporting back to Treasury once the infrastructure package comes out? When it when it occurs? We're all going to be overwhelmed with not just working through ARPA compliance, but thinking about all these new programs that emerge and they're still, you know, four dozen grant opportunities that are kind of related back to to ARPA, and making the most of those and thinking about how do we work with each other and with others to be able to respond to to all of those other opportunities is a great way to be thinking and we will be talking more about grant writing next next week and next week session, and a lot of that is about exactly that April, how do we how do we work together? How do we pull pool resources to be able to take advantage of the grants that are out there and and add to the capacity that you know, tribes might not have right now. Sarah, we're gonna add something.
Um, I was in, you know, I was at a meeting yesterday and I listened to as I was listening, I thought about like, oh my goodness, have you thought about this? Grant? Have you thought about this grant? And that comment that I had received back from this village corporation is we think the tribe is handling that or we think that's false more within the tribe. And it made me realize that, you know, the timing of this was you know, great because it made me realize that having these partnering with others conversations is is so important, because that assumption of we think the tribe is doing it or they should be falling within the tribes barely work it just it could lead to missing opportunities. That being said, between as April said, the city, the tribe in the village corporation, and then in some cases where their burrows find pulling those resources is really important. Again, the village corporation I was talking to yesterday, was saying, you know, look, we know all this money is coming to Alaska, and we'd love to be able to go for it but we're trying to focus on our business and you know, the year end and we don't have the resources to really be focusing on on what's out there. And so, I think figuring out ways to partner with the Alaska Municipal League and working with our navigators through the AFN navigator program for them to be working with their regions have helped facilitating some of these discussions otherwise, I think folks are just not going to be inclined to pursue these grants or are assuming somebody else's pursuing these grants and that would be unfortunate for Alaska.
Yeah, it's a it's a great way to I mean, the two elements to that that I say one, at the heart of partnership is communication. If we're not reaching out to each other, if we're not reaching out to other groups who might, you know, also be interested in the same discussion within our community or region. Partnerships not going to happen. It really takes that outreach, that communication, checking in and it doesn't have to be formal, though, it can certainly lead to formality. It's really all about we can't all do this by ourselves. And if we're feeling alone, who can we reach out to for support or just to do even better with what we've got? So think about within your community or region? I mean, think if we're just focused on ARPA, who else is receiving those ARPA funds and I named a bunch we know that there and we also know that there still Cares Act funds out there and that deadline might be extended. So your regional Corporation village corporation and the tribe the city all everybody's still working through it to some extent Cares Act funding. And I can point to at cities who still have Cares Act funds, city governments still have carry sack funds to spend down and they're not huge amounts at this point, but they're still working through that process. And I know many tribal governments are in that same position. So you've got the Cares Act component, and then you've got the ARPA component. You have your your regional and village corporations as it relates to Cares Act. You have your tribal governments, your Regional Health nonprofits, your school districts, the university system. And then your municipal governments, all of whom have received some portion of these ARPA funds, and there could be others. So when we know that Department of Transportation had a number of funds go out and those kinds of different types of entities. So think about who's who's in your community that kind of may have a role to play in this partnership. And I think, to some extent, it's just a matter of picking up the phone and say, Where are you at with this with these funds? Have you already dedicated your funds? Do you have a plan? Do you want a plan together? We can't go after this brand. But here's all the grants that you know that we're kind of interested in. We can't we're either not eligible or we don't have time. Are you out or if you're eligible? And do you have time? Can we work together on that? Can we can we really think about these these funding opportunities in different ways and can we use the stuff that we've got individually and together to take advantage of them and I think that's the second part, how do we how do we be each other's capacity in some form and and that could be organization or organization. Or it could be reaching out through the AFN navigator program to your navigators who are on hand to help with that collaboration? And AML I mean, if, if you'd, if tribal government is thinking about we want to take advantage of a grant opportunity or work toward a grant opportunity, but we're also overwhelmed with our bow reporting and compliance. You know, we've got staff on hand who are here to help with that reporting and compliance. So that you don't have to do that so that you can partner on other things and other grant opportunities. We're working toward I mean, not just on the grant side of things we're working toward and a grant hotline, where if you've got a question about a grant, just want to talk through it to find out if you're eligible, and if it's a good idea for you to pursue something you'll be able to call them up and and talk through that. We have a pool of grant writers out there who if you don't have the capacity within within your organization, you'll be able to reach out to them and and contract and contract for that. So it's going to be a multi step process. But first things first kind of reach out to who else is in your community who might be doing something and talk through what's what's important to you and what what's potentially available and then think through what you need to get to be able to take advantage to implement a project or to find funding for a project and doing that together. Or or otherwise in in partnership.
