Frequently Asked Questions about the Environmental Education Grants Program

The following questions and answers are for informational and explanatory purposes only and are not meant to amend or change the published 2014 Request for Proposals in any way.  Please contact eegrants@epa.gov with additional questions about application procedures only. No questions will be taken regarding proposal content or ideas.

Information related to all 2014 RFPs 

Information for specific 2014 RFPs published under the EE Grant Program


General Overview: The EPA Environmental Education (EE) Grant Program

  • How is the 2014 EE Grant Program different from the last competition?

    This year’s (FY 2014) EE Grant Program will likely include two separate RFPs (also known as Solicitation Notices)– one for model, replicable projects, which will be awarded grants from the Headquarters Office of Environmental Education (OEE), and another RFP for more localized projects, which will be awarded grants from the 10 EPA regional offices. The EE Model Grant RFP is for model, replicable projects and requires sub-grants of $5000 or less. This RFP is being issued first; EPA anticipates issuing the EE Local Grant RFP at a later date. Both the RFPs will be more specific as to the award amounts than the FY2013 RFP, which gave ranges of amounts to be requested.

  • How is the 2014 EE Grant Program similar to last year’s competition?

    This year’s (FY 2014) EE Grant Program will likely include two separate RFPs (also known as Solicitation Notices) – one for model, replicable projects, which will be awarded grants from the Headquarters Office of Environmental Education (OEE), and another RFP for more localized projects, which will be awarded grants from the 10 EPA regional offices. The EE Model Grant RFP will require sub-grants of $5000 or less, which is similar to last year’s RFP (from FY2013). More information on the EE Local Grant RFP will be posted shortly.

  • How many grants does EPA expect to award in FY 2014?

    EPA expects to award approximately three grants from the EE Model Grant RFP. EPA anticipates that up to 3 grants from each Region may be awarded from an additional RFP under this program. (See “How is the 2014 EE Grant Program different from the last year’s competition?”).

  • What will be the level of funding for grants this year?

    Funds available for EE grant projects for FY 2014 are anticipated to be approximately $3.3 million nationwide, and will be divided between two solicitations. (See “How is the 2014 EE Grant Program different from the last year’s competition?”).

  • How competitive is this grant program?

    This grant program generates a great deal of public enthusiasm for developing environmental education projects. Consequently, the competition is very intense and EPA receives many more applications for these grants than can be supported with available funds. In some past years the ratio of grant awards to applications have been anywhere from 1/10 to 1/30.

  • Can I talk to someone in EPA’s EE Grant Program about my idea for a grant?

    No. EPA staff are not permitted to discuss potential grant ideas with potential applicants. The point of contact for the EE Grants Program may answer only technical questions that are not addressed in the RFP or in the FAQs.

  • Whom can I contact if I need help with my proposal?

    Applicants may send any questions regarding the submittal of their proposal to EEgrants@epa.gov. Applicants can keep checking the list of FAQs as it is updated during the open period of the solicitation (s). The main EE Grants webpage will also provide announcements of dates, times and call-in numbers for conference call(s) that will be held by EPA's Office of Environmental Education to clarify points in each RFP.
    We anticipate that the first of possibly several calls will be held within 7-14 days of the publication of each RFP. Applicants who need clarification about specific requirements in each RFP may contact Karen Scott in the Office of Environmental Education at EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. at eegrants@epa.gov

  • How can I find out about upcoming RFPs/solicitation notices?

    If you wish to be notified about upcoming RFPs (also known as Solicitation Notices), visit the main EE Grants webpage where you can sign up to receive e-newsletters from EPA's Office of Environmental Education. The e-newsletters will contain news and announcements related to notifications of new solicitation notices and other information on EPA's EE Grants Program.

  • Can I see examples of previously funded projects in each Region, and by Headquarters?

    Yes. Visit the main EE Grants webpage and look under the tab called “Grants Awarded” to see the list and short descriptions of applications previously funded by this program.

  • Are there other EE grant programs that I can apply to?

    Yes. Other available grant funding opportunities are listed on the federal site www.grants.gov or on the grants page of the website for the National Environmental Education Foundation.

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Eligibility

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EPA Priorities

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Definitions of Terms

  • How does the EE Grants Program define Environmental Education?

    EPA’s EE Grants Program defines environmental education (EE) as activities that increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide participants with the skills necessary to make informed decisions and to take responsible actions. EE is based on objective and scientifically-sound information and does not advocate a particular viewpoint or a particular course of action. EE teaches individuals how to weigh various sides of an issue through critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills on environmental topics. EE covers the range of steps and activities from awareness to action with an ultimate goal of environmental stewardship. EE involves lifelong learning; its audiences are of all age groups, from very young children through senior citizens. EE can include both outdoor and in-classroom education, in both formal and informal settings.

  • How does the EE Grant Program define Environmental Information?

    Environmental information provides facts or opinions about environmental issues or problems. Information is essential to any educational effort. However, environmental information is not, by itself, environmental education. Information provides facts or opinions whereas education teaches people how to think, analyze, and solve problems.

  • How does the EE Grant program define Environmental Outreach?

