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Ford Foundation donates money to help Detroit manage its federal grants


The Ford Foundation has pledged $127,000 to hire the firm Public Consulting Group to help manage Detroit's federal grant money.

The city has lost money in the past because of poor oversight of its grants, like a $400,000 lapsed grant to the Detroit Police Department for an armored personnel carrier.

Eighteen percent of Detroit's budget comes from federal grants, which is higher than any other municipality in the country. That's about $290 million in federal funds annually.

Bill Nowling is the spokesman for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Nowling announced two weeks ago that the Emergency Manager's office would appoint someone to manage Detroit's federal funds. Nowling said a grant manager could even help the city secure more federal funding.

"Bringing in a grant administrator can really help us generate more revenue for all of that money and grants that come in that have opportunities for the city to go out and capture even more federal funding on top of that money," he said. "We want to make sure we're compliant so that we can go and do that as well."

Nowling said a grant administrator would help avoid passing up federal funds because of mismanagement, as it has in the past.

"What we need is someone who understands the grant process but also can help us get a handle of the status of the city's grants and grant management programs today," he said. "What grants are in compliance, what grants are out of compliance, and for those grants that are out of compliance, how do we get them back into compliance?"

The Boston-based firm is expected to provide a report to the city on the status of its grants within the next month.

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom