March 7, 2013 PEP Grant Review & Tips for Writing a Successful Application
Welcome! Amanda Shepler Grant Writer, Resource Associates As a professional grant writer with more than eight years’ full-time experience, Amanda specializes in education and youth-related projects. Over the past four years, Amanda has obtained more than $6.8 million in successful PEP grants, and over $14 million in successful education-related grants at both the state and federal level. Amanda earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s Degree in History from Buffalo State College, and serves on both the Kiwanis and Boys & Girls Club Boards of Directors in her hometown.
Welcome! John Nawrocki Business Development Manager, Resource Associates John is an accomplished grant writer who advises Resource Associates’ clients how to achieve their funding goals. John holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in literature from Colorado State University. He served in the US Army and also spent several years as a Publications Manager at Integrity Publisher, working on magazines focused on serving charitable foundations, Chambers of Commerce and visitor’s bureaus.
PEP – Not Just for PE Equipment Anymore Absolute Priorities: • Instruction in Healthy Eating Habits and Good Nutrition • Physical Fitness Activities a) fitness education and assessment to help students understand, improve, or maintain their physical well-being; b) instruction in a variety of motor skills and physical activities designed to enhance the physical, mental, and social or emotional development of every student; c) development of, and instruction in, cognitive concepts about motor skills and physical fitness that support a lifelong healthy lifestyle; d) opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation; or e) opportunities for professional development for teachers of physical education to stay abreast of the latest research, issues, and trends in the field of physical education. Successful applications will feature strong nutrition components as well as physical fitness components!
Competitive Preference Priorities – You Need Them!!! • 3 Points: Competitive Preference Priority 1 – Provide services to students enrolled in persistently lowest-achieving schools. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html • 2 Points: Competitive Preference Priority 2- Include an agreement that details the participation of required partners. For an LEA applicant, this partnership agreement must include: (1) the LEA; (2) at least one CBO; (3) a local public health entity; (4) the LEA’s food service or child nutrition director; and (5) the head of the local government. For a CBO applicant, the partnership agreement must include: (1) the CBO; (2) a local public health entity; (3) a local organization supporting nutrition or healthy eating; (4) the head of the local government; and (5) the LEA from which the largest number of students expected to participate in the CBO’s project attend. Successful Applications will score points from at least one, and many times BOTH Competitive Preference Priorities.
Partnerships • The RFP provides a sample agreement – CUSTOMIZE!!! • Make sure your letters are specific to your project, and support the narrative. • Get signatures early, and make sure they are in BLUE INK. Successful applications will embed meaningful partner details throughout the narrative.
Matching Requirements • Federal Monies can account for only 90% of the total project in year One, and for only 75% of the total project in years Two and Three. • Budget large equipment purchases in Year One when the match is less. • Utilize partner contributions to meet growing match requirements in years Two and Three Successful applications will discuss how built-in sustainability features will dramatically reduce expenses as the program becomes self-sufficient.
Need (Becoming the community that reviewers remember) • All applicants must complete the School Health Index self-assessment tool, the PECAT, and the HECAT • These tools will provide you (and the reviewers) with statistics and data – select wisely when drafting the narrative! Successful applications will fill out raw data with first-hand accounts, creating a tangible scene of a real, community-supported plan to address real, overwhelming student needs.
The Community Committee • Community Support is paramount – and the signed agreement is not enough. • Use your existing Wellness Policy committee and expand as necessary to create a leadership team that represents all stakeholders (including students and parents). Successful applications will present a “united front” from the needs assessment process, through implementation, to evaluation and oversight.
Sustainability – Convincing the Feds they’ll get “More Bang for their Buck” • PEP funds are distributed to projects viewed as long-term solutions, not quick-fixes • Describe creating systemic change: • Draft or fix policies • Strengthen community partnerships • Train teachers • Realign the curriculum to State standards • Purchase long-lasting equipment Successful applications will convince reviewers that project activities and impact will continue long beyond the three year funding period.
