November 30, 2012

From {Centered}: How to demonstrate sustainability in grant proposals

When considering whether or not to make a grant, both foundation and government decision-makers want to know what will happen with the program they are being asked to support after the grant funds have been expended. In other words, is the work sustainable? The article "Applicants Should Write with Sustainability in Mind" (Local/State Funding Report, October 15, 2012) suggests ways you can demonstrate sustainability in your proposal.

Before writing the proposal, have a thorough discussion within your organization about the capacity of the existing infrastructure to operate the project. Get assurances that there will be support for the project from within the group. If partner organizations are to be involved in the project, determine whether or not these organizations have made plans or commitments to continue working with you after the grant expires. Find out whether the physical resources needed for the project will remain available after the grant has been expended. Will the deliverables of the project, such as training programs created, remain available and useful to the target populations past the grant period?

Once these questions have been answered, you can include in the proposal language about:
  • ongoing relationships with partners;
  • networks that will be created and maintained with businesses and community groups;
  • project infrastructure that will be retained for future use in the organization,including staff learning from the project;
  • the ability of project participants to make future use of what they have gained from the project.

Source: {Centered} November 2012 - Volume 5, Issue 11
© 2012 The Grantsmanship Center. All rights reserved.

November 28, 2012

From The Indiana Arts Commission: New "Big Read" Grant Applications Now Available

The "Big Read" is now accepting applications from non-profit organizations to develop community-wide reading programs taking place between September 2013 and June 2014.

The "Big Read" is a national program designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

Organizations selected to participate in "The Big Read" receive a grant, educational and promotional materials, and access to online training resources and opportunities. Approximately 75 organizations from across the country will be selected.

The new titles for the 2013 "Big Read" include: The Namesake, by Jhump Lahiri; True Grit, by Charles Portis; and Into the Beautiful North, by Luis Alberto Urrea.

The deadline for application is 4:00 p.m. (CST) February 5, 2013.

Visit the "Big Read" website for more information. Have additional questions? Call Arts Midwest at 612-238-8010 or email

November 27, 2012

From GrantWeek: HHS Merges Aging and Disability Agencies

Based on the philosophy that “all Americans – including people with disabilities and seniors – should be able to live at home […] rather than in nursing homes or other institutions,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established a new agency, the Administration for Community Living (ACL). ACL unites and coordinates the efforts of the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability, and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency that supports both cross-cutting initiatives and efforts focused on the unique needs of individual groups, such as children with developmental disabilities or seniors with dementia.

Funding will focus on increasing access to community support; achieving full community participation for people with disabilities and seniors; and moving beyond healthcare alone to focus on issues related to housing, employment, education, meaningful relationships, and social participation. Monitor the ALC blog and GRC publications for funding opportunity updates.

From GrantWeek: NIH Announces New Public Access Policy Tools

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has warned that, beginning in spring 2013, researchers who are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy will face delayed processing of their non-competing continuation grant awards. Since 2008, compliance with the NIH public access policy has been a statutory requirement and a term and condition of all grant awards and cooperative agreements. Awardees are required to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts, as soon as they are accepted for publication, to the digital archive PubMed Central. The goal is that all research results arising from NIH-funded projects will be accessible to the public within 12 months of publication.

NIH has conducted a great deal of outreach to assist applicants with understanding the policy. In light of ongoing non-compliance issues, the agency has made changes to My NCBI. One update improves the workflow and communication between project directors/principal investigators (PDs/PIs) and other authors to answer the challenge of tracking all papers arising from NIH awards, even if the PD/PI is not the author.

Additional information on using My NCBI is available online:

Institutions are encouraged to continue providing training and other support to NIH awardees. Direct specific questions to

November 20, 2012

From GRC GrantWeek: NEH Seeks Comments on New Public Program

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Division of Public Programs has announced plans for the FY 14 launch of Digital Projects for the Public, a new program to fund “projects using digital formats such as websites, mobile applications, games, social media, and virtual environments to reach the public and foster lifelong learning.” The agency invites comments on the draft guidelines through December 10, 2012.

