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On April 25, Governor Cuomo launched the 2017 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, also known as Round VII, by officially kicking off the annual competition for more than $800 million in New York State economic development resources in all 10 REDC geographic areas.

The Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) opened for submissions on Monday, May 1The deadline for CFA submissions is Friday, July 28, at 4:00 p.m. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Nonprofit Works has in-depth experience with the CFA requirements and process, as well as the interests and priorities of the REDCs. If you would like a consultation on planning and developing your organization’s CFA, please contact Maranne McDade Clay at maranne@nonprofitworks.com or (518) 581-8841.

Step Zero: The Grants Gateway

Since 2013, all not-for-profits seeking New York State grant funds must register in the state’s Grants Gateway and complete the pre-qualification process to be eligible to apply for funding. If your organization is planning to seek state grants, it should start the registration and pre-qualification process as soon as possible. The Grants Gateway training calendar offers useful links, webinars, and other resources to help you navigate the pre-qualification process.

Tip #1: Get a Grants Gateway Check-Up

If your organization is already registered in the Grants Gateway and is pre-qualified and eligible to apply for funding, nice work! Now’s the time to ensure that you maintain that pre-qualified status, especially before the CFA rush begins on May 1. Log in to the Gateway and determine if any documents need to be submitted prior to the 2017 CFA deadline to maintain your pre-qualified status. Remember: Your organization’s fiscal year determines when documents require updating in your document vault in the Grants Gateway. Financial documents such as auditsForm 990, and Charities Bureau registration require annual updates.

More Helpful Hints

If it’s been awhile since you logged into the Grants Gateway, here are a few more tips to help you navigate the system:

  • Your password must be updated every three months. You can log in with an expired password, but you will be prompted to update it immediately.
  • The Grants Gateway is an expansive portal. Consider participating in a training webinar as a refresher. It will enable you to perform necessary tasks in the Gateway more efficiently.
  • Download your organization’s State Prequalification Application Status Report. You can access it under the “Document Vault” tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and look below the “Management Screens” heading.
  • In addition to providing information about your pre-qualification status, your status report will include an e-mail address for a NYS employee. Keep that address handy so you can contact them with any specific questions.
  • When contacting the state for help via phone or e-mail, know your NYS vendor ID number and any grant contract number(s). You can find your vendor ID number listed in the “Organization” section of your Grants Gateway account.
  • The Gateway “Help Desk” is available weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at (800) 820-1890 or helpdesk@agatesoftware.com.

Step One: Review Round VII Resources and Guidelines

Start by reviewing the programs in the 2017 CFA Resource Manual to determine which programs your organization may be interested in applying for. Then look at the Round VII guidelines — especially this year’s Regional Council Guidebook (which includes the councils’ priorities and evaluation criteria) and the 2017 Application Manual — on the regional councils website.

Tip #2: Plan Ahead to Avoid Round VII Obstacles

Reviewing the Round VII application requirements should raise some questions for your organization: Will it need a resolution from your board or local municipal government? Which staff members have important information or roles in this year’s application, and where are they likely to be at deadline time? Then take steps to avoid obstacles that could hinder your application:

  • Enquire about your colleagues’, program partners’, and collaborators’ vacation schedules and get any information you need from them before they leave.
  • Plan ahead to gather signatures by creating an “event” on your organization’s calendar and inviting all relevant parties to it. Make sure the date considers vacations, and provides ample time before the 2017 CFA deadline.
  • If the state agency to which you are applying requires a resolution, be sure to add your organization’s resolution request to the appropriate municipal docket or organizational meeting agenda as soon as possible. (The former can take 6 weeks or longer!)
  • Do you need a sample resolution to help you draft one for your organization? You can find samples on specific NY State agency websites, such as Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Homes and Community Renewal.
  • Not sure if you need a resolution? Call the state agency from which you are seeking funding to find out.