Every community wants to see all of its children and youth thrive, but across the nation, the opportunity gap between children in affluent families and children in poverty is widening. A commitment to the health, well-being, and success of all young people means working to close gaps in the investments made in children in our communities. But, before a community can close these gaps, they must understand their increasingly complex financial realities.
A starting point for this work is to develop a fiscal map that aids communities in conversations about their investments and priorities related to children and youth. A fiscal map is a tool communities use to gain a collective understanding of existing and potential funding and move towards more efficient use of existing funding, common understanding of priorities, and informed decision-making in pursuing new funding.
Want to learn more about the fiscal mapping process? See a step-by-step guide here. Is fiscal mapping a next step for your community? Determine your readiness. Want to understand more how other communities used fiscal mapping to advance common aims? Read case studies here.
The Massachusetts Fiscal Mapping Tool was developed by the Children’s Funding Project in partnership with the Harvard Education Redesign Lab to help communities search for and build a customized fiscal map of existing and potential sources of federal and state funding to support local programs and services for children and youth in Massachusetts.* The tool itself is a searchable, sortable, downloadable data set containing information on all of the state and federal funding streams for child and youth services/supports that are used in Massachusetts.
It is important to note that data from the Massachusetts funding formula for core K-12 school funding – dollars for class instruction and core administration – is not included in this tool. These dollars, while they represent one of the largest and most significant investments in children, are earmarked and administered under a separate process. This resource focuses on the dollars that “can make up the difference” for children’s positive development and success – health, social-emotional and academic – in and out of school. Every effort should be made to align and coordinate efforts to increase supports for children to these core school investments.
This site also contains information on the basics of fiscal mapping that can be applied to any community, as well as suggestions for and examples of uses for the results of your fiscal mapping effort.
* This tool is designed for use by Massachusetts communities. If you are not in Massachusetts, a generic fiscal mapping data collection tool can be found here.
The fiscal map was created using budgetary documents from the Massachusetts State budget (FY19), key budgetary information and explanation from MassBudget’s budget tools, and from federal budgetary sources (allocated to Massachusetts in FY19).* Each funding source Where accessible online, a link to budget information is provided for each funding source.
Additional sources were used to derive information about purposes; funding cycles; eligible populations, services and programs; administrative requirements, provisions and flexibilities; and recent funding trends. These sources include:
*State and federal fiscal years do not necessarily align. Federal sources were included when funds were allocated and disbursed to Massachusetts localities and entities within the FY19 year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019).
To most effectively use a fiscal mapping tool, communities should first determine the goal of their fiscal mapping effort. How you hope to use your fiscal map will shape the research question that guides your effort and help you to identify the characteristics (columns) of the funding streams you are interested in.
Examples of general goals include:
Possible pairs of goals and research questions include:
GOAL: to identify possible funding for after school programs in your community
RESEARCH QUESTION: what federal and state funding streams are available for use to support after school programs in Massachusetts?
GOAL: to identify how much is being spent in Massachusetts to support improved connectedness outcomes for youth in poverty
RESEARCH QUESTION: what is the total amount of funding aimed at the outcome of “connectedness” and has income-based eligibility requirements?
GOAL: to determine how your community could use its existing investments in teen substance abuse prevention to leverage additional funding
RESEARCH QUESTION: what federal and state funding streams for teen substance abuse prevention programs have a matching requirement?
Depending on your goal and research question, you may be interested in different variables. In this data set, each row represents one funding stream, while each column represents a different variable or characteristic of that funding stream. The tool includes 18 descriptive and analytical features of federal and state funds that local communities can access to wrap supports around children, help them succeed in school, and thrive in their home communities. We have divided them into descriptive features and analytic features. Simpler research questions (e.g. how much funding is being invested in after school?) will require only descriptive features, while more complicated questions about how funding can be used (e.g. what funding streams require a local match?) will require analytic features. The complete list of columns (variables) and their variants is in the tab labeled “variables.” You can hide variables you are not interested in by hovering over the column header, clicking the wheel icon in the top right corner, and selecting “hide.”
Most communities use at least five variables:
Some communities may want to expand that list to include additional questions that help them coordinate funds, understand funding trends, address equity, and analyze p and analyze how they might be most effectively used to meet local needs.
