Grants Special Guest – Council of Government (COG)

Grants Special Guest – Council of Government (COG)

The Office of the Governor in Texas recently announced over $308 million had been allocated to Texas for federal grants, specifically for Public Safety programs and services. In the Governor’s press release, he encouraged ‘interested entities’ to reach out to their local COG to learn about region-specific timelines and requirements and how to access the grants. 

Although many have heard of COGs, not everyone understands what they have to do with grant money. If you are attempting to get any federal funding, it is important you know the role the COG plays in the funding of grants.

What is a COG?

A COG stands for Council of Government (COG) and it is made up of members who act as a bridge between federal, state, and local governments, helping cities and counties solve social and environmental challenges. COGS are made up of people that act as collaborators, solution finders, efficiency experts, technical assistance providers, and a means of support for their government. COGs have roles in transportation, economic development, workforce development, environment, and public safety. Of the 39,000 local governments in the U.S., there are 35,000 being served by a COG. The term COG is not used nationwide, but most states have a comparable entity that may be called a district, agency, or a region---rather than COG. The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) provides a list of COGs for each state. Since many states have multiple COGs, you must determine which one covers your region (https://narc.org/state-associations/).

Who Monitors a COG?

In Texas, the Criminal Justice Department (CJD) monitors federal grant programs by administering the grant money and deciding who gets what. The CJD does not act alone when determining grants recipients and other pertinent information. The CJD works with the COG to administer and manage the awards to be dispersed. Additionally, the COG assists with the fiscal responsibilities the grantee acquires once awarded a grant.

What does this mean for Texas?

In North Texas, our COG is called the North Central Texas Council of Government (NCT-COG) and it facilitates the federal Criminal Justice grants that are given to our state via the governor’s office.  The Office of the Governor (OOG) is responsible for dispersing the grants from the following areas:  

  • General Victim Assistance Direct Services Program
  • Violence Against Women- Justice and Training Program
  • Juvenile Justice and Truancy Prevention Grant Program
  • Criminal Justice Program (formerly known as Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program)
  • Residential and Community-Based Services for Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation Program:
  • Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)-Ready Facilities Program

Along with the Criminal Justice Department, the regional COG (NCT-COG) administers the dispersion, financial allocation, and operations of the grants for the Office of the Governor (OOG).  When grant funding becomes available for the public to apply, it is announced by the OOG via their eGrants system online. 

When a grant application is submitted, the COG steps in and scores that application based on several areas of predetermined criteria. The COG uses the scores to make funding recommendations to the Office of the Governor, who makes all the funding decisions. 

Once a decision is made by the OOG as to who gets the award, the COG still plays an important role in the life of the grant. We will dive deeper into all the roles next time, as they are relevant to your success in applying for grants. 

In Texas, our governor instructed us to contact our local COG to find out further information on the $308,000,000 being dispersed to public safety entities. With millions sitting on the Governor’s desk, it is important to act now. Contact your regional COG to put yourself in the best position to win federal money for your agency

What about other states?

If you don’t live in Texas, you most likely have a comparable regional entity to a COG. It would be beneficial to find out what role they may have in your state’s public safety area and if federal grants are a part of it. Check the website, https://narc.org/state-associations/ for further information.

TERMS

COG: Council of Government
OOG: Office of Governor
CJD: Criminal Justice Department
NARC: National Association of Regional Council
NCTCOG: North Central Texas Council of Government