The Federal Funding Process: The First Steps to Applying, How to Prepare Now, and Other Considerations
Held February 9, 2023, this is the second of two webinars that will prepare applicants for Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) funding opportunities. Prior to the release of a solicitation, there are a number of steps that applicants can take. In this webinar, attendees will learn what registrations are necessary to apply, how to navigate Grants.gov and JustGrants, and what resources are available for applicants, such as the Office of Justice Programs’ Funding Resource Center. A Q&A session will follow at the end of the presentation.
Transcript also available as a PDF
DARYL FOX: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, “The Funding Process, First Steps to Applying, How to Prepare Now, and Other Considerations,” hosted by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. At this time, it's my pleasure to introduce Elizabeth Wolfe, Senior Policy Advisor with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, for some opening remarks and to begin the presentation. Elizabeth?
ELIZABETH WOLFE: Thank you, Daryl. I appreciate it. My name is Elizabeth Wolfe and I'm pleased to be here with you today. And I want to welcome everyone to the Bureau of Justice Assistance webinar entitled, The Federal Funding Process, “The First Step to Applying, How to Prepare Now, and Other Considerations.” On behalf of BJA, Tenzing Lahdon and I, are delighted to be here with you today. We're also going to be sharing the stage with Eulana Williams and Lisa Hartman from OJP's JustGrants team. So welcome.
For today's webinar, we will be providing an overview of OJP or also known as the Office of Justice Programs and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Introducing you to the JustGrants system, providing an overview and how to approach a BJA solicitation, discussing key steps in completing your application, going through the peer review process and then answering some of your questions. Next slide.
This webinar is really designed for those who are interested in applying for BJA funding. Our objective today is to help you be as prepared as possible to do, and we're going to do exactly that. How will we do that? So we're going to provide you with the information you will need to successfully submit an application and in Grants.gov and JustGrants. We will go over the critical elements of the BJA solicitation. We're going to share some tips on how to develop that budget. We're going to also explain how the peer review process works. And lastly, we're going to show you how you can stay connected with all the latest information regarding BJA funding and resources. So let's get into what the Office of Justice Programs is.
OJP provides a variety of resources to the criminal justice community. And how do we do that? We do that really through our grants, training, and research. We are one of three grant-making components of the U.S. Department of Justice. The other two are the Office of Violence Against Women and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Within OJP, there are six business bureaus and offices. As you can see, BJA is just one of these six. There's also the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which is the primary statistical agency for the entire Department of Justice. The National Institute of Justice, also known as NIJ, is the Research Development and Evaluation Agency of the Department of Justice. Now, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, OJJDP, support states and local communities develop and implement effective programs for children. The Office of Sex Offenders, SMART, Sentencing Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking, also known as SMART, provides jurisdictions with guidance regarding the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act. And finally, the Office for Victims of Crime supports a broad range of programs and services that focus on helping victims.
More about BJA. So our office provides leadership and services in grant administration and criminal justice policy development to really support local, state, and tribal law enforcement in achieving a safer community. Our office supports programs in a number of areas, including information sharing, countering terrorism, advancing tribal justice, crime prevention, protecting vulnerable populations, and capacity building. If you want to learn more about BJA, I really, really recommend that you visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
So BJA is led by Director Karhlton Moore and under his direction, BJA's programmatic and policy efforts support a wide range of resources to states and communities. Our office is really composed of four different teams. There's the Policy Office, which provides national leadership to criminal justice organizations that partner with BJA to identify effective program models for replication. There's the Programs Office, which administers state, local, tribal and territorial grants, but it's also acts as BJA's direct line of communication to states and local jurisdictions, territories, and tribal government. The Operations Office, not only helps support all of our work within BJA, but it also coordinates all of the communications, all the resources that you see online. It formulates and executes a budget and manages contracts and performance measurements. Lastly, there's a Public Safety Officer Benefits Office, which I think is really an interesting office within BJA. It provides death and education benefits to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other public safety officers.
BJA has five major strategic focus areas. It's to improve public safety through measures which build trust with the community and ensure an effective criminal justice system. Reduction in recidivism and prevention of unnecessary confinement and interactions with the criminal justice system.
Another one is the integration of evidence-based, research-driven strategies into the day-to-day operations of BJA and the programs that we administer. We also are looking to increase program effectiveness with a renewed emphasis on data analysis, information sharing, and performance management. And lastly, to ensure organizational excellence through outstanding administration oversight of all BJA strategic investments. And all four of BJA's offices support these strategic focuses. And our work is focused on them.
So here's the Grant Life Cycle. And there are six stages in the life cycle of BJA grant and it's good for you to be familiar with them all. This webinar is only going to be focusing really on the first three phases, but I'm going to go through all of them.
The first one is the Administrative Preparedness, getting yourself ready to submit that application. And the first step of doing that is being on this webinar today. Solicitation Posting, Application Period Begin, locating opportunities and developing proposals and submissions. So that's one thing. Again, getting yourself connected to BJA's website
and making sure that you are following us on social media to find out about opportunities. Application Review, this is where you're understanding BJA and OJP's internal review process.
So the next three phases, we're not going to be covering in this webinar. But I just want you to know about them because I think it's helpful. If you're successful, you will get an award notification. That's when we generally make those awards by September 30th. There are some exceptions, but typically you will be notified by September 30th. And then we notify you if you've not been selected by the end of the calendar year, so typically December 30th.
Then there's the Post Award. So congratulations, you've got the money or you at least gotten the award and then you're going to begin working with your program manager to administer your project. And then the sad period is the closeout. So, you know, all good things have to come to an end and this is also true for grants. The closeout phase is wrapping up deliverables and submitting report.
So a few years ago, OJP launched the JustGrants system to replace the old Grants Management System, also known as GMS. I really want to emphasize this point to you. So last year the system was pretty new to everybody. And again, if you are familiar with GMS and maybe haven't, you know, worked with JustGrants, I just want to make sure you understand that all grants need to go through the JustGrants system. GMS is no longer available.
The goal of JustGrants is an improved user experience. It's much more streamlined from the moment you receive your award all the way through closeout. The system allows you to manage users better and also integrates the payment system, which helps make it easier for you to access funds. So I'm invited because I am not an expert on JustGrants and what I do is reach out to those who are and I've invited Eulana Williams and Lisa Hartman from the JustGrants team to walk you through the system and help answer some of your questions. So with that, I'm going to turn it over to my friends at JustGrants.
