Appendix 2.a. Review Criteria & Final Application Instructions- New & Recompeting COMPETITIVE Applicants
This application criteria is for new and recompeting applicants for COMPETITIVE funding. Each applicant must describe a project that will deploy AmeriCorps members effectively to solve a significant community problem. AmeriCorps urges applicants to submit high quality applications that carefully follow the guidance in the RFA and the following Application Instructions. The quality of an application will be an important factor in determining whether an organization will receive funding.
Applications should include a well-designed plan with clear and compelling justifications for receiving the requested funds. Reviewers will assess the quality of applications by using the selection criteria described below and will rate them accordingly. They will also consider the weights assigned to each criterion.
- Theory of Change and Logic Model
- Organizational Background and Staffing
- Compliance and Accountability
Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy
Evaluation Summary or Plan
eGrants Final Application Instructions
Starting a Final Application in eGrants
New applicants need to establish an eGrants account by accessing this link: https://egrants.cns.gov/espan/main/login.jsp and selecting “Don’t have an eGrants account? Create an account.” Note: Anyone within your organization who will be entering information in the application at any point during application preparation and submission in the eGrants system must have their own eGrants account.
In eGrants, before Starting Section I you will need to:
- Start a new Grant Application
- Select a Program Area (AmeriCorps)
- Select a NOFA:
- For FY 2023 AmeriCorps State and Territory Commission (New and Cont), select Grant Application ID: 23AC250151 for Iowa COMPETITIVE Applicants
Your final application in eGrants consists of the following components. Make sure to complete each section.
I. Applicant Info
II. Application Info
- Logic Model
- Performance Measures
- Program Information
XI. Authorize, and Submit
Information entered in the Applicant Info, Application Info, and Budget sections will populate the SF 424 Facesheet.
- If you are applying for the first time, have only received formula funding in the past, or are a former grantee (non-formula) whose last AmeriCorps grant was received more than five years ago, select New. (Note: previous competitive funding history for the same project, even if more than five years ago, may still affect some application requirements; see the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more details)
- If you are a current planning grantee applying for an implementation grant, select New.
- If you are recompeting (in the final year of a competitive funding cycle and applying for a new grant cycle), select Continuation/Renewal.
- If you are not a current grantee, but received a competitive AmeriCorps grant for the same project in the past five years, select Continuation/Renewal .
Enter or update the requested information in the fields that appear. The contact person needs to be the person who can answer questions about the application. The authorized representative needs to be the person who will submit and who meets the requirements listed in the RFA. You must include “AmeriCorps” (for operational grants) or “AmeriCorps Planning” (for planning grants) in the Project Title
In the Application Info Section enter:
- Areas affected by your proposed program. Please include the two-letter abbreviation with both letters capitalized for each state where you plan to operate. Separate each two-letter state abbreviation with a comma. For city or county information, please follow each one with the two-letter capitalized state abbreviation.
- Requested project period start and end dates. The length of the project period is specified in the RFA.
- The Application is Subject to Review by State Executive Order 12372 Process: This is pre-filled as “No, this is not applicable.”
- Indicate Yes or No if you are delinquent on any federal debt. If yes, provide an explanation.
- State Application Identifier: Enter N/A.
The narrative section of the application is your opportunity to convince reviewers that your project meets the selection criteria as outlined in the RFA. Below are some general recommendations to help you present your project in a way the reviewers will find compelling and persuasive.
- Lead from your program strengths and be explicit. Do not make the mistake of trying to stretch your proposed program description to fit each funding priority and special consideration articulated in the regulations or the RFA.
- Be clear and succinct. Do not use jargon, boilerplate, rhetoric, or exaggeration. Describe clearly what you intend to do and how your project responds to the selection criteria.
- Avoid circular reasoning. The problem you describe should not be defined as the lack of the solution you are proposing.
- Explain how. Avoid simply stating that the criteria will be met. Explicitly describe how the proposed project will meet the criteria.
- Don’t make assumptions. Even if you have received funding from AMERICORPS in the past, do not assume your reviewers know anything about you, your proposed program, your partners, or your beneficiaries. Avoid overuse of acronyms.
