MPPS Policy Brief: Michigan local governments’ ability to find, get, and manage state and federal grants

October 2023

This policy brief presents Michigan local government leaders’ views on their jurisdiction’s capacity for pursuing external grant funding from the state and federal governments. These findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the spring 2023 wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS)— conducted between February 6 and April 17, 2023.

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Key findings

  • Most Michigan local government leaders believe their jurisdiction has at least some ability to pursue future state or federal grant funding, but relatively few express a high level of confidence.
  • Just 20% of local officials statewide are very confident their local governments can monitor opportunities for future state/federal funding or grants and only 19% are very confident they can successfully apply for those funds. Confidence is highest regarding the ability to meet reporting and auditing requirements for grant spending, with 34% statewide saying they are very confident
  • Meanwhile, over a quarter (28%) of Michigan local leaders are not confident that their jurisdictions can monitor future grant opportunities, and one-third (33%) are not confident they can successfully apply for future grants or funding.
  • Confidence in the ability to pursue and administer grant funding is much higher in Michigan counties and cities (which are more likely to have larger and more specialized staffs to allow for these activities) than in townships and villages. For example, more than a third (38%) of leaders from counties and cities are very confident they can monitor grant opportunities, compared to just 15% from townships and 14% from villages.
  • When asked what would help their government find, apply for, or administer state and federal grants, local officials often mention a need for more local expertise in applying for grants (e.g., funding for a grant writer, training, etc.) and better communication about available grants.