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State and Private Forestry

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1 State and Private Forestry
Grants and Agreements What’s New for FY 2011 USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry RECIPIENT Purpose: To give an overview of upcoming changes to grant processes Most of what we’ll talk about is new so we are still working through processes/issues/procedures so things might change during the course of this FY grants season. Your input, comments, suggestion are welcome and we look to you to bring your thoughts forward. There are some things we cannot control, like the award letter templates. But we can bring your suggestions forward to the staffs/units responsible and see where we go from there.

2 Agenda Grant narrative format for “core” funds Award Letter Templates
Subrecipient Reporting Performance Progress Report Equipment Purchases via Grants Close-out Policy Let audience know that we will: Record the session and will be available on the G&A intranet site after our briefings are completed. Have the powerpoint slides available also .

3 New Grant Narrative Format for S&PF Core Funds
Sherri Wormstead NA Office of Knowledge Management Sustainability & Planning Coordinator

4 Why a Nationally-Consistent Format?
To support and encourage implementation of the State Forest Resource Strategies Provide some background on this effort, an overview of why and how the grant format was developed, and then will walk through the documents. Some of you may remember when this effort started over a year ago…but I want to start with the background at the beginning… Why a nationally-consistent format? Well, for some consistency in manage grants, yes, but… Why this effort started stems back to a new way of business in the “re-designed” S&PF. As the State Assessments and Strategies were being finalized by the State Forestry Agencies last spring, the S&PF Redesign Implementation Council (now the S&PF Board) was thinking about how to incorporate the state strategies into S&PF grants.

5 Redesign Implementation Council Challenge:
Develop a simple, flexible, standard format to incorporate State Forest Resource Assessments and Strategies into noncompetitive grant narratives. This photo of Jim Hubbard was taken on the day he approved the State Assessments and Strategies (in fact he’s holding Maryland’s!). As stated by Jim Hubbard in an Aug. 6, 2010 State Assess. & Strategy approval letter: “We stand on the edge of a significant opportunity. I look forward to our continued work together as we deliver focused and collaborative benefits across the landscape.” Last spring, there was a small group of the RIC working on national guidance for competitive grants. For non-competitive grants, Paul Ries took up this task from the RIC (March 18, 2010): Develop a simple, flexible, standard format to incorporate State Forest Resource Assessments and Strategies into the noncompetitive (or core) grant narratives. Working for Paul, initially Paula Randler, WO CF, and I led this effort.

6 How the Format was Developed
March 2010—Held national calls to gather input Drafted by work group of USFS and state staff Reviewed narratives and regional templates for each S&PF Program Sept. 2010—shared draft Dec. 2010—S&PF Board approved the draft for “beta” use in FY11 S&PF Tweak and finalize—Final review by S&PF Board In early March 2010, we held two national-level calls to discuss and gather ideas on how to incorporate state strategies into non-competitive grant narratives. We had over 100 participants on each call with a good mix of USFS S&PF, State staff, and the National and Regional State Forester Associations. Every USFS Region, NA, & IITF participated and 41 States/territories participated. There was also representation across S&PF Programs. Common themes and key concerns from those calls were shared with the RIC. After the official charge from the RIC—to develop a standard, flexible format for non-competitive grants—Paula and I decided it would be a good idea to engage some state and federal program managers from across the country to help with this task. We enlisted a small work group (I’ll show on the next slide). Each region, NA, and IITF were asked to submit regional grant templates and/or example narratives. These were carefully reviewed for common elements and to understand the nature of existing practices across regions. In the quest for a simple, flexible, yet standard grant narrative format, the work group held several web meetings and contributed to multiple drafts to develop the version that was shared with S&PF leadership in Sept and submitted to Paul Ries for sharing with the S&PF Board. The next meeting of the S&PF Board was in Dec. At that meeting they approved the draft for “beta” use starting in FY 2011. This was not as linear as it appears here—for example, we shared the draft with a few grant specialists before the S&PF Board Dec. meeting, but had some loose ends with regards to requirements on the grants side, so we also held a call with G&A specialists from across the country in January to help finalize the documents.

7 National Data Strategy Team “Program & Planning” Work Group
Helen Cozzetto (MN) Neil Letson (AL) Cotton Randall (OH) Dave Stephenson (ID) Dana Coelho (WFLC) Margie Ewing (R1 & R4) Tim Mersmann (R8) Sherri Wormstead (NA) These team members: the National Data Strategy Team, Program and Planning Work Group—were fully engaged to come up with a simple, flexible, and standard format. I really appreciate the involvement of each and every team member!! Thanks goes out to Helen and Cotton for representing the NAASF states!

