DNR Grants Journal: Issue #4 (October 2013)

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DNR Grants Journal

for Pass-through Appropriation Recipients

Courtesy of the DNR Grants Unit


October 2013-Issue #4

Visit our website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/passthrough/


Topics Include:

  • Survey Results
  • Training Recap
  • Year-End Acquisitions

Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources

500 Lafayette Road

St. Paul, MN 55155-4010


Amanda Graeber

Grants Manager

(651) 259-5533



Patrick Donnell

Grants Specialist Sr.

(651) 259-5543



Jason Tidemann

Grants Specialist Sr.

(651) 259-5534


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The DNR’s Mission Statement:

Our mission is to work with citizens to conserve and manage the state’s natural resources, to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and to provide for commercial uses of natural resources in a way that creates a sustainable quality of life.




Survey Results

DNR Grants Unit

The DNR Grants Unit at the 2013 Environmental Initiative Awards Ceremony: From left to right: Pat Donnell, Amanda Graeber, Jason Tidemann

The Grants Unit would like to extend a thank you to all pass-through appropriation recipients for providing feedback in our recent survey. The survey is an important evaluation tool that helps the Grants Unit determine what grant management processes are going well and what areas need improvement. Here are a few highlights from the survey:

  • Our response rate went from 59% last summer to 71.6% this summer.
  • 95.8% of OHF and ENRTF grant recipients are satisfied or very satisfied with the ability of the DNR Grants Specialists to resolve problems (70.6% for FY12)
  • 95.7% are satisfied or very satisfied with the overall frequency of communication
  • 90.5% are satisfied or very satisfied with overall customer service (78.8% for FY12)
  • 88% are satisfied or very satisfied with the consistent manner in which reimbursement requests were processed (54.3% for FY12)
  • 84% are satisfied or very satisfied with the timely manner in which reimbursement requests were processed (54.3% for FY12)
  • 83.4% are satisfied or very satisfied with the guidance provided by the reimbursement manual (65.7% for FY12)

Of course, there is always room for improvement and the DNR Grants Unit is committed to continuous evaluation and improvement. Some respondents had the following suggestions:.      

  • Reduce paperwork
  • Improve user-friendliness of spreadsheets.
  • Require less detail for expense documentation.   

The DNR Grants Unit is addressing the concerns noted by grantees in the following ways:

  • Implementing a grant monitoring policy that reduces the amount of paperwork that must be submitted with each request while still ensuring necessary controls through desk or site visits;

  • Providing reimbursement request spreadsheets with accurate, embedded formulas (and tips on spreadsheet use at the annual reimbursement training);
  • Re-evaluating the amount of back-up documentation (receipts, invoices, etc.) required to be submitted with reimbursement requests in tandem with the new grant monitoring policy;

We are also collaborating with Accounts Payable staff in order to ensure reimbursements are paid as quickly as AP staffing levels allow and continuing to notify appropriation recipients via email when their reimbursement requests are received, processed, and taken to Accounts Payable.

A few reminders and thoughts based on other survey comments:

  • We welcome suggestions for additions to the website and/or newsletter.
  • It is difficult to compare the amount of documentation required by different grant programs and funders. As you know, each grant program and funder is unique and has different requirements and circumstances.
  • Reimbursement requests can be submitted as often as you like. You do not have to submit them only quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

The DNR Grants Unit will continue to investigate best practices for grant management across the state and nation and implement them as grant fund requirements and risk management allow to ensure that grant allocations both achieve their intended purpose and follow state statutes. Our goal continues to be to assist OHF and ENRTF recipients to achieve the intended habitat outcomes in compliance with Minnesota law to the benefit of our customers, partners, and the citizens of Minnesota.


Training Recap

The Grants Unit held its 2nd annual Reimbursement Manual Training session on September 18th. 38 pass-through appropriation recipients attended this webinar training class compared to 25 in 2012. If you were unable to attend the webinar, please visit our training page on our grants website to see a copy of the power point presentation.



Year-End Acquisitions


If your organization plans to purchase land at the very end of the calendar year, please notify the Grants Unit well in advance of your closing date so we will be able to have a staff member assist you during the holiday season.