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Five steps to get ahead of the 2010 grants process

The Office of Justice's Program Plan for 2010 can help your department get funding

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The Office of Justice recently published their grant funding Program Plan for 2010. This is the first time this federal office has presented their funding priorities at the beginning of the fiscal year in its entirety. This is an excellent opportunity for law enforcement agencies to begin to plan their grant applications with an entire year in view. Go to www.ojp.gov/programplan if you are considering grant applications of any kind from the US Department of Justice; now is the time to act.

First Step: Review the plan as a team. Get your leadership together and review the plan. If your 2010 funding needs for grant applications are not found within this document, chances are you will not obtain funding to meet your needs in 2010 from the Department of Justice. That means you would need to either change your plans or begin the search for another funding source. Consider searching the opportunities through other federal grant makers such as US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Transportation, and US Department of Commerce etc. Then begin to research funding available thought your state departments that match the federal department mission such as your State Department of Justice. Private sources might be available through the Foundation Center’s Directory of Foundations. Contact your State Administering Agency staff member to inquire about the funding appropriation and if it has been passed by Congress. Next, call the appropriate Grant contact person to inquire about obtaining the funding announcement and grant application. Sometimes they will be able to put you on an alert list and email you the funding announcement. The Federal website www.grants.gov will post the announcement as well. Sign up today at this site for RSS immediate notification open grant announcements.

Second Step: Should you find funding that may match your 2010 need begin to prepare for the application process by collecting appropriate data and demographics about your community and the problem you want to address with the funding application. If you would like a guide to preparing this data, contact me by email and one will be sent directly to you.

Third Step: Begin to develop the problem statement based on the evidence the data offers to describe the real need to address this problem. If you have an increase in a specific type of crime gather the data about that crime which proves that your need is real.

Fourth Step: Recruit any community partners you need to address the problem and begin to meet with them to discuss the best approach to the “fixing” the problem. Make sure you take minutes of the meeting, plan for additional meetings to develop a plan on how to get to the root of the problem, which partner will help with what need to complete the project, when each task over the course of the year is to be accomplished and why you have decided your approach is the best way to fix your problem. Research the field to determine the best practices for addressing the need and what the Federal and State suggests are the best approach to the problem. Keep the minutes and an original sign in sheet from the meeting attendees. The funder may ask for a copy of these documents as evidence your partnership is a real one!

Fifth Step: Wait. While waiting for the announcement complete all of you preliminary work so that when the announcement is published you will have plenty of time to complete a competitive application. Most announcements allow you 45 days or less to complete application.

Below are the actual instructions concerning this OJP Program Plan 2010. These instructions will help you understand the process. The key to remember is that congressional approval must be given for every funding program. Once that is completed the announcements and application kits will be published and you can move forward, already prepared for you application.

The Program Plan outlines pending grant funding opportunities (solicitations) that, upon Congressional approval, will be awarded based on Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 appropriations. OJP is issuing this Program Plan to give constituent groups a single comprehensive guide to current funding opportunities and the latest agency initiatives. The Program Plan includes both competitive and noncompetitive grants, opportunities for training and technical assistance, and other resources available to the justice community. Noncompetitive grants are awards that have been successfully completed within the last three years and for which continuation funding is expected in 2010. Contact information is provided with each program description.

The Program Plan is searchable and organized by topic. Users can scroll through the discretionary programs, training and technical assistance, and research and statistics subsections found within each topical chapter. An RSS feed provides an opportunity to receive e-mail notification each time the Plan is updated. The Plan will be updated frequently to reflect new program developments and funding amounts that cannot be determined until the FY 2010 Congressional appropriation is passed.

Discretionary grants are generally awarded to eligible recipients at the discretion of the awarding agency. Formula grants are awarded based on a statutory formula. A significant portion of OJP grants are awarded to states under formula and block grant programs. A list of OJP formula grants is available in Appendix E. For information about state formula grants, contact the State Administering Agency (SAA). A list of SAA’s is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/saa/

An overview of the grant process, as well as the grant management and application review process, is available at www.ojp.gov/funding/grant_process.htm. All applicants that meet grant solicitation requirements are considered equally in accordance with the process detailed at this site. The materials available at this site will help grant recipients follow rules, submit required reports, and understand the grant oversight conducted by OJP to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse of tax payer dollars.

Grant solicitations are posted throughout the year and in most cases, solicitations remain open for a minimum of 45 calendar days. Solicitations can be found at www.grants.gov and www.ojp.gov/funding/funding.htm Grants.gov is the source for information about competitive grants available from all federal agencies. This Web site provides grant descriptions, forms, instructions, helpful hints, and support to apply and succeed in the grant process.

Applicants are encouraged to begin the grant application process early and to become familiar with www.grants.gov and OJP’s Grants Management System (GMS). Directions on the grants.gov registration process can be found at www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. Information on GMS is available at www.ojp.gov/training/gmstraining.htm Assistance with the grant application process is available through the GMS Online Training Tool (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/gmscbt, which provides step-by-step instructions for how to use the various modules within GMS; by e-mailing the GMS Help Desk; or by calling 202-514-2024 (option 3) for technical assistance.

A glossary of acronyms and definitions is located in Appendix B Frequently Asked Questions are found in Appendix C. Appendix D contains an index with an alphabetical listing of the programs found in the Plan.

If you act NOW you can enjoy full year of competitive grant applications and more money in your account to meet your pressing needs for 2010. So what are you waiting for??

Denise S. Schlegel

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