Tip: Getting clarity on the parameters – populations, ages, outcomes, services – that your fiscal map will cover is important and will help you maintain the focus of your coalition over time.
|DESCRIPTIVE FEATURES OF FUNDING STREAMS|
|A||Funding Stream||Name of program/funding stream; funds associated with a federal or state program and appropriated for authorized purposes.||N/A|
|B||Federal/State Budget Item Number||Original state or federal budget reference number by which the budget item is commonly identified. For the State, this is the budget item number. For federal programs that do not passthrough the state (and are not assigned a state budget item number), this is the CFDA number.||N/A|
|C||FY19 Appropriation Amount||FY 19 appropriation amount, determined by the Massachusetts state fiscal year calendar, beginning July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.||N/A|
|D||Funding Level||Level at which funding originated, federal or state.||Federal
|E||Outcome Category||Indicators of comprehensive wellbeing across developmental outcomes.||Connected: Providing opportunities for children and youth to be connected to their communities.
Educated: Children and youth being engaged in age-appropriate learning at all stages of their development.
Employable: Supporting youth to find and retain employment, so they can adequately support themselves and/or their families.
Healthy: Children and youth receiving preventative healthcare, being referred for services where needed, and receiving targeted services where needed.
Safe: Ensuring that families and communities where children and youth live and interact are safe.
|F||Age Range||Includes all eligible and/or targeted ages. Funds that can be applied to multiple age groupings with relevance for community stakeholders are denoted by multiple tags.||0 - 5 Years Old
6 - 12 Years Old
13 - 18 Years Old
18+ Years Old
|G||Eligible Populations||Specific youth populations for which funds are designated.||
|H||Eligible Services||Services for which funds may be used. Tags provide quick reference ways for local stakeholders to search for relevant funding.||
Data System Development
Early Childhood Education
Runaway and Homeless Youth
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
|I||Typical Local Recipients||Local entity/ies typically eligible for receiving funds.||
Child Care Programs
County Head Start Office
Direct to individual schools
Directly to eligible families
Local Education Agencies
Local Health Department
Local Housing Authority
|J||Program Focus||Programmatic focus of funds including universal -- directed towards all children and youth -- and targeted intervention focuses that provide intensive and deep end supports for children and youth with specific and/or acute needs.||Universal: Funds apply to children and youth broadly within a given programmatic or institutional setting. Largely focused on positive development and prevention in support of the general needs of children, youth and their families.
Targeted Intervention: Funds are directed towards a specific population to correct or mitigate disparity or meet intensive needs to address acute physical, behavioral, safety and/or educational needs of children and youth.
|K||Program Description||Description of the federal or state program for which a specified set of funds have been appropriated.||N/A|
|L||Original Granting Agency||Agency that oversees and administers grants for the program.||
US Corporation for National Service
MA Child Care Resource and Referral Centers
MA Children's Trust Fund
MA Commission for the Blind
MA Department of Children and Family
MA Department of Developmental Services
MA Department of Developmental Services
MA Department of Early Education and Care
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
MA Department of Housing and Community Development
MA Department of Mental Health
MA Department of Public Health
MA Department of Transitional Assistance
MA Department of Youth Services
MA Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
MA Juvenile Court Department
MA Office of the Child Advocate
MA Rehabilitation Commission
US Bureau of Indian Affairs
US Department of Agriculture
US Department of Education
US Department of Health & Human Services
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
US Department of Justice
US Department of Labor
US Institute of Museum and Library Services
US National Endowment for the Arts
|M||Grant Type||Funds by mandated category, including funds written into law/mandated by statute or discretionary at the will of the legislature and departments.||Formula Grants: Funding allocated to states, counties or cities from a federal agency according to distribution formulas set forth in program regulations. Funds are then, in turn granted or distributed by the state to other organizations or programs based on a plan approved by the federal agency.
Project Grants: Money awarded, usually through a competitive process, to fund a project for a set period of time.
Cooperative Agreement: Federal funding awarded to a non-government agency to carry out specific services or implement a specific program. This differs from a grant in that there is significant government involvement in the project.
Entitlement: Federal program guarantee individuals access to some benefit based on membership in a defined group or legislation.
Training: Programs must provide instructional activities for individuals not employed by the Federal government.
Direct Payment for Specified Use: Federal funding distributed to encourage or subsidize a particular activity. Recipient of funds must meet performance metrics and expectations to receive the funds.
