Key Principles for Leveraging Nonfederal Resources

June 7, 2013

What GAO Found

Four factors facilitated the ability of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Gallery of Art, Presidio Trust, and Smithsonian Institution to leverage nonfederal resources: (1) unique legal authorities and management flexibilities; (2) benefits received from these congressionally chartered organizations' (CCO) federal status; (3) governing boards that provided management and oversight; and (4) informal networks that enabled CCOs to share lessons. A critical flexibility is the ability to accept gifts and solicit private donations, but the CCOs in this study are not required to, and did not always provide, a complete picture of nonfederal resources to Congress. The federal budget process is the primary means by which the President and Congress select among competing demands for federal funds; as such, it is essential that budget information be comprehensive and clear. While Congress does not direct the CCOs' use of nonfederal funds, consistent and timely information about CCOs' total resources could provide important context for understanding both the relative tradeoffs among funding decisions and the implications of such decisions. 

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