    Environmental outreach disseminates information and sometimes asks audiences to take specific action, but doesn’t necessarily teach people how to analyze an issue. Outreach often presents a particular point of view, and often in pursuit of a particular goal. Examples may include a community meeting to inform residents about a toxic site in their area and where they can go for help, or a campaign to get volunteer participants for a beach or stream cleanup event.

  • Why are environmental information and outreach not classified as EE?

    Environmental education may include environmental information and outreach, but environmental education fosters critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills on environmental topics. Environmental education covers the range of steps and activities from awareness to action with an ultimate goal of environmental stewardship. Environmental information simply provides facts and outreach provides direct contact, personalized messaging and activities about a specific topic. Information and outreach are valuable tools, but are used for different purposes than education.

  • Can my project focus on environmental information and outreach?

    No. Environmental education may include environmental information and outreach, but these activities alone, or as the main focus of the project, do not qualify as environmental education, and therefore do not qualify for this EPA grant. The applicant must demonstrate how their project will reflect the components of environmental education as defined in the RFP.

  • What is the difference between outputs and outcomes of a project?

    Outputs are tangible products developed during the life of the grant, such as lesson plans, workshops, websites, field trips, stewardship activities, etc. Outcomes are non-tangible results achieved by implementing the outputs, such as a better understanding of an environmental topic, or an attitude change, or a commitment to long term stewardship.

  • What is the difference between a short-term output and a short-term outcome?

    A short-term output is an activity, effort or work product, such as training sessions for formal and informal educators or development of educational materials and websites that can be measured qualitatively or quantitatively during the funded period. A short-term outcome is a result, effect or consequence that will occur from carrying out the outputs of the environmental education project during the project period such as increased knowledge, skills and motivation.

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The roles of the prime, partners, contractors and sub-grantees.

  • What is a "prime" recipient?

    The prime recipient is the organization that applies for and receives a grant directly from EPA. The prime recipient is responsible for determining the goals and of the project and how they will be accomplished, deciding how the sub-grantees will be selected, including the assurance that all sub-grantees are deemed eligible according to the RFP, and ensuring that the project meets its goals within the timeframe and budget proposed.

  • What is a "partner"?

    A partner is an organization (or for-profit company) that makes a commitment to join the applicant (the prime) in the design and/or implementation of the proposed project by providing funds and/or services integral to the accomplishment of the project’s goals. Usually a partnering organization (or company) has similar organizational goals to the prime/applicant and/or experience/expertise needed in the project. Applicants may work with one or more partners to develop, design and implement proposed projects. If an entity designated in the proposal as a partner is not involved in the development, design or implementation of the project and/or does not provide a letter of commitment, then it is not a true partner according to the EPA EE Grant Program.

  • What is the difference between a "partner" and a "sub-grantee"?

    The EE Grants Program considers a partner to be an organization that makes a commitment to join the applicant (the prime) in the design and/or implementation of the proposed project by providing funds and/or services integral to the accomplishment of the project’s goals. The prime may partner with an organization to help achieve the required minimum 25% (of the total budget) match; i.e., the partner is providing cash or donating time and services. The prime may also partner with an organization for their experience or expertise. Partners and primes have mutual interests and are both committed to the success of the project, but the prime recipient is responsible for accomplishing the goals of the project within the timeframe and budget proposed in the original grant proposal. A partner cannot receive a sub-grant unless the partner is an eligible entity as defined in Section III of the RFP.

    Sub-grantees receive an award from the prime recipient to perform tasks integral to the project’s goals, as outlined by the prime. Sub-grantees are selected by the prime and must be eligible entities as outlined in the RFP (Section III). They are often the local level community-based organizations with audiences proposed to be reached by a project. For example, some organizations have chapters around the country. Sub-grants to these chapters help implement the project and reach targeted audiences. Another example would be for the prime recipient to award sub-grants to school districts to carry out activities proposed in the work plan.

  • What is the difference between a “sub-grantee” and a “contractor”?

    A sub-grantee is an eligible organization (as defined by the RFP) that receives an award from the prime recipient to perform tasks integral to the project’s goals, as outlined by the prime. The sub-grantees are often local level community-based organizations with audiences proposed to be reached by a project. For example, some organizations have chapters around the country. Sub-grants to these chapters help implement the project and reach targeted audiences. Another example would be for the prime recipient to award sub-grants to school districts to carry out activities proposed in the work plan.

    A contractor is an individual, organization, or for-profit company that receives money from a prime recipient, sub-grantee, or partner to provide goods or services (work tasks) considered non-integral or non-substantive to the project’s goals. The person or organization performing the evaluation of the project is often a contractor, as is a company providing buses for field trips or setting up computer labs at a research site, for examples. All contracts must be competed.

  • Do you have a graphic that summarizes the roles and responsibilities of a prime recipient, a partner, a sub-grantee and a contractor?
      Must be eligible as defined in Section III of the RFP Can provide match Can receive sub grants Must compete to receive award Performs work integral to grant project Performs Tasks non- integral or non-substantive to project
    Partner   x x   x  
    Sub-grantee x x x   x  
    Contractor   x   x   x
    Prime Recipient x x   x x  
  • If we partner with an external professional evaluator would that be considered a contract or sub-grant and count towards the 25% sub-grant requirement?

