CNCS Community Competition Posts More Tech Assistance
The Corp. for National & Community Service (CNCS) posts new FAQs and technical assistance information to help prospective applicants prepare for the FY 2015 State & National Grant Competition (CFDA Number: 94.006).
Deadlines: Jan. 21 (application); mandatory Letter of Intent, Dec. 10.
These federal grants support programs to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic participation through service and volunteering. These grants focus on funding volunteers for the following types of programs: (1) Disaster Services; (2) Economic Opportunity; (3) Education; (4) Environmental Stewardship; (5) the Governor and Mayor Initiative; and (6) My Brother’s Keeper efforts that serve disadvantaged or minority youth. Efforts should also help poor or underserved communities.
The TA applies to all eligible applicants, including schools, governments, public and private colleges and universities, public/Indian housing authorities and nonprofits with or without 501(c)(3) status.
These are 36-month grants, but the funding is not guaranteed because the awards are reviewed annually. In the first year, an applicant submits a full application for review. In years two and three, winners submit a short-form request for continuation money. After the third year, applicants have to re-compete, submitting another full application for review. Organizations may apply for a cost-reimbursement grant or a fixed-amount grant.
The agency intends to make multiple awards to fund thousands of volunteers (generally $500,000 for state grants and $3 million for national grants). The FAQ page talks about the matching requirements, which initially are 24% of the grant award. Match requirements, required for cost reimbursement grants, can be met by cash or in-kind sources. The acceptable sources of matching funds are federal, state, local, private sector, and/or other funds. There is no required percentage for the portion of grantee match that must be cash. There is also no specific match requirement for living allowance; it may be covered by CNCS. Match requirements do not apply to education grants.
CNCS notes that although novice candidates are not given a priority, the agency does encourage applications from first timers. Meeting all the selection criteria helps. Past program performance is a factor in the review process, but previous experience with AmeriCorps is not a requirement. New applicants are only eligible for cost reimbursement or Education Award Program grants. While there is no set percentage, some novice grants are awarded each year.
CNCS is interested in programs supporting youth engagement and service-learning to achieve improved academic outcomes. Focus areas include: school readiness for economically disadvantaged young children; educational and behavioral outcomes of students in low-achieving elementary, middle and high schools; preparation for and prospects of success at colleges and universities for economically disadvantaged students. Education programs should support improvements to STEM instruction and training.
The TA information notes that there have been changes to the education performance measures for the 2015 competition. These include:
- Required programs measure both the number of students who start the program and the number of students who complete the program. (e.g., K-12 tutoring programs will need to report on both, not just one of those measures).
- Clarified directions in academic achievement measure around the use of standardized tests.
- Required a pre-post assessment for school readiness outcome measures.
- Expanded the definition of economically disadvantaged to give programs more ways to assess students’ status.
- Added a new academic achievement measure to gauge gains in subjects other than literacy and math. Subject areas include foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography. Also included are subjects that are considered STEM disciplines, including science, technology, engineering, and computer science.
Economic Opportunity grants support services to aid the economically disadvantaged and should be linked to helping youth identified in My Brother’s Keeper, a separate presidential initiative to improve access to services that enhance youth opportunities for financial literacy, housing, education and a career.
Contact: 202/606-7508; or send an e-mail to email@example.com.