Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Sarah Ferdico, Communications
Although we may wish it, money won’t fall out of the sky for our projects. But funding sources to bankroll project improvements are available. Olsson’s funding services—and Emily Bausch, Olsson’s community development coordinator—can help.
Emily assists Olsson’s clients in matching their projects with potential funding sources. Emily joined Olsson a year ago after working several years with communities and counties on project development and identifying funding opportunities. She’s experienced in not only knowing states’ funding sources, but she’s also extremely knowledgeable of federal funding programs, such as those administered through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“A large chunk of my time is spent on research,” Emily said. “I get to look at projects, what the project and client might be eligible for, and then see what sources are out there for particular projects.
“I get to be innovative and creative in seeing how I can get clients’ projects matched with funding.”
The Village of Panama, Nebraska, is one of three communities that Emily has helped win Civic and Community Center Financing Funds (CCCFF). The CCCFF is a grant that helps develop Nebraska’s civic, community, and recreation centers.
“The funding we received for our community center will allow us to do more than we had expected to be able do to,” said Pam Pickard, Panama village clerk. “Our original budget was only $150,000, and that included purchasing the lot. Many of the interior features will be upgraded and we are able to do it all at once instead of waiting until more funds became available. Emily also made several suggestions prior to completing the application that we had not thought about.
“I gave Emily all the information she needed, and she wrote a ‘story’ about our community and the community center,” Pam continued. “I do not believe we would have ever been able to secure the funds without her help. She also kept the cost for the grant writing below our budgeted amount.”
A dedicated funding resource
Funding sources vary from region to region and cover projects from small municipalities to large agencies. Similarly, grant applications can run the gamut from a simple letter of intent to a 30- or 40-page document. What Emily provides is a dedicated resource who knows what funding is available and whether a community is qualified for funding. She also has the technical prowess to assist clients in completing their grant applications. Emily provides this service to all Olsson offices and the clients they serve.
And in Emily’s world, eligibility is key.
“For example, a city may call and say they need to pave a road,” Emily said. “It’s my job to look at what grants are out there. Then it becomes a matter of deciding what they’re eligible for and establishing their eligibility in the federal world.”
Providing a professional, trained set of eyes is also beneficial for clients completing their own grant applications.
“When I’ve reviewed applications for clients, I try and look at them very objectively, especially if they’re technical in nature,” she said. “In this instance, writing the goals and objectives can be very challenging. I try and help define what the actual ‘action’ will be for the funding in a way that’s easy for funders to understand.”
For Ben Day, a Public Infrastructure team leader, Emily provides “added value” for Olsson’s existing and prospective clients.
“In every municipality, as well as with public and private entities, there is always a need for ongoing infrastructure maintenance and replacement and for making improvements and adding amenities,” Ben said. “These projects can be crucial for sustaining communities’ current needs and for planning future growth. When we can come to a client with a funding solution, this can often be the difference between moving a necessary project forward or continuing to defer the situation.”
For Emily, she’s got her sights set firmly on the horizon.
“Grant funding can be such a small component of so many projects, but it has a reach across so many disciplines,” Emily said. “My goal is to continue to educate our clients and teams on opportunities out there and continue to build the world one client project at a time.”
To reach Emily with questions regarding Olsson's funding services, please contact her at 402.458.5064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.