GPRA Performance Measures • Three are required: • The percentage of students served by the grant who engage in 60 minutes of daily physical activity measured by using pedometers for students in grades K-12 and an additional 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR) instrument to collect data on students in grades 5-12. • The percentage of students served by the grant who meet the standard of a healthy fitness zone as established by the assessment for the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP) in at least five of the six fitness areas of that assessment. • The percentage of students served by the grant who consume fruit two or more times per day and vegetables three or more times per day as measured in programs serving high school students using the nutrition-related questions from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and in programs serving elementary and middle school students using an appropriate assessment tool for their populations. • Baseline data is needed – if these aren’t already being measured now, they will need to be collected in Months 1 and 2
Affording the GPRA Measures • Data will be collected – at least twice annually – for all students grades 5-12. You will need: • Pedometers • Youth Risk Behavior Survey • Elementary Survey • Awards/Certificates for Presidential Youth Fitness Program (optional) • WHO will conduct data gathering? WHO will complete forms and reports? WHO will conduct ongoing evaluation activities? Decide in time to include them in the budget. Successful applications will demonstrate the foresight to include all GPRA-related expenses in the project budget.
Formatting the Narrative • Follow the Rules! They mean it! 25 double-spaced pages is the limit – they will refuse to review narratives that use unapproved fonts or break margin restrictions. • Use the points as a spacing guide: • Need – 20 points – 5 pages • Significance – 15 points – 3.75 pages • Design – 30 points – 7.5 pages • Resources – 10 points – 2.5 pages • Management – 15 points – 3.75 pages • Evaluation – 10 points – 2.5 pages Successful applications will read and re-read the requirements to ensure compliance!
Budget Issues • Applicants can request between $100,000 and $750,000 per project year - remember matching requirements! • Discussing the per-student cost-effectiveness of the project is a point-grabber so don’t go hog wild! • Administrative costs are restricted to 5%. • Student activity fees are not allowed. Successful applications will submit a budget that includes exactly what they need to deliver the program they describe in the narrative.
Grants.gov • Make sure your Adobe program is up-to-date! http://www.grants.gov/applicants/AdobeVersioningTestOnly.jsp • Register Early! The process can take five days to complete (and sometimes it takes longer) • Attach only PDF files Uploaded file titles must be less than 50 characters, contain no spaces, no special characters (example: -, &, *, %, /, #, \) including periods (.), blank spaces and accent marks. • Submit Early! Verify Submission is OK! Successful applicants will submit through Grants.gov at least two days prior to the deadline and verify that initial screening was completed successfully!
Evaluation • No project is required to hire an external evaluator. HOWEVER, most schools and agencies do not have the idle staff or expertise to complete the detailed analysis required • Reviewers expect projects to budget for an external evaluator. If you decide to do evaluation in-house, you must be prepared to back-up that decision with resumes and qualifications demonstrating competence in evaluation. • Once the project is awarded and reports are due, it is too late to reallocate funds to an external evaluator if the monitoring requirements are too time-consuming or challenging. Successful applications will budget for an external evaluator with proven experience evaluating Department of Education grants. They will use the evaluator as a resource from the drafting stage through the Final Annual Report.
Resumes and Job Descriptions • Applications must include resumes and job descriptions for key positions – Use this attachment to strengthen your project description! • Make sure all resumes are up-to-date, and reflect qualifications relevant to the proposed PEP position • Make sure all job descriptions are aligned to your PEP project – specific project activities in the narrative should appear in each job description Successful applications will include resumes and job descriptions featuring details specific to their PEP Project.
Grant Writing Tips • Name Your Project • Include easy-to-read charts • Be Consistent (don’t mistakenly fluctuate between Project Director and Program Director; Family Night and Parent Night; Advisory Committee and Advisory Team) • Make sure reviewers understand WHY this project is the perfect long-term solution for your students • When it’s “done” let someone new read it to make sure everything makes sense! • Follow all RFP requirements (when in doubt, use “control F” to do a search for a specific term) Successful applications describe well-thought-out, community-backed projects that meet specific and identified student needs!
Need Help? • Resource Associates grant writers have written 26 awarded PEP grants since 1995 • 1 in 3 award rate on PEP grants • 12 highly-qualified PEP grant writers on staff • Professional Evaluators • Underwriting for qualified applicants
Need Help? • 18 years in the business • Signature Quality Control process • A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau John Nawrocki Development ManagerResource Associates p: 505.326.4245c: 505-402-3915f: 505.326.1698e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.grantwriters.net Winning grants to fund the greater good since 1995
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