Eastern Grants Forum 2023

  • Start: August 17, 2023 7:45 am
  • End: August 18, 2023 4:30 pm

Eastern Grants Forum returns for 2023! Stay on top of the latest developments and compliance requirements affecting your Federal grants when you attend the Eastern Grants Forum 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17-18.

The Eastern Grants Forum will journey to historic Baltimore in 2023 with an informative and entertaining line-up.  This year’s program will feature a diverse group of speakers and more topics than ever before, with a special emphasis on risk, compliance, and fraud prevention.  Our new and expanded curriculum will open with an update covering recent developments in grants management, including proposed changes to the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Grants Guidance.  The first day will continue with sessions discussing fraud prevention in infrastructure projects, surviving funder scrutiny, and implementing effective internal controls.  The second day of the conference will offer an in-depth look at fraud prevention and the importance of insurance.  Then, the discussion will turn to indirect cost recovery before the conference concludes with an explanation of recordkeeping rules for Federal financial assistance recipients.  Eastern Grants Forum 2023 will cover the important topics that you need to know to stay in compliance with grant requirements today and prepare for tomorrow.

When you attend the Eastern Grants Forum, you will learn about recent developments and best practices in Federal grants management and how to position your programs to remain compliant while minimizing risks.  However, registration opportunities are limited for this year’s conference.  Make plans now to join your grants management colleagues at Eastern Grants Forum in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17-18, 2023.




During this special two-day conference, you will learn about the latest challenges facing grant-funded organizations, including satisfying requirements under the Uniform Grants Guidance.  This year’s agenda has a special focus on reducing risk, preventing fraud, and enhancing compliance.  By attending, you will learn about the following:

  • Proposed revisions to the Uniform Grants Guidance.
  • Upcoming changes to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse.
  • Recent court decisions affecting grant-funded organizations.
  • Fraud prevention for Federal infrastructure projects.
  • Managing and minimizing fraud risks generally.
  • Preparing for funder scrutiny in the post-COVID era.
  • Insurance fundamentals and recommendations for grant-funded entities.
  • Effective internal controls and common challenges to control activities.
  • Cost recovery through cost allocation and indirect cost rates.
  • Recordkeeping requirements and best practices.
  • Avoiding common grants management mistakes.

The Eastern Grants Forum 2023 will discuss these important topics and more to help ensure that your organization is following current grants management requirements and best practices.  In addition, you will be able to ask our speakers your individual grants management questions throughout the conference.


This year’s Eastern Grants Forum training conference is scheduled for August 17-18, 2023, in history rich Baltimore, Maryland.  We have two full days of educational and entertaining sessions planned.  Click on the link to download our current schedule.  (Schedule is subject to change.)  The cancellation deadline for the conference is 5:00 pm EDT on July 18, 2023.  Please review our cancellation policy.  Our agenda for each day is as follows:

Day One (Thursday, August 17, 2023)

Sign-in for the day and enjoy a Continental breakfast before the first session.

The opening session of Eastern Grants Forum 2023 will provide an update on current issues and new developments in Federal grants management. Attorney Brian Tipton will explain recent and upcoming changes in the rules and systems for managing Federal awards, including planned changes to the Uniform Grants Guidance and the Federal Audit Clearinghouse. He will also discuss key court decisions from the last year with impacts on grant-funded organizations as well as ongoing efforts to fight Federal grant fraud. Following this session, you will be able to outline at least five recent developments affecting Federal grants management.

Enjoy a 15-minute coffee break between the morning sessions of the Eastern Grants Forum.

This session will discuss prevention and detection of fraud in Federal grant-funded projects, including ongoing efforts by the government to combat financial assistance fraud.  Attendees will learn about key risk indicators for fraud.  We will also discuss several case studies examining Federal grant fraud.  The discussion will conclude with a look at lessons learned and grant fraud prevention techniques.  After attending this session, you will be able to identify signs of potential grant fraud as well as strategies for preventing fraud.

Join your fellow attendees for an informal networking luncheon.  Lunch will be provided as part of the conference.  (Please note that because of space limitations, the luncheon is only open to registrants and speakers.)

In this training, we will introduce a concept called futures thinking and explore how it can prepare your organization to identify and receive gifts from major donors. We will identify how COVID affected major donor giving and demonstrate how your nonprofit storytelling, digital footprint, and donor communications can attract and retain major donor funding.

Topics covered will include:

  • An introduction to futures thinking: How to examine potential outcomes by identifying trends and increasing our ability to adapt quickly in the present.
  • How futures thinking applies to increasing major donor revenue streams.
  • Signals of the future: major donors giving 6 and 7 figure gifts to nonprofits.
  • Communication with major donors in the post-COVID era.