Direct Payments with Unrestricted Use: Federal funds given directly to beneficiaries who satisfy eligibility requirements. An example is payment under a compensatory program. Other Funding Mechanism: Includes funding derived from fees, taxing mechanisms and other indirect revenue-generating mechanisms.
|N||Funding Cycle||Funding allocated to states, counties or cities from a federal agency according to distribution formulas set forth in program regulations. Funds are then, in turn granted or distributed by the state to other organizations or programs based on a plan approved by the federal agency.||N/A|
|O||Source – FY19 Appropriation Amount||Link to source material that provided information on funding stream characteristics||N/A|
|ANALYTIC FEATURES OF FUNDING STREAMS|
|P||Administrative Flexibility||Exceptions or exemptions (if any) to program requirements and/or the application process.||
|Q||Provision for Coordination||Presence of language related to whether a particular funding stream advises applicants (in statutory language or in the program criteria) to partner with other agencies or entities to accomplish program goals.||Yes
|R||Waiver Provision||Presence of language related to waiver authority that can be applied to particular funds. Related to flexibility, but provides additional information related to the mechanism and process by which flexibility may be granted.||Yes
|S||Blended/ Braided Funding||Identifies funds that are created or typically combined through blended or braided funding. Helpful to local stakeholders who may know or understand those funds under other names not reflected in the originating budget language.||Yes
|T||Matching Requirement||Presence of language indicating whether the applicant and/or a partner entity must match a proportion of or the whole allocation of funds, typically applicable to formula grants.||Yes
|Funding Trend||Three-year trend data on budget allocation, providing information on stability of historical funding levels, and overall sustainability of particular funds.||Up (Significant): Funding has risen 8% or more over 3-year trend period. Inflation-adjusted amount.
Up (Modest): Funding has risen less than 8% or less over 3-year trend period. Inflation-adjusted amount.
Stable: Funding has stayed virtually stable over 3-year trend period. Inflation-adjusted amount.
Down (Modest): Funding has decreased less than 8% or less over 3-year trend period. Inflation-adjusted amount.
Down (Significant): Funding has decreased 8% to 30% over 3-year trend period. Inflation-adjusted amount.
Down (Acute): Funding has been cut more than 30% over 3-year trend period or has been slated to be completely cut in the next FY.
Down (Acute): Funding has been cut more than 30% or has been slated to be completely cut in the next FY.
If you are completing a fiscal map for a specific local community, gathering data from this tool will only be one step in your process. Each community will have to determine their specific local share of funds. Local funds are derived from a portion of federal sources, state sources, and any locally generated funds set aside for children and youth services and programs. When you download the relevant data from the tool, you will want to create a new column where you record and track the amount of funding from each stream that your city/county/district receives.
There are several different methods for determining local funds:
a) Reviewing local budgets directly from local recipients. This provides information directly from the local source. It should be noted, however, that this approach takes time in contacting each individual source, and some sources may not be able to provide full information. Sometimes funds are known only by their local names (e.g., one community’s Mayor’s Time funding may actually come from a mix of local and federal funds), so check your work to make sure local funds that actually come from multiple sources aren’t being double counted.
b) Seeking award information on local recipients from a federal and state agency’s web pages or budget documents. These resources often provide solid confirmation of awarded funds. It should be noted, however, that agencies vary in the amount, specificity and accessibility of fiscal information they publicly provide. In some cases, directly contacting agency budget holders may help clarify which portions of funds went to a given locality, particularly when funds were spread across several local entities.
c) Searching for award information on grant search engines. In an effort to provide transparency, increasing federal and state governments are putting budgetary and award information online so that the public can track how and where their tax dollars are spent. A great deal of fiscal information exists online. Getting as much information as possible from online sources can save time and make the more time-intensive tasks (such as interviewing individual agencies) more focused and efficient. Sites such as USAspendng.gov or Map My Community on youth.gov provide detail on which local entities received grants, place of grant performance, award types and amounts, and when awards were disbursed.
d) Determining local share from formulas or enrollment estimates: Many funding amounts are determined based on formulas or enrollment levels of eligible program participants. While direct amounts are often available via online award publications or through one-on-one interviews with budget holders, sometimes neither are available. Local amounts can, however, be reasonably estimated by determining the percentage of funds based on a formula or enrollment estimates that would be applied to local programs and recipients.
Tip: Federal, state and local fiscal years do not always align. When determining which funds are coming in locally, communities may need to determine which funds apply to the local fiscal year under review. Many funds are relatively stable from year to year, so aligning amounts may not be difficult.
Once local funds have been identified, communities have two choices – align existing funding and strategize to capture new sources of funding.
Aligning existing funding requires that communities identify all relevant sources of funding and look comprehensively across programs and services to determine patterns and gaps in how programs and services are being funded. The following columns are useful for helping a community gain a comprehensive picture of what’s coming in and who in the community receives funds and essential for alignment, including coordinating planning for future grant applications: .