- Use an impartial proofreader. Before you submit your application, let someone who is completely unfamiliar with your project read and critique the project narrative.
- Follow the instructions and discuss each criterion in the order presented in the instructions. Use headings to differentiate narrative sections by criterion.
Reviewers will assess your application against the selection criteria. Each application must clearly describe a project that will effectively deploy AmeriCorps members to solve a significant community problem. To best respond to the criteria, we suggest that you include a brief discussion of each bullet if it pertains to your application.
a. Executive Summary (0 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Please fill in the blanks of these sentences to complete the Executive Summary. Do not deviate from the template below.
The [Name of the organization] will have [Number of] AmeriCorps members who will [service activities the members will be doing] in [the locations the AmeriCorps members will serve]. At the end of the first program year, the AmeriCorps members will be responsible for [anticipated outcome of project]. In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage [number of leveraged volunteers, if applicable] who will be engaged in [what the leveraged volunteers will be doing.]
The AmeriCorps investment will be matched with $[amount of projected match], $[amount of local, state, and Federal Funds] in public funding and $[amount of non-governmental funds] in private funding.
Fixed-Amount grant applicants (EAP, Full-Cost Fixed, No Cost Slots) should list their Other Revenue (see Mandatory Supplemental Information) because they are not required to provide a specific amount of match, but still raise significant additional resources to operate the program.
b. Program Design (50 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Reviewers will consider the quality of the application’s response to the criteria below. In assessing Rationale and Approach/ Program Design, reviewers will examine the degree to which the applicant demonstrates how AmeriCorps members and the proposed intervention are particularly well-suited to addressing the identified community problem. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value. Please ensure the Theory of Change and Logic Model incorporate the funding priorities listed above, for example supporting communities historically excluded and/or underserved from government services, addressing structural and institutional inequities, or increasing opportunity in order to achieve sustainable change in communities.
- Theory of Change and Logic Model (24 points)
The Theory of Change shall address:
- The problem is prevalent and severe in communities where the program plans to serve and has been documented with relevant data.
- The proposed intervention is responsive to the identified community problem.
- The applicant’s proposed intervention is clearly articulated including the design, dosage, target population, and roles of AmeriCorps members and (if applicable) leveraged volunteers.
- The applicant’s intervention is likely to lead to the outcomes identified in the applicant’s Theory of Change.
- The expected outcomes articulated in the application narrative and Logic Model represent meaningful progress in addressing the community problem identified by the applicant.
- The rationale for utilizing AmeriCorps members to deliver the intervention(s) is reasonable.
- The service role of AmeriCorps members will produce significant contributions to existing efforts and help develop additional capacity to address the stated problem.
The Logic Model shall depict:
- A summary of the community problem, including the role current or historical inequities faced by underserved communities may play in contributing to the problem.
- The inputs or resources that are necessary to deliver the intervention, including but not limited to:
- Locations or sites in which members will provide services
- Number of AmeriCorps members who will deliver the intervention
- The core activities that define the intervention or program model that members will implement or deliver, including:
- The duration of the intervention (e.g., the total number of weeks, sessions or months of the intervention)
- The dosage of the intervention (e.g., the number of hours per session or sessions per week)
- The target population for the intervention (e.g., disconnected youth, third graders at a certain reading proficiency level)
- The measurable outputs that result from delivering the intervention (i.e., number of beneficiaries served, types and number of activities conducted, equity gaps closed). If applicable, identify which National Performance Measures will be used as output indicators
- Outcomes that demonstrate changes in knowledge/skill, attitude, behavior, or condition that occur as a result of the intervention. If applicable, identify which National Performance Measures will be used as outcome indicators.
Note: The Logic Model is a visual representation of the applicant’s Theory of Change. Programs should include short, medium, or long-term outcomes in the Logic Model. Applicants are not required to measure all components of their Theory of Change. The applicant’s performance measures should be consistent with the program’s Theory of Change and should represent significant program activities.
In the application narrative, applicants should discuss the community need as it relates to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.
Also in the application narrative, applicants should discuss their rationale for setting output and outcome targets for their performance measures.