    Generally, an external evaluator needs to have some objectivity, and therefore would not be in a position to be a partner in the project they are evaluating. Usually an external evaluator is hired for their services, and this would be considered a contractual arrangement, not a sub-grant. A contract would not be able to be counted toward the 25% requirement for sub-grants, even if it is for an amount of $5000 or less.

  • May an applicant use a contractor’s services to perform work on part of the proposed project?

    Yes. The applicant may hire a contractor for part of the work of the project as long as all federal rules and procedures (or state rules, if the applicant is a state agency) for procurement are followed.

  • Under this grant program, may a for-profit company be included as a partner?

    Yes. A for-profit company may be included as a partner as long as the grantee (prime recipient) does not enter the partnership with the intent to hire the for-profit company to provide goods or services that are available in the commercial marketplace in order to obtain those goods and services in a non-competitive transaction.

  • May an applicant contract with a non-profit organization to do work on a proposed project?

    Yes. Work on a proposed project may be contracted out to a non-profit organization as long as all federal rules and procedures (or state rules, if the applicant is a state agency) for procurement are followed.

  • May a partner or contractor provide any or all of the required minimum 25% non-federal match?

    Yes. A partner or contractor may provide any or all of the required minimum 25% non-federal match provided the costs they are covering are allowable under 40 CFR 30.23 or 40 CFR 31.24 for third party contributions. Contributions to matching funds may include cash, volunteer services, and donated supplies and equipment. Please note that a third party’s indirect costs may not be counted toward a cost share.

  • What are you looking for in the Partnership Letters of Commitment?

    The letter the partner writes to verify their partnership must clearly state how they are to be involved in the development, design or implementation of the project. It is very important that partners provide letters that clearly describe the role they will play in the proposed project. If funds, equipment/supplies or in-kind services will be provided, the dollar amounts or specific equipment/supplies or kinds of services need to be described specifically and in detail in the letter.

    It is not enough to simply name partners in the proposal. All partners must provide letters of commitment or they will not be given consideration by reviewers. If no letters are provided, it will be assumed there are no partners for the project.

  • Do I need recommendation or endorsement letters in my proposal in order to be considered?

    No. Only submit letters from partner organizations making a commitment to the project. Please do not submit letters that simply recommend or endorse the project. Only letters of commitment from a partner organization, if applicable, will be considered in evaluating proposals.

  • Do we have to have a partner for our proposed project?

    No. Applicants are not required to form partnerships for a proposed project to receive a grant from this program. However, it is important to note that EPA’s EE Grants Program considers partnerships to be a valuable contribution to the success of most projects. See Section V of the RFP for scoring factors or evaluation criteria.

    If you do not have any partners for your project, be sure to explain in your proposal how you anticipate reaching your goals successfully on your own.

  • Does my project have to include a sub-grant program?

    Yes. Each project must include a sub-grant program and a description of how the applicant plans on using the sub-grant program to achieve its project goals, and how it plans to ensure that EXACTLY (no more than, no less than) 25% of the EPA funds awarded will be used for sub-grants of $5000 or less to eligible sub-grantees. Proposals must also explain how the prime recipient will select the sub-grantees and monitor the sub-grantees' activities, materials, and delivery methods to ensure that they contribute to the project's expected outputs and outcomes and are in alignment with its educational and environment priorities.

  • How much of the funds awarded to the prime recipient (grantee) must go toward sub-grants?

    Each recipient (the prime recipient) of a grant under this solicitation will be required to award EXACTLY (no more and no less than) 25% of the funds received from EPA to eligible sub-grantees in the form of sub-grants of $5000 or less.

  • Would the prime recipient be allowed to award sub-grants for more than $5000 with either EPA funds or with their own matching funds?

    Sub-grants for more than $5000 may be awarded from EPA funds in addition to the smaller required sub-grants of $5000 or less, and any number of sub-grants of any dollar amount may be awarded from the matching funds. These awards are separate from the required 25% sub-grant program.

  • Would the prime recipient be allowed to award BOTH a sub-grant for $5000 or less from EPA funds AND a sub-grant for more than $5000 from EPA funds to the same sub-grantee? 

    No. Awarding sub-grants that total more than $5000 to one organization designated as a sub-grantee in the project's $5000 or less sub-grant program would violate the requirement of the National Environmental Education Act.

  • We are planning a two year project. If we award a sub-grant to an organization for $5000 as part of the required $5000 or less sub-grant program the first year of our project, can we then give the same organization another sub-grant from EPA funds the second year for $5000 or less?

    No. Once the prime has designated an organization as a sub-grantee in the project’s required sub-grant program (in which exactly 25% of EPA funds must be expended on sub-grants of $5000 or less), then a maximum of $5000 in EPA funds can be awarded in sub-grant(s) to that organization, regardless of the project’s duration. For example, if a prime were to give a $3000 sub-grant from EPA funds to organization X the first year of a two-year project and $2000 the second year, the $5000 or less requirement will have been met. But if organization X were to receive a sub-grant from EPA funds the second year for more than $2000 (e.g., $2500), then the $5000 limit will have been exceeded and the prime recipient will be in violation of the terms and conditions of its agreement with EPA.

