Grant Applicants - Program Guidelines

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums – FY13 Guidelines
Application Deadline: February 1, 2013
(Projects must begin August 1, September 1, or October 1, 2013.)

Date Posted: November 28, 2012
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 45.312

IMLS Information

Guideline Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Information

  3. Eligibility

  4. Registration Requirements

  5. Preparing and Submitting an Application

  6. After You Apply

Questions? See the Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums Web page for IMLS contact info.

Teletype (TTY/TDD) (for persons with hearing difficulty): 202/653-4614
Upon request, IMLS will provide an audio recording of this or any other publication.

Web Conferencing with Program Staff
IMLS staff is available by phone and through e-mail to discuss general issues relating to Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums. We also invite you to participate in one of two pre-application web conferences to learn more about the program, ask questions, and listen to the questions and comments of other participants.

The web conference schedule for the FY2013 Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums program is as follows:
Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at 3:30 – 4:30 pm Eastern Time
Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at 3 – 4 pm Eastern Time

To participate in the web conference, a few minutes before it is scheduled to begin, log into:
https://imls.megameeting.com/?page=guest&conid=Sparks_Applicant_Webinar

Then, using any touchtone phone, call 1-866-299-7945. When prompted to enter a passcode, enter 7434925#.

Equal Opportunity
IMLS-funded programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Civil Rights Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802.

Office of Management and Budget Clearance Numbers
Guidelines: OMB No. 3137-0029; Expiration Date: 9/30/2015
Forms: OMB No. 3137-0071; Expiration Date: 9/30/2015

How long should it take me to complete this application?

We estimate the average amount of time needed for one applicant to complete the narrative portion of this application to be 15 hours. This includes the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and writing and reviewing the answers.

We estimate that, in addition to the time needed for you to answer the narrative questions, it will take you an average of 1 hour for the Program Information Sheet and 3 hours for the IMLS Budget form.

Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Institute of Museum and Library Services at 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (3137-0029), Washington, DC 20503.

 

1. Introduction

The mission of the Institute of Museum and Library Services is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. We provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making.

U.S. museums and libraries are at the forefront in the movement to create a nation of learners. As stewards of cultural heritage with rich, authentic content, libraries and museums provide learning experiences for everyone. IMLS has adopted a new strategic plan for 2012-2016, "Creating a Nation of Learners." In FY2013, each Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums award will support one of the following three goals:

  1. IMLS places the learner at the center and supports engaging experiences in libraries and museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society.

  2. IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality.

  3. IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum and library collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage.

The goals focus on achieving positive public outcomes for communities and individuals; supporting the unique role of museums and libraries in preserving and providing access to collections and content; and promoting library, museum, and information service policies that ensure access to information for all Americans.

 

2. Program Information

What are Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums?

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums ("Sparks Grants") are a special funding opportunity within the IMLS National Leadership Grants program. These small grants encourage libraries, museums, and archives to test and evaluate specific innovations in the ways they operate and the services they provide. Sparks Grants support the rapid prototyping and evaluation of promising and groundbreaking new tools, products, services, or organizational practices. You may propose activities or approaches that involve risk, as long as the risk is balanced by significant potential for improvement in the ways libraries and museums serve their communities. Sparks grantees are required to submit a short white paper with the results of their work to be publicly posted and shared with the field.

What are the distinguishing features of all Sparks Grants projects?

  • Broad Impact: Your proposal should address key needs and challenges that face museums, libraries, or archives. Your project should show the potential to broadly impact practice throughout the museum, library or archive profession; and reflect awareness and support of current strategic initiatives and agendas in the field. Your proposed innovations should be widely adoptable or adaptable.
  • Significant Innovation: Your proposal should demonstrate a thorough understanding of current practice and knowledge about the subject matter, and show how the project has the potential to strengthen and improve services to benefit the audiences and communities being served.

What is the deadline for applying for a Sparks Grant?

The application deadline for the FY2013 Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums is February 1, 2013.

What is the period of time during which my organization can conduct activities funded by a FY2013 Sparks Grant?

Sparks Grants are one year in duration. Projects must begin on August 1, September 1, or October 1, 2013. Projects must begin on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the final month of the project.

How much money can my institution apply for?