Rationales and justifications should be informed by the organization’s performance data (e.g., program data observed over time that suggests targets are reasonable), relevant research (e.g. targets documented by organizations running similar programs with similar populations), or prior program evaluation findings.
Applicants with multiple interventions should complete one Logic Model chart which incorporates each intervention. Logic Model content that exceeds three pages will not be reviewed.
- Evidence Base (20 points)
The assessment of an applicant’s evidence base has two parts. First, the applicant will be assigned to an evidence tier (see the Mandatory Supplemental Information). Second, the quality of the applicant’s evidence and the degree to which it supports the proposed program design, including program aligned with the priority areas identified above, will be assessed and scored.
Evidence Tier (12 points):
An evidence tier will be assessed for each applicant for the purpose of understanding the relative strength of each applicant’s evidence base and the likelihood that the proposed intervention will lead to outcomes identified in the Logic Model.
Applicants who have outcome or impact evaluation reports of the same intervention described in the application (see Mandatory Supplemental Information for a definition of “same intervention”) may submit up to 2 of those reports, plus (if applicable) the evaluation report from their last three-year grant cycle, to qualify for the Preliminary, Moderate, or Strong evidence tier. In order to qualify for consideration, the intervention evaluated in the submitted report(s) must match the intervention proposed by the applicant in the following areas, all of which must be clearly described in the Program Design and Logic Model sections of the application:
- Characteristics of the beneficiary population, including evidence of current or historic inequities facing the population;
- Characteristics of the population delivering the intervention;
- Dosage (frequency and duration) and design of the intervention, including all key components and activities;
- The context in which the intervention is delivered; and
- Outcome of the intervention.
Submitted reports that do not sufficiently match the intervention proposed by the applicant in all of these areas will not be considered applicable and will not be reviewed or receive any points. Submission of additional documents that are not consistent with the guidance and requirements described in the Notice (e.g., advocacy pieces, policy briefs, other narratives that are not research studies or program evaluations) will not be reviewed.
In the Evidence Tier section of the application narrative, applicants must (1) summarize the study design and key findings of any outcome or impact evaluation report(s) submitted and (2) describe any other evidence that supports their program, including past performance measure data and/or other research studies that inform their program design. Applicants who submit evaluation reports for consideration must also describe in the Evidence Base section of the application narrative how the intervention described in the submitted reports is the same as the intervention described in the application (see Mandatory Supplemental Information).
Applicants should provide citations for the studies they describe, if applicable; however, reviewers will not review any documents external to the application other than evaluation report(s) submitted in accordance with the Notice instructions.
Applicants must meet all requirements of an evidence tier in order to be considered for that tier.
If the evaluation reports submitted by the applicant do not meet the definitions in the Mandatory Supplemental Information, the applicant may be considered for a lower evidence tier.
Evidence Quality (8 points):
After the applicant’s evidence tier has been assessed, the quality of the applicant’s evidence and the extent to which it supports the proposed program design will be assessed and scored.
Applicants who are assessed as being in the Preliminary, Moderate, or Strong evidence tiers, reviewers will score the submitted evaluation reports using the following standards:
- The submitted reports are of satisfactory methodological quality and rigor for the type of evaluation conducted (e.g., adequate sample size and statistical power, internal and/or external validity, appropriate use of control or comparison groups, etc.);
- The submitted reports describe evaluations that were conducted relatively recently, preferably within the last six years;
- The submitted reports show a meaningful and significant positive effect on program beneficiaries in at least one key outcome of interest.
Applicants that are assessed as being in the Pre-Preliminary evidence tier, reviewers will score the narrative provided in the Evidence Base section of the application using the following standards:
- The applicant uses relevant evidence, including past performance measure data and/or cited research studies, to inform their proposed program design;
- The described evidence is relatively recent, preferably from the last six years;
- The evidence described by the applicant indicates a meaningful positive effect on program beneficiaries in at least one key outcome of interest.
- Notice Priority (0 points)
- The applicant proposed program fits within one or more of the AmeriCorps or Volunteer Iowa funding priorities and meets all of the requirements as outlined in the Funding Priorities section and more fully described in the Mandatory Supplemental Information or Alignment with Volunteer Iowa Priorities Form.
