Applying for a Grant
What is a DUNS number and why does my organization need to get one?
For all assistance awards issued to organizations, both domestic and foreign, Grants Officers must know the organization’s Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) DUNS number prior to award. The applicant organization must obtain this DUNS number on its own – the Department Grants Officer MAY NOT obtain the number from Dun and Bradstreet on behalf of the organization. The DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identifier that identifies an organization. The rationale for this requirement is to improve the statistical reporting of Federal assistance agreements. The DUNS number already is in use by the Federal government generally to identify entities receiving Federal. Among existing numbering systems, the DUNS is the only one that provides the Federal government the ability to determine hierarchical and family-tree data for related organizations.
What is the official language of award documents?
Department of State policy is that English is the official language of all award documents. If an award or any supporting documents are provided in both English and a foreign language, it must be stated in each version that the English language version is the controlling version.
What documents do I need to submit in order to get my grant approved?
There is a complete package of documents an organization or an individual is required to submit when trying to get approval for grant funds. If the grant is to be issued to an institution, the Grants Committee will need to receive:
- Proof of an active registration with DUNS and SAM;
- Revised proposal narrative (printed in the organization’s letterhead). This narrative should include what will be purchased with the funds, how items will be implemented, who will oversee the project, that the plan is to secure items purchased with USG funding, the timeline of the project;
- Revised budget, which should include quantity for each item to be purchased, unit price in dollars, technical specifications of equipment (size, capacity, etc.), no need to identify a specific brand;
- Filled out SF-424 form;
- Monitoring Plan;
- Filled out Direct Deposit Form.
Templates to forms can be found at the Grants Corner page.
If the grantee is an individual, they are not required to send a proof of registration with DUNS and SAM but must send all other documents listed above. Also, they are required to send the filled out SF-424i for individuals.
My institution’s Point of Contact in SAM no longer works for us and we don’t have the login information. How should we proceed?
SAM requires a notarized letter to give access to new Entity Administrators when the previous administrator is no longer with the organization and the new administrator cannot use the automated account migration tool. Your notarized letter needs to:
- Be on your company/organization letterhead, and be signed by your company President, CEO, or other authorized signature authority
- Contain your company/organization DUNS Number
- Contain the old CCR Primary and Alternate POCs’ name (if you know it)
- Contain the new Entity Administrator’s name, phone number, address and email address
- Provide a justification for the change
- Contain this statement above the signature block of your letter and insert the appropriate names where noted:
The purpose of this notarized letter is to verify the identity of [insert name of Entity Administrator]. [Insert name of Entity Administrator] affirms that he or she is an authorized officer, agent, or representative of [insert entity name, or, for individuals not representing an entity, say him/herself]. This letter will authorize [Insert name of Entity Administrator] to have access to the System for Award Management (SAM). SAM is a computer system managed by the Federal Government, and it is only accessible by individuals who are either authorized to represent a particular entity, or by individuals representing themselves. Accessing or using SAM, or information contained therein, for any unauthorized or illegal purposes, may have civil and criminal penalties, and may negatively impact the status of the SAM registration maintained on this entity. I, the below-signed, attest to the accuracy of all information contained in this letter.
The letter must be notarized, scanned and attached to an open service ticket submitted to the Federal Service Desk. The new Entity Administrator must have an individual SAM User Account created with the e-mail address provided in the notarized letter.
NOTE: Once your incident is put in a “Pending Customer” status, you will have three days to complete this process and attach your notarized letter to your incident through your account on this website.
When can I begin to spend grant funds? What is the Period of Performance?
The recipient can only begin incurring costs on the beginning date of the period of performance, once the Grants Officer has signed the agreement. So if your grant agreement indicates that the period of performance is from January 24, 2015 through January 23, 2016, the Grants Officer signs the agreement on January 21 and the recipient countersigns on January 28 the grantee can begin incurring costs on January 24.
How long should I expect to wait to receive payment?
U.S. Government’s payment process may take up to 15 days upon actual request for payment, that is after both grantee and grants officer signed the SF270 form. Grantees should expect to receive payment through either electronic transfer or check deposit. It is a policy of the Brazil Mission to award grant money in at least two separate installments. Depending on the grant total amount and project timeline, the number of installments can be higher.
I did not spend all the funds authorized for my project. What is the process to return funds to the U.S. Government?
The grantee has the option of either making a wire transfer/deposit into the Embassy’s bank account (banking information may be provided upon request) or of sending a check payable to U.S. Disbursing Office. It is important to stress that in order to calculate the amount owed in reais, the grantee must use the exchange rate that was used on the day of first payment.
Changes on Grant
How long can a grant’s Period of Performance be extended for?
Government wide, a grant’s period of performance may continue as long as a need exists, so long as the legislative authority is there and multi-year funding is available; however for the majority of State Department grants, the maximum period of performance is generally 5 years, due to the availability of funds.
The items originally budgeted for in my proposal have become obsolete/cheaper/more expensive. What do I need to do if I need to change that original budget?
Any type of change in items authorized under the grant, as well as any other changes in budget or programmatic scope, need to be informed immediately to the Grants Officer Representative responsible for that project. Once changes are authorized, an amendment will be prepared to be signed by both the Grants Officer and the grantee. The amendment needs this bilateral agreement in order to be validated.
The end date of my project is approaching. Which forms should I use to submit a complete final report?
The grantee should fill out both SF-425 (Federal Financial Report) and PPR (Performance Progress Report) in order to submit a complete final report. Forms and instructions on how to fill them can be found on the Grants Corner website. Recipients must submit, within 90 calendar days after project period end date, all financial, performance and other reports as required by the terms and conditions of the award. A program report should describe how the goals of the award were met, what problems were encountered and how they were resolved, the likely future impact, what new contacts were made, what new plans or projects were conceived, what issues were discussed and the participants. The Grants Officer usually forwards the program reports to the GOR for evaluation to ensure that the program was conducted in accordance with the terms of the assistance award and the objectives and goals of the assistance program were accomplished. The Grants Officer reviews the final financial status reports form to ensure that the expenditures were in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award; all costs were incurred within the effective period of award, and that all expenditures were in accordance with the authorized items of expenditures stipulated in the award. Grants and program officers encourage their recipients to provide additional project documentation with their final report such as photos, detailed write-ups, and published information, which demonstrate the overall benefits of the particular award or project.
When preparing my financial report, which exchange rate should I use to convert project expenses into dollars?
In order to reach a number in US dollars when preparing the financial report, grantees should use the same exchange rate that was used on the day of the first payment made. That can be figured out by simply looking at the number on the SF270 form (invoice authorizing payment).