How will the stimulus money be spent locally?

By Carolynn Mambu

Update: Call audio available here. To download, click “110683.mp3” and click “Save As.”

Like the rest of the country, local governments scrambling to fill budget gaps are counting on stimulus funding. A recent conference call from the “8 Neighbors” Network drew over 100 foundation, nonprofits and community representatives to learn about opportunities to influence how stimulus money will be used locally.

Local advocates said they will seek to limit the number of budget and service cuts that affect low income populations.  All panelists agreed that there are advocacy opportunities around education, health, workforce, housing and unemployment insurance issues.  “Regional initiatives will have the edge for funding,” suggested Neil Bergsman, of Maryland Nonprofits.

Even with the a combination of budget cuts and stimulus funds, DC is still facing a $400 million gap, according to Ed Lazere, Executive Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. In Maryland, lawmakers approved a budget that was overly optimistic about stimulus support before the legislation was passed and are now working to resolve the difference. Virginia recently approved a budget that included stimulus money, and has already received 5,000 project proposals.

8 Neighbors has an in-depth summary of the call. For specific information about stimulus funding in each jurisdiction, see: