Section Two: The Nonprofit SLFRF Grant Application Process

The Request For Applications (RFA):

Nonprofit organizations are considered sub-recipients of SLFRF monies, and therefore must contract with a governmental partner, or direct recipient, to participate in these opportunities. Governments issue funding announcements in the form of an RFA or RFP, which stands for Request for Applications and Request for Proposals. Governments are required to post these “solicitations for goods or services” publicly. In Colorado, there is no centralized platform where state government grants must be published, so finding them may take some work. The sections below provide an outline of the types of agencies that may post RFA’s and where they are likely to post them.

The application process for SLFRF funds in Colorado exists at several levels. 

  • Local governments (counties, cities, and non-entitlement units of government): Local units of government that have received their SLFRF allocation may have created public-private partnerships to implement their goals, which could include the involvement of nonprofit partners. The best way to find out what opportunities exist for nonprofit organizations to partner with their local jurisdictions on this funding opportunity is to contact the local officials in their area and ask about the local government’s plan for their use of the SLFRF. 
  • Tribal governments: The state of Colorado is located on the ancestral lands of many Indigenous tribes. In current day, two Tribal Nations, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe have reservation lands that extend into Colorado. As Tribal governments are eligible for SLFRF allocations, any Tribal nonprofit organizations and organizations partnering with Tribal governments may contact Tribal Council members in their area to ask about the Tribe’s plan for their use of the SLFRF. 
  • State government: At the state government level, funding opportunities are determined through legislation, in accordance with Colorado’s Path to Recovery Plan, and by area of focus. In state fiscal year 2021, $2.3B of state SLFRF funds were appropriated, and $1.5B is being appropriated in 2022. At the state level, grant announcements are made as an RFA or RFP, which stands for Request for Applications and Request for Proposals. These announcements are posted publicly by state departments, agencies, and councils; basically any entity that can administer grant funds. 

Colorado has made the following designations for its $3.8 billion in SLFRF:

  • $1 billion – fortifying the state budget and maintaining fiscal integrity
  • $300 million – ongoing response to the COVID pandemic
  • $550 million – affordable housing and homeownership 
  • $550 million – mental and behavioral health 
  • $200 million – workforce development and education
  • Approximately $850 million – economic recovery and relief
  • $380 million – transportation and infrastructure, and parks and agriculture

Though no two grant RFA’s are exactly the same, there are some common elements of the State SLFRF grant opportunities for nonprofits. They include:

  1. Introduction and Overview: provides information about the agency making the funding announcement and the purpose of the work.
  2. Funding Sources, Expenditure Period, and Funding Provisions: outlines the source of the funding for the particular grant opportunity, when the funding can be spent, and allowable costs and non-allowable costs. 
  3. Timeline: lets applicants know when the RFP is published, when applications are due, when award decisions will be announced, agreements signed, and when the grant period will begin and end. 
  4. Grant Requirements: includes the total amount of funding available, eligibility requirements for applicants, reporting requirements, and payment terms.
  5. Definitions: includes any key terms or acronyms used in the grant announcement. 
  6. Administrative Information: outlines how grantees may communicate with the granting agency and proprietary information including information to request confidentiality from the granting agency. 
  7. Evaluation Process: outlines how applications will be evaluated and funding decisions made. 
  8. How to Apply: This section outlines all of the required documents and any specifications of how the application should be organized and submitted. 

It is very important to read through the RFA in its entirety and assess whether the grant opportunity is a fit for the organization, and whether the organization is ready and has the capacity to apply. Watch a video on this topic here. 

All Colorado Workforce Development Council and Colorado Department of Labor & Employment RFA’s are posted on bidnet direct, which is a virtual platform for solicitation of public goods and services, as well as for agencies to submit proposal documentation. Another good place to find grant solicitations is by visiting a particular state agency or department’s website.

The Application:

As outlined in the RFA “How to Apply” section, all elements of the grant application will be described, and instructions will be very specific. In the RFA, any guidelines and templates of the application documents and attachments will be provided. It will also indicate whether documents are required or optional, and any page limitation or formatting requirements. 

Though no two SLFRF grant applications are exactly the same, there are some common elements of nonprofit SLFRF grant applications. They include:

  1. Signature Page – this form must accompany all proposals, and a person legally authorized to bind the company must sign the form. 
  2. Company W-9 – this form provides the organization’s tax information, including the official business name, type of corporation and identification number, as issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It also must be signed and dated by an authorized representative. 
  3. Proposal Checklist – this provides a list of the documents needed for the grant application. It may also indicate which are required, and which are optional.
  4. Cover Page – this provides the title of the application or project and the name of the applicant. If specific information is required on a cover page, this will be stated.
  5. Proposal Narrative – this includes a list of specific questions for the applicant that relate to the scope of work in the RFA. In this section, it is important to very carefully follow instructions, and respond to each part of each question as it is asked. Common elements of the narrative include:
    • Applicant Information
    • Organization and Personnel Qualifications
    • Approach and Project Plan
    • Collaboration
    • Needs Assessment
    • Sustainability
    • Evaluation – reporting requirements are specified, as required by SLFRF compliance with US Treasury guidelines.
  6. Budget & Budget Narrative – the budget worksheet will likely be provided as a template and will require the applicant to provide sources of income for the program, including the grant funding sought in the application, and all associated expenses to the project. A narrative is also required, which describes in detail how the funds will be used. Typically, a page limit will be required for the budget narrative document. 
  7. Risk Assessment Form – this is an assessment of the financial health of the applicant organization. It asks questions regarding the applicant’s operations, level of experience managing federal awards or grants, financial policies and practices, overall financial standing, and record keeping practices. This form is best completed by someone in the organization responsible for fiscal management and oversight.  
  8. Agreement with Sub-recipient Federal Recovery Funds* – this form is required, and states the applicant organization understands these funds are federal pass-through dollars that originate from the US Treasury. The form requires a signature from an authorized representative of the applicant organization, and includes specific terms and conditions for sub-recipients of these funds. 
  9. Fiscal Agency Certification Form – should be completed only if the fiscal agent is different from the grant applicant, and provides the fiscal agency’s FEIN and DUNS numbers as well as contact information. 

Click here to watch a video on this topic. 

Click each button to view successful grant applications selected by the Colorado Workforce Development Council and funded by SLFRF monies allocated to the State of Colorado.