EULANA WILLIAMS: Thank you so much. And we are so grateful for you having us here today. So good morning, everyone, thank you for joining our presentation today on the BJA Federal Funding Program. My name is Eulana Williams and I'm going to be talking with you about the first steps to applying, how to prepare now, and then also other considerations during the funding process. Now, I have along with me my colleague Lisa Hartman and we will be in the Q&A chat, answering your questions as they come in and sharing them out during the session. So our agenda today is we plan to cover several topics related to the funding process. First, we will review Entity Onboarding, Application Submission, and Award Acceptance. Now we will start to ask questions throughout the session and then also show you where you can go to find additional training resources.
So now let's go over a few Entity Onboarding reminders. Now here is a road map that can help you visualize each of the steps that are needed in JustGrants when you are onboarding a new user. Now first, the Entity Administrator will log into Diamond to set up each new user. Now Diamond is the user management section of JustGrants, and the only information required to create a new user is the first name, last name, and email address. Now the email address will become the username and the user will select their own password during the registration process. Once the new user is created, the Entity Administrator will assign one or more roles to that user, depending on the general work the user intends to do in JustGrants. Now we will talk about that a little bit more in-depth shortly. Now new users will receive a registration email once the Entity Administrator has invited them to register. The user will need to open up a link in the email and then follow the instructions to register in JustGrants, including setting up a password and multi-factor authentication. So registration ends up being step one.
Step two, is actually going into logging in JustGrants. Even though a new user is registered, they are not active users in JustGrants until they have logged into the system at least once. Now this is a good time to test their username and password. Now once the user is registered and has logged in, the Entity Administrator will be able to assign that user to a specific award and application.
So now we're going to review the roles that play an important part in their areas. Now there are two things that you want to keep in mind with the user roles in JustGrants. First, a user role provides for specific access in JustGrants. So you can do and see specific things because of assigned roles or role. Second, users can have one or more than one role assigned to them, based upon the type of work that they will need to do in JustGrants. Now in addition to managing users, keeping the entity profile information current, confirming the Authorized Representative's Legal Authority to enter into contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements with the federal government on behalf of the entity. The Entity Administrator also has read-only-access to all applications and awards in JustGrants. They have a bird's-eye view of everything. Now if the Entity Administrator, they will also need to take some part in managing awards or applications, and that person can be assigned additional roles that allow them to do so.
Now the Grant Award Administrator generally handles programmatic requirements, including submitting performance reports, initiating and submitting GAMs, and initiating award closeout. There is also an alternate Grant Award Administrator role available who provides support to the Grant Award Administrator and can edit and submit performance reports and Grants Award Modifications or GAMs. The Application Submitter is the only role that can enter data into an application, certify and submit it on behalf of your entity. Now you can have up to three Application Submitters assigned to an award at one time. The Authorized Representative is the only role that may accept or decline an award on behalf of the entity. Now this role must be assigned to someone in your organization with the legal authority to enter into contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements with the federal government on behalf of the entity. Now once again, the Entity Administrator confirms the authorized representative's legal authority. Then the Financial Manager submits federal financial reports on behalf of the organization. So now let's just take a look at the application submission process.
All right. So this part of the grant's life cycle involves completing and submitting web-based forms, as well as the attachments that are requested based on the requirements in the published solicitation. As we saw with the roadmap, the process of submitting an application in JustGrants begins in Grants.gov. Once you locate a funding opportunity with the DOJ, you will submit an SF-424 and SF-LLL in Grants.gov. Now that is the extent of the application process in Grants.gov. Now aside from those two documents, the SF-424 and the SF-LLL, most of your application is entered in JustGrants. Now your entity information is then populated based upon entries made in SAM.gov and used in Grants.gov. So do not—excuse me, do note that you will have two application submission deadlines. You have one for Grants.gov and then one for JustGrants. Each solicitation has an application submission deadline in Grants.gov. And after this date, the solicitation is removed from Grants.gov and no one will be able to apply any longer. It is highly recommended that you check the due date in Grants.gov and try to submit at least 72 hours prior to the deadline to provide you with enough time to correct any errors and resubmit if necessary.
Now once the application has been submitted and validated in Grants.gov, it will be sent to JustGrants for completion. Now it may take several days for Grants.gov to complete validation and release it to JustGrants. JustGrants has its own submission deadline that allows additional time to complete the application, pass the Grants.gov deadline. Submitting early in both systems is recommended. For example, if the due date in Grants.gov is April 1st, the JustGrants deadline is April 7th, and you submit March 15th, you will still have until April 7th to submit the JustGrants application. The JustGrants submission should include all items that are required in the solicitation and the JustGrants application submission is final.
Again, it is okay to enter preliminary information in Grants.gov if you haven't fully determined your budget or project scope. You will be able to edit and update all of your entries in JustGrants. It is not necessary to return to Grants.gov to update your entries there. Now within JustGrants, you will find a streamline process where you can use a web-based budget detail worksheet that is both more efficient and establishes a shared structure and narrative for all of DOJ. Now this streamline process means a quick validation of your budget to be cleared much faster. Your organization, specifically your assigned Entity Administrator, has more control over users and award assignments and does not require intervention from DOJ to make updates to those assignments. The Entity Administrator defaults to your organization's EBiz Point of Contact, but as we saw earlier, that person can reassign the responsibility to another user as needed.
Now, a user with the Application Submitter role will be the only person in JustGrants that will be able to submit an application. This role is automatically created when the application is submitted in Grants.gov. The person submitting the information in Grants.gov is assigned the application in JustGrants. Again, the Entity Administrator can reassign this role in JustGrants if needed. Now the Application Submitter identifies the forms needed to submit an application, complete the web-based budget form, completes and certifies the application on behalf of your entity, and submits the application in JustGrants. Now if a member is assigned only the Application Submitter role, they will not be able to see funded awards in JustGrants. It is possible to assign multiple roles to the user with the Application Submitter role if that is what your organization prefers. Now that we've had a bit of an overview, Lisa is going to provide a demo of the application process in JustGrants. Lisa.
LISA HARTMAN: Oh, thanks, Eulana. Let me go ahead and set up this little demo. We are currently at, right now, the JustGrants homepage. For those of you who have not worked in JustGrants before, this is what you're looking for when you log in. You'll see My Worklist and everything in My Worklist is assigned to the user that's logged in currently. So this is all personal work that needs to be done. Now the application is also called the Grant Package in JustGrants. So you see the Case ID in the left starts with A for application and then you also see the case has this Grant Package. Now this menu option here with applications shows not just the applications assigned to you but all of the applications in your organization.
