Relearning fed-speak

I crossed over from public service at a state agency to the philanthropic sector 13 1/2 years ago.  It was a great honor to help communities grow through staffing a variety of state and federal grant and technical assistance programs.

However, when I walked out the door, I said something to the effect of “Now that this is over, I’ll never read the Federal Register again. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, as God is my witness, I shall never read the Federal Register again.”  (Thanks Scarlett O’Hara!)

It turns out I was wrong.

Last month, two foundations asked me to track potential opportunities in the economic stimulus package and other federal grants that could expand their initiatives in Indianapolis.  Forgetting my old vow, I accepted the consulting assignment.

A month later, I’ve relearned how to read and speak Federal Register.  And, I remembered what drove me bonkers more than 13 years ago:  the federal government is in desparate need of editors.  Editors of content, policies, or ideas – the government needs you.

If you know unemployed journalists, writers, or publishers, do your country a service and march them down to the nearest federal agency or congressional office.  Offer their talents to translate federal laws, notices, and regulations into real English.  If you work for a foundation or donor, make grants for this purpose.  If you work for a federal agency, hire these people as a great economic stimulus contribution.

Your country will thank you.  Nonprofits and small businesses will thank you.  I will personally do your dishes for a year.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  And now, back to the regular blog posts…