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How Gun Lake Tribe's Small But Mighty Grants Team Is Making Waves in Grant Management

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The Gun Lake Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe and sovereign government that’s focused on continuing to provide education and information about the history and culture of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. 

From health and human services to law enforcement to language and culture to addressing the effects of COVID-19 as well as substance abuse, grants have played an integral role in supporting the surrounding community. 

Managing grants for at least eight departments, the employees of Gun Lake Tribe, and Tribal Council is a small but mighty team of just two individuals. When it comes to finding and applying for the right grants for the community and helping department heads manage them, you could think of them as your dynamic Batman and Robin team. However, most people know these heroines as Madeline Veneberg, Grants Planning and Management Director, and Hannah Barnes, Assistant Grant Writer and Planner. 

By deploying eCivis’ pre- and post-award grant software, they’re streamlining the many important tasks they do to help fund the Gun Lake tribe’s most pressing priorities.

“We often serve as the lead in searching for grants, developing the proposals, and submitting the grants,” Madeline said. “We work collaboratively with the finance department who’s actively involved with the budget review. During the post award phase, we pull in the whole finance team to work with the project coordinator as well.”

Additionally, their team focuses on grant management and compliance when it comes to closeout. “We verify all the records being completed and documented,” Madeline added. 

As for Hannah, who started the job less than a year ago, she does the hard work of drafting proposals, working with departments to help with review, and reaching out to finance to make sure budgets are approved. “I’m also charged with contacting our tribal council administrator to get resolution numbers since everything we submit has to go through our Tribal Council first,” Hannah said. 

Moving Away From Redundant Spreadsheets and Emails

Prior to moving their grants search and management online, Madeline and Hannah would have to manage large paper binders for different grant projects as well as each individual project coordinator. Not to mention there were countless spreadsheets to update. 

“We would have a binder, then the coordinators would have a binder with documents and then we’d have spreadsheets galore and countless files,” Madeline said. 

On top of this administrative burden, Madeline and Hannah were charged with helping department and project coordinators upload reports and had to stay on top of each coordinator to remind them of programmatic timelines, which was another job in itself. 

“We typically email coordinators with a friendly reminder that programmatic reports are due at the end of the month. But we often have to help the coordinator upload the reports. Even though we’re not the coordinators, it often feels like we have that same level of responsibility,” Hannah added.

Streamlining Grants From Start to Finish

Now that the tribe is moving its pre-award and post-award processes online, Madeline and Hannah are looking to streamline the many tasks they’ve had to manage manually. They look forward to using automated email reminders, a customized search engine to find relevant grant funding, and the ability to produce reports while ensuring compliance. 

“The task reminders will be critical to every role. I think overall [eCivis] will reduce a lot of confusion and unnecessary emails. There are fewer screens and documents and we're eliminating the step of follow-up, which will streamline the whole process,” Hannah said. 

In addition to automating a number of tasks and reducing redundancies, our heroines were able to identify over 8,000 unmatched transactions. Hannah was able to address all of these within the span of two months while leading grant writing and proposal development.

Managing Grants More Holistically for Community Impact

Using eCivis’ grant management software, this small but mighty team of two can now do the work of many in much less time. Now, the team is using eCivis to manage over $1.5 million in CDC funding to address COVID-19 needs in the community. 

“As the pandemic continues to evolve in each community, we’re focusing on modification as additional funds come through like Indian Health Services,” Madeline said. “So many people are involved in this project and we look forward to exchanging information and streamlining it through eCivis.”

Additionally, our heroine, Hannah, is able to quickly find relevant grants to support the ongoing education efforts for tribal language and culture. “We just submitted a grant for the language and culture department which involves a native language study guide to tribal citizens through an online portal,” Hannah said. 

Often, other tribal departments are shocked to hear it’s only a team of two running grants for the Gun Lake Tribe. However, this small but mighty team makes a big impact and can look forward to delivering even more for the tribe and community as they streamline their grants processes.


Ready to be the hero of your own story? Let us help you simplify your grants management so you can drive more impact in your community. 


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