- Member Experience (6 points)
- AmeriCorps members’ service will provide them opportunities to develop as leaders.
- AmeriCorps members will gain skills as a result of their training and service that can be utilized and will be valued by future employers after their service term is completed.
- AmeriCorps members receive additional benefits.
- Description of the demographics of the community served and plans to recruit AmeriCorps members from geographic or demographic communities in which the program operates. This could include but not limited to the following historically underserved, under-represented, and disadvantaged populations of:
- communities of color
- LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning or Intersex) communities
- Individuals with varying degrees of English language proficiency
- Individuals with disabilities
- Veterans and military family members as volunteers
- Description of how the organization will ensure its project engages a diverse and inclusive group of members.
- The applicant’s organization and/or program has a diversity, equity, and inclusion council or similar mechanism that seeks to diversity its staff and board and create a supportive and safe environment as well ensure that its programming is culturally and community appropriate.
c. Organizational Capability (25 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Reviewers will consider the quality of the application’s response to the following criteria below. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value. Reviewers will assess the extent to which the applicant demonstrates organizational background and staffing and structures, including compliance and accountability, to support the proposed program.
- Organizational Background and Staffing (13 points)
- The organization details the roles, responsibilities, and structure of the staff that will be implementing, providing oversight, and monitoring the program.
- The organization has facilitated, partnered, or participated in educational or workforce development programs (i.e., pre-apprenticeship/registered apprenticeship, work experience and job training programs, etc.)
- The leadership and staff of the organization has the same lived experience as the beneficiary population and/or community being served.
- The applicant’s (organization’s or institution’s) definitions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility demonstrate the organization is engaged in related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can include the inclusion of diversity on the Board of Directors, agency staff and leadership, and/or volunteers.
- Compliance and Accountability (8 points)
- The extent to which the organization has an effective mechanism in place to report, without delay, any suspected criminal activity, waste, fraud, and/or abuse to both the AmeriCorps Office of Inspector General and AmeriCorps and a plan for training staff and participants on these reporting protocols.
- The extent to which the organization has sufficient policies, procedures, and controls in place to prevent, detect, and mitigate the risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, this can include an assessment of appropriate segregation of duties, internal oversight activities, measures to prevent timekeeping fraud, etc.
- The AmeriCorps-required evaluation report meets AmeriCorps requirements (if applicable).
- The AmeriCorps-required evaluation report is of satisfactory quality (if applicable).
- Member Supervision (4 points)
- AmeriCorps members will receive sufficient guidance and support from their supervisor to provide effective service.
- AmeriCorps supervisors will be adequately trained/prepared to follow AmeriCorps and program regulations, priorities, and expectations.
d. Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy (25 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Reviewers will assess the quality of the application’s budget to the following criteria below. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value. These criteria will be assessed based on the budget submitted. Do not include narrative in the narrative box except for “See budget”. In assessing Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy, reviewers will examine the degree to which the budget is cost effective and appropriate for the program being proposed.
- Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy (25 points)
- Budget complies with the appropriate Detailed Budget Instructions (see Attachments)
- Cost Reimbursement applicant meets match requirements or Fixed Amount applicant proposes sufficient additional revenue to adequately support the program. Applicant identifies sources in the Source of Funds section of the budget
- The cost per MSY is equal to or less than the maximum cost per MSY (See RFA) .
Proposed budgets that contain MSY costs that exceed the maximum cost per MSY and/or less than required match will be considered unresponsive to the application criteria.
Cost reimbursement applicants: Indicate the amount of requested match replacement in the Source of Funds section of the budget. See definition of match replacement in the Mandatory Supplemental Information.
e. Evaluation Plan (Required for recompeting applicants-0 percent for AMERICORPS scoring)
If the applicant has previously received three or more years of competitive funding for the same project being proposed (see the Mandatory Supplemental Information for the AmeriCorps definition of “same project”), the applicant must submit an evaluation plan as an attachment (see the Additional Documents section of the RFA for more details). If the applicant has previously received six or more years of competitive funding for the same project being proposed, the applicant must submit both an evaluation plan and an evaluation report as attachments.
Applicants should use the evaluation plan template available on the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps State Grants webpage. to craft their evaluation plans. The template document provides detailed information about the AmeriCorps evaluation requirements (45 CFR 2522.700-710) and specifies the information that must be provided for the evaluation plan to be approved by AmeriCorps. The evaluation plan will not be scored and will not be reviewed until after funding decisions have been made.
All applicants should enter “N/A” in the “Evaluation Summary or Plan” field of the Narrative. Any other text entered in this field will not be reviewed.
f. Amendment Justification (0 percent)
Enter N/A. This field will be used if the applicant is awarded a grant and needs to amend it.
g. Clarification Information (0 percent)
Ener N/A. This field will be used to enter information that requires clarification in the post-review period. Please clearly label new information added during clarification with the date.
h. Continuation Changes (0 percent)
Enter N/A. This field will be used to enter changes in the application narratives in continuation requests.
Complete the logic model according to the criteria provided in the applicable RFA Criteria.
To begin entering your logic model, from your eGrants application page select “Logic Model” in the left side navigation menu.
In the first blank row of the logic model, click “edit.” Clicking this link will open a pop-up screen with fields for each column of the logic model. Complete any fields that are applicable; there are no required fields in this screen. When you are finished click “save and close.”
You may add an unlimited number of rows to the logic model by clicking “add a new row.” However, please be mindful of any page limits specified elsewhere in the Application Instructions or RFA.
You may edit or delete an existing row by clicking “edit” or “delete” in the last column of the logic model.
All applicants must submit performance measures with their application. See Attachments for instructions for entering performance measures, and see the RFA and AMERICORPS National Performance Measures Instructions posted to the Iowa AmeriCorps State Grants page for details about the number and type of performance measures required.
In the Program Information Section, applicants must check the relevant boxes in order to be considered for AMERICORPS’ assessment of the strategic considerations and Special Initiatives. Applicants should only check the boxes for those characteristics that represent a significant part of the program.
AmeriCorps Funding Priorities
Check any priority area(s) that apply to the proposed program. Only select Priorities that represent a significant part of the program focus and intended outcomes.
Check any grant characteristics that are a significant part of the proposed program.
See the via the guidance in the RFA regarding which documents are required for your application. eGrants does not allow you to upload any additional documents so you are required to upload them to IowaGrants. However, the eGrants application does request the status of the following documents.
Evaluation: Submit any completed report as described in the RFA. If an evaluation is required, you must submit a copy at the time of application even if Volunteer Iowa or AmeriCorps may already have it on file.
Labor Union Concurrence: See the RFA.
Federally-Approved Indirect Cost Agreement: See the RFA.
Delinquent on Federal Debt: See the RFA.
Other Documents: Please submit all required documents in IowaGrants as instructed in the RFA using the naming convention and other instructions found there. These materials must be submitted by the deadline in the RFA.
After you have uploaded your documents to IowaGrants, change the status in eGrants from the default “Not Sent” to the applicable status: “Sent (i.e. uploaded to IowaGrants),” “Not Applicable,” or “Already on File at AMERICORPS.”
- VIII. Budget Instructions
For Fixed-Amount grants, including EAPs: Use the Detailed Budget Instructions for Fixed Amount Grants and the Budget Worksheet for Fixed-Amount Grants to prepare your budget.
a. Match Requirements
Program requirements, including requirements on match, are located in the AmeriCorps regulations and summarized in the RFA.
- In the “Source of Funds” field that appears at the end of Budget Section III, enter a brief description of the match. Identify each match source separately. Identify if the match is secured or proposed. Include dollar amount, the match classification (cash or in-kind), and the source type (Private, State/Local, or Federal) for your entire match. (The total amount in the Source of Funds field should match the total amount in the budget narrative exactly.) Define all acronyms the first time they are used.
- See the Pre-Application Instructions to apply for the Alternative Match Schedule or Individual Match Waiver.