  • If awarded the grant, am I responsible for ensuring the awardees of the sub-grants are eligible for funds?

    Yes. The prime recipient of the grant funds must ensure that all sub-grants they award with funds from this program go to entities that would qualify as "eligible applicants." More information on eligibility can be found in Section III of the RFP.

  • We are a university that is considering applying for an EE grant. Can we make sub-grants internally within the university?

    Sometimes, depending on how a university’s system is set up. Such situations will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Universities that are considering applying as a prime recipient and awarding sub-grants to sub-recipients within their university should contact EEGrants@EPA.gov and explain their particular situation before submitting a proposal.

  • When I apply do I need to know and have outlined in the proposal (or complete application for selected finalists) which entities or organizations will receive sub-grants?

    No. The applicant does not have to know to whom they will be awarding sub-grants at the time they submit their proposal/or complete application for selected finalists. However, proposals must outline the process and criteria that will be used for selecting the sub-grantees.

  • Do I have to make the sub-grantees compete for the sub-grants?

    No. EPA does not require the prime to run a competition for the sub-grants.

  • Our organization is made up of affiliate chapters. Could we give sub-grants to our chapters to implement our project?

    Yes. An applicant can make sub-grants of $5000 or less to their chapters to implement the project, assuming that the chapters are all eligible entities as defined in Section III of the RFP.

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Application Process

  • Where can I find the deadline for submission of a proposal?

    Information about the submission deadline for the current Request for Proposals (RFP) can be found on the first page of the RFP under Application Deadline.

  • If the proposal is submitted late, will the proposal be reviewed?

    No. Proposals submitted electronically, hand delivered, or postmarked after the submission deadline will be considered late and given no further consideration unless the applicant can clearly demonstrate that it was late due to EPA mishandling or because of technical problems associated with www.grants.gov.

  • How do I submit a proposal for the EE Grant Program?

    Applicants should follow the instructions given in the RFP to make sure they submit a complete and accurate proposal. Proposals may be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov, or in hard copy via hand delivery, U.S. Postal Service, or by private delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS). See Section IV and Section VII of the RFP for more information.

  • Can I email my proposal?

    No. Email submittals of proposals are not accepted for the EE Grant Program. Electronic proposals must be submitted through www.grants.gov.

  • How do I apply electronically using www.grants.gov?

    The electronic submission of your proposal using www.grants.gov must be made by an official representative of your institution who is registered with www.grants.gov and is authorized to sign applications for Federal assistance—the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Using www.grants.gov also requires that your organization have a DUNS number and a current registration with the System for Award Management (SAM). The process for SAM.gov and a DUNS number can take a month or more to complete.

    The DUNS Number is a unique 9 digit identification for each physical location of your organization and is free for all organizations required to register with the federal government for grants and contract. A DUNS Number can be obtained at www.sba.gov .

    The System for Award Management or SAM is used to register your organization to do business with the federal government and can be found at www.sam.gov

    Applicants must ensure that all registration requirements are met in order to apply for this opportunity through www.grants.gov and should ensure that all such requirements have been met well in advance of the submission deadline. Registration on www.grants.gov, SAM.gov, and DUNS number assignment is FREE.

    To apply through www.grants.gov, you must use Adobe Reader software. It is recommended that you download the compatible Adobe Reader system well in advance of the proposal deadline. For more information about Adobe Reader, to verify compatibility, or to download the free software, please visit www.grants.gov technical support.

  • How do I register for www.grants.gov?

    The electronic submission of your proposal must be made by an official representative of your institution who is registered with www.grants.gov and is authorized to sign applications for Federal assistance. For more information on the registration requirements that must be completed in order to submit a proposal through www.grants.gov, go to www.grants.gov and click on “Applicants” on the top of the page and then go to the “Get Registered” link on the page.

    If your organization is not currently registered with www.grants.gov, please encourage your office to designate an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) and ask that individual to begin the registration process as soon as possible. Please note that the registration process also requires that your organization have a DUNS number and a current registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) and the process of obtaining both could take a month or more.

    Applicants must ensure that all registration requirements are met in order to apply through www.grants.gov. It is recommended that applicants ensure that all such requirements have been met well in advance of the submission deadline. Registration on www.grants.gov, SAM.gov, and DUNS number assignment is FREE. To begin the proposal process under this grant announcement, go to www.grants.gov and click on “Applicants” on the top of the page and then “Apply for Grants” from the dropdown menu and follow the instructions accordingly. Please note: to apply through www.grants.gov, you must use Adobe Reader software and download the compatible Adobe Reader system. For more information about Adobe Reader, to verify compatibility, or to download the free software, please visit www.grants.gov technical support.

  • How does the applicant name their file attachments in www.grants.gov?

    Valid file names may only include the following UTF-8 characters: A-Z, a-z, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, period.

    If applicants use any other characters when naming their attachment files their applications will be rejected by www.grants.gov.

  • Whom should I contact if I am having problems with grants.gov?