And you can see here who's assigned to each one as an Application Submitter, as an authorized representative. So you're only going to be able to open and edit the ones that are assigned to you. So for instance we're opening this one here, this is from the Applications menu because anyone can open this and only will display it as edit—or as read-only and you have to put this Begin link in order to edit. So that's the little bit of a difference from the work list. In the work list, it knows it's assigned to you and it will go ahead and allow you direct entry without having to click the Begin link. But if you access the application from that Applications menu, you're going to have to verify to JustGrants that you are indeed the person that's allowed to edit this.
So only one person, only one Application Submitter can edit an application at a time. However, new this year, you can have up to three Application Submitters assigned to an application at one time. So they can share edit access. But even among those three, only one can actually edit at a time. So if you can take a look and would—see here where we are, we're looking at the Standard Applicant Information and you can see on the right-hand side, you see a—Eulana, is the video advancing? Can you see the—what are you looking at now? Are you looking at the application or are you still looking at the work list?
EULANA WILLIAMS: Here we go. So right now, it's just showing the Grant Package and Standard Application Information.
LISA HARTMAN: Okay. So that's what I'm intending to show right now. So I did see somebody pop up and say that they're still just looking at the JustGrants homepage. If that's the case, it may be that your network is delayed a bit. So we will provide this recording and it will be posted on the BJA page. So if your network is just a little delayed, then you can certainly take a look at this recording at a later date. As I was saying, with the three Application Submitters, one can open it at a time. So if I have it
opened, then one of the other two Application Submitters, neither of them can actually work on it right now. I have to close this and they have to go through a step where they look at this Actions menu in the upper right-hand corner and when they open that, they'll see an opportunity to edit application and then they can take control over the editing process on this application. So that's new this year and we do have training documentations that subscribes all of those steps.
So I'd like to just point out a couple of things on this page. First of all, you can see that we have some information that is editable as the information under the Project Information section is. All of that information was actually entered into Grants.gov and when the application was submitted in Grants.gov, it created this JustGrants application and it populated all of those fields already. Now, the fact that they're editable means that you can come in here into JustGrants and you can update information that you previously entered into Grants.gov. Now it's not necessary to go back and change Grants.gov once it's submitted, moving—once it's submitted into JustGrants, we're just moving forward with JustGrants. So again, you can update the estimated funding if you’ve changed your mind or you have more information at hand. You can update the project start date or the title. Anything here that's editable, you can update. The information that you see at the top, the funding opportunity, all of that, is not editable, but much of the rest of this is.
Now in the right side at the—on the very top, you see Solicitation Instructions in blue. That's actually a link. So you're able to open the solicitation and that will provide you a great amount of detail as to what you need to enter into this application to satisfy the solicitation requirements. So it's a very good idea to click that Solicitation Instructions. It opens up a PDF of the solicitation and very good idea to keep that very close at hand as you're preparing your application. You can see under the Solicitation Instructions, you see all of the sections of the application that needs to be entered and we'll look through a few of them, sort of fairly briefly. Each application is going to reflect the required information for the solicitation. So because solicitations vary, you might see different sections of the application reflected in your experience. At the bottom on the left, we have a Cancel button and that will take you back to your work list to—for the Application List without saving any changes. So if you just want to open it and look at it and then go back, the Cancel button is your friend. If you've come in and you've made some updates and you want to save those, you can click that Save button on the bottom right. And I do recommend that you click Save often because unlike most websites these days, JustGrants is not going to autosave your work. So if you don't click Save, you may find that the next time you open the application, you're missing information that you thought you had already entered. So please use that Save button as often as possible.
Now while you can move to another section of the application using that navigation menu in the upper right, it can move to the Proposal Narrative and the Proposal Abstract, we recommend that you use that Continue button and the reason is that, navigating using the menu, doesn't validate that the information that you just entered is enough. But when you use the Continue button, JustGrants will review the whole page and all of your entries and let you know if there's an error before you move on. You can move to that navigation menu and it will never tell you if there's an error until you try to submit at the end. So the Continue button will keep you on track and keep you from running into a bunch of errors at the end. So I'm going to let this go a little bit. The demo is just kind of going through the Cancel, the Save button, again, save often, and then Continue. So this is just a demo for sort of just locating and opening your application.
So I'd like to move now into a little bit more in-depth look at the application and we'll look at some of the sections of the application at this time as well. So again, we're on the home page and again, the home page, this is all work that's assigned to you on My Worklist. Whatever you open here is going to open directly because everything in that work list is assigned to you specifically as a logged in user. So you can see that we see Urgency—we'll look into the Grant Package, and notice we didn't have to click that Begin link because we opened from your work list. So again, here is the Standard Application section. This is the first one that we see. Again, that Continue button is so important because it validates all of your entries before moving to the next section. It allows you to see any errors you might encounter. So as we're looking through here again, you see the fields that are editable and I'd like to—I think the demo, as it moves forward, will slow down a little bit because this Areas Affected by Projects section, bottom left, and that is intended for you to enter geographic project area. For instance, if your project is going to be geographically located in a specific county or voting district or police precinct or parish, or if it's going to be a national project, this is where you would enter sort of the geographic scope of the project you have. Then you can enter here up to 10 entries. And they can be ZIP codes, they can be states, they can be whatever you feel you need to enter in order to sort of provide information about the area affected by your project. Now even though there are only 10 entries here, if you are approved for funding, if you do receive funds, in the award itself, you can expand and be more specific about the project. This is just sort of a general idea right now.
Now as we scroll down in the application, you can see the application types. And notice you have the Application Submitter Information and that is not editable. You can't change that in the application. However, if you do have another Application Submitter, your Entity Administrator can make that change for you. So we also have here a number of different fields, dropdowns, radio buttons, and you'll notice that some of these have a red asterisk associated, like the Select Applicant Type, you see the little red asterisk, it's barely visible, that indicates that that field is required and you will not be able to submit the application unless that field is populated. So I know you see that we're using the menu to move from section to section. This is an older demo and we don't recommend that anymore. Please, in your mind, replace that with the Continue button. Now we're starting to confirm authorized representative here. This person is someone in your organization who must have the legal authority to enter into an agreement with the federal government. So this is—it's a—there's a legal implication here. And so you would select that person and that will be the person that will ultimately accept funding if funding is offered. We're going to verify the legal name and address, this is all populated from SAM.gov, which is your entity is registered with the federal government, if JustGrants is connected.
Now the Proposal Abstract, again, you see that red asterisk, this is a required field in this application. And Proposal Abstract is really a short sort of summary of your project and you type it in directly. The Proposal Narrative however is a much longer document and it’s something that you would typically upload. And this is also where you would enter goals and objectives if your application or if your solicitation requires it. You can enter a goal statement and then for each goal, you can have multiple goals, you can enter in objectives and deliverables.