- Cost reimbursement applicants, please refer to the Detailed Budget Instructions for instructions for requesting match replacement, if match replacement is included in the RFA.
b. Preparing Your Budget
Volunteer Iowa Guidance: Applicants for AmeriCorps State Cost Reimbursement grants must prepare detailed budgets and meet program matching requirements. Although AmeriCorps Full-Time Fixed Amount and Education Award Only program applicants submit only simplified budgets, they will also incur many or all of the costs outlined in the Detailed Budget Instructions for Cost Reimbursement Grants and must indicate in the Source of Funds and Other Revenue Funds section all non-AMERICORPS/CNCS funding they intend to secure to support the full costs of the program. Applicants should pay special attention to the amount of federal funding they request per full time AmeriCorps member, known as the cost per MSY. Applicants should note that, if awarded three-year competitive national funding, they may be expected to maintain their cost per MSY over the course of the grant, even if other program costs go up.
Your proposed budget should be sufficient to allow you to perform the tasks described in your narrative. Reviewers will consider the information you provide in this section in their assessment of the Cost-Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy selection criterion. Follow the appropriate, Detailed Budget Instructions in the Attachments to prepare your budget. An Excel Budget Narrative Worksheet is provided by Volunteer Iowa (see Attachments) for the purposes of drafting your budget; we recommend you work on your budget in this tool and enter into eGrants when finalized.
As you enter your detailed budget information, eGrants will automatically populate a budget summary and budget narrative report. Prior to submission be sure to review the budget checklist (Attachments) to ensure your budget is compliant. In addition, eGrants will perform a limited compliance check to validate the budget. If eGrants finds any compliance issues you will receive a warning and/or error messages. You must resolve all errors before you can submit your budget. Note that the system also applies some warnings that relate only to competitive submission thresholds (such as the competitive cost/MSY limit) but not to formula grantees and will not prevent submission.
As you prepare your budget:
- All the amounts you request must be defined for a particular purpose. Do not include miscellaneous, contingency, or other undefined budget amounts.
- Itemize each cost and present the basis for all calculations in the form of an equation.
- Do not include unallowable expenses, e.g., entertainment costs (which include food and beverage costs) unless they are justified as an essential component of an activity.
- Do not include fractional amounts (cents).
- Please add the cost of the NSOPW, state check, and/or FBI check for criminal history checks for each covered position in the budget. If funds are not budgeted, an explanation for how the costs will be covered must be noted in the budget.
Programs must comply with all applicable federal laws, regulations, and the requirements of the Uniform Guidance. Please refer to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Part 200) for allowable, allocable, and reasonable cost information, as well as audit requirements, including the need to provide audits to the Clearinghouse if expending over $750,000 in federal funds as required in the OmniCircular. The OMB Uniform Guidance can be found on-line at https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title02/2cfr200_main_02.tpl.
In the Funding/Demographics Section enter the information requested which could include:
- Other Revenue funds. Enter the amount of funds that your organization uses to run the program that are not identified on the application budget as AMERICORPS/CNCS share or grantee share (match). Note: Programs should not enter the total operating budget for their organization unless the entire operating budget supports the AmeriCorps program. Programs that have additional revenue sources not included in the matching funds section of the budget should provide the amount of this additional revenue that supports the program. This amount should not include the AMERICORPS/CNCS or grantee share amounts in the budget. Fixed amount grantees should enter all non-AMERICORPS/CNCS funds that support the program in this field. All fixed grants will have other revenue.
Number of Volunteers Generated by AmeriCorps members. Please enter the number of volunteers participating in one day service projects or ongoing volunteer commitments that the proposed AmeriCorps members will generate.
Volunteer Iowa Guidance: According to current AMERICORPS guidance, programs will be asked to report on Other Revenue Funds for which they have supporting documentation as part of their program progress reports. This is currently only required for Fixed-Amount grantees.
Volunteer Iowa Guidance: According to current AMERICORPS guidance, programs will be asked, as part of their program progress reports, to report on the Number of Volunteers Generated for which they have supporting documentation. All programs are required to generate community volunteers unless they have an approved Volunteer Generation waiver.