8 Grant Narrative Format
Grant Narrative Summary: An overview of the work components and S&PF programs included in the grant. Program/Project Grant Narrative: Provides information specific to an individual S&PF Program and/or project. For reference: National S&PF Program Authorities and Guidance Example narrative This is a peek at the grant narrative format—the various components that were developed as part of this effort. A complete grant narrative using this format is composed of a Grant Narrative Summary and one or more Program/Project Grant Narrative(s). The Grant Narrative Summary serves as a table of contents for the complete grant narrative. It provides an overview of the work components and S&PF Programs included in the grant. It also summarizes funds requested for each work component and each S&PF Program. The Program/Project Grant Narrative contains information specific to an individual work component, which may be an integrated project, an S&PF Program-specific project, or core S&PF Program activities. A Program/Project Grant Narrative is completed for each project and each S&PF Program included in the grant. The team also began work on a national S&PF Program Authorities and Guidance document to provide boiler plate text, like the NA templates had. Paul Ries is in the process of vetting this by the national program managers. The last piece we worked on is an example narrative . The narrative format documents and example narrative are available on the O drive. Next, I’ll provide an overview of some key points related to this new grant narrative format and then we’ll come back and take a closer look at the components of the grant narrative.

9 Overview Provides instructions for narrative documentation to support SF-424 Use in place of the NA narrative templates For “core” S&PF Program grants to State Forestry agencies, except Forest Legacy grants For single S&PF Program and Consolidated Payment Grants Incorporates reference to State Forest Strategy Flexible—you can modify as needed The info. in the next couple of slides is outlined in the letter that will be sent soon… These provide the agency instructions , referred to under block 15 of SF-424, for the supporting documentation…to support the Application for Federal Assistance, SF-424. State forestry agencies are requested to use the new format, beginning this year, for all non-competitive (sometimes referred to as “core”) S&PF grant narratives. The Forest Legacy Program is exempt from this format and will continue to be administered under existing policies and procedures. This includes single S&PF Program and Consolidated Payment Grant narratives. Incorporates reference to the state forest resource strategy. This is not a strict template, rather is flexible, the format and instructions include room for regional guidance and for states to modify as needed.

10 Overview, Continued… New format is not required for NA S&PF competitive projects. The proposal = the narrative. May be used for grants to other organizations The format is for the narrative—one part of the grant application! Standard format for reporting was not addressed. The new narrative format was not specifically designed for S&PF competitive, formerly called “Redesign,” projects, but can be used for those grant narratives. The national instructions ask states to defer to USFS S&PF regional direction regarding the grant narrative format for competitively-funded projects: NA will use the competitive proposals as the narrative for the projects funded through the NA competitive process. This format may also be used for grants to other organizations (e.g., RC&D Councils and nonprofit organizations). This new format is for the grant narrative, which is one part of the grant application. States will submit the complete narrative along with the SF-424, SF-424A, and other required certificates and assurances. We ask states to refer to the USFS regional financial advice and grant specialists for complete grant application requirements and instructions. The question has been asked “what about a standard format for reporting that matches this narrative format?” This was beyond of the scope of the RIC charge, but it would be good to take a look at this, especially in consideration of a new federal reporting requirement for grants over $100,000. Lori will share some information about this later.

11 Closer Look at the Format
Grant Narrative Summary Overarching boilerplate text Grant Period Grant Components and Amount Fill out once (serves as table of contents) I hope you will find that this grant narrative format has several elements that meet the S&PF Board’s directive for simplicity, flexibility, and standardization: It uses the most essential elements commonly found in previous grant narratives. Instructions are incorporated, shaded in grey, and can be deleted as narrative is completed. Summary components: overarching boiler-plate text for CFAA authorities and reference to the State Strategy; grant period; grant components and amount.

12 Grant Narrative Summary

13 Closer Look at the Format
Grant Narrative Summary Overarching boilerplate text Grant Period Grant Components and Amount Program/Project Grant Narrative Lead Contacts Purpose Scope of Work Methodology and Timeline Accomplishment Reporting Budget Fill out once (serves as table of contents) Program/Project Grant Narrative: Contacts: Lead state program and financial contacts Purpose:* Problem, need, or opportunity to be addressed and “succinct” reference to the state strategy is encouraged rather than extensive repetition of text. Noting the date and version of the State Strategy is important as strategies are updated over time. Scope of Work:* End results or final products (deliverables) (linked to the purpose) and programs and partners that will be involved. Methodology & Timeline: How scope of work will be fulfilled—activities and approaches with a timeline or milestones (which is helpful for S&PF grant monitoring). Accomplishment Reporting:* Frequency and method of federal reporting. Varies by program. Budget: Federal grant and match amounts and source. Suggested table provided that is consistent with the format of the SF 424A, but defer to regional direction regarding level of detail to provide. The totals should match the SF 424A and placed on the table in the summary. *The National S&PF Authorities and Guidance document includes sections that can be copy and pasted into the following sections: Purpose, Scope of Work, and Accomplishment Reporting are sections Fill out for each S&PF Program and/or project that is part of the grant

14 Program/Project Grant Narrative

15 Example Narrative This example narrative is a consolidated payment grant…2 programs and one special project, however… Reiterate: this format can be used for either a single S&PF Program grant or a Consolidated Payment Grant narrative. Project and core program activities can be integrated into one grant narrative. It also accommodates lumping or splitting of work components for narrative description based on local preference and regional guidance.

