LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A panel of nonprofit administrators convened to hear how the state plans to help in securing federal funding that currently is missed because Nevadans fail to apply for it. Moreover, they had the chance to tell the officials – Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno and State Treasurer Zach Conini – how the state can best help them.

Sisolak’s goals include increasing Nevada’s share of federal grants by $100 million over the next two years and by $500 million annually by 2026.

Monroe-Moreno plans to introduce a bill at the 2021 Legislature to create the Nevada Governor’s Office of Federal Resources, a cabinet-level position to coordinate the effort to secure federal dollars.

Grant writing and collaboration on grants were among the biggest needs discussed.

United Way of Southern Nevada’s Kyle Rahn applauded the idea of a state position to aid in coordinating the effort. “You’ve got to spend money to make money,” she said. Rahn said many nonprofits don’t even know they are eligible for funding, and they need help to apply.

Asha Jones, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford said collaboration is needed on grant writing to take the burden off small nonprofits to write a perfect grant proposal. The best proposals often involve more than one nonprofit, seeking funds to help the community in multiple ways.

Conine reeled off a number of examples of funding that could have provided millions to the state for health programs, income security and social services.

Among the panelists involved in Thursday’s discussion were Cynthia Radley of Three Square, Audra Hamernik of Nevada HAND, Terence Thornton of Nevada Special Olympics, Arlan Melendez of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Richard Jack II of the nonprofit Gentlemen by Choice, Rahn and Jones.

Melendez and Jack brought up the subject of grant writing, and their comments were reinforced by others on the panel.

Grant writing is often the way nonprofits obtain funding, but some nonprofits aren’t big enough to devote resources to the process. So they remain limited in how much they can do.

Panelists talked about benefits across a broad range, from housing assistance to SNAP benefits, and all seemed to agree that state resources would be valuable to help coordinated the effort.

Sisolak and Conine spoke of millions of dollars that Nevada leaves on the table by not applying for federal aid, and Sisolak said the state needed to do better. “This is a change in how we do business — we can change the infrastructure and the foundation to open the spigot.”

Sisolak closed by acknowledging contributions by nonprofit leaders.

“Thank you for the work you are doing in our community,” he said, noting without the work of Nevada nonprofits, more people would be going hungry, going homeless and going without medical care.