- X. Operating Sites (for multi-state applicants only)
This section is not applicable to single-state applicants and therefore should not appear for Iowa AmeriCorps State applicants.
- XI. Review, Authorize, and Submit
Applicants must submit common federal government-wide Representations and Certifications through SAM.gov. Entities creating new registrations in SAM.gov and existing entities completing their annual registration renewals in SAM.gov are required to review financial assistance representations and certifications before their registration can be activated. As entities renew and re-register their accounts, the data collected make SAM.gov the federal repository for the government-wide information.
eGrants requires that you review and verify your entire application before submitting, by completing the following sections in eGrants:
Read the Authorization, Assurances, and Certifications carefully (https://espan.cns.gov/cnsmisc/ECERTS.HTM, and https://espan.cns.gov/cnsmisc/EASSUR.HTM). The person who authorizes the application must be the applicant’s Authorized Representative or his/her designee and must have an active eGrants account to sign these documents electronically. An Authorized Representative is the person in your organization authorized to accept and commit funds on behalf of the organization. A copy of the governing body’s authorization for this official representative to sign must be on file in the applicant’s office.
IowaGrants Final Application
Starting a Final Application in IowaGrants.
On the IowaGrants home page select Grant Opportunities, or after logging in select Funding Opportunities from your main menu. Click on the AmeriCorps State 2023-2024 funding opportunity.
Click on the button at the top that allows you to Start a New Application (you may need to first login to your account). Do not select to copy an existing application or you will not have the correct components available to you. You will first be directed to the General Information component.
When each IowaGrants component has been completed, you will need to click on the “Mark as Complete” option for that component before the system will allow you to submit the application.
Your final application in IowaGrants consists of the following components. Make sure to complete each section.
- General Information
- Minority Impact Statement
- Final Application Supporting Documentation Attachments
- Application Signature (appears after you click “Submit”)
Include “AmeriCorps” (for operational grants) or “AmeriCorps Planning” (for planning grants) in the Project Title. The project title should match the program name in eGrants. If you are connected to more than one organization (as is the case for existing AmeriCorps grantees who also had an IowaGrants timekeeping account), be sure to choose the correct applicant organization. The IowaGrants user who creates the final application will become the primary grantee contact (the “registered applicant”) in the system. The registered applicant can add additional contacts from the same organization to allow them access to the final application.
- II. Minority Impact Statement
This is a required form for all State of Iowa grants; please complete as directed.
- III. Final Application Supporting Documentation Attachments
The following additional documents are part of the final application in IowaGrants. See the RFA for details on supporting documentation to be included with the final application, as many of the attachments are relevant for only certain applicants. On the attachment page, click the name of the required attachment. You can then choose the file to upload. A description is required by the system in order to accept the file. In order to ensure that state reviewers see the final version of your application materials from eGrants, you should first submit your eGrants application and then download copies of the submitted eGrants materials to upload to IowaGrants.
- Copy of submitted eGrants Application
- Application for Federal Assistance (from eGrants)- REQUIRED
- Budget Attachment (from eGrants)- REQUIRED
- Budget Narrative (from eGrants)- REQUIRED
- Additional Documents
1. Alignment with Volunteer Iowa Priorities Form- REQUIRED
2. Operational and Financial Management Survey (OFMS)- REQUIRED
3. Copy of Most Recent Agency Audit or Financial Review- REQUIRED for NEW
4. Evaluation briefs, reports, studies to support the Evidence Base.
5. Federally Approved Indirect Cost Rate supporting documentation.
6. Evaluation plan.
7. Evaluation report.
8. SAM registration renewal date documentation.
9. Tribal organization eligibility documentation.
10. Labor union concurrence.
11. Federal debt delinquency explanation.
- IV. Application Signature
Before submitting, the authorized user will need to sign (within the system) and verify understanding of the Funding Opportunity terms.
Be sure to check your entire application to ensure that there are no errors before submitting it. When you verify the application eGrants will also generate a list of errors and potential errors if there are sections that need to be corrected or reviewed prior to submission. If someone else is acting in the role of the applicant’s Authorized Representative, that person must log into his/her own eGrants account and proceed with Authorize and Submit. After signing off on the Authorization, Assurances, and Certifications, his/her name will override any previous signatory that may appear and show on the application as the Authorized Representative.