Sparks Grants awards range from $10,000 to $25,000, subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion.

Do we have to provide funds from other sources in order to be eligible for a Sparks Grant?

There are no matching or cost share requirements for Sparks Grants. Click here for further information on cost sharing.

What activities may be funded with a Sparks Grant?

Examples of activities that may be funded by this program include, but are not limited to:

  • rapid prototyping and testing of new ways to engage learners
  • offering innovative new types of services or new service options
  • exploring the potential of highly original, experimental collaborations
  • implementing new workflows or processes with potential for substantial cost savings
  • addressing community challenges through new types of partnerships, services, processes, or practices
  • developing and testing new tools or services that facilitate access, presentation, management, preservation, sharing, or use of museum and/or library collections

Please use the Search Awarded Grants feature of the IMLS website to find summaries of projects funded under the Sparks Grant program.

What activities are not appropriate for a Sparks Grant?

Examples of activities that are not appropriate for this program include, but are not limited to:

  • evaluation of an existing program or service
  • projects that are only for planning
  • basic research projects (as distinguished from applied research that tests solutions to specific problems)
  • traditional approaches to exhibitions, performances, or other types of public programs
  • digitization, unless the applicant is proposing an innovative method for digitization
  • activities that will produce only incremental improvements in operational or business processes
  • support of conferences or professional meetings that are not directly required for a project

What requirements govern the use of IMLS funds?

You may only use IMLS funds for activities that may be funded under program-specific requirements of the FY2013 Spark Grants program, and that are allowable under IMLS and government-wide cost principle rules, including OMB Circulars and regulations.

What requirements govern the use of IMLS funds?

You may only use IMLS funds for allowable costs as found in IMLS and government-wide cost principle rules, including OMB Circulars and regulations.

How do I determine what costs are allowable?

In addition to program-specific requirements, organizations receiving grant funds from the Federal Government must follow particular cost principles and procedures. Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provides specific information on cost principles for allowable costs in Federal grants.

Consult these FY2013 Sparks Grant program guidelines and the appropriate cost principles in the CFR to determine the allowability of a proposed cost item in your budget proposal.

If your organization is a …

Then use these cost principles …

Non-profit Organization

2 CFR 230 (OMB Circular A-122)

State, Local or Indian Tribal Government

2 CFR 225 (OMB Circular A-87)

College or University

2 CFR 220 (OMB Circular A-21)

What are some examples of allowable costs for the FY2013 Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums?

The following list includes some examples of allowable costs in this grant program. Please consult the appropriate cost principles in the CFR for additional guidance on allowable costs.

  • personnel salaries, wages, and fringe benefits
  • travel expenses for key project staff and consultants
  • materials, supplies, software, and equipment related directly to project activities
  • publication design and printing
  • consultant fees
  • services (e.g. design, technical support, printing, non-construction labor)
  • internships/fellowships

What are some examples of unallowable costs for the FY2013 Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums?

The following list includes some examples of unallowable costs in this grant program. Please consult the appropriate cost principles in the CFR for additional guidance on allowable costs.

  • general fundraising costs, such as development office staff or other staff time devoted to general fundraising
  • contributions to endowments
  • general operating support
  • acquisition of collections
  • general advertising or public relations costs designed solely to promote activities other than those related to the specific project
  • construction and renovation of facilities (generally, any activity involving contract labor of the construction trades)
  • exhibit fabrication that involves contract labor of the construction trades
  • reconstruction or renovation of historic sites
  • social activities, ceremonies, receptions, or entertainment
  • subgrants or subawards
  • pre-award costs
  • overhead or indirect costs
  • acquisition of equipment or supplies in excess of 50 percent of the total funds requested from IMLS

If you have questions about allowable costs, please call us for guidance.

Are partners required for Sparks Grants?

Partners may strengthen a Sparks Grant application, if they are appropriate to the project, but they are not required. An application may include one or more partners. The lead applicant must be eligible to apply as an individual entity, and all partners should be active contributors to project activities. Please note that we encourage the lead applicant to include a letter of support from each partner. Click here to learn more about partners.

 

3. Eligibility

Is my organization eligible for an award under the FY2013 Sparks Grant program as a library?