Now this is not a BJA application but it has a great deal of similarity to a BJA application. The Budget Information that you see here, these are all budget categories and you’ll enter here each of the line items when you're making that budget category. Now in BJA, I believe you have the addition to separate the budget out by year. So you can do year one, year two, year three. And you can enter your budget figures separately to each of this category. But as you can see, each category has the opportunity of the Plus Add Items option here at the top of this list and we’ll click that. This is how you would add a new line item and you can add as many line items as needed. You can delete a line item as well. And most of the Budget Categories have an Additional Narrative field at the bottom. It's not required but highly encouraged that you use that Additional Narrative field to explain your calculations, explain your reasoning and all of that.
Now this is the Budget Summary. So I’m going to back to that Budget Summary a bit. It is updated visually somewhat for this year, so it’s similar but there are some differences in what you’ll see this year. But the Budget Summary is here to provide you with the total cost for each budget category. So that if you have, for instance, an Excel spreadsheet you’re using to enter this information, you can compare the total from your spreadsheet to the totals in JustGrants just to be sure there are no discrepancies. If there are discrepancies, you can go back to that section of the budget and check the line items and update everything that needs to be updated so that you’re [INDISTINCT].
Continuing on. Sometimes there are budget documentation that you need to upload. If that's the case, it's important to notice here the title of the category of documents that you're uploading. So for instance, you see here we're uploading a pre-agreement cost, and that must be the category of uploading of files that you upload.
So for instance, if you're uploading a pre-agreement cost, you need to put it in this section of JustGrants and you click the Upload button. If you're putting in an indirect cost rate agreement, you see that's the third option down here on this list of accordion fields behind and, you know, you really need to upload the correct document into the correct location. What that will do for you, is it will make it easy for you to find these again. If for instance you just upload an indirect cost rate, but you don’t assign it a category or two of the accordion files here that aligns with the indirect cost rare agreement, it will be uploaded into your application, but it will be very difficult for you to locate it again. So when you're uploading documentation, you want to make sure you uploaded the correct file category. And that once you upload a document, it will provide you with the opportunity to attach a file category and you need to use the file category in order to place that document correctly in the application.
Now, Memorandum of Understanding for the documents are here, you may see additional application components. For instance, in this one, a CV or resume is a required upload. And then we have all of these disclosures and assurances. Now this disclosure of lobbying activities as the SF-LLL that Eulana mentioned, and that will be sent over from Grants.gov, so you don't have to upload it again. Now all of these other ones, you have to read through, scroll down and there's an acknowledgment checkbox at the bottom that you must acknowledge and agree to the terms. So you see that checkbox here? That was fast, a little fast. Okay. So you see that checkbox here that says, "I agree with the above statement?" Each of those disclosures and assurances section have that checkbox and you will not be able to submit unless all of those checkboxes are checked as agreed upon. And then others here, this is just where you could upload any documents that aren't related to any other categories. And then finally here, I must stop here for just a bit. You can see that all of the sections of the application are listed here. And you can use the little triangles to the left, open up and read through all of your entries in those sections. This is all read-only, but it does allow you to read through the entire application from start to finish, so that you can just read through and make sure everything is exactly the way you want it prior to submitting. There's one final checkbox there called Final Review and Certification of Application Confirmation, that must be checked in order to submit. And when you're ready, you click the Submit button.
Now we have added this year, we have added the opportunity for you to click a button that says, Check for Errors. And that's really very nice because, you know, if you've been using the Continue button throughout the application process, you should not be surprised at the end by a list of errors that will prevent you from submitting. However, if you have been navigating using that menu option, then all of the errors that were invalidated by the Continue button will appear before you submit it. And so that just provides you, this Check for Errors button that's new this year, provides you with the opportunity to correct those errors before submitting. But I'm going to go ahead and we're going to submit this application. And you see those red asterisks that indicate in the required entry. So we're going to head into that and then we'll click that Submit button. And I think maybe the—let's see. I don't know that the demo does that. So anyways you click the Submit button and then that's your submission to DOJ. And again, the JustGrants application contains everything that you entered in SAM.gov. It contains everything you entered in Grants.gov. And it contains everything you entered in JustGrants. It is the whole package. And once you submit it to DOJ, they have your entire application, and then it sends you a review process.
Now again, something new this year is that you can—if you for instance submit your application and then you realize that you missed something, as long as it's before the JustGrants application deadline, you can recall your application and make updates. So that's something new this year. Last year when you submitted, that was it. So there were no more edits. Lots of issues, you can recall it as long as you resubmit it prior to that JustGrants deadline. So again, this is another reason to get that application submitted earlier rather than later. It does provide you the flexibility of recalling as necessary. But once that Grants.gov—or JustGrants application deadline passes, if you've recalled it and you haven't resubmitted it, there's no way to resubmit it. So you have to be sure to make that step. I'm going to turn the presentation back over to Eulana. She can talk to you a little bit about Award Acceptance.
EULANA WILLIAMS: Awesome. Thank you so much, Lisa. Now after you have submitted your application, it will go through a lengthy review process at DOJ. And hopefully you will be offered funding. If you are, your Authorized Representative will need to take steps to accept those funds. Now, the Authorized Representative has the authority to accept or decline awards on behalf of an entity. In order to accept an award, the Authorized Representative must have legal authority to enter into contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements with the federal government on behalf of the entity. The Entity Administrator must assign the Authorized Representative to the award package in order to accept or decline the award. If the Authorized Representative changes between the time of application submission and award receipt, the Entity Administrator will need to update the Authorized Representative in JustGrants. Now, no grant adjustment is needed. The change will be made to the entity profile and will require the Entity Administrator to invite the new Authorized Representative as the signing authority for the organization. Once invited and authenticated, the new information will reflect on the award package detail.
Prior to accepting the award, the Entity Administrator must assign a Financial Manager and a Grant Award Administrator to the award. Each Authorized Rep will receive an electronic notification to find and accept their award. Once received, the Authorized Representative will be able to log in and review the award package for accepting. The system-generated notification email will be saved in the award for the entire life of the award. One feature in accepting awards is that it is done using an electronic signature. It is not necessary to print, sign a PDF, and email the acceptance document. The signature takes place in JustGrants. So now we're going to move back over to Lisa with the Award Acceptance demo.
LISA HARTMAN: Hi, thanks, Eulana. Well, if you are provided the funding and you're ready to go ahead and accept the funding and agree to all of the terms, there is only one role that is allowed to do that. And again, this is the Authorized Representative's role and they are legally required to have the ability, the contractual ability within your organization to do business with the federal government. So it shouldn't be an assistance or, it's got to be somebody who can enter into a contractual agreement. So that person will log in as the Authorized Representative and they will see, again, their work list and they'll have everything assigned to them on their work list. We'll set up this demo and see where we are. They will either find that in their work list or again, they can look on the applications menu and select an application that is assigned to them as the Authorized Representative. So here we are on the home page. And we're going to go ahead and look for the case type again, the case type is called Accepts, Decline, Award Agreement, and that is what we're looking for. So there are three awards here this Authorized Representative can accept. So we're going to go ahead and just open up one of them.