Else. Yeah. Hi, this is a pull again. So I've got a couple of comments. One is and I think you're mentioning your you mentioned on that are the tools that people need to have in sometimes they do need to be formal is whether or not folks really understand how a memorandum of understanding or the memorandum of intentions can work within the different agencies. So that you, as you said, people, if one part of the community has a real strong accounting staff, that that can be utilized by the other part of the community that might have all the heavy equipment to go out and do the project that somehow they can work together on that. And the other thing is letting folks know that there are other businesses out there that have a suite of services that can be contracted to provide the backup that they may need to go forward with these projects. In thirdly, something that I'm very concerned about in reaching out to a lot of the small rural communities is there are quite a few of them that don't have broadband. Or working broadband or useful broadband. And they're getting this information delayed. They're having reporting problems there. It almost makes them ineligible for all of the opportunities that are out there one because they don't see them in a timely fashion. They don't have the resources to even respond back in a timely fashion or and I really like the fact that you said you had a pool of grant writers I think that in and of itself might give opportunity to a lot of small communities.
I have left out the nonprofit sector so far in the discussion too. And I know that just generally I mean many communities might have Community Foundation's or regional nonprofits, local nonprofits who can do some of the work and who could provide some of those services. They might have a grant writer on staff. They might have, they might be able to implement a grants program out to community members and they just make good partners. So don't forget the nonprofit sector. I think maybe what we could do is, you know, one of the outcomes from this session, April you mentioned Memorandum of Understanding is Memorandum of agreements. We could reach out and if there are models out there or examples that we could share with with everyone that might be really useful. I know. Just recently I want to say that it's something like that has occurred in a couple of communities that we've been working with where one is paying for electricity and the other paying for water sewer and it's a city in a tribe have kind of worked things out and I was on a call yesterday with the city of McGrath and I think the city and the tribe went half and half on the washer Tyria on the new washers. And dryers and they're in their Washington area, which is a great kind of example of what that might look like. The city and borough of sick partner with the Sitka tribe on I think a transportation project. I learned a little bit about that yesterday. But I can reach out to those those of our members to find out what those agreements look like how formal were they? And maybe they're good examples for for everybody that we can share after this and look for other models that might be out there.
Yeah, I know the city of Cordoba, electric utility I think is working with the local tribe there to put some efforts together. I almost think that, you know, I don't think we all have necessary skill set, but this would be such a fascinating video series. To focus in on small scale economic success around the state that could be showcased not just on a webinar, but maybe even shown on local channels so folks could see. Yeah, like you said, models on how other people are doing it. And how they might think about it.
Yeah, I like that. And it's, I mean, it's funny to me that, you know, we're responding now to this, because we've got the you know, these federal relief funds aren't we're responding to arpa. But these are all things that you know, we can use this opportunity to build relationships that last into the future, right. And these become normalized in a lot of ways to, to see what else could we do together. So I like that aspect to other who anybody else out there who has a either an example of partnership, or something that you're thinking about or are you just not sure where to start? How are you feeling? Knows Yeah. Oh, yeah. Margaret.
Hi, it's Margaret from Southwest Conference. Hey, I just put something in the chat to just to let people know. We've received Cares Act funding and art funding. We're applying for other grants and have already received some and they are all in partnerships with various communities and organizations. And so we're just trying to get word out to that. However, we could help southwest communities we're here to help and I mean, technically you have to be a member. But if you're not, don't let that sway you. So from giving us a call and just connecting with us, and we might be able to point you in the direction of some other regional projects that we know are happening or some good partnerships, but we have a great writer on staff to just like you said that there's so many resources out there you know, so I just encourage everybody like he said, pick up the phone, you never know who has some experience and completely in another direction, but we're here to if anybody wants to connect with us, and we can certainly help any way we can. So
good and if folks if you're not familiar with swamp see they're one of the state's orders the Alaska regional development organizations. So swamps is a great resource to connect with your municipal governments and around kind of economic or infrastructure development issues. Se conference is another good one if you're on the Kenai I think it's a, whatever K peds stands for but there's an economic development team down there. And there's a number around the state. So thanks, Margaret, for that any community example examples or things you're wrestling with for folks on the call?