To be eligible as a library for an award under the FY2013 Sparks Grant program, you must be an organization that meets all three of the following criteria:

  • You must be either a unit of State or local government or a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code.
     
  • You must be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, , the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
     
  • You must qualify as one of the following six types of organizations:
    1. a library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a state agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library. Eligible libraries include public libraries, public elementary and secondary school libraries, college and university libraries, research libraries and archives that are not an integral part of an institution of higher education and that make publicly available library services and materials that are suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available. Research libraries, under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian, must be either generally recognized as possessing unique scholarly research materials and services that are made available to the public, or able to demonstrate that such is the case when submitting an application to IMLS. Private or special libraries that have been deemed eligible to participate in this program by the State in which the library is located;

    2. an academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science that is part of an institution of higher education through which it would make application;

    3. a digital library, if it makes library materials publicly available and provides library services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation, under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian;

    4. a library agency that is an official agency of a State or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction;

    5. a library consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of eligible libraries, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries; or

    6. a library association that exists on a permanent basis, serves libraries or library professionals on a national, regional, state, or local level, and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession.

Is my organization eligible for an award under the FY2013 Sparks Grant program as a museum?

To be eligible as a museum for an award under the FY2013 Sparks Grant program, you must be an organization that meets all three of the following criteria:

  • You must be either a unit of State or local government or be a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;

  • You must be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and

  • You must qualify as one of the following:

    1. A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that is owns or operates.

      What types of museums are eligible?

      Museums include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children's/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.

      What does it mean to be using a professional staff?

      An institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one staff member, or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution.

      What does it mean to exhibit the objects to the general public?

      An institution exhibits objects to the general public if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution. An institution that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis.

      An institution which does not have the exhibition of objects as a primary purpose and/or does not exhibit objects to the public for at least 120 days a year may be determined to be eligible as a museum under certain circumstances. For more information, please see 45 CFR §1180.2(d).

    2. An organization or association that engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of museums and the museum profession;

    3. An institution of higher education, including public and nonprofit universities; or

    4. A public or private nonprofit agency which is responsible for the operation of a museum may apply on behalf of the museum.

If my museum is located within a parent organization, can my museum apply on its own?

A museum located within a parent organization that is a State or local government or multipurpose not-for-profit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center, may apply on its own behalf if the museum:

  1. is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed in the above three bulleted criteria;

  2. functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization;

  3. has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget; and

  4. has the authority to make the application on its own.

When any of the last three conditions cannot be met, a museum may only apply through its parent organization.

Is a nonprofit organization eligible if it is affiliated with a museum?

IMLS may determine that a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with a museum is eligible for this program where the organization can demonstrate that it has the ability to administer the project and can ensure compliance with the terms of these guidelines and the applicable law, including the Assurances and Certifications. The applicant organization must submit an agreement from the museum that details the activities that the applicant and museum will perform and binds the museum to the statements and assurances made in the grant application.

 

4. Registration Requirements

Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S® Number, SAM registration, and Grants.gov registration. Check your materials and registrations well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active.

What is a D-U-N-S® Number and how do I get one?
Click here to learn more about Getting a D-U-N-S® Number.

What is the SAM and how do I register?
Click here to learn more about SAM Registration.

What is Grants.gov and how do I register?
Read more about Grants.gov Registration and Tips for Using Grants.gov.

 

5. Preparing and Submitting an Application

WE MAKE GRANTS ONLY TO ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS THAT SUBMIT COMPLETE APPLICATIONS, INCLUDING ATTACHMENTS, ON OR BEFORE THE DEADLINE.

For the FY2013 Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums, Grants.gov will accept applications through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on February 1, 2013.

We strongly recommend that you REGISTER EARLY and COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THE APPLICATION EARLY.

Click here to learn more about Grants.gov

Use one of the following identifiers to locate the Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums package in Grants.gov:
CFDA No: 45.312, or
Funding Opportunity Number: SPARKS-FY13

What documents are required to make a complete application?

The Table of Application Components below will help you prepare a complete and eligible application. Links to more information and instructions for completing each application component are provided in the table. Applications missing any Required Documents or Conditionally Required Documents from this list will be considered incomplete and will be rejected from further consideration.

How should the application components be formatted, named, and sequenced?