FAW stands for Funded Award, in case you're wondering about that. So what the Authorized Representative will see is an award package, an award package acceptance process. So there are a number of different sections to this. The first is the introduction letter. And so you'll be able to read the introduction letter. Then the Authorized Representatives must go through every section of this and then must check, "I have read and understand the information for every section." They will not be able to accept unless they've agreed to the terms of each section. So the award information here provides the recipient information, information about the award details. And again, you have to—the Authorized Rep will accept that. This is project information. So you see who the grant manager name is, project description. The budget is listed here as well. This is a letter from our Office of the Chief Financial Officer that would be here also. And again, so you're just reviewing all of the information here that you submitted and has been agreed to by DOJ. The award conditions, there are typically a long list of conditions, again, that must be agreed to. And again, these are legal agreements. So that's why the person who's accepting must have that legal authority to accept this.
And again, there's only one checkbox. You have to accept all of the award conditions at one time. You can't accept them line by line. The whole thing has to be agreed to. And there can be sometimes 45 or 50 of these agreements. So it's important to read through them, understand what your requirements are legally for accepting these funds. And then again, at the end of the section, which is as you can see quite long, you will agree to—you'll accept all of these terms. Now the award conditions, they're going to vary based on the specific type of award you're receiving and the program office, and there are a lot of variation in the list of award conditions that you might be presented with. So having accepted one doesn't mean that you're accepting the same set of conditions, so they should be read through individually.
Now once you've done this, now you get to do the acceptance and electronic signature page. So when you select that box, the certified box, you see that your name and you find—a date and time stamp appears. So this is an official record of the date and time that you're accepting this funding. And once you do that, then we will float down to the bottom here in a moment here on this demo, and you'll see that you have some buttons and some options. Now the Authorized Representative in their profile in JustGrants must have their title listed. So when you first log in to JustGrants, if there are fields that are missing sort of in your user profile, you'll have the opportunity to update that. And you can decline, and if you do decline, that's fine but it just provides you with the opportunity. We do need to have justification why you're declining. And if you have back-up documentation, you can select that here. And when you put it in this, then that award is declined. But I think in this case we're going to accept. We have—all those checkboxes have been checked and that allows us to accept. If there are any unchecked boxes, that Accept button will be gray and we will not be able to accept the award. So now it says "Pending Account Review" and that is now, sent rather appropriately and now this should be a funded award. And it should be time to sort of get started on all of the activity that happens once you've accepted that funding. So I'll go ahead and turn it back over to Eulana to tell us about some resources. And then I'll answer some questions in the chat as Eulana has been doing.
EULANA WILLIAMS: Thank you so much, Lisa. All right. So we hope that you gained some insight from the materials that we presented today. Before we close, we do want to provide you with some additional resources that we've created to guide you through this process. Now, embedded within the PowerPoint, when we will receive a copy of the PowerPoint, our link to all of the information in which we cover today, the JustGrants website houses all of the training materials that you will need to work your way through JustGrants. Now we have placed direct links here to all award acceptance resources which can be found on the JustGrants website. Recent updates have been made to the application submission, JARG. And so just make sure you check out some of the new features.
Now JustGrants technical issues should be sent to the JustGrants Technical Support. For grant application status, check the website for the DOJ managing offices, COPS, OJP, and OVW. If you are an applicant or award recipient for an OVW award and need assistance, please contact the OVW support desk at [email protected] or you can call the phone number listed on the slide which is 866-655-4482. Now to contact the JustGrants Technical Support desk, you can send an email to JustGrants.Support@usdoj or you can call 833-872-5175. That's Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time or between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on weekends or holidays.
Now we've talked a bit about the online site for the training materials, so this is what the JustGrants training website looks like, you can find a wealth of information about JustGrants at the website listed on the slide. And we're going to focus on the training link today, but please take time to look through the website for all kinds of information.
So once you open up the training link, you're going to see a list of training topics displayed. Not all the topics apply to everyone, so you can just kind of reference the table on the right to see which topics apply to you.
It is a good idea for everyone to start with the Entity User Experience Guide because that covers navigation in JustGrants, and it really applies to everyone. The Entity Administrator will need to become very familiar with the Entity Management Guide. So once you have selected a topic to explore, you'll open up a page with training resources dedicated to that topic, and typically you'll find a Job Aid Reference Guide or what we like to call JARG and links to step-by-step videos. Now, they're very short videos and they're meant to be used while you're working, so that way you don't have to feel that you need to set aside a whole lot of time to view them. Now, they can really be helpful if you're in the middle of a task in JustGrants and you just want to verify what your next steps are. Now the JARG provide step-by-step instructions with screenshots to help you through that task. Now if you like, you can print them or you can just view them on the
screen, just depending on how you like to—there are great reference. And Lisa, if you can—if you can go over the, upcoming sessions that we offer?
LISA HARTMAN: I absolutely will.
EULANA WILLIAMS: Thank you.
LISA HARTMAN: So if—no problem. So if you have enjoyed or gotten some basic information out of this session, we would like to say that as the training team, the JustGrants training team, we do offer additional training every week. These are weekly sessions. Our Monday sessions are offered from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. And this is typically veered towards Grant-awarded Administrators, Entity Administrators, and Financial Managers. And in this course, Post-Award, we cover all of the activities that will happen once you've accepted a funded award. And this would be quarterly federal financial reports. This would be submitting performance reports on a frequency defined by the solicitation. And then also we talked to you about how to create grant award modifications in case you need to modify your budget figures and that sort of thing. And then we also talked to you about how to initiate closeouts. So that's on Mondays from 1:00 to 2:30. On Tuesdays, those of you who are asking questions in the chat around entity administration, this would be a very valuable session for you. Every Tuesday from 2:00 to 3:00 Eastern Time, we offer information for Entity Administrators, how to shepherd your account, how to open, how to start your JustGrants account, how to assign users, how to remove users, how to reassign that Entity Administrator role, all of the tasks that an Entity Administrator must do in order to keep your JustGrants account healthy.
For those of you now who are considering applying, we have an Application Mechanics webinar that we provide every Wednesday from 2:30 to 4:00 Eastern Time. Again, and we walk through the application process a little bit more in depth, in terms of walking you through the steps of entering your budget and we just provide 90 minutes of application process.