    Grants.gov is a federal government-wide database; it is not an EPA database. If you are having any problems uploading your proposal materials or any other such problems, you will need to contact the system administrator for grants.gov. Please DO NOT CALL EPA with questions on grants.gov. Review the FAQS for www.grants.gov or email questions to support@grants.gov

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Application forms and instructions

  • Can I submit more than one proposal under this solicitation?

    Yes. Applicants can submit more than one proposal under this solicitation so long as each one is for a different project and is separately submitted.

  • What forms and documents are required to be submitted for the EE Grant Program?

    The following forms and documents are required to be submitted when applying for a grant in this program (please use the guidelines in the RFP when preparing each of these):

    1. Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
    2. Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A)
    3. Work Plan prepared as described in Section IV(C) of the announcement. (In www.grants.gov, use project narrative attachment form to attach.)
    4. Detailed Budget and Narrative. (In www.grants.gov, use optional project narrative attachment form or other attachment form to attach.)
    5. Appendices—(In www.grants.gov, use the Other Attachments Form or Optional Project Narrative Attachment Form.)
      1. Timeline;
      2. Logic Model;
      3. Programmatic Capability and Past Performance;
      4. Partnership letters of commitment (only if you have partner organizations making a commitment to the project – please NO letters of endorsement or recommendation).
  • Is there an example Logic Model available?

    Yes. An example of a basic logic model with broad outputs and outcomes is in Appendix D of the RFP. A template that you can use to create your own specific version of a Logic Model that complements your project can be found on the main EE Grants webpage.

  • Is there a limit to the number of resumes and the length of any resumes submitted to demonstrate our programmatic capability?

    Yes. Only 3 one-page resumes may be included with the proposal.

  • Is there a page limit for the Work Plan?

    Yes. The Work Plan may not exceed 8 single-spaced pages. The entire narrative portion of the Work Plan (Project Summary, Detailed Project Description, and Project Evaluation) cannot exceed 8 single-spaced pages. Be precise, but also concise. Additional pages past the 8th page will not be reviewed with the proposal, potentially rendering it incomplete or incomprehensible. In addition, do not send extra material, such as videos, newspaper articles, etc.—they will not be reviewed.

  • Can the proposal be longer than is specified?

    No. A page limit of 8 pages is specified in Section IV of the RFP. Additional pages past the 8th page will not be reviewed with the proposal, potentially rendering it incomplete or incomprehensible. In addition, do not send extra material, such as videos, newspaper articles, etc.—they will not be reviewed.

  • Do the Detailed Budget and the Appendices count towards the 8 page limit?

    No. The Detailed Budget and Appendices (Timeline, Logic Model, Programmatic Capability/Past Performance, and Partnership Commitment Letters) are not included in this page limit. There are no page limits on the Detailed Budget and Appendices.

  • Are there limits on page and font size?

    Yes. One page refers to one side of a single-spaced page on 8 1/2 by 11 inch typed in a font size no smaller than 10 point.

  • Can I reorder the format of my proposal from the outline provided?

    It is strongly advised that you submit your proposal in the following order to ensure it is properly and thoroughly reviewed:

    1. Standard Form (SF) 424, Application for Federal Assistance;
    2. SF 424A Budget Information;
    3. Work Plan including (a) Project Summary, (b) Detailed Project Description, (c) Project Evaluation;
    4. Detailed Budget;
    5. Appendices including (a) Timeline, (b) Logic model, (c) Programmatic capability and past performance; (d) Partnership letters of commitment.
  • Where do I identify Congressional Districts affected by my project?

    To identify the appropriate Congressional District, go to www.house.gov.

  • Where can I find instructions for filling out SF-424 A- Budget?

    There are instructions for filling out SF-424 A-Budget in Appendix A of the RFP.

  • Where can I find instructions for filling out SF-424- Application for Federal Assistance?

    There are instructions for filling out SF-424- Application for Federal Assistance in Appendix A of the RFP.

  • What details of the project must the Work Plan include?

    The 8-page Work Plan includes the following sections (please see Section IV of the RFP for complete descriptions of what each section should include.) Each section should be clearly labeled in your proposal. The Work Plan should be comprehensive and clear to a person unfamiliar with your project. Do not use acronyms and technical or specialized terms without defining them.

    1. Project Summary
    2. Detailed Project Description (the What, Why, How, and Who of the Project)
    3. Project Evaluation
  • Can I reorder paragraphs within the subsections of the Detailed Project Description?

    You may reorder the paragraphs within the subsections of the Detailed Project Description (the What, Why, How and Who) but they must include the correct headings or you risk the possibility of information being overlooked when the project is scored.

  • If I have previously received federal funding from the EPA's EE Grant Program should I include that in my proposal?

    Yes. In the Project Summary section of your Work Plan, please note any projects previously funded by the EPA's EE Grant Program, and also list all of the previously EPA funded projects your organization has received in the past 3 years. In addition, all these previously funded grants should be labeled as "EPA EE Grants" under the Past Performance section of your proposal.

  • Do you have any additional suggestions of what to do to maximize the effectiveness of our proposal?

    In addition to reading and following the instructions in the RFP very carefully, we suggest that you perform an internal and/or external review on the proposal for clarity and conciseness. We recommend that you check the proposal for typographical, grammatical, and mathematical errors and perform a final quality control check to ensure that all proposal materials are complete and signed, and that the copies are legible.

