Project Grants are the centerpiece of SJI’s efforts to improve the administration of justice in state courts nationwide. Project Grants are intended to support innovative education and training, demonstration, and technical assistance projects that can improve the administration of justice in State courts locally or nationwide.
Ordinarily, Project Grants may not exceed $300,000; however, grants in excess of $200,000 may be awarded only to support highly promising projects likely to have a significant national impact. Project Grants are intended to support innovative research, demonstration, education, or technical assistance projects. Grant periods for Project Grants ordinarily may not exceed 36 months. Absent extraordinary circumstances, no grant will continue for more than five years.
HOW TO APPLY
Two copies of the Project Grant application must be submitted for consideration to the SJI Board of Directors. An application for a Project Grant must include Form A – SJI Grant Application; Form C – Project Budget; a budget narrative, and a project abstract and program narrative; Form H – Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, when applicable; and certain certifications and assurances (e.g. Form B – Certificate of State Approval).
SJI is interested in funding both innovative programs and programs of proven merit that can be replicated in other jurisdictions. SJI is especially interested in funding projects that:
- Formulate new procedures and techniques, or creatively enhance existing procedures and techniques;
- Address aspects of the state judicial systems that are in special need of serious attention;
- Have national significance by developing products, services, and techniques that may be used in other states; and;
- Create and disseminate products that effectively transfer the information and ideas developed to relevant audiences in state and local judicial systems, or provide technical assistance to facilitate the adaptation of effective programs and procedures in other state and local jurisdictions.
- Funds will not be made available for the ordinary, routine operation of court systems or programs in any of these areas.
Applicants for Project Grants will be required to contribute a cash match of not less than 50% of the total cost of the proposed project. In other words, grant awards by SJI must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar by grant applicants. Applicants may contribute the required cash match directly or in cooperation with third parties. SJI may waive the cash match requirements only in the most extraordinary circumstances.
2. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Recipients of Project Grants must submit Quarterly Progress and Financial Status Reports within 30 days of the close of each calendar quarter (that is, no later than January 30, April 30, July 30, and October 30). The Quarterly Progress Reports shall include a narrative description of project activities during the calendar quarter, the relationship between those activities and the task schedule and objectives set forth in the approved application or an approved adjustment thereto, any significant problem areas that have developed and how they will be resolved, and the activities scheduled during the next reporting period.
A final project report and Financial Status Report shall be submitted within 90 days after the end of the grant period as part of the grant close out process. Upon the written request of the grantee, SJI may extend the close-out period to assure completion of the grantee’s close-out requirements. A request for an extension must be received by SJI at least 14 days before the end of the close-out period and must explain why the extension is necessary and what steps will be taken to assure that all the grantee’s responsibilities will be met by the end of the extension period. If a grantee fails to submit a request for extension in a timely manner, or such request is denied, SJI will not, under any circumstances, accept requests for payment after the 90-day close-out period, even for costs legitimately incurred and properly documented during the project period.
Failure to comply with reporting requirements could result in the termination of a grantee’s award. The program narrative for an application may not exceed 25 double-spaced pages on 8½ by 11 inch paper. Margins must be at least 1 inch, and type size must be at least 12-point and 12 cpi. The pages should be numbered. This page limit does not include the forms, the abstract, the budget narrative, and any appendices containing resumes and letters of cooperation or endorsement. Additional background material should be attached only if it is essential to impart a clear understanding of the proposed project. Numerous and lengthy appendices are strongly discouraged.
The program narrative should, at a minimum, address the following topics:
- Project Objectives
- Program Areas Covered
- Need for the Project
- Tasks, Methods and Evaluations
- Project Management
The budget narrative should provide the basis for the computation of all project-related costs, and should, at a minimum, clearly identify the following costs:
- Personnel Compensation
- Fringe Benefits
- Consultant/Contractual Services
- Indirect Costs
3. REQUEST FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF FUNDS
Grantees will receive funds on a reimbursable basis. Upon receipt, review, and approval of a Request for Reimbursement (Form R) by SJI, a check will be issued directly to the grantee or its designated fiscal agent directly from the U.S. Treasury. A request must be limited to funds already expended by the grantee.
4. GRANT ADJUSTMENTS
All requests for programmatic or budgetary adjustments requiring SJI approval must be submitted by the project director in a timely manner (ordinarily 30 days prior to the implementation of the adjustment being requested). The following are some grant adjustments that require the prior written approval of SJI: Failure to comply with these requirements could result in the termination of a grantee’s award.
- Budget revisions among direct cost categories that: (a) transfer grant funds to an unbudgeted cost category; or (b) individually or cumulatively exceed five percent (5%) of the approved original budget or the most recently approved revised budget.
- Change in the scope of work to be performed or the objectives of the project.
- A change in the project site;
- A change in the project period, such as an extension of the grant period and/or extension of the final financial or progress report deadline.
- Satisfaction of special conditions, if required;
- Changes in key staff; and
- Consultant rates.