When the good news comes that an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) proposal has been funded, continued preparation and administrative work needs to be completed before funds are available. Release of funds cannot be made until “EPA Terms and Conditions” are met and a detailed work plan has been approved. Terms and Conditions state that two employees of the organizations must complete the EPA online mandatory Grants Management Training for Non-Profit Applicants. One of the employees must be the project manager, and the other authorized to draw down funds. Money will not flow until this administrative training has been completed. It should be noted that those who have received prior EPA awards are likely already certified. However the budget and work plan still need to be approved.
Paperwork and final approvals can take up to three months and must be completed before the end of the federal fiscal year (September 30). Spending of funds is allowed within 90 days of final authorization giving new grantees an opportunity to begin work before the final paperwork has been completed. Some organizations will not permit expenditure of funds before all paperwork is finalized.
KICKOFF MEETINGS WITH EPA REPRESENTATIVES
New grantees will benefit from a kickoff meeting with the EPA regional coordinator assigned to the grant, and another meeting with local stakeholders and staff. The purpose of the EPA regional coordinator meeting may:
There are several items that should be discussed with the EPA regional coordinator.
Attendees of this meeting may include:
KICKOFF MEETINGS WITH COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS
Having established a relationship and understanding of grant implementation with EPA representatives and key personal, a kickoff meeting with local stakeholders is appropriate.
The agenda for a local stakeholder public kickoff meeting may include several talking points.
A SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING REPORTING RESPONSIBILITIES
Expectations and responsibilities of new grantees will have been discussed in detail as part of the EWDJT kickoff meetings with EPA representatives. New grantees will have been alerted to the importance of mandatory reporting requirements for all EWDJT grantees. Separate from regular quarterly reports, ACRES reporting is also required every quarter. Failure to file either of these reports on a timely basis can impact an organization’s ability to receive EPA funding in subsequent competitions.
There can be some challenging issues with ACRES. These include a password change every 90 days and the compilation of leveraging information, which can be subjective. Leveraging is an estimate of all contributions to the program including in-kind support, equipment, facilities, materials, and services. Formal documentation is not required, but it is a best practice to keep an informal estimate of program contributions and partners.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE MATERIALS RELATED TO GRANTEE EXPECTATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Read the EPA Policy on Assessing Capabilities of Non-Profit Applicants for Managing Assistance Awards, EPA Order 5700.8. Complete the online training. It is suggested that all organizations complete this training even if they are not a nonprofit organization. The training provides an understanding of the EPA’s expectations for grantees when managing a federal grant and the intent behind the requirements.
"EPA assistance awards to nonprofit organizations are an important mechanism for delivering environmental protection to the public. However, EPA has found instances where nonprofit recipients have inadequate administrative systems to manage EPA funds or lack the programmatic capability to successfully perform the proposed work.
“To assure all nonprofit organizations have adequate capability to carry out EPA-funded projects, EPA issued the EPA Policy on Assessing Capabilities of Non-Profit Applicants for Managing Assistance Awards, EPA Order 5700.8. In accordance with the policy, EPA awards assistance agreements to nonprofit organizations only if they have the administrative capability to safeguard and properly manage EPA funds and the programmatic capability to perform the proposed work effectively."