  • When and how will I be notified about the status of my proposal?

    Regarding receipt of your proposal:
    Applicants will receive a confirmation that EPA has received their proposal after EPA has entered information about all applicants into a database. If you have not received confirmation of receipt from EPA (not www.grants.gov) within 60 days of the proposal deadline, please contact the appropriate Regional or HQ EPA staff as identified in Section VII of the relevant announcement. Failure to confirm that your proposal has been received may result in your proposal not being reviewed.

    Regarding eligibility determination:
    Applicants will be notified of ineligibility status within 15 days of the determination being made.

    Regarding selection or non-selection for a grant award:
    Though specific dates are not available for when EPA will make decisions and contact (usually by email) the highest scoring finalists and send non-selection notifications to the others, the timing of the non-selection notifications is identified in the RFP. Applicants who are not selected for a grant award will be notified within 15 days after a decision of non-selection.

    Note: Notification of receipt of proposals, as well as non-eligibility, selection and non-selection notification will be sent to the individual identified on line #21 of the SF424.

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Cost requirements and uses of grant funds.

  • Are we required to use part of the funding we receive from the EPA EE Grants Program for sub-grants?

    Yes. All applicants for grants are required to propose to award EXACTLY 25% (no more and no less) of the dollar request from EPA in the form of sub-grants of $5000 or less (See FAQs on the Roles of the Prime, Partners, Contractors, and Sub-grantees). Since the National Environmental Education Act requires that exactly 25% of the EE grants budget be spent on awards of $5000 or less, EPA’s EE Grant Program is very strict about this amount being EXACT in the applicant’s proposed budget and in any prime recipient’s enacted budget.

  • Do the sub-grants have to be in the form of cash or can we award educational materials that we purchase and distribute?

    Yes. The sub-grant must be a cash award. You may not use education materials that you have purchased as the sub-grant in place of a cash award.

  • Is there a cost sharing (match) requirement for this grant program?

    Yes. There is a cost share (match) requirement for the EE Grant Program. Applicants must demonstrate how they will provide non-federal funding matching funds of at least 25% of the TOTAL cost of the project. To determine your minimum match requirement, calculate how much you will spend on the entire project from beginning to end, including both federal funds and your own funds, and divide this number by 4. The applicant may propose more than the required 25% match if they choose but should keep in mind that whatever dollar amount an applicant gives in a proposal as the matching funds will be the amount they are obligated to provide during the life of the grant.

    The matching funds cannot be from a federal source (e.g., from another federal grant). The funds can be either in cash or in-kind services (e.g., volunteer hours), and can be from the applicant or from partner(s).

  • In the proposal do I need to state where the non-federal matching funds for my project will come from?

    Yes. Applicants must demonstrate how the applicant will meet the match requirement in the proposal in order to be eligible for funding consideration.

  • Are salaries allowed as matching funds? Is there any limit to the percentage of requested grant funds that can be used for salaries? Is there a specific way that salaries need to be stated in the matching funds section?

    Yes. Salaries can be used as a match and there is no set limit. It is suggested you be as specific and detailed in the Detailed Budget as possible when describing the salaries being covered by matching funds being salaries or being requested to be covered by grant funds – e.g., give the name(s) and title(s) of the person(s) whose salary is being listed, plus their normal salary and the percentage of their time being spent on the project. Be reasonable in your requests for personnel costs, as well as travel and overhead expenses, so your budget is competitive. Explain clearly in your Work Plan why and how the persons whose salaries are in the budget will be employed on the project.

  • Do the required matching funds have to be in cash, or can they be in-kind donations and services, e.g., a volunteer’s or teacher’s time working on the project?

    Either is acceptable. In-kind contributions of services, and other items like equipment, can count toward the required 25% cost match. Please see Section IV(C) (4) of the RFP for a complete matching funds explanation. As stated in the RFP, “the match must be for an allowable cost and may be provided by the applicant or a partner organization or institution. The match may be provided in cash or by in-kind contributions and other non-monetary support.”

  • Can office equipment be used as an in-kind match?

    Yes. Office equipment can be used as an in-kind match as long as the cost is a relatively small percentage of the total amount of the match and the equipment is necessary for the achievement of the project’s goals. Costs and relevance of the equipment must be explained in the Detailed Budget. Note that if the equipment is not provided at the level of costs outlined in the proposal, then that part of the match must be accounted for in some other way during the project period – e.g., direct funds or in-kind services.

  • Can the non-federal matching funds be provided by a partner?

    Yes. Applicants may ask partners to assist with matching funds requirements.

  • If a tribal program becomes a partner in the EE grant proposal and already receives funds from another office in EPA, do those funds become tribal and therefore become eligible for use as part of the entire required 25% match?

    No. The funds from another EPA office are still federal funds and may not be used as any part of the required 25% match.

  • What is “program income” and how and when may it be used by the recipient?

    Program income is defined as the money a grant recipient earns as a direct result of a grant-supported activity. For example, registration fees charged for any conference or training course supported with grant funds are considered program income. A terms and conditions document will be issued by the Project Officer after an award is made to indicate how the program income shall be used. In most cases, program income will be used to pay for specified grant costs that are eligible and allowable and that further the project’s goals.

