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Tag Archive: Grassroots Reform

How a grant grew from $35,000 to almost a million

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In 2004, the National Park Service gave the George Wright Society, a Hancock, Mich.-based nonprofit that promotes preservation and understanding of natural and cultural resources, a $35,000 cooperative agreement (a kind of grant in which the recipient will work closely with a federal agency to accomplish a public purpose) to host a pair of conferences. Over five years, that initial cooperative agreement grew in value to more than $800,000, and came to include such projects as coordinating the complex travel arrangements for archaeologists to visit Afghanistan (something the nonprofit has yet to do).

The Inspector General ...

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Groups Wary of Grassroots Reform:

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Some lobbying groups, such as AARP, National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Cancer Society are concerned that lobbying reforms targeting efforts to mobilize grassroots support could “quell citizen involvement in the political process.” The Hill newspaper notes that “[s]ome lawmakers want to require greater transparency when lobbying organizations, on their own or through specialty public-relations firms, try to generate public support for their legislative priorities.” The real target, according to lawmakers, is the practice of “astroturfing” or “the creation of coalitions or umbrella organizations that reach out to the public without openly declaring their ties to special interests.” So far the concerned groups have not seen any proposal that they see as dangerous to their grassroots efforts.

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