Is a regional AFG application right for your project?
Four questions to help determine if your project meets the qualifications
By Jerry Brant
A regional Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) application is an opportunity for a fire department or a non-affiliated EMS organization to serve as a host and apply for funding on behalf of itself and any number of other participating AFG-eligible organizations.
If your area is debating a regional application , here are four question to help in making the correct decision:
- Will the regional application result in a cost savings to participating departments?
- Will the regional application support regional efficiency?
- Will the regional application increase interoperability?
- Will the regional application benefit more than one municipality?
If you answered yes to all four of these questions, then your project meets the qualifications of a regional application.
How to develop your regional application
If you decide to proceed with a regional application, keep in mind that some parts of the AFG application will pertain only to the host department, and other parts will encompass all the participating agencies. The questions in the Applicant Information section should be answered only about the host department. Questions in the balance of the application should be answered with totals from all departments that are involved in the project. This includes items such as the population covered by the proposed application, number of Firefighter Is and IIs, the call volume statistics for the past three years and the apparatus and seating matrix.
All the narratives for the application should include information that pertains to all the departments. Specifically, the financial need narrative must include details on all the participating departments and their financial situations, including how a regional grant would help their financial outlook. All narratives should also provide detailed information on the regional activities and how they would increase interoperability and regional efficiency.
In addition, the application narratives should provide specific details, fully explaining the distribution of any grant-funded equipment or grant-funded contracted services, as well as the responsibilities between the host and the partner organizations.
In the Characteristics section of the application, the regional host must include a list of all the AFG-eligible participating organizations benefitting from a proposed regional project, including points of contact for every regional partner and each organization’s Employee Identification Number (EIN).
The host applicant and participating partner agencies must execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the host and all participating organizations. The agreement should specify the individual and mutual responsibilities of the participating partners, the participant’s level of involvement in the project(s), the proposed distribution of all grant-funded assets and/or contracted services, and the participating partner’s EIN numbers. Any entity named in the application as benefiting from the award must be an eligible AFG organization and must be a party to the MOU. The MOU must be executed by all involved parties before the application is submitted.
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All participants of a regional applicant must be compliant with all AFG requirements, including being current with past grants, closeouts and other reporting requirements.
Upon notification by the AFG Program Office, the host agency shall not distribute any grant-funded assets or provide grant-funded contractual services to non-compliant partner organizations. The host and the delinquent partners will be notified by the AFG Program Office of their specific deficiency.
Choosing the host organization
If the partnering departments decide that a regional application is the best choice for your project, then a decision needs to be made as to which department will act as host for the application. This is a conclusion that should be reached after reviewing which partner has the time, experience and capabilities to properly prepare and submit the application and successfully administer it if your grant is awarded. More specifically, select a department that has the time to plan the application, gather all the participants information, coordinate market research, develop the narrative statements and have the application completed in enough time for the partner agencies to review it before submission.
If your department is considering serving as a host for a regional application, keep in mind that if awarded, the host department will be responsible for all aspects of the grant. This includes, but is not limited to, cost share, accountability for the assets, and all reporting requirements in the regional application.