Walk away with:

  • Real time exercises to expand innovative thinking.
  • Examples of nonprofits that attracted major donor gifts in the pandemic.
  • Examples of current wealth identification platforms and tools to locate major donors.
  • An increased ability to identify new signals and trends in the realm of major donor giving.

Enjoy a 15-minute break between the afternoon sessions of the Eastern Grants Forum.

The Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Grants Guidance requires grant-funded organizations to implement effective internal controls. However, that is easier said than done, and the Uniform Grants Guidance itself is lacking in specifics. By participating in the workshop, you will learn more about these requirements and how your organization can implement effective controls.

In this session, you will explore internal controls in detail, including the following topics:

  • Basic requirements for internal controls.
  • Frameworks for internal controls.
  • Assessing risk and the link to internal controls.
  • Different types of controls and their purposes.
  • Common challenges to maintaining effective internal controls.

After attending this session, you will be able to identify the elements for effective internal controls as required by the Uniform Guidance.

The first day of the Eastern Grants Forum will conclude at 4:30 pm on August 17, 2023.

Day Two (Friday, August 18, 2023)

Sign-in for the second day of the Eastern Grants Forum and enjoy a Continental breakfast before the first sessions.

Every organization is vulnerable to fraud perpetrated by insiders and outsiders.  This workshop begins with an overview of three fraud types and an introduction to dangerous but common fraud myths and misconceptions.  The session continues with practical tips and strategies to reduce the likelihood of fraud and quickly detect fraud schemes you are unable to prevent.  Leave this workshop with the confidence you need to deter and detect fraud, before fraudsters compromise your organization’s mission, reputation, and financial assets.  Learn how to fortify your organization and reduce the risk that it will be victimized by a fraudster.

By attending this session, you will:

  • Learn myths and misconceptions about fraud in organizations.
  • Discover steps you can and should take to reduce the likelihood of fraud.
  • Find out how to detect and stop fraud before it causes permanent reputation damage.

Enjoy a 15-minute coffee break between the morning sessions of the Eastern Grants Forum.

Diving into the details of commercial property and casualty insurance is a task few leaders relish! But as is true with any contract, the "devil" in an insurance policy is "in the details."  This session begins with a gentle, guided tour of the insurance industry.  You will learn who does what, why the pricing of insurance products can be volatile despite a clean claims history, and how to tap into resources available from your insurance advisors and carriers.  The session continues with a review of policy nuances that matter when it is time to purchase or renew coverage for your organization.  Learn how to approach the management of an insurance portfolio with confidence and curiosity!

During this session, you will:

  • Learn about the key players in the insurance industry and why that knowledge is key to purchasing the coverage your organization needs.
  • Discover how to read and understand what a policy covers.  (Hint: don’t read the policy in page order!)
  • Find out how to reduce the burdens and frustrations associated with renewing coverage for your organization.

Explore Baltimore's thriving lunch scene on your own during this 90-minute break between the Eastern Grants Forum's morning and afternoon sessions.

In this session, Nicky Lettini will discuss indirect cost, why it matters, and how you can maximize your opportunities.  As the diversity of state, local government, and nonprofit services increases, the true cost of delivering a service becomes increasingly opaque. This blurring of costs across different programs is typically due to the uncertainty of indirect cost and how to apply it.

With 2 CFR part 200 in effect, knowing and understanding your true cost is important. What’s the difference between indirect cost and direct cost? How do you calculate your indirect cost to assure your maximum reimbursement? Does it really matter with the 10% de minimis rate?

This session will discuss the problems, solutions, and outcomes associated with indirect cost.  It will explain how, by leveraging an indirect cost rate, true costs can be made defensible and fully understood.  Importantly, you will also learn why this matters to your grants.

After attending this session you will be able to:

  • Define what indirect cost is.
  • Describe what a cost allocation plan and Indirect Cost Rate is and how it can be used.
  • Describe how indirect cost affects sustainability of an organization.
  • Identify the ways you can use indirect cost on your federal and state grants.

Enjoy a 15-minute break between the afternoon sessions of the Eastern Grants Forum.

Documentation is the first (as well as the final) line of defense for grant-funded organizations.  The OMB's Uniform Grants Guidance has detailed recordkeeping rules for Federal awards and subawards.  However, organizations must also take into account practical considerations when developing records policies.  This session will explain in detail both the recordkeeping retention and access rules in the Uniform Guidance as well as current best practices in records management.  Following this session, you will be able to list the recordkeeping requirements for recipients and subrecipients of Federal financial assistance.

The Eastern Grants Forum will conclude at 4:30 pm on August 18, 2023.