Alternatively, communities looking for new sources of funding may seek to strategize on how they might successfully capture new dollars. New dollars may come from existing funding streams that a community has not successfully drawn on in the past, including competitive grants; leveraging private dollars to address gaps; or generating a new local tax to fund children’s services.
A fiscal map can inform next steps in seeking new funding. Looking at untapped funds for which a community might be eligible is a common starting place. Communities can take the following steps to identify and prioritize new sources of funding:
Update to include new funding sources: Fiscal maps are living documents! Once an initial fiscal map has been completed, communities may want to update to include new funding opportunities and note changes to funding priorities. Having an existing fiscal map means much of the groundwork is already done – but these updates will be useful to keeping information current.
A common use of fiscal mapping is to increase funding in one or more specific service, support or outcome areas. A fiscal map can help leaders identify existing funds, target additional funds that are not being drawn locally, and determine a strategy – reallocating existing funds to better serve needs, applying for competitive funds, seeking private investments to undergird public funding, or generating new local dollars for a specific purpose.
In Hennepin County (Minneapolis, Minnesota), a coalition used fiscal mapping to identify new sources of funding. Having achieved a 66 percent decrease in teen birth rates, Better Together Hennepin saw that more work was needed to sustain investments and have even more teenagers delay parenthood. Nearing the final years of a large investment of federal funds, the coalition set sights on more effectively drawing on existing funding and expanding their map of additional funds that could be used to continue their efforts. A fiscal map helped them identify where funding opportunities were being undertapped and to expand their focus to include additional funds from broader sources supporting health and youth development. See Hennepin County’s fiscal map.
Increasingly, communities are placing access and equity at the center of local conversations. Understanding how and where the money flows can aid communities in having those conversations in a transparent manner. A fiscal map can be an effective advocacy tool, showing all stakeholders the need and the gaps, particularly in areas where there has been historical disinvestment.
Buncombe County, North Carolina developed a fiscal map to communicate the gap in preschool funding and make the case for new funding at the local level. In 2017, the Asheville-Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative found a $19 million gap in funding for early childhood education during their fiscal mapping process. Having tracked the levels of existing federal, state and other funding, local advocates were able to make a specific case with specific targets for serving unserved preschool children and increasing the number of preschool slots. In the first year, the county raised $3 million of the full amount toward increasing access and quality for all preschoolers. See Buncombe County’s fiscal map.
Communities understand that every dollar counts and that communities should understand how well investments are meeting children and youths’ needs. A fiscal map supports the process of counting investments. This kind of accounting is often paired with outcome or demand data which allows communities to assess impact of investments in children and youth.
The Denver Children’s Cabinet developed a fiscal mapping process to align funding priorities to mayoral commitments to address gaps in access and opportunity in health, family, economic stability, achievement, school readiness, and youth success. The city has committed to an annual process of tracking investments against key outcomes, mapping both the funding and its efficacy in neighborhoods and across the city to meet the Mayor’s goals for healthy, engaged, and safe children and youth. See Denver’s fiscal map.
Balancing investments is important for ensuring that all young people thrive. A comprehensive fiscal map helps communities understand where greater balance between priorities may be needed.
King County (Seattle area), Washington struck a balance between investing in intervention and basic supports to children and families and investing in early support, prevention and positive youth development. When it assessed its fiscal landscape, King County, Washington found that their public investments in children and youth were not particularly balanced – public dollars were heavily invested in intervention when kids were in need of deep supports with relatively few dollars devoted to prevention and promotion of positive development. Looking toward a balanced set of investments, King County launched a campaign to generate local dollars to fund Best Starts for Kids, a voter-approved initiative that raised $65 million to help put every child in the county on a path toward lifelong success. See King County’s fiscal map.
One of the most effective tasks that local communities can undertake is to coordinate the supports and services for children and youth across agencies and departments. Many communities have established coordinating bodies to do this. These bodies are taking up the question of how to most effectively use funding to act together. This is particularly critical information in an era of tightening budgets.
Broward County, the most populous county in Florida, took a coordinated approach to mapping supports for juvenile justice diversion efforts. They formed a workgroup across county entities – Broward County Public Schools, the Behavioral Health Coalition, Department of Juvenile Justice Services, the Department Children and Families, Child Welfare, and the Broward County Human Services Department – to conduct a fiscal mapping on local, state and federal funding to support juvenile justice diversion efforts. This fiscal map was used to coordinate the distribution of grants in the county’s work on diversion, addressing gaps in order to fund more coordinated, prevention-based services for teens in Broward County. See Broward County’s fiscal map.