So I think the other so we can look for some of these examples of MLAs or mo use. That might be useful, you're probably already familiar with and have some templates for that. And I think the other thing to know when it comes to ARPA is if those partnerships lead to another entity doing kind of the work for you. So if you contract with a nonprofit to distribute funds to tribal members, or to residents, or if you contract with you know, another entity or business to provide a service that you would otherwise provide and, and that's kind of within those ARPA guidelines, and you do need to be thinking about them in terms of as sub recipients and so that is a technical term that will apply. And and if if that that partnership results in somebody, another entity, becoming a sub recipient, then all the rules that apply to you. The ARPA guidance that applies to you will apply to them. They need to they need to report back to you at the same kind of outcomes and expenditures as you would be making. And I think on the reporting to Treasury, you're going to be reporting for any contracts that go out or to sub recipients anything above $50,000. I think you'll be reporting on that maybe 25, but I'll check on that. So it's not it's not informal, when it comes to some of that and there are considerations involved. But be mindful of when when it's not simply an expense or a fun if if you're asking somebody else to do something on your behalf with your ARPA funds. And basically that becomes that relationship with them is as a sub recipient and the same guidance that applies to you applies to them. If as part of that one example of what what happens with it within that process is that that might trigger for them the federal Single Audit Act. So if if more than $750,000 of your funds went to a single contractor to perform work on your behalf or to get grants out. They would be responsible for complying with the federal Single Audit Act. Just like just like you will and other any other thoughts on on partnership? Any concerns about partnership or whereas partnership? Are there challenges you can think of that need to be overcome as part of that process? I don't mind waiting. Folks are thinking and I come off mute or put something in the chat bar.
Wales i This is a question for you and for Margaret. And that and any other as you said, Cape edge or you know, and whatever entities within other regions, but has, have you all provided forums for discussions and partnerships. between tribes, corporations and your organization's or your somehow fostering those and there have been any, you know, I'm going to call it a roadshow, if you will, of any sort of partnering discussions other than what we're doing here. Today.
Yeah. No, but I feel like the the other side of that question is we should be doing that. We haven't done anything specifically I want to say during you when when Cares Act occurred. You know, we had this kind of conversation with municipal governments just around you know, generally about partnership and, you know, look for ways to work together with other with tribes and other entities in your communities. But, but we didn't facilitate anything on a region by region basis. And I think it's the same kind of thing that we talked about earlier. Like we just assume that those conversations are occurring. And it's very likely the reality is that they they aren't in a lot of the state. I could see some regions of the state, you know, probably doing some of that more naturally. I know that things like you know, areas like Northwest Arctic borough. They have good collaboration between municipal governments and others in the region, Southeast. It feels really strong between Southeast Conference could hide at Central accounts. They've got a lot of good kind of institutions from what I can tell in terms of regional collaboration. I'm not sure what that looks like otherwise. Southwest I think was swamp see you've got a good mechanism for collaboration there. But otherwise, it might be kind of these one offs that might occur and we've probably got work to do we could, we could hold regional discussions or whatever kind of level of group makes sense. And maybe in partnership with like a regional health nonprofit would be a natural partner for those kinds of conversations to coerce probably does a lot of that in that region. Yeah, no, thank you. Yeah, um, I think April brought up earlier the just the infrastructure package. And infrastructure is probably where partnership makes, maybe feels like it makes the most difference. Were working together as a region but between tribes between tribes and municipal governments, and whoever else can become part of a partnership. You can really bat above your weight right? You can, you can implement a project that is well beyond the the funding that you received, but you can pull in these other funding streams to maybe be part of you know, a landfill project a water sewer projects, a housing project, I have heard more and more interest about your housing projects. And if you're thinking about housing, then you know, be sure to touch base with your housing authorities. who also are they're also good partners. They received a different pot of ARPA funds and, and Cares Act funds. But But infrastructure this is kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity to make huge investments into infrastructure. With with funds that usually aren't available. And some of that might be doing some of the planning on any of those projects right now. In preparation for what might come out of an infrastructure package. That might be another way to be thinking right now about partnership is the work right now is planning for larger scale projects. And if if and when the infrastructure package passes.
Anybody any projects right now that you're focused on that are related to infrastructure, either water sewer, sanitation, housing. Anything else that that you're working on right now that would benefit from partnership that you can think of?
