WASHINGTON, October 24, 2021 – Lack of eligibility or errors in proper planning or documentation are common grounds for disqualifying applicants for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Connecting Minority Communities pilot program, officials said Wednesday and Thursday of the agency.
Speaking at webinars for people considering applying for the grants – which are carried out by the National Telecommunications and Information Association of the Ministry of Commerce – officials shared the most common mistakes applicants make when making the application for grants.
Among the officials who spoke during the two presentations were Scott Woods, Senior Broadband Program Specialist and Team Leader for the Connecting Minority Communities Program, Management and Program Analyst Pandora Beasley-Timpson, Broadband program specialist Janice Wilkins, Telecommunications Policy Analyst Francine Alkisswani, and broadband program specialists Cameron Lewis and Kevin Hugues.
Eligibility is one of the biggest mistakes. “Only historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, or institutions serving minorities can apply,” NTIA said Michelle morton.
Make a successful request
Morton and other program leaders also shared the characteristics of a successful grant application.
“The right candidates provide a business and execution plan,” they said. “[Applicants] must demonstrate that there are core staff dedicated to the proposed project and knowledgeable about the process, as well as an editor, preferably not related to the project, to encourage an impartial review of the grant to see how it reads.
Project implementation and evaluation
When describing their project implementation and planning process, applicants should have a clear project story that “identifies specific tasks, measurable milestones and performance results resulting from the proposed project activity” , officials said.
It is important to note that the NTIA has emphasized that all applicants must adhere to Commerce Department regulations for the protection of human subjects in all research conducted or funded by grants.
This is important because the NTIA is required to determine whether a project’s evaluation plan “meets the definition of research involving human subjects”. Thus, no work can be taken for research involving a human subject until a Federal Grants Officer approves the research.
NTIA leaders also addressed questions about applicants from consortia. “The lead application is the entity that enters into the grant agreement with NTIA and has primary operational and financial responsibility for the project. “
A consortium allows historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions serving minorities to partner with local governments for their candidacy. Each consortium partner must provide a letter of commitment to the project, including the detailed role of each member of the project and the specific commitment of each member of the project.
Finance and Budgeting
Applicants are also required to include financial documents that detail how the funds will be used and how the funding is expected to achieve the goals of the projects.
In addition, the budget description of the applicants should serve to explain how the costs were estimated and justify how the budget items are necessary to implement the goals and objectives of the project and the results proposed by the applicant.
“We encourage original thinking when it comes to applicants who mount their projects,” said Hughes.