And on Thursdays, for those of you who do receive the funding, this is something that you might want to have—might want to save for the fall, but the Authorized Representative accepting that award is the process we talked about on Thursdays from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And we go a little bit more into depth into the award acceptance process than we did today. So highly recommend you set those up and you can find the registration for all of these sessions here at justgrants.usdoj.gov/training/training-virtual-sessions. And again, we'll provide these materials so that—so that you can access them. But at least for right now, that's all we have. And so I'd like to turn the presentation back over to Elizabeth, and then we can answer questions in the chat or verbally as it works out.
ELIZABETH WOLFE: Thank you Lisa and Eulana for walking us through the application for submission and award acceptance process in JustGrants. Daryl, I just want to check
if this is the time we are taking break or we are going straight into the next session and then Q&A.
DARYL FOX: I think we can go ahead and proceed with your portion just so we can get through things and then at the end, we'll go ahead conduct the Q&A for both JustGrants and this portion.
ELIZABETH WOLFE: Sounds good. Thank you.
TENZING LAHDON: So, hello everyone. My name is Tenzing Lahdon and I am Senior Policy Advisor at Bureau of Justice Assistance and I will be going over how to read or understand the BJA solicitation key steps to completing your application and understanding the peer review process. And then we will open up the session for question and answers.
The step one, when you're reviewing the solicitation, the first thing you want to make sure is to see whether your entity or agency or your partnering agency is eligible to apply for the solicitation. On the right-hand side, you can see an example on the first stage of the solicitation, it explicitly states who is eligible to apply for that solicitation. And just an FYI, there is an overview section that goes there, and then the eligibility section comes in, but I can flip that in. So the actual solicitation would look a little different but the eligible applicant section would be in the first or the second page of the solicitation. The important thing to note is not to get discouraged if you are not an entity that's eligible to apply. It does not necessarily eliminate you from the grant application process. You can partner as a sub-awardee with an eligible entity, whether they are your state, your county, or jurisdiction, et cetera. At BJA, we encourage partnership within an application, but only one entity can be a primary applicant or a physical agent, so.
Which brings me to the next step, step two, please ensure you give yourself enough time to develop and complete your application by the due date or the deadline listed on the first page of the solicitation. Please note that there are two deadlines. The first is the Grants.gov deadline that relates to submitting your SF-424 and SF-LLL form. And in this example, the Grants.gov deadline is June 15, this is from last year. And the second deadline is for JustGrants. That is for submitting your full application including all the attachments in JustGrants system. And this example provided, the deadline is June 21st. So if you missed the first deadline, then the second deadline is not going to help you. The deadline for both JustGrants and the Grants.gov is on the first page of the solicitation. And you want to take into account the time required to register and apply. Do the prepping, all the required attachments, and submit the application by the deadline. And BJA deadlines are in Eastern Standard Time. We understand that each jurisdiction, entity, non-profit, et cetera, have different resources including staffing for grant writing, as well as, you know, you might have your—on multiple layer of internal application review process prior to the mission, so I would highly encourage you to please plan accordingly. We have developed some resources to help you prepare and submit application for OJP funding, and I'm including the link in the chat section. And the bottom line is to give yourself enough time to complete the application by the deadline, and you do not have to wait until the deadline to submit your application. Also, I will be including a link to peer solicitations that we have posted recently just to get—give you an idea about, you know, how the solicitation looks like, where things are. And just to let you know, these are a few of the recent solicitations that we have posted. Let me see. Next slide, please.
The step three is to read the program-specific information to understand what you can apply for or request funding for. You want to read this section carefully to make sure that you are responsive or responding to the solicitation and the intent of the solicitation in terms of the focus area, the target population, requirements, gaps and needs that the solicitation is trying to address. And then the step four, you definitely want to read the rest of the application, or solicitation in its entirety to make sure that you have a good understanding of the solicitation and your application is responding to the solicitation. Next slide, please.
Step five is, determine if your agency has the capacity to fill the responsibilities of the solicitation. BJA solicitation includes goals, objectives, and deliverable section in the solicitation. So please read through the proposed deliverable section to see if your agency has the capacity to do the work. If there are potential gaps in terms of services that your entity would not be able to support, you can bring partners to the table that may be able to address or fill those gaps.
The key is to have that assessment done early in the application submission stage so you can leave that partnership into the application and/or build the application together as a sub-awardee. For example, if you are implementing a treatment court program, you might not have treatment providers as partners yet, but it is a component or requirement of the solicitation, then you might want to reach out to treatment providers in your area who are addressing those service gaps. And they can be part of your application as sub-awardees to support those gaps in your application. In the example on the right-hand side, the program focuses on developing community-based violence intervention and prevention model. So it requires applicant to work or build partnership with different community members, organizations, including having a Ladder of Commitment or MOU in place. So you just want to pay attention to the requirements and—of the solicitation and what the proposed deliverables are listed in the solicitation. Next slide.
So when it comes to planning and organizing your writing, you want to read through this—through the application developed timeline and checklist. Appendix A, which is in the application checklist, will help you get organized. You want to make sure that you have enough time to go over the steps in terms of registering, developing your application, collaborating with, or inviting partners to planning, meeting, prepare as early as possible, create the timeline on who's going to do what, and then you want to get those things accomplished. If you are interested in a specific focus area such as treatment codes, second chance re-entry programs, or travel funding, look at prior years solicitation as example. And additionally, you can view FY23 DOJ program plan which provides summary details of funding opportunities that DOJ grant-making components is expecting to release or has released in the fiscal year FY 2023. So let me drop a link in the chat. So you can see the solicitation that might be coming out in next few months. And I see it might because those are projections, but it will help you plan ahead. Next slide.
Step two is to review the criteria carefully, creating an outline of the program narrative, ensuring that you are responding to all elements of the solicitation, answering all the questions and responses are in the order outlined. So for example you are describing the issue in your jurisdiction, you know, you lay out a realistic plan to address them, talking about your program design and implementation plan, you know, how the subject matter experts or—and/or the staffing on your team will help you accomplish your set goals and objectives and allocating the budget on these project activities. The last thing you want is Peer Reviewer looking for information that's in the application but not where it should be. You do not want Peer Reviewers struggling to find information in your application, so keeping it organized, keeping the content together would be beneficial, you know, would be a good thing, as Peer Reviewers are reviewing your application. Next slide.
For example, here we are developing an outline for a program narrative. The first review criteria is Statement of the Problem. Solicitations usually do a good job of outlining questions for applicants to respond to. If they are not, then you might want to break those questions down in the solicitation separately as done here to make sure you are responding to them. Like in the example here, you can highlight them in red to go and then respond—go to that question, respond directly to that question, and then go to the next question within that paragraph and highlight it underneath and respond directly to it until you answer all the questions.