  • Document format: Aside from the first two documents listed below which are created in Grants.gov, all application components must be submitted as PDF documents.

  • Page limits: Note page limits listed below. We will remove any pages above the limit, and we will not send them to reviewers as part of your application.

  • Naming convention: Use the naming convention indicated below. IMPORTANT: You are limited to using the following characters in all attachment file names: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, period. If you use any other character when naming your attachment files, your application will be rejected.

  • Document order: In Grants.gov, append all application components in the sequence listed below. Use all available spaces in the "Mandatory Documents for Submission" box first. You should append any remaining application components in the "Optional Documents for Submission" box.

  • Complete applications: Use the table below as a checklist to ensure that you have created and attached all necessary application components.

If you create a document in Microsoft® Word, you must convert it to PDF format before submitting. Click here for assistance in converting documents to PDF. Also, please do not send secured PDFs because we cannot process these files.

Table of Application Components

Component Format File name to use
Required Documents
The Application for Federal Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424S) Grants.gov form n/a
Abstract (to be uploaded through Grants.gov) (one page, max.) Text document that you create n/a
Program Information Sheet IMLS PDF form Programinfo.pdf
Organizational Profile (one page, max.) PDF document Organizationalprofile.pdf
Narrative (six pages, max.) PDF document Narrative.pdf
Schedule of Completion (one page, max.) PDF document Scheduleofcompletion.pdf
IMLS Budget Form IMLS PDF form Budget.pdf
Budget Justification PDF document Budgetjustification.pdf
List of Key Project Staff and Consultants (one page, max.) PDF document Projectstaff.pdf
Resumes of Key Project Staff and Consultants that appear on the list above (two pages each, max.) PDF document Resumes.pdf
Conditionally Required Documents
Proof of Nonprofit Status PDF document Proofnonprofit.pdf
Specifications for Projects that Develop Digital Products Form IMLS PDF form Specificationsdigital.pdf
Supporting Documents
Information that supplements the narrative and supports the project description provided in the application PDF document Supportingdoc1.pdf
Supportingdoc2.pdf
Supportingdoc3.pdf
etc.

 Abstract

A project abstract should be no more than one page. Insert the text, which you generate through a word processing program and save as a PDF, into the Abstract field in Grants.gov.

Information in the abstract should cover the following areas as related to the proposed project:

  • Who is the lead applicant and, if applicable, who are the partners?
  • What is the time frame for the project?
  • What is the challenge, problem, or need the project addresses?
  • Who is the intended audience for the project outcomes?
  • What will be the specific project activities and tangible products?
  • What is the potential impact or benefit if the innovation you are testing proves promising?
  • How does your project reflect the Sparks Grant Program requirements of demonstrating broad impact and significant innovation?

This abstract may be used for public information purposes, so it should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields, as well as to the lay reader. The abstract must not include any proprietary or confidential information.

Program Information Sheet

1. Applicant Information

a. Legal Name: Enter 5a from the SF424S.

b. Applicant D-U-N-S® Number: Enter 5f from the SF424S.

c. Check Yes or No, and provide expiration date, if you check the Yes box. Please note that, before submitting an application, your organization must have a current SAM registration.

d. Organizational Unit: If you cannot apply for grants on your own behalf, then enter your organizational unit's name and address in these spaces. For example, if your museum or library is part of a parent organization, such as a university, then enter the name of the university under Legal Name and the museum or library as the Organizational Unit.

e. Organizational Unit Address: Be sure to include the four-digit extension on the ZIP code.

f. Organizational Governance: You should check the box that best characterizes your organization.

g. Organizational Unit Type: Select the one that most accurately describes your organization.

2. Organizational Financial Information

a-d: All applicants must provide the information requested.

3. Grant Program Information

Select either Museum or Library under h. Sparks! Ignition Grants.

4. Check this box if your project addresses the Campaign for Grade Level Reading initiative.

Sparks Grants applicants skip this question.

5. Funding Request Information

a. IMLS Funds Requested: Enter the amount in dollars sought from IMLS.

b. Cost Share Amount: Enter the amount of non-federal funding you are providing. Click here to learn more about cost share.

6. Project Subject Area

Check the boxes that reflect the subject areas to be addressed by your project.

7. Population Served

Check the boxes that reflect the population(s) to be served by your project.