  • May an applicant use program income as part of their non-federal cost share/match?

    Yes. Program income can be used to finance the non-federal cost share (match) of the project. Please see 40 CFR 30.2(x), 40 CFR 30.24 and 40 CFR 31.25 for more details on this topic.

  • What is the limit for indirect costs under the matching funds category?

    The only limit on using indirect costs as part of the 25% match is the limit set by the indirect cost rate agreement the applicant has with the federal government. Indirect costs can be used as a match only when the applicant has an indirect cost rate agreement in place with the federal government, and therefore the dollar amount to be used as match cannot exceed the amount limited by the agreed upon rate.

  • What is an Indirect Cost Rate?

    An Indirect Cost Rate is a percentage of an organization’s costs allowed for overhead and administrative expenses, determined to be fair within the boundaries of sound administrative principles.

  • What is an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement?

    An Indirect Cost Rate Agreement is a negotiated agreement between a grant recipient and the cognizant Federal agency which identifies the fairness and basis of the indirect cost rate.

  • Does an applicant have to have an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement in place when they apply for funds from this grants program?

    No. An applicant does not have to have an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement in place when they apply for a grant. Applicants can begin the negotiations for an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement at the same time that they apply for a grant to this program, or within 90 days of the date of an award of a grant under this solicitation. However, recipients are not allowed to seek reimbursement for indirect costs until an approved indirect cost rate is obtained.

  • What if I don’t have an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement?

    If the recipient is a 501(c)(3)non-profit and does not have a current negotiated indirect cost rate agreement or proposal, and if EPA is the recipient’s cognizant agency, EPA can allow the recipient to charge a flat indirect cost rate of 10% of salaries and wages (see 2 CFR Part 230, Appendix A). Recipients that opt to use the 10% flat rate are obligated to use the flat rate for the life of the grant award.

    Find more information on indirect costs and indirect cost rate agreements.

  • If an applicant does not have an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement with the government, what costs cannot be included in their proposed budget?

    If there is no Indirect Cost Rate Agreement, indirect costs such as administration, office rental, utilities, or security costs cannot be included in the proposed budget.

  • Our university has a large indirect cost rate. If we reduce our indirect cost rate can the amount reflected in the use of a lowered indirect cost rate be counted toward the matching requirement in this grant program?

    Yes. This would be an in-kind match, and could be used as a match as long as it is consistent with in-kind match principles. You will need to provide a written copy of the university’s current negotiated cost rate agreement with the proposal.

  • When is it allowable for a grant recipient to use grant funds to pay for meals?

    Generally, when a speaker or a presentation/panel is provided or other work is being done during breakfast or lunch at a conference/workshop or field trip, it is allowable to use grant funds to pay for meals for the participants. It is also generally allowable to use grant funds to pay for light refreshments/snacks offered during breaks at conferences/workshops or field trips. The specific event at which meals and/or light refreshments/snacks will be provided must be described in the scope of work and the plan for the event, including the provision for refreshments AND must be pre-approved by the Project Officer.

    Meals and light refreshments provided at a grant recipient’s staff meetings are not allowable, nor are refreshments for evening receptions. Meals and receptions where alcohol is served are not allowable even if the grant funds are not used for the alcohol. Generally, banquets (especially evening banquets) paid for with grant funds are not allowed, nor is any EPA-funded entertainment. Also not allowed are any sort of EPA-funded events that conduct any fund-raising or involve strategies to solicit contributions, endowments, gifts or bequests.

    Please note that a determination of reasonableness and necessity of costs for light refreshments/snacks and meals will be made on a case by case basis and included in a Terms and Conditions document at the time of the award of a grant.

  • What is the difference between the Budget we must provide on the form 424A and the Detailed Budget narrative that the RFP also requires us to include?

    The Budget form (SF-424A) is a standard government form that must be included in every grant proposal or application made to a federal grant program. It asks for dollar amounts in specified categories (such as Federal Funds and Non-Federal Funds) for particular line items (such as Personnel, Travel, Supplies, etc.). A Detailed Budget can be presented in any format (i.e., no particular form is required) but must include the same dollar amounts in the same categories and line items as the 424A, in much greater detail, with an accompanying narrative about how those funds will be used. For example, for Personnel in a Detailed Budget, an applicant should identify not only the dollar amount to be spent on this line item, but also the personnel who will be paid (or will volunteer) to staff and manage the project, including names, titles and roles, and how much of their time will be spent working on the project. For Travel, identify not only the dollar amounts to be spent, but also who will be traveling, to where, and what the costs will entail (e.g., airfare, hotel rooms, meals, etc.) Every line item should be presented in this level of detail in the Detailed Budget. (See Appendix B of the RFP for an Example of a Detailed Budget.) Be sure to check both the SF 424A and the Detailed Budget for mathematical errors before submitting them. Make sure all line item and total dollar amounts are the same in both budgets. And, make certain that un-allowed items, such as construction costs, are not included in either budget.

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Information specific to the 2014 EE Model Grants RFP

  • How do I submit a proposal to the 2014 EE Model Grants RFP?

