With a new fiscal year upon us, the Guam State Clearinghouse is gearing up to obtain as much federal grants available to help bolster services throughout the island.

They've been in charge of managing and acquiring federal funding for several governmental agencies for the past 30 years. "The Guam State Clearinghouse is under the purview of the lieutenant governor of Guam, and is effectually the office of grants management for the territory," according to administrator Kate Balthazar. She said Guam State Clearinghouse is responsible for monitoring and compliance of GovGuam's grants throughout the territories. But the duties are far more extensive.

She continued, "Grants are so changing, it's such a dynamic, fluid field, so there's always new things to learn and sometimes you don't really know, you can always go online and get that information, but we would like to say we would like to be a resource. Our enabling legislations is monitoring and compliance, but we would like to be a resource for our community when it comes to grants."

And they may be situated in a small office at Adelup, but you can see the fruits of their labor throughout the island. This past year alone, GSC has garnered over a million dollars in grants to help improve services islandwide. "We got the chief medical examiner's officer who had not received any federal funding in probably a decade or more now has equipment, cadaver equipment, previously they were getting leftovers from naval hospital. We got them new autopsy equipment, a vehicle to transport," she said.

GSC has also acquired grant funding for an automation system for Guam Customs, disaster recovery following Typhoon Dolphin, and even helping with training and getting fire trucks and ambulances for the Guam Fire Department. Balthazar said, "Chief Joey San Nicolas, he was a prior federal programs administrator for the fire department so he's a good counterpart to work with. We've modified funding for the Hagatna rescue station, so now we have a rescue access point on that side of the island which we didn't have after Pongsona."

These very firefighters were also pro-board certified through the assistance of GSC. And with budgetary shortfalls always a possibility within the government, Balthazar says GSC can help there too, but it's not a silver bullet. "Grants are really, you do the best you can, you put pen to paper with as much statistical data, knowledge and you profess your need as the best you can and hopefully the funder agrees with you on that need," she said.

And while grant season is over and a new fiscal year upon us, Balthazar says GSC will remain aggressive and proactive to ensure what grants are available hopefully are granted to the island again. "So what we would like of course, public safety, that's a huge thing, anything we can do to bolster public safety, we're always looking for ways to do that," she said.

For more information on the Guam State Clearinghouse, call 475-9384 or check them out online on Facebook or at http://gse.guam.gov.