Can I just mentioned broadband mills? Available for broadband, especially for tribal communities? Yeah, there's so much additional money available. And I would just, it's hard because it sounds overwhelming. But I think that would be a really great area for partnership and yeah, just to suggest No,
that's a I feel like we just got done at the broadband Taskforce, I should have brought that up immediately. But and, and most of you should be familiar with the funds that are available around broadband. The NTIA funds, the $500,000 that I think everybody receive the $187,000 that everybody should have received through our capital projects fund. And if you haven't applied for that, make sure you get that in. And then I know there's kind of a couple of different consortiums out there. I think those are I mean, that's what partnership looks like is is that consortium or cooperative model on broadband? The spectrum the travel spectrum that's available to to each tribe, how to leverage that. I mean, there's a lot to partnership and in all of that, and there are companies who out there who are actively looking at how can we form partnerships to help leverage some of those funds and put in place improve broadband to remote communities around Alaska. And that's where you get I know Aniak just Aniak AccuTech just launched to you know, that in their community the with the Leo or GEO satellites. So if you're if you're thinking about what to do on broadband or if that's just an issue for you, then in broadband is definitely an area where, where you could think about partnership. And it gets a little bit back to Sarah's question of are there kind of issues specific or region specific conversations that have occurred? And I I don't know if that's occurred broadly for broadband except for kind of the the outreach that kind of the two Whopper cooperatives that are out there have have conducted so you know, there could be one just on broadband, there could be a discussion just on water and sewer, and there could be one on housing. All three of those are specifically called out in ARPA and are eligible expenditures from your ARPA funds. And it gets a little bit less clear when it comes to transportation and and and when it comes to like, energy or electricity or utilities. That's not as clearly spelled out in in ARPA guidance. But you still have some room for improvement, especially as you can tie it back to you know, energy needed for housing or water sewer, right. And so we've got some room to work with on those but those would be three to five topical discussions, where subject matter experts in those fields could could help us all think about ways that partnership could occur.
And so that's I think, some initial thinking about about partnership. If you're not thinking in those terms, right now, if if you've got your, your ARPA funds received and you're thinking about all the work that you have to do alone. I think it's important to know that there are others in your community in your region, who are going through that same process and who are sitting down and and if we approach this and kind of these siloed efforts, then we'll get siloed results and and instead, thinking about the partnerships that you you can develop through through using these funds together to make real improvements in your community. Could be really meaningful. And and I think we've covered first that starts with communication reaching out to others in your community and region and even at a statewide level, nonprofits, businesses, your municipal city and borough governments, your housing authorities, your village and regional native corporations. University and school districts, that it actually ends up being a really long list of potential partners. And all of them are going to have the same very similar interests as you and hopefully capacity to support you and or augment yours otherwise. So think about who those are, who you should be reaching out to. And if you're not sure what those look like then I think reach out to a IML or to AFN navigator program and say, you know, we want to do this big thing and we need help thinking about how to who to do it with or we don't know what we want to do. We want it we want help thinking about how to make the most of this. Those are all great conversations to be to be having and I know that AFS Navigator Program has navigators in place who can really help you think through a lot of that. They're, there were a couple other areas of partnership to be thinking about. The How do you what kind of partnership needs to be in place so that you can do your reporting and your compliance and your accounting? That's very definitely that a partnership with AML will help with all those three things. We've got staff on hand who can help with that accounting and reporting and you can serve as a help to answer questions around compliance. So you know, reach out to us. I think there are a number of other organizations that are out there offering kind of similar services. I want to say Alaska tribal Administrators Association. I've seen information from them. And your your nonprofits generally at foraker group is a great partner. Many I think my understanding is that many tribal governments also kind of either have some nonprofit arm or also that designation. So if, if that's an area where you can reach out to foraker group. They have shared services they can help with grant writing resources. I think they have an ARPA kind of technical assistance coordinator on hand to to be helping out. If you're thinking about businesses, who who might need relief, the Alaska Small Business Development Center can can really help you think through economic development, business development. For those we talked about regional organizations like swamp C or se conference, and they are actively planning on economic and infrastructure development. Activities, but then within those regions and and I know if you haven't heard from them, then they're easy to reach out to and they've got coordinators dedicated to helping their members on this but I think helping their members also means helping their members partner with others who are outside the membership. And thanks again, Margaret for for bringing that up. And I
think that's a good overview of just everything that's out there for partnership I, I feel like on the other side of this, it's feels again overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be I think, just start with a phone call either somebody at AFN or AML. To help you think through that partnership or to others in your community start there. I think as a follow up from this conversation, we'll work toward getting some examples of MOUs are MLAs that have been used out and back to everybody make those resources available both from a municipal perspective and from tribal governments who have entered into that we'll see what we can pull together from from success stories and go from there. Um, anything else before we close out and give you back some of your lunch or maybe you've been eating while I've been talking and April, Sarah, anything else you would add?
No, thank you very much.
No, this was great nails. I got a lot of ideas that I'm sure we'll be circling back around on.
That's the problem with these cars. We create a lot more there's more work. That comes out of that. But I think it's I mean this this partnership and this is a great example of a partnership where exchanging ideas and in thinking about how do we support Alaskan organizations, tribes everybody through this process just spurs more partnership and innovation and work. It's all good.
All right. I think with that we can close out. Thanks again for joining us today. And Sarah anything you want to say to wrap up?
Note just that the posted in the chat is that the recording of this will be posted on the link on the on the navigator upcoming events and trainings. website. That link is included in the chat there. And next week's training for those of you that are interested is on on grant writing, basics and resources. So we look forward to that as well. So thank you nails.