Current Awards to Programs


Award Descriptions for the 2015 Fiscal Year

Leaders’ Services – $250,000

This award supports the Leaders’ Center, offering legislative leaders, and future leaders, specialized products and services including timely information on public policy and ideas for innovative management. Specifically, the award supports three important seminars designed exclusively for leaders and emerging leaders. Special seminars for legislative leaders took place in Washington, DC in July, 2014, and are scheduled for mid-December in New York City and Washington, D.C. in the late spring of 2015.

New Member Outreach – $200,000

This award will provide significant support for communicating with new and returning legislators and legislative staff following the November elections and throughout the year. Member engagement is one of NCSL’s most important activities. NCSL provides new and returning legislators with a variety of professional development and other materials to encourage engagement with NCSL. This outreach will also allow for ongoing efforts to customize and personalize programs and materials for legislators and legislative staff.

Web Development – $165,000

The NCSL website is a primary tool for providing information and services to the organization’s members, Foundation sponsors, project funders, the media, and the general public. These constituencies expect ongoing improvements as technology changes and they see innovations across the Internet. In response to these needs and expectations, several specific development initiatives are being conducted in the coming year. These efforts will be coordinated with, and directly support implementation of, the overall website. Ongoing development projects include:

  • To re-engineer the news features of the site to be dynamic, database application for timeliness, quality, and flexibility, with news subscription features to push information from the website;
  • To enhance site search functions;
  • To provide improved interactive map utilities;
  • To further development of mobile compatibility of all documents;
  • To develop the MyAccount preference center portal for users to update their contact information and specify their information and subscription preferences;
  • To migrate StateConnect and other existing web applications to .Net;
  • To implement other functional enhancements identified through the website redesign project.

Legislative Strengthening – $145,000

Veteran NCSL staffer Karl Kurtz will continue to provide research, analysis, training and professional development services to NCSL as a consultant after his retirement at the end of September 2014. His work includes conducting and analyzing a national survey of all state legislators that will update NCSL’s knowledge of term limits and the roles of legislative committees, leadership and partisanship in the policy making process. This work will result in several magazine articles and online reports. He will manage a comprehensive update of NCSL data on legislative committees, support NCSL’s analysis of the 2014 election and provide training and consulting services as needed.

Database and Research Development – $125,000

This award will allow NCSL to expand the development of online databases on key issues such as education, pensions, traffic safety, health care reform, energy and environment, ethics and more. Having access to the full text of state and federal legislation through LexisNexis® State Net® will also enhance NCSL research resources overall in responding to information requests, preparing articles, briefs and publications, and developing pending and enacted legislation summaries.

Challenge Grants – $100,000

This award will support the entrepreneurial spirit of NCSL staff, who are challenged to develop innovative ideas to expand services and support legislators and legislative staff in the 50 states and territories. Strong consideration will be given to proposals that not only expand services but also generate revenue. Proposals will be submitted to the NCSL executive director and approved at his discretion.

Legislative Staff Management Institute – $50,000

Since 1990, the Foundation has supported the operation of the annual Legislative Staff Management Institute. The Institute is the nation’s premier program for developing and enhancing management and leadership skills for America’s leading legislative staffers. The Foundation’s assistance enables NCSL to provide scholarships for senior legislative staff attending this executive management program.

KnowWho Database$50,000

This award will allow NCSL to expand its data on legislators for the StateConnect online directory, and continue its work collecting and analyzing pre-election and election results and enhance existing data collection efforts in Personify (association management software) system.

International Programs – $30,000

The award will support the ongoing work the International Program. For more than 20 years, NCSL has promoted communication, understanding and the exchange of ideas among state legislators and legislative staff and the members and staff of national and sub-national parliaments and other counterpart organizations throughout the world. Requests for information from NCSL are most often about federalism, public policy issues such as economic development, fiscal relations, social services, infrastructure development and technical assistance projects involving staff training and the legislative institutions in developing countries.

400th Anniversary of State Legislatures – $30,000

In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly will mark its 400th anniversary. As the official voice of state legislatures, NCSL has a unique opportunity to present its membership, the general public and the media with an informed and fresh perspective on the value of the first branch of government. This award will allow NCSL to explore creating a national traveling exhibit that will provide state legislatures a platform to share their histories with the public and the media. An interactive display will tour in every state Capitol for a 30-day period in the two years leading up to the anniversary, providing NCSL the opportunity to hold media and private events with leaders, legislators and supporting partners in all 50 states. By developing this program, NCSL will lead the narrative of the history of state legislatures and create a platform that can restore appreciation and enthusiasm for the first branch of government. Seed money for the project will allow NCSL to identify and reach out to potential partners and funders to support this program.

E-learning – $25,000

This award provides online learning and training for legislators and legislative staff. E-learning technologies assist NCSL in expanding opportunities for legislators and legislative staff to participate in NCSL programs when they are unable to travel. This award will provide content for online issue programming and online skill development training for legislators and legislative staff as well as online content for the Legislative Staff University on the NCSL website. The project is guided by and receives input from the Member Outreach and Communications Committee of the NCSL Executive Committee.

Telehealth Public-Private Partnership – $10,000

Telehealth technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way health care is delivered, which has led to growing interest among state legislatures, state medical boards, medical professionals and the mainstream media in recent years. This partnership will help state lawmakers navigate the issues related to the use of telehealth technologies including licensure, provider scope of practice, electronic prescribing and the practitioner-patient relationship. The NCSL Foundation is hosting a scoping meeting at the Legislative Summit in Minneapolis to gauge private sector interest.


Total Awards $1,180,000

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