SourceAmerica's Management Assistance Grant: Championing project success through the AbilityOne Program

By Perry Luksin 11/17/2020
SourceAmerica's Management Assistance Grant: Championing project success through the AbilityOne Program

As a leading job creator for people with disabilities across the U.S., SourceAmerica provides a wide variety of business expertise and financial support to more than 700 nonprofit agencies (NPAs) in its network. Of these affiliated NPAs, more than 400 participate in the federal AbilityOne® Program. To help ensure the NPAs' AbilityOne projects are positioned for success from the outset, SourceAmerica offers a Management Assistance Grant as part of its financial assistance program.

At its core, the grant is meant to help NPAs develop a solid infrastructure, such as hiring a project manager prior to a contract start date to plan, coordinate and prep for project execution. This infrastructure is part of the "pre-work" that typically goes into an AbilityOne project. The grant can be put toward any of this pre-work (including covering cost of salaries and benefits) three months prior and for one month after the AbilityOne project starts. The project’s initial statement of work will dictate whether a project manager is required.

NPAs that apply for and receive the grant are funded up to $22,000 per project. Grant recipients are then able apply this funding toward hiring either new staff or training existing staff (or a consultant) as a project manager (or supervisor or trainer/coach) for new or transferred AbilityOne projects on the federal Procurement List. The Procurement List is maintained by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission and includes products and services that have been placed in the AbilityOne Program.

NPA Brevard Achievement Center found the Management Assistance Grant to be especially helpful during the pandemic.

"The grant offered our team critical support while we launched a new custodial contract at the height of COVID-19," said Carl Stephens, Vice President of Operations at Brevard Achievement Center. "Being able to bring our project manager on earlier in the process allowed us to round out our transition team quickly so we could better focus on COVID-impacted factors like limited access to travel, social distancing requirements and onboarding new employees."

Another NPA, Global Connections to Employment (GCE), used the grant to support their AbilityOne contract recruitment efforts.

"The SourceAmerica Management Assistance Grant helped us fund external recruitment resources for two different AbilityOne contracts," said Lori Kain, GCE Director of Government and Community/PR Relations. "The contract sites are located where recruitment can be a bit tricky. The grant provided us with the funds to make sure we found two new team members who truly believed in our mission of employing people with disabilities."

In FY20, SourceAmerica distributed 12 Management Assistance Grants. There is currently no limit to the number of Management Assistance Grants an NPA can receive within a fiscal year. The only requirement is that the project is new or has been transferred to the Procurement List. Since projects are added to the Procurement list year around, there is no deadline to apply.

Management Assistance Grant recipients have no obligation to pay back this funding unless the AbilityOne project does not get added to the Procurement List after receiving the grant. Additionally, if grant recipients do not use all their funds on salary and benefits for a project manager (or supervisor or trainer/coach) during that four-month period, the NPA must return the excess funds to SourceAmerica.

"Of all the grants we offer, this is one of the best," said Sheila Sandford, Senior Director, Relationship and Financial Assistance at SourceAmerica. "It goes directly to the people who are supporting AbilityOne projects to make them successful."

SourceAmerica is a leading job creator for people with disabilities. We are also a connector—a force for change—uniting individuals and organizations committed to increasing economic and social inclusion for people with disabilities. Working together—with other organizations, policymakers, and people like you—we're making progress every day.