8. Museum Profile

Museum applicants must answer all questions (a - m) in this section.

9. Project Elements

Sparks Grants applicants skip this section.

Download Program Information Sheet (minimum requirements Adobe Reader 7.0.5):

Adobe® PDF (850 KB)

Narrative

How should my narrative document be formatted?

Limit the narrative to six single-spaced, numbered pages. We will remove any pages above the six-page limit, and we will not send them to reviewers as part of your application.

Make sure your organization's name appears at the top of each page. Use at least 0.5-inch margins on all sides and a font size of at least twelve-point. See the instructions for "Supporting Documents" to provide supplementary material.

How will my narrative be reviewed?

Reviewers with a variety of professional backgrounds will read these applications and advise us on their merits. They will base their evaluations on the information presented in the application. Your project narrative should therefore be clear, concise, and well organized with a minimum of technical jargon.

Review criteria are listed below for each section of the narrative. These criteria describe what the reviewers are instructed to consider as they evaluate proposals. Keep these application review criteria in mind when writing your narrative. Be certain to address the bullet points under each of the narrative sections as you write. Address the sections of the narrative separately and in the same order in which they are listed below.

What elements do I include in my narrative?

The elements listed below will guide you as you write your narrative. In each section of your narrative be sure to address the overall Sparks Grants Program requirements of demonstrating broad impact and significant innovation.

1. Project Justification

Using available supporting evidence, describe the problem, challenge, or need to be addressed by the proposed activity. Explain the significance of the problem to libraries, archives, or museums. Describe the primary stakeholders, audiences, or groups affected by this problem. Explain how the proposed project relates to other activities, projects, and/or research.

  • What do you propose to do?
  • What need, problem, or challenge will your project address?
  • Who or what will benefit from your project?
  • What are the intended results of your project?

Review Criteria:

  • Is the project clearly explained?
  • Is the need, problem, or challenge clearly identified and supported by relevant evidence?
  • Are the people who will benefit from the project clearly identified and have they been involved in project planning?
  • Are the intended results well formulated and achievable?
  • Does the project address current needs of the museum, library, or archive field and/or have the potential to advance practice in the museum, library, or archive profession?
  • Does the project meet the Sparks Grants requirement of demonstrating broad impact and significant innovation?

2. Project Work Plan

  • What specific activities will you carry out?
  • Who will plan, implement, and manage your project?
  • When and in what sequence will your activities occur?
  • What financial, personnel, and other resources will you need to carry out the activities?
  • What resources will your institution contribute to the project?
  • How and with whom will you track progress toward achieving your intended results?
  • In addition to the required white paper, how and with whom will you share your project results?

Review Criteria:

  • Are the proposed activities, technology and/or methodologies informed by appropriate theory and practice?
  • Are the technical details including all information required in the IMLS Specifications for Projects that Develop Digital Products form provided for projects generating digital products?
  • Do the identified staff, partners, consultants, and service providers possess the experience and skills necessary to complete the work successfully?
  • Is the schedule of work realistic and achievable?
  • Are the time, personnel, and financial resources identified appropriate for the scope and scale of the project?
  • Does the institution provide evidence of its capacity to carry out the project activities?
  • Is a clear methodology described for tracking the project's progress and adjusting course when necessary?
  • Is there an effective plan for communicating results and/or sharing discoveries?

If a budget surplus or deficit above or below 10% of your annual operating budget for any of the three most recently completed fiscal years is shown on the Program Information Sheet, provide an explanation as part of this section of the narrative.

3. Project Results

  • What is the potential impact or benefit if the innovation you are testing proves promising?
  • How will you measure success in achieving your intended results?
  • How will you determine whether this innovation could be adapted by others in the field?

Review Criteria:

  • Are the project's intended results clearly articulated?
  • Are the measures of success in achieving results appropriate for the project?
  • Will the proposed project generate results such as models, tools, services, practices, and lessons learned that can be broadly used, adapted, scaled or replicated in the museum, library, or archive profession?

Conditionally Required Documents

If your organization is a private, nonprofit institution, you must submit a copy of the IRS letter indicating your eligibility for nonprofit status under the applicable provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. We will not accept a letter of State sales tax exemption as proof of nonprofit status.

