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February 10, 2022

Maintaining a healthy 21st CCLC program starts and ends with dedicated staff. But where would you be without funding and the right choices around that funding? Y4Y’s course on fiscal management offers new perspectives on managing your program funds, and what you can do to ensure your program’s resilience matches your students’ resilience. Though every state is different, with its own set of funding structures and rules, the Y4Y course offers help navigating the universal federal guidance. By increasing your knowledge, you’ll be in a better position to ask the right questions of your state 21st CCLC program leaders. Here are just a few starter tips to ensure your fiscal brilliance.

Know what your program said it would do when your grant proposal was written. All financial accounting comes back to your stated goals and assets at the outset. Keep your RFP (request for proposal, or more accurately, your grant application) at the ready. Example of why this is important: Your 21st CCLC program can’t supplant stated assets. So, if you noted that you receive supply donations every year from a local office supply store, your program cannot, then, use grant dollars to pay for supplies that were stated as an existing donation in that application.

Know the lingo. If you’re new to program management, access the glossary on the course home page before, during, and after engaging with the fiscal management course to set yourself up for success. Example of why this is important: Many of the legal requirements placed on 21st CCLC grantees center on financial reporting. Although your frontline staff may not be preparing reports, if your whole program doesn’t “speak the language,” important information about spending could be miscommunicated.

Leave it to the pros but don’t leave it to the pros. Be sure to work with the accounting department of your host organization to assign budget codes and track expenditures but keep your own accounting for both monthly spending reports and a drawdown report. Example of why this is important: Cross-checking is critical for accuracy, especially if there are multiple funding streams for your program. You can also stay ahead of unspent monies by tracking spending together.

Spell out your fiscal management policies and procedures in an accessible guidebook. Y4Y offers a sample of what this guidebook might contain. The one for your program will need to reflect the structures of your host district, your program, and your state. Example of why a guidebook is important: One of the key takeaways of the Y4Y Fiscal Management course is that there are complex restrictions around 21st CCLC grant funds. The pandemic has shed a light on how often we must step into new roles with little or no advance notice. A guidebook that your whole staff can refer to means that no matter what your staffing issues might be, budgeting rules can be followed seamlessly.

Keep an eye on the future. Your RFP asks you to talk about the future of your program, so you should always be thinking about the future of your program. Y4Y offers a tool for creating your sustainability plan to get this process — and it is a living process — going. Example of why this is important: Your initiatives in equitable STEM access, career exploration, social and emotional learning, and more lose power today if you can’t keep them going tomorrow.

You may feel that navigating your 21st CCLC budget demands your own personal resilience. And you may be right about that! But Y4Y’s new course on fiscal management further breaks down difficult concepts into simple explanations. It’s designed to ensure that every 21st CCLC leader can feel confident about their fiscal brilliance and their program’s resilience.