16 Example Narrative

17 Example Narrative

18 Draft S&PF Authorities & Guidance Document
*The National S&PF Authorities and Guidance document (to be available soon) includes sections that can be copy and pasted into the following sections: Purpose, Scope of Work, and Accomplishment Reporting are sections

19 Draft S&PF Authorities & Guidance Document

20 Next Steps Will post the final documents soon
Work with your Forest Service program contact as usual Input requested as the new format is used: S&PF Board will consider input Adapt and change  aiming for a streamlined and simple process This is a new format and we understand you will be under a tight timeframe this year, that is why we are providing this training. A letter regarding this new grant narrative format should be out soon; then we will post the final grant format instructions on the NA Grants and Agreements website. The S&PF Board considers use of the national grant narrative format a beta test this fiscal year. As you use the new format, input is requested and can be sent to the The S&PF Board will consider that input to refine the format for FY2012 and beyond. The hope is that as grant narratives and the Assessments and Strategies become more intertwined, the narrative format will adapt and change to best serve the needs of both grantee and grantor, aiming for a streamlined and simple process.

21 Time for Questions! Dial * 1 to be called on to ask your question or
Type your question in the “Chat Panel”

22 New Award Letter Template
Zaneta Hammond NA Grants & Agreements Specialist

23 WO Award Templates Look very different from our letters
3 page Award Letter (Grant Specific Information and Signatures) Attachment A – Terms and Conditions Attachment B – 2 CFR Part 170 Assigned an OMB file number Subaccount Information Located in Attachment A Countersignature Page No longer one page but will now be the 3 page award letter HANDOUT: Sample Award Letter – final version

24 Sub-Recipient Reporting
Zaneta Hammond NA Grants & Agreements Specialist

25 Subrecipient Reporting
Federal Funding Accountability & Transparency Act (FFATA) signed in 2006 Effective October 1, 2010 Code of Federal Regulation – 2 CFR 170 OMB Memorandum dated August 27, 2010 (Federal Spending Transparency and Subaward and Compensation Data) Reporting Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subreporting System – HANDOUT: OMB Memo – Federal Spending Transparency, Subaward and Compensation Data Reporting Reporting: For grants, both mandatory and discretionary grants, equal to or over $25,000, and awarded on or after October 1, 2010 must be reported by the prime awardee.

26 Subrecipient Reporting
If the initial award is equal to or over $25,000, reporting of subaward and executive compensation data is required. Does not include procurement of property or services needed to carry out the project Recipients report on executive compensation Information must be reported within one month of obligating the funds and to the maximum extent possible Information already collected from Federal agencies on Federal grants and prime awardees will be pre-populated to minimize duplicative reporting of the prime awardee’s entity information. Recipients report on executive compensation – Names and total compensation of the five most highly compensated officers of the entity if the entity in the preceding fiscal year received 90 percent or more of its annual gross revenues in Federal awards; and $25,000,000 or more in annual gross revenues from Federal awards; and the public does not have access to this information about the compensation of the senior executives of the entity through periodic reports filed under section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78m(a), 78o(d)) or section 6104 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

27 Subrecipient Reporting
If the initial award is below $25,000 but subsequent grant modification result in a total award equal to or over $25,000, the award will be subject to the reporting requirements, as of the date the award exceeds $25,000. If the initial award equals or exceeds $25,000 but funding is subsequently de-obligated such that the total award amount falls below $25,000, the award continues to be subject to the reporting requirements of the Transparency Act.

28 Subrecipient Reporting
The following are not subject to the reporting requirements: A Federal award to an individual who applies for or receives a Federal award as a natural person (i.e., unrelated to any business or non-profit organization he or she may own or operate in his or her name); A Federal award to an entity that had a gross income, from all sources, of less than $300,000 in the entity’s previous tax year; and Any award if the required reporting would disclose classified information.

29 Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR)
Lori Gordon NA Grants & Agreements Specialist

30 Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR)
SF-PPR is a standard, government-wide performance progress reporting format that will be used by Federal agencies to collect performance information from recipients. HANDOUT: Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR) Cover Sheet Cover sheet Continuation Format D, Table of Activity Results This is just an introduction of a new Performance Progress Report that the WO is requiring us to address in the new award letter. We’re still waiting for clearer direction from the WO and details still need to be worked out.