If your project will result in a digital product (for example, a database, new software), you must include the Specifications for Projects that Develop Digital Products Form.

Supporting Documents

You may submit other attachments of your choosing as part of your application package, but do not overload the reviewers with too much information. These attachments should include only information that will supplement the narrative and support the project description provided in the application. They should help reviewers envision your project, but they should not be used to answer narrative questions. You may wish to consider the following:

  • Needs assessments
  • Reports from planning activities
  • Digitization plans
  • Web links to relevant online materials
  • Letters of support from experts and/or stakeholders Letters of commitment from partners who will receive grant funds or contribute substantive funds to the completion of project activities

Assurances and Certifications

What Federal laws do I agree to comply with when I submit my application?

As an applicant for Federal funds, you must certify that you are responsible for complying with certain nondiscrimination, debarment and suspension, drug-free workplace, and lobbying laws. These are outlined below and are set out in more detail, along with other requirements, in the Assurances and Certifications. By signing the application form, which includes the Assurances and Certifications, you certify that you are in compliance with these requirements and that you will maintain records and submit any reports that are necessary to ensure compliance. Your failure to comply with these statutory and regulatory requirements may result in the suspension or termination of your grant and require you to return funds to the government.

1. Nondiscrimination Statutes: You certify that you do not discriminate:

  • on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq.);
  • on the grounds of disability, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. §701 et seq., including §794);
  • on the basis of age, in accordance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. §6101 et seq.); and
  • on the basis of sex, in any education program or activity, in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq.).

2. Debarment and Suspension (2 C.F.R. Part 180 and 2 C.F.R. Part 3185):
You certify that neither you nor your principals: (a) are presently excluded or disqualified; (b) have been convicted within the preceding three years of offenses listed in 2 C.F.R. §180.800 (including but not limited to: fraud, antitrust, embezzlement, or offense indicating lack of business integrity) or have had a civil judgment rendered against you or them for one of such offenses within that time period; (c) are presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State, or local) with commission of any of such offenses; or (d) have had one or more public transactions (Federal, State, or local) terminated within the preceding three years for cause or default. Where you are unable to certify to any of the above, you must attach an explanation to this application. You must also comply with applicable sections of the OMB guidance in 2 C.F.R. Part 180, and include a term or condition in lower-tier transactions requiring lower-tier participants to comply with subpart C of the OMB guidance in 2 C.F.R. Part 180.

3. Federal Debt Status:
You certify that you are not delinquent in the repayment of any Federal debt. Examples include delinquent payroll or other taxes, audit disallowances, and benefit overpayments.

4. Drug-Free Workplace:
You must provide a drug-free workplace by complying with the requirements of 2 C.F.R. Part 3186. This includes: making a good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace; publishing a drug-free workplace statement; establishing a drug-free awareness program for your employees; taking actions concerning employees who are convicted of violating drug statutes in the workplace; and identifying (either at the time of your application or upon award, or in documents that you keep on file in your offices) all known workplaces under your Federal awards.

5. Lobbying Activities (31 U.S.C. §1352):
You are subject to various restrictions against lobbying or attempting to influence a Federal employee or a Member of Congress or congressional employees, in connection with legislation, appropriations, or the award or modification of a Federal contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or loan. Certain additional restrictions apply if you are requesting over $100,000 in Federal assistance.

The Assurances and Certifications contain other general requirements that may apply depending on the nature of your grant activity (for example, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966).

 

6. After You Apply

What is the application review process?
We use a peer review process to evaluate all eligible and complete applications. Reviewers are professionals in the field with relevant knowledge and expertise in the types of project activities identified in the applications. They are instructed to evaluate proposed projects according to the criteria identified in the program guidelines. The Director takes into account the advice provided by the review process and makes final funding decisions consistent with the purposes of the agency’s programs.

When will we find out if we have been selected to receive a grant?
No information about the status of an application will be released until the applications have been reviewed and all deliberations are concluded. IMLS expects to notify both funded and unfunded applicants of final decisions by July 2013. Funded projects may not begin earlier than August 1, 2013.

Acknowledgement and Publications/Work Products

Read more about acknowledgement, copyright, publications, digital and other work products, information sharing, and requirements for projects that involve research.