When you attend Eastern Grants Forum 2023, you will learn about major requirements of the OMB’s Uniform Grants Guidance, recent developments in Federal grants management, and other important topics for grant-funded entities.  After attending the training, you will be able to:

  • Describe proposed updates to the Uniform Grants Guidance.
  • Outline at least three recent court decisions affecting Federal grants management.
  • Identify fraud risk factors for infrastructure projects.
  • List the elements of Enterprise Risk Management and describe how to apply them.
  • Distinguish common types of commercial insurance products.
  • Identify current funder concerns and at least three ways to overcome them.
  • List at least five internal controls and describe how to implement them effectively.
  • List the factors affecting maximum recovery of indirect costs.
  • Outline record retention and access requirements for Federal grant programs.
  • Identify at least five common grant compliance problems and strategies to avoid them.


Eastern Grants Forum 2023 is intended for all members of the grant-funded community:  governing body members, officers, executives, managers, fiscal staff, program staff, and other grants management professionals.  This course is recommended for a total of 14 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit in the field of specialized knowledge.  The experience level for this training varies.  The opening session is an update and other sessions have an experience level of overview.  Attendees should have a basic understanding of Federal grants management.  No other prerequisites for attendance exist and no specific educational background is necessary.  No advance preparation is required.


Melanie Lockwood Herman, Esq., has served as Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center since 1996 and has held senior management positions in the nonprofit sector since 1987.  Melanie is the principal author of more than 20 books on various risk management topics; Melanie’s most recent book was published in Fall 2017: “World-Class Risk Management for Nonprofits.” She is an eleven-time member of The NonProfit Times “Power and Influence Top 50.” In one NPT announcement Melanie was described as “one of the most prolific writers and lecturers on the topic of nonprofit risk,” and “the architect of the risk plans of some of the nation’s largest’ nonprofits.”

Melanie earned a BA in Urban Affairs from American University (Washington, DC), and a JD from George Mason University School of Law (Arlington, VA).  She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association and currently serves on three national nonprofit boards (American Foundation for the Blind, Camp Fire, and the National Human Services Assembly).

Nicolie Lettini has been providing cost allocation plan services to clients throughout the United States for over 20 years.  She is recognized as a leader in both indirect cost allocation and total cost of services studies.  Nicky has prepared over 850 complete cost allocation plans and cost of services studies for state and local governments of various sizes.

Currently, Nicky is the Vice President of Indirect Services at eCivis.  As Founder and CEO of CostTree, acquired by eCivis in March 2018, she developed the first comprehensive SaaS/Cloud cost allocation solution on the market.  Nicky holds a BA in Managerial Economics from the University of California, Davis, and received an MBA in Accounting at California State University, Sacramento.


Stephanie Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundraising for the Future (FFTF), which supports organizations in leaning into the expansive nature of grant proposal writing and grant-making.  FFTF is a small but mighty grant writing firm based in New Mexico that has secured over $10 million in grants in the last 5 years.  FFTF provides philanthropic consultation to a variety of local and regional funders.  FFTF believes that both traditional best practices and multidisciplinary tools such as futures thinking will be needed to usher organizations and funders into this new era of philanthropy.

R. Brian Tipton is a practicing attorney with more than two decades' worth of experience working with nonprofits, governmental units, and other grant-funded organizations across the United States.  Currently, Brian is the Managing Director of Tipton KPCL in Atlanta, Georgia, where he heads the firm's tax-exempt and grant-funded solutions practice.  He is a summa cum laude graduate of the Louisiana State University and the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University.  Brian regularly represents grant-funded entities of all types in the areas of regulatory compliance, audits, funding source disputes, administrative appeals, and litigation.  Brian also consults with organizations on governance, human resources, programmatic, and corporate matters, and develops and presents training programs for nonprofits and grant-funded organizations.


Join us in historic Baltimore for the Eastern Grants Forum 2023.  The conference will be held at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore, conveniently located on Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor.  Rooms are available for special conference rates starting at just $159 per night (plus applicable tax).  These special rates are available for August 16 through 18, 2023, and may be offered for additional days before and after the conference subject to hotel availability.  Hotel reservations can be made by calling the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court directly at 1-410-234-0550.  Please ask the reservations agent for the special group rate for “The Private Client Law Group” to receive the discounted rate.  The room reservation cut-off date is July 24, 2023, or until the block is exhausted.  (Please note that the cancellation deadline for this event is before the hotel cut-off; cancellation requests must be received by 5:00 pm EDT on July 18, 2023.)  Because of the limited number of rooms available, we advise making your reservations as soon as possible.

Registration Details


$599 / Early Bird
(By June 30)


$649 / Regular
(After June 30)



Just click the “REGISTER” button to register for the Forum.  Please note that the cancellation deadline for the conference is 5:00 pm EST on July 18, 2023.