The objective of the SRDI Realigning Federal Funds Analysis Program is to assist rural leaders to understand and shape the “policy partnership” the federal government has with their county. Using the Census Bureau’s Consolidated Federal Funds Reports data as a source, SRDI has developed a special database and convening process to be a platform for policy education. You can access the database immediately though the following link, but we encourage you to read this introduction and other associated pages first for additional information that will help you learn more about the database and the convening process.
Why is this program useful?
The flow of program funds largely defines the partnership that the federal government has with rural communities, but where the funds are allocated is not well understood by rural leaders because of its complexity. For this reason, rural leaders are unable to easily compare their needs to actual federal resources. Making the allocation of federal funding to rural America more transparent clarifies the public policy choices that must be made if rural America is to have a future that is economically vibrant, socially just and equitable, as well as environmentally sustainable. The SRDI Federal Funds Database can deepen your understanding on the amount, type, and use of federal funds in your community. Both the database and the community convening sessions we offer can help you think through the policy implications of these flows. Our federal funds convening sessions are also designed to assist your community to articulate policy changes to federal partners when there is a clear misalignment between your community’s needs and federal resources.
How is the database organized?
Painting the Picture of Rural America by Numbers: The SRDI Federal Funds Database In 2005 and 2006, SRDI constructed a federal funds analysis database from US Census Bureau Consolidated Federal Funds Reports. Click here to download our Quick Guide to Understanding Federal Funds Data (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this file).
The SRDI federal funds database currently has three years of data for federal fiscal years 2001, 2002, and 2003. We will update with FY 2004 data in the near future. Each part of the database follows a similar pattern of showing funding by major function areas, the sub-functions that make up major function areas, and then the specific programs that make up a sub-function area.
My County – This section gives you in-depth knowledge of the different kinds of federal funds that came to your county between 2001 and 2003. In the individual program table you can see both the individual programs that came to your county in a specific sub-function, but also the national totals for other similar programs that the database shows did not come directly to your county.
Multiple Counties – This feature allows you to compare the flow of funds in your county to two other counties of your choosing in your state.
Similar Counties – How does funding for your community compare to that of similar counties? This section of the database makes a per capita comparison with similar counties both in your state and nationally.
Different Counties – In this section you can compare your county’s per capita values to similar counties, and to other types of counties. This is the most complex but powerful part of the database to explore how geographic isolation, race, and poverty all come in to play in the distribution of federal program support. Because of the wide level of comparisons, the interface for this section of the database differs from the preceding sections.
Data is Good, Local Knowledge Is Better: The SRDI Realigning Federal Funds
The database paints a compelling picture of rural communities, but becomes more powerful when “ground-truthed” in a convening of local leaders. Accordingly, SRDI works with local partners to bring together a cross-section of local leaders, formal and informal. Through our 4-6 hour community engagement sessions, these leaders explore the database information, share their perspectives on the flow of federal funds to their community, and decide what its implications might be for forming stronger, more responsive policy partnerships with the federal government.
SRDI designed the first program year to be a “proof of concept” test for the Realigning Federal Funds Program. We shared the database and engaged community delegations in Marlboro and Allendale Counties, South Carolina, and in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. We then brought delegations from the three communities together for a peer learning experience that helped clarify the policy implications of what they learned. The sessions were also highly useful to us for continued evolution of the program. Our local partners were:
The Marlboro County Community Development Corporation, The Reverend Charles Malloy, Executive Director
The Allendale Alive Community Development Corporation, Mr. Wilbur Cave, Executive Director
The Pointe Coupee Community Foundation, Ms. Ann Rasmussen, Project Director
We thank them and their teams for their participation and feedback in this process.
This program is possible through the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg
Foundation. We thank the Foundation for its constant commitment to the future
of rural America.
For more information, contact Jason Gray, SRDI Research and Policy Director, at (919) 829-5900, ext. 204, or e-mail him at email@example.com