There is a tentative proposal deadline of June 12, 2013 for discovery awards of up to $25,000 and prototyping awards of up to $100,000 for projects that will “significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with humanities concepts and spark a deeper understanding of disciplines such as history, literature, religion, anthropology, jurisprudence, and art history.”

All projects are expected to have these features:
  • Deepen public understanding of significant humanities stories and ideas;
  • Build on sound humanities scholarship;
  • Involve humanities scholars in all phases of development and production;
  • Involve appropriate media professionals, especially a producer, director, writer, and interactive designer;
  • Reach a broad public through a realistic plan for development and distribution;
  • Create appealing digital formats that will engage the general public;
  • Use widely available hardware and operating platforms;
  • Deepen public understanding of significant humanities ideas and questions; and
  • Demonstrate the capacity to sustain themselves for three years.
 Submit comments to Final guidelines will be published by April 15, 2013.

November 16, 2012

From the Non Profit Times: 6 Steps For Grant Application Planning

The adage “Don’t chase dollars, chase results” is more than high-minded philosophy. It’s practical. The surest way to win grants is with proposals that offer thoughtful, logical plans for achieving measurable change.
  • According to Barbara A. Floersch, director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, to develop winning proposals, planning is non-negotiable. Here are six primary planning tasks.
  • Identify how the grant-will contribute to your organization’s mission and strategic plan. Will it propel you in the right direction or lure you off track?
  • Update your understanding of the issue the proposal will address. Review local data, talk to staff in your organization, and reach out to experts.
  • Make sure you know what’s already happening. Meet with staff in relevant organizations, update your knowledge of their work, solicit their ideas, and explore collaborations that will increase impact.
  • Involve those affected by the issue. Explore their perceptions. Engage them in identifying methods that will work.
  • Explore best practices for addressing the issue. What’s been proven to work?
  • Develop a concept paper providing an overview of how your organization will approach the issue, why you think the approach will work, and the results you expect the project to achieve. Use the concept paper with administrators, experts, and constituents to garner support, refine the plan, and secure letters of commitment.
Writing up a quick response to application guidelines won’t get you where you need to be. Until you’ve done the planning, you’re unprepared to develop a winning grant proposal.

November 13, 2012

From GRC Grantweek: NSF Will Launch E2 in Late-FY 13

During a November 8, 2012 public meeting, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) discussed the pending release of a solicitation for Expeditions in Education (E2) pilot projects. E2 was proposed in NSF’s FY 13 budget request as part of the $807 million OneNSF initiative to coordinate high-priority programs seamlessly across all NSF disciplines and administrative units. (See the February 13, 2012 edition of GrantWeek for previous coverage.)

E2 is an effort to “consolidate, leverage, and focus” NSF’s educational and research missions to achieve national goals in STEM research and discovery, teaching and learning, and workforce development. There are three initial priorities: Transforming Undergraduate STEM Learning through Science and Engineering; Learning and Understanding Sustainability and Cyberlearning; and Data and Observations of STEM Education.

The February budget request described NSF’s plans for EHR, as the coordinating unit, and participating research offices, divisions, and directorates to issue a dear colleague letter that will solicit proposals and provide the following information:
  • A list of programs across NSF that are part of the E2 portfolio;
  • E2-specific expectations and language for each participating program;
  • Information on what will constitute an E2 activity;
  • Proposal evaluation and funding details (EHR and the participating directorates, divisions, and offices will split financial, staffing, and award decision responsibilities during FY 13); and
  • A description of E2 guiding principles, metrics, data collection and reporting standards, and project evaluation requirements.
E2is part of a broader effort to staunch the flow of students out of STEM disciplines. EHR representatives at the November 8 meeting cited data showing that over 40 percent of U.S. undergraduate students who begin in a STEM major leave the program by the second semester of their first year. E2 will probe the replication potential of successful interventions for pervasive problems like these (EHR has highlighted Tuft University’s thriving engineering department as an example of a program that embeds real-world experience into undergraduate education, resulting not just in student retention but also in attracting students from other disciplines.) A second expected outcome of E2 is widespread execution of strategies for aligning experts on the science of learning with researchers from disciplines all along the STEM spectrum.

