Senior man walking on the suspension bridge

How to get grant funding to those most in need

In this first episode of the Granting the Future podcast, Steve Fussell, previously Chief Administrator at Seminole County Government in Florida, discusses the challenge of reaching those most in need.

One of the biggest challenges in grant management is that the most critical targets of funding are hard-to-reach people in hard-to-reach places. This issue was particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, which put families and businesses under huge financial pressure. Governments and public sector agencies responded swiftly with aid packages but were concerned that the funds might not always reach those most in need.

In the first episode of the series, our host Tim Smith leads a discussion on efficient grant allocation with Steve Fussell, who was Chief Administrator, Office of Organizational Excellence, Seminole County Government in Florida, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Amy Fenstermacher, EY Americas Grants and Relief Funds Management Leader.

In an unprecedented, hectic time, grant administrators needed to be agile, adjusting to changing demands and contexts. Transparency was a key goal to keep track of the flow of funds. Thanks to the heroic efforts of the Seminole County grants team, tens of millions of dollars of funding were successfully sent to individuals, families and small businesses, helping to keep them afloat.

Now, we look back at what we learned from this unique time, applying these lessons to the future of grant making.

The series is also available to listen to on SpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon Music and Podbean.

Key takeaways: 

  • It’s vital to have full visibility over the funds at every stage to prove how money is spent, uncover any blockage points and measure the ultimate impact.

  • Automation can speed up the number crunching and free up overworked staff to work directly with recipients.

  • An effective mobile app makes it much easier for people to interact with grant makers.

  • Partnering with other, similar organizations can help share leading practices and work toward a standardized system to maximize efficiency.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available. 

Tim Smith

Host and presenter BBC Radio and UK Commercial Radio


Episode 1


14m 58s