Again, for some of these questions, you might need to consult with your current or prospective partners for areas you might not have all the answers or the capacity. So, yeah, so pay close attention to the solicitation to different things that are asked within the solicitation, especially the criteria and break it down and respond to all the questions. Next slide.
Make sure you understand and are following instructions. On your right, you see the program narrative says that application should be double-spaced using standard 12-point Times New Roman font and should not exceed page 20. This is very important. Peer Reviewers might not read past page 20 and you might have saved the best for the last on page 21. So not following instructions might present a challenge to your application. So follow the solicitation instructions closely and adhere to them would be my recommendation. Next slide.
Step four relates to your budget. Draft your budget very early in the process. Make sure you read it carefully and understand the special requirements. Some solicitation might have requirements around, like requiring a grant meeting or other would be like a certain percentage of funding must be allocated for research and evaluation or things like that. So you want to make sure you read that carefully and understand what the caps are on expenses, as well as what's unallowable. Again, this is important, so when you're looking at your solicitation, you are looking to apply if the maximum amount of the funding, say, for example is 500,000 or up to 500,000, then you should not exceed that 500,000 threshold. If you put 500,001 then you are exceeding the cap. Also, the DOJ Financial Guide is very helpful resource if you have any questions about what is allowable and unallowable expense. Lastly, applicants will complete the budget in JustGrants web-based form. Next slide.
The Budgets and Budget Narrative should relate directly to the project design, meaning you should not have any expenses outside of what's referenced in the budget compared to what's in the proposal narrative. For example, do not ask to include things, for example, sub-award to x, y, z non-profit for every entry service or job training in your budget if it's not included in your program narrative. Or if you are—for example, if you include in your budget, a salary for an Outreach Coordinator, but there's no mention of this position in the program narrative, that would not sit well and the Peer Reviewers would score that low. So the personnel cost should be related to the key personnel for the project and should be selected both in the budget narrative and in the proposal. Subrecipients should be categorized as either sub-awards or procurement contract. The budget should include sufficient funding to fully implement the project without exceeding the maximum amount allowable. Peer Reviewers are looking at your budget line items and relating it to your program narrative, so they are checking for completeness, cost-effectiveness, allowability, and that those expenses you listed in your budget are reasonable. The bottom line, Budgets and Budget Narrative should not leave any questions for reviewers about the purpose of the requested fund.
And finally, the total federal request entered in the SF-424 should match the total fund requested in your application budget for the entire project period. Next slide, please.
Step five, do not forget the required attachments. In the solicitation, there is a section that indicates the additional attachments. So as you can see in the example on the right, you know, in this particular solicitation, it asks for tribal authorizing resolutions, timeline form, research and evaluation, related statement and documentation for proposed subrecipients. So some attachments may say recommended, but if they indicate that they are required, please make sure to check that you have included those additional attachments. In most solicitations, program map track, program narrative, budget, timeline, are the required elements, but each solicitation is unique, so, you know, should be read—you should read the solicitation in its entirety. And once again, Appendix A Checklist is a very helpful tool in making sure you have included all the critical and required elements of the solicitation. Next slide, please.
The Basic Minimum Requirements. Each solicitation identifies critical elements that need to be included in the application to move to peer review process. For example—an example of those will be, you know, program—proposal narrative or program map track, narrative, timeline or budget worksheet detail, or applicant disclosure of proposed subrecipients. This is very critical to the application because if any of these required pieces are missing from your application, your application gets screened out
immediately and will not move to peer review process. So please make sure when you are developing your application that you include critical elements in your application.
Once again, each solicitation is unique, some solicitation may have other critical elements that are in the solicitation that you need to be aware of, so make sure you double and triple-check your application prior to submission. Next slide, please.
And talking about double and triple-checking your application, please use the checklist to make sure you are not missing any critical items. We have seen program narratives in different stages of draft with comments and track changes on. We have seen budget narratives submitted with a totally different project, et cetera, so please make sure you double-check all the documents that you are attaching to ensure that they are clean document—there is no comment or draft in—or you are submitting a draft version, so just double-check all the attachments that you are uploading in JustGrants. Next slide.
For any unforeseen technical issues, you can visit the Response Center at [email protected], link to OJP Grant Application Resource Guide is provided here. It will assist you in preparing and submitting your application for OJP funding. Next slide.
For other questions that you might have about solicitation, we do put together solicitation webinars which will allow you to ask questions. And these webinars are recorded and most of them are posted on our website, and they also include transcripts and PowerPoint slides, so please check those out. And also, you can review solicitation FAQs or program web pages for more information. And let me include—I have included a link in the chat to upcoming and past solicitation webinars, so if you have time, you know, those are really helpful webinars to view. For questions related to technical issues or any other questions not covered in solicitation webinars or questions about solicitation, you can contact Grants.gov, as well as JustGrants. For assistance with requirements of the solicitation, please contact OJP Response Center. This information is located on the first two pages of your solicitation. Next slide.
Understanding the Peer Review Process. Each application is typically reviewed by three Peer Reviewers and they score your application based on criteria, looking at the statement of problem, project design, looking at capabilities and competencies, data collection, and budget section. Each of those components have certain percentage allocated to them. So in the example here, you are looking at statement of problem is rated at 20, project design and implementation at 40, capabilities and competencies at 25, plan for data collection at 5, and budget at 10. This percentage allocation is unique to each solicitation, so you want to make sure that you spend more time and pages on project description, which carries more weight compared to other sections, say, a plan for data collection. Not to say data collection is not important but you just want to be mindful of where, project and design being—according to this allocation, being the most critical and has more weight to it. So you just want to plan accordingly. Next slide.
So there are a few other resources available such as BJA website of which include funding opportunities, publication, and our initiatives that we fund. There is link to OJP
Grant Application Resource Guide here, Office of Justice Program has award data by program authors and individual solicitation for past fiscal years, so you can look at that. Finally, NIJ CrimeSolutions is a web-based clearinghouse for programs and practices that have been rate for their effectiveness in addressing different criminal justice issues. So you can visit that site also. Next slide.
So we recently covered this earlier, but FY 2023, DOJ Program Plan provides the summary details on funding opportunities that DOJ agencies are expecting to release in current fiscal cycle, so it’s a good resource if you want to start exploring upcoming funding options and planning ahead. So it will give you in quarter one what solicitations are projected to be released, in quarter two, quarter three, and things like that. Next slide.