The pilot projects selected for FY 13 funding will become NSF’s “baseline” E2 portfolio. By FY 17, the agency expects the initiative to have transformed NSF’s entire education portfolio “into a coordinated and strategic set of investments spanning basic research and theory about STEM learning; design, implementation, and assessment of models for STEM learning and workforce development; evidence-based models for building institutional and human capacity; and innovative approaches to adaptation and scale-up.” This STEM education revolution will run concurrently with NSF’s “re-envisioning of EHR” to “to provide a full set of core investments in STEM education” research and development.

Check back with the Research Blog for updates!

November 12, 2012

From the NIGMS Feedback Loop Blog: Discussing Your Application’s Review with Your Program Director

Study sections review applications three times a year, about halfway between the submission date and the second level of review by an advisory council. We are currently in the midst of the review cycle for the January 2013 Council meeting, which means that applicants will be getting their summary statements soon.

A recent post described a new NIH resource to explain the next steps after the review of your application. One of them is to contact your program director to discuss the critique, and I highly encourage this. Program directors read hundreds of summary statements each year, so we have a good idea about the comments that might have influenced your score, the likelihood that your application will be funded, and the types of revisions that might make your application more competitive.

November 06, 2012

From GrantWeek: Fewer Multi-Year Grants Suggest Need to Diversify

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) has issued a new report on the “State of Multi-Year Funding” by private sector grantmakers. Although generally accepted as “essential for nonprofits’ effectiveness, impact, and growth,” multi-year grants are on the decline. The report finds a drop of more than 20 percent from 2008 to 2009, and an additional dip in 2010. But the percentage of grantmakers awarding multi-year grants has remained fairly consistent, about one-tenth of those surveyed, since 2004.

Colleges and universities seeking multi-year grants must provide evidence of alignment between the institution’s mid- and long-term goals and the funder’s. As NCRP states, longer-term funding can offer these significant win-win benefits:
  • The ability to respond to crises and opportunities;
  • Capacity building and leadership development potential;
  • The ability to maintain staff continuity and organizational leadership; and
  • The organizational capacity to overcome unforeseeable challenges and improve planning.
A diverse portfolio of support is the best way to hedge the chance that a central funding source pulls its support and leaves a center, program, or initiative with no way to continue, let alone grow. Contact the GRC staff for assistance in identifying potential federal and private sponsors, and see the Chronicle of Philanthropy for additional coverage of the NCRP report.

November 05, 2012

Delays in Grant Application Submission due to Hurricane Sandy

From OER Grants: The NIH realizes that the path of Hurricane Sandy may cause problems in grant application submission for organizations located over a wide portion of the east coast. The usual NIH practice for such circumstances will apply. Electronic and paper applications submitted late because of weather problems must include a cover letter noting the reasons for the delay. It is not necessary to get permission in advance for weather-related delays in grant application submissions. The delay should not exceed the time period that an applicant organization/institution is closed.

NIH has established a Web page on the NIH Extramural Response to Natural Disasters that provides information on a variety of topics.

November 01, 2012

Building Better Communities Fellows Program is Now Recruiting

Looking for an immersive learning opportunity? The Building Better Communities Fellows program is now recruiting undergraduate and graduate students from all academic disciplines for the Spring 2013 Semester.

Some of the projects offered next Spring are:

IGA Paperless Project Usability Study, Improvements and Training
For more information about this project, please contact Jonathan Huer, Department of Emerging Technologies and Media Development. Apply Now!

GRI Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting for the City of Bloomington, Indiana
For more information, please contact Gwen White, Department of Accounting. Apply now!

Voices of Growth
For more information about this project, contact Josh Gruver, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management. Apply Now!

Modeling Urban Form: Expressions of the Operational State of Design-For-Sustainability
For more information about this project, contact Robert Koester, director of Center for Energy Research, Education and Service and professor of Architecture. Apply Now!