These application instructions conform to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s online grant application system, eGrants and the Volunteer Iowa online system, IowaGrants. All funding announcements by the Corporation for National and Community Service (AMERICORPS) are posted on www.nationalservice.gov and www.grants.gov. AmeriCorps funding announcements by Volunteer Iowa are posted on www.iowagrants.gov and/or www.volunteeriowa.org.
Public Burden Statement: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 80 hours per submission, including reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing the form. Comments on the burden or content of this instrument may be sent to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Attn: Arminda Pappas, 250 E Street, SW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20525. AMERICORPS informs people who may respond to this collection of information that they are not required to respond to the collection of information unless the OMB control number and expiration date displayed on page one are current and valid. (See 5 CFR 1320.5(b)(2)(i).)
Privacy Act Notice: The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C § 552a) requires that the following notice be provided to you: The information requested on the AmeriCorps Application Instructions is collected pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 12581 - 12585 of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 as amended, and 42 U.S.C. § 4953 of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 as amended. Purposes and Uses - The information requested is collected for the purposes of reviewing grant applications and granting funding requests. Routine Uses - Routine uses may include disclosure of the information to federal, state, or local agencies pursuant to lawfully authorized requests. In some programs, the information may also be provided to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to determine the existence of any prior criminal convictions. The information may also be provided to appropriate federal agencies and Department contractors that have a need to know the information for the purpose of assisting the Department’s efforts to respond to a suspected or confirmed breach of the security or confidentiality or information maintained in this system of records, and the information disclosed is relevant and unnecessary for the assistance. Executive Summaries of all compliant applications received and applications of successful applicants will be published on the AmeriCorps website as part of ongoing efforts to increase transparency in grantmaking. This is described in more detail in the Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity. The information will not otherwise be disclosed to entities outside of AmeriCorps without prior written permission. Effects of Nondisclosure - The information requested is mandatory in order to receive benefits.
Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act: Grant recipients will be required to report at www.FSRS.gov on all subawards over $25,000 and may be required to report on executive compensation for recipients and subrecipients. Recipients must have the necessary systems in place to collect and report this information. See 2 C.F.R. Part 170 for more information and to determine how these requirements apply.
Indirect Cost Rates: AMERICORPS allows applicants to include indirect costs in application budgets. Based on qualifying factors, applicants have the option of using a federally approved indirect cost rate, a 10% de minimis rate of modified total direct costs, or may claim certain costs directly as outlined in 2 CFR § 200.413 Direct costs. Applicants who hold a federal negotiated indirect cost rate must use that rate in lieu of the AmeriCorps 5/10% allocation of administrative costs.
Applicants who hold a state or federal negotiated indirect cost rate or will be using the 10% de minimis rate must enter that information in the Organization section in eGrants (see Attachments for eGrants Indirect Cost Rate (IDCR) User Instructions).
Those applicants who receive state funding from Volunteer Iowa that is awarded to be used as match to the federal AmeriCorps funds may have a portion of those state funds (up to 10%) retained by Volunteer Iowa for the commission’s administrative costs. So, while the full amount of these state funds should be reflected in the AmeriCorps budget the program should be aware of the amount that may be designated to the commission.
Universal Identifier: Applicants must include a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) in eGrants at the time of submission. Applicants must obtain their UEI and register their entity through the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). All grant recipients are required to maintain a valid registration, which must be renewed annually.
 In 2022, the evidence tiers of successful AmeriCorps State and National applicants that were competing were as follows: Strong 28%, Moderate 15%, Preliminary 25%, and Pre-Preliminary 32%. As these figures indicate, AmeriCorps values and funds programs at all points along the evidence continuum and expects programs to progress along the evidence continuum over time. Thus, do not be deterred from applying for funding due to your current evidence level.
 Applicants assessed in the Pre-Preliminary evidence tier that do not provide adequate responses to the Evidence Quality standards will not meet the threshold requirements for this Notice and will not be considered for funding.