    You can make either a hard copy submission or an electronic submission.

    Hard Copy Submission:
    Applicants choosing to submit proposals in hard copy must submit an original and 2 copies of the proposal materials by mail, express delivery service, or hand delivery to the EPA EE contact listed in Section VII (Agency Contacts) of the RFP. The original, signed package must be postmarked by February 2, 2015 local time or hand delivered by close of business on February 2, 2015.

    Electronic Submission:
    Electronic submission of a proposal must be submitted by 11:59pm Eastern time, February 2, 2015 and made by an official representative of the institution who is registered with www.grants.gov and is authorized to sign applications for Federal assistance. No email submissions will be accepted.

  • What is the deadline for submission of a proposal?

    The submission deadline for the EE Model Grants RFP is February 2, 2015. All electronic proposals must be received by 11:59 pm eastern time, February 2, 2015. All hard copies must be hand-delivered by close of business to the Office of Environmental Education on February 2, 2015, or postmarked by the end of the day February 2, 2015, local time, if sent by U.S. Postal Service or by a delivery service such as FedEx or UPS. Please see Section VII of the RFP for specific mailing or delivery instructions, if submitting a hard copy application.

  • How does the EE Grants Program define a “model, replicable project”?

    The EE Grants Program defines “model, replicable environmental education projects” as those that can serve as examples of effective environmental education practices, methods, and/or techniques that can be replicated in a variety of settings and that advance the field of practice of environmental education. Replicability must be demonstrated during the project period by locating the model project simultaneously in two different locations, each in a different state or U.S. territory, or by replicating the model project in a different location in a different state or U.S. territory from the original location no more than halfway through the project period.

  • What are the funding limits for the EE Model Grants RFP?

    Proposals for 2014 awards from EPA's EE Model Grant RFP must be for approximately but no more than $192,200 in federal funds or the proposal will be rejected. Proposals requesting funds outside of these limits will be deemed ineligible and will not be reviewed.

  • How much will we have to provide as matching funds under this year’s EE Model Grants RFP?

    Applicants are required to provide matching funds of at least 25% of the TOTAL cost of the project. To determine your minimum match requirement, calculate how much you will spend on the entire project from beginning to end, including both federal funds and your own funds, and divide this number by 4. For example, if the total cost of the project is $256,267, divide this amount by 4, which equals $64,067. Your match needs to be at least $64,067; if you provide the minimum match of $64,067, then the amount you request from the EPA would be $192,200. It may also be helpful to determine your match requirement by dividing the number of federal funds requested by 3 (e.g., $192,200/3 = $64,067).

  • How much will we have to award in sub-grants of $5000 or less under this year’s EE Model Grants RFP?

    Exactly (no more and no less than) 25% of the funds received from EPA must be awarded to sub-grantees for sub-grants of $5000 or less. If you receive $192,200 from EPA for this grant, then you must award EXACTLY $48,050 in sub-grants of $5000 or less. ($192,200/4 = $48,050)

  • Can my project receive funding if it has previously been awarded a grant by the EPA's Environmental Education program?

    Possibly. According to the FY2014 EE Model Grants RFP, applicants may not submit a proposal for a project for which the applicant has already been previously awarded a grant by the EPA's Environmental Education program unless the applicant can demonstrate that they are expanding, broadening or otherwise enhancing the project in such a way that it could serve as a replicable model of environmental education practices, methods or techniques.

  • If I have previously received federal funding from the EPA's EE Grant Program should I include that in my proposal?

    Yes. In the Project Summary section of your Work Plan, please note how a project previously funded by the EPA's EE Grant program is being expanded or some way enhanced to make it a replicable model project in the field of environmental education. You must also list all of the previously EPA funded projects your organization has received in the past 3 years. These should be labeled as "EPA EE Grants" under the Past Performance section of your proposal.

  • What type of grants will be awarded by EPA Headquarters?

    Grants under the EE Model Grants RFP will be awarded by EPA HQ. These grants will serve as replicable, model projects. Replicability must be demonstrated by locating the project in two or more locations, each in a different state or U.S. territory, during the project period (see Section IV of the RFP for more information). The recipients of the grants will also be required to award EXACTLY 25% of EPA funds they receive to sub-grantees in amounts of $5000 or less.

  • Who makes the selection for grants?

    A Selection Official at the Headquarters Office of Environmental Education will make the final selections for the grants awarded from the EE Model Grant RFP.

  • How are proposals evaluated?

    All proposals will be evaluated for eligibility and all eligible proposals will be reviewed using a 100 point scale by review panels.

    The Headquarters Office of Environmental Education will establish a review panel to review the eligible proposals sent to them under the EE Model Grant RFP. The panel will include reviewers knowledgeable in the field of environmental education and will be comprised of EPA staff and/or external peer reviewers approved by the EPA.

    Proposals will be reviewed and scored based on specific criteria established for each section of the proposal, and then will be ranked based on the reviewers' scores, and the scores and rankings will be provided to the EPA Headquarters Selection Official for final funding decisions. More information can be found in Section V of the RFP.

  • When is the earliest date that projects can start?

    Projects may not start before June 1, 2015.