31 Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR)
Use for new FY2011 awards that exceed $100,000 or more per project/grant period. Includes cover page and six optional reporting formats. NA has chosen to use: SF-PPR (Cover Page) SF-PPR-D (Table of Activity Results) SF-PPR will be submitted annually. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2011, you will use a Standard Form for performance progress reporting for new awards that exceed $100,000 or more per project/grant period. The report consists of a Cover Page (SF-PPR) and there is also a Continuation Sheet, if needed; there are six optional reporting formats available to use. NA has chosen to use the SF-PPR-D (Table of Activity Results). Reported annually (1 year from start date). These Forms are available at the website shown. AGAIN, this is just a brief introduction of the form. Details & further direction still needs to come from the WO.

32 Equipment Acquired via Grants
Lori Gordon NA Grants & Agreements Specialist

33 Equipment Acquired via Grants
Enhanced guidance issued based on resolution of ARRA OIG audit report Equipment – personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. Clarifies and defines roles and responsibilities Recipients Forest Service Program Contacts HANDOUTS: Additional Guidance – Roles and Responsibilities WO has come out with enhanced guidance regarding equipment purchased through grants. This is not really a new requirement, it has always been there; but as a result of an ARRA OIG audit report, more detailed guidance has been issued and tighter tracking of equipment purchases is necessary. If you intend to purchase equipment through your grant and the cost is $5,000 or more per unit (per item), then it must be looked into further and have more documentation. This guidance also clarifies the roles and responsibilities of Recipients and FS Program Contacts.

34 Equipment Acquired Via Grants
Recipient Responsibilities Ensure general requirements of laws and regulations found in OMB circulars are followed Document intended use of equipment Provide equipment description Evaluate costs – lease vs. purchase Document proposed acquisition strategy Address if equipment will be used to support another Federal award Equipment cannot be included as a cost or used to meet cost sharing requirements on any other Federal award. LAWS and REGULATIONS: Shown on 1st page of hand-out; OR - Contact your Grants Specialist Recipient Responsibilities: INTENDED USE MUST BE DOCUMENTED - Why is the purchase necessary for the accomplishment of the project objectives. - How will the equipment be used to meet the overall objective of the award. How often will the equipment be used on the project (Provide approximate # of days/months equipment will be used over the life of the project.) EQUIPMENT DESCRIPTION Provide a clear description of the equipment – such as: make, model number, special functionality & technical requirements. If comparable equipment is available, provide an analysis with technical specifications as to why the specific equipment is being proposed. Provide information on available sources. EVALUATION OF COSTS Provide comparison of lease vs. purchase (cost analysis) * if equipment is only going to be used occasionally, the lease option may be more cost effective. PROPOSED ACQUISITION STRATEGY What method of procurement will be used (sole source, competition…) WILL EQUIPMENT BE USED TO SUPPORT ANOTHER FEDERAL AWARD? Equipment cannot be included as a cost or used to meet cost sharing requirements on any other federal award.

35 Equipment Acquired via Grants
Forest Service Program Contact Responsibilities Review the proposed equipment purchase Equipment purchase is necessary Must certify in writing HANDOUTS: Additional Guidance – Roles and Responsibilities US Forest Service Program Contact Responsibilities: REVIEW PROPOSED EQUIPMENT PURCHASE Make sure the equipment is necessary for the success of the project. Make sure it’s not available within the FS inventory. Make sure it’s more cost effective to purchase than to lease (cost analysis). CERTIFICATION If it is determined that the equipment purchase is necessary for the success of the project, the FS will certify the purchase in writing and the certification will be made a part of the official grant file along with the supporting documentation.

36 NA Business Management
Closeout Policy Terri Lopez NA Business Management Group Leader

37 Closeout Policy FS will implement a new financial system Main Focus
November/December 2011 Main Focus Unliquidated Obligations Grants with no drawdowns for 1 year or more HANDOUT: Closeout Policy NA will be tightening up our closeout policy. Explain ULO: Any obligation that has funds not spent. Many ULOs are valid but we have to monitor expired grants to either closeout timely or process time extensions. Timely drawdowns are the focus; Legacy program unique.

38 Website References NA Grants & Agreements Website:
2 CFR 170 – Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information Subrecipient Reporting System https://www.fsrs.gov

39 ANY QUESTIONS? Dial * 1 to be called on to ask your question or
Type your question in the “Chat Panel”

40 for your participation!
Thank you very much for your participation! Please provide comments about this training session at: 4 questions to answers Your responses will help us, help you. A continued dialogue is important as we move forward with all the changes/enhancements that are taking place.


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