Looking Ahead. So if you are interested, there is Grants Financial Management Training here, is the link for that. And also OJP Funding Resource Center is one-stop shop if you’re looking for funding opportunities or need an overview of OJP grant processes. Next slide.
I promise we are wrapping up. If you are interested, there are different ways to connect with us. You can subscribe to be on our email [INDISTINCT] connect to us via social media, or learn more about BJA through our BJA website. Next slide.
And lastly, for any specific questions about solicitation, you can reach out to OJP Response Center via email, web chat, you can call them at the toll-free number, they are open Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. So with that, I believe we are at the end of our presentation today, and we will now go ahead and open the session for question and answer.
DARYL FOX: Thank you, Tenzing. And thanks to all the presenters that presented today. A lot of good information. I just want to reiterate too, it's been mentioned several times that the PowerPoint, recording, and transcript for today will be posted to the BJA website. So you'll get an email when those items are posted to the email address that you registered with for today. Lisa's been doing an excellent job of answering all the questions that are coming in the Q&A. Thank you so much, Lisa. I mean, I can put it out there generally. Is there anything that's going to trend as far as a question that you may want to expand on before we end at noon today? I think...
LISA HARTMAN: There are a couple of questions that I think are more pertinent to Elizabeth or Tenzing, and not necessarily JustGrants questions. So I could call out those if you like or point you in the direction of the ones that are still—the queue is still listed in orange and the blue ones have been answered.
DARYL FOX: Yeah, if you—if you have those handy, certainly by all means.
LISA HARTMAN: Sure. So the first one I have is, "What's the timeframe for accepting an award?" And this one, I'm not sure about. And so...
TENZING LAHDON: I think I—go ahead.
LISA HARTMAN: So it says [INDISTINCT] BJA general timeframe to accept an award?
TENZING LAHDON: So usually, it—I believe—and Elizabeth, please feel free to correct me. I think it's usually 30 days. But if there are situations where that's not a possibility, we will work directly with the grantee. But I believe it's all within the 30 days. And I think it will be listed on your award document to the timeframe for accepting the application.
LISA HARTMAN: All right. I do...
ELIZABETH WOLFE: I concur with that. And then just to—just to bring one more piece into that and a piece of my presentation is the programs office within BJA, so you'll be, like, working with on that, so you'll be able to ask a lot of questions of that program manager assigned to assist you with that. So they can—if there's some extenuating circumstance, then they can work with you.
LISA HARTMAN: All right. I have another one. This is, "You have an approximate date to the NOFO for STOP grants," I'm not sure what that acronym is.
ELIZABETH WOLFE: So I don't have an idea of when the STOP solicitation will be posted. I can recommend that you go to our website and do it. We don't usually forecast the necessary [INDISTINCT] Tenzing, you're aware of a different timeline but we're cranking them out as quickly as we can here at BJA. And I know there's a question in here is also about getting budget cleared. The sooner we post solicitations, then the more quickly budgets are able to be cleared by our CFO colleagues and get all the budgets reviewed. So we put, you know, a huge priority on trying to get the solicitations listed as quickly as possible, but I don't have an approximate timeframe.
LISA HARTMAN: There's another question here. It says, "In the case where we are providing a prevention tool, are the beneficiaries the recipients of the tool or those people who are prevented from becoming victims?"
ELIZABETH WOLFE: Tenzing, do you have an idea? Because my first reaction will be, I would need to know the specific solicitation that's being referred to, it would be provided in the solicitation in great detail about who the recipients are.
TENZING LAHDON: I agree with Elizabeth. I think any questions specific to a solicitation is—if it's an open solicitation, OJP Resource Center—or was it Response Center? Sorry. Would be—y if you can send your questions to them and they would be able to direct your questions to the specific point of contact person.
LISA HARTMAN: There's another one here. "Can your personnel salary be denoted as in-kind services and therefore go over the budget amount, but as the agency's contribution?"
TENZING LAHDON: Lisa, can you repeat that question?
LISA HARTMAN: Yeah. There are two that relates to in-kind—let's see. Where did it go? In-kind services. So this one is, "Can your personnel salary be denoted as in-kind services and therefore go over the budget amount, but as the agency's contribution?" And there's also another one that says, "Can in-kind expenses be included in the budget?"
TENZING LAHDON: Elizabeth, do you want to? Or I can address it?
ELIZABETH WOLFE: If you don't mind addressing it, that'll be awesome. Anyways, I'm going to have to do a little bit more research and get a better answer.
TENZING LAHDON: Sure. So, some solicitations require a match, some do not. So, you would definitely, I would say, to reach out to response center to get more specific, you know—and more solid confirmation on that. But I think if a match is not required and you are proposing a match, I believe that should be okay, you know, and you can mark that as in-kind and just like that as such in the budget. And that would be, like, you know, your agency. But once you enter that in the budget and if that becomes part of the approved budget, you would be obligated to that, you know, in-kind match.
LISA HARTMAN: All right. Here's another question, and then we'll write up into at 12:00. Are authorized—I'm sorry. "Does the awarding panel look at past awards and does that factor into receiving another award?"
ELIZABETH WOLFE: So I believe...
TENZING LAHDON: I'm sorry. Can you—go ahead.
ELIZABETH WOLFE: Go ahead.
TENZING LAHDON: No, no, no.
ELIZABETH WOLFE: No, no, no, no. Go ahead. No, I'm good. I was just going to repeat it again because I'm looking for that question. So go ahead, Tenzing.
TENZING LAHDON: No, no, no. I think—Lisa, can you repeat that? I just want to make sure I heard it correctly too.
LISA HARTMAN: Sure. "Does the awarding panel look at past awards and does that factor into receiving another award?"
TENZING LAHDON: So I would say, when we are looking—most of our solicitation go to peer review process. At that stage, we are not looking at past performance. We look at past performance once it goes to the peer review process and Peer Reviewer, like, you know, recommend— they peer it or whatever format is chosen, so if they have the top, you know, say, 20 or 50 that they are recommending, so we look at those. And if there are— if the rating is exactly similar, then we— I think in the solicitation also, it will say that, you know, whether we are—you know, what the review criteria is, whether, you know, we are looking at the past performances or not.
DARYL FOX: Great. Thank you so much, Tenzing. And there was one question about the NIJ's CrimeSolutions.gov. Here's the URL at the bottom of the slide here that you can jot down. I'm going to put in the chat as well. And one last thing before we conclude today, again, if you have any questions, once we conclude, you can contact the OJP Response Center directly via email, web chat, or the toll-free number for solicitation-specific questions. And obviously, the JustGrants team for anything related to that as well. So, on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Assistance and our JustGrants panelists today, we want to thank you for joining today's webinar. This will end today's presentation.
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