CHALLENGE AMERICA: How to Apply
Submitting an application is a multi-step process:
- Part 1: Submit to Grants.gov the “Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organization Form.”
- Part 2: Complete the “Grant Application Form (GAF)” and upload items through the Arts Endowment’s Applicant Portal.
Read through both the Part 1 and Part 2 instructions fully, as they each include important step-by-step directions to ensure that both required parts of your application are submitted successfully.
IMPORTANT: Finalize your Grants.gov/SAM registrations and submit early to Grants.gov to allow time to resolve any issues you might encounter during the submission process.
SAM.gov: No later than March 30, 2021
Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov
April 22, 2021 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time
Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens
Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal
April 27 - May 4, 2021 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time
Registration in SAM.gov and Grants.gov can take several weeks. Exceptions to the deadline will be considered only for registration or renewal issues that are the result of failures on the part of DUNS, SAM, or Grants.gov as determined by the National Endowment for the Arts. To be considered for this exception, you must provide documentation of a DUNS, SAM, or Grants.gov failure dating from at least March 30, 2021.
View a Guidelines Webinar:
- We conducted a live webinar on March 10, 2021, featuring an overview presentation followed by a Q&A session. An archive recording is now available.
View the Grant Application Form (GAF) Tutorial:
This tutorial provides an overview of the Grant Application Form (GAF) to assist you during Part 2 of the application process: Online Tutorial: Using the Grant Application Form
Ensure that your application is complete with this checklist:
Application updates after submission:
Send new information that significantly affects your application (such as changes in artists or confirmed funding commitments) as soon as possible to the specialist for the field/discipline of your project. Remember to include your organization’s name and Arts Endowment application number.
If you have questions, contact us at: email@example.com
Part 1: Submit to Grants.gov
Complete Steps 1-5
Register or renew/verify Grants.gov and SAM.gov registration:
- Before submitting to Grants.gov, your organization must register or renew/verify its current registration with both Grants.gov and the System for Award Management (SAM). Registrations with Grants.gov and SAM must be active for you to be able to submit your application. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in your inability to submit to Grants.gov.
- Go to Grants.gov's Organization Registration to create a new organization registration.
- When registering/renewing your SAM account, be sure to select “Yes” when completing the “Representations & Certifications” section. All awardees are required to have these representations & certifications in order to receive an award.
- Grants.gov Contact Center: Call 800-518-4726, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or consult the information posted on the Grants.gov website at Support. The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NOTE: You must contact Grants.gov for help. Grants.gov is not a National Endowment for the Arts system and is outside of our control.
- SAM Federal Service Desk: Call 866-606-8220 or see the information posted on the SAM website at SAM Help. NOTE: You must contact SAM.gov for help. SAM.gov is not a National Endowment for the Arts system and is outside of our control.
- Registration in SAM.gov and Grants.gov can take several weeks. Exceptions to the deadline will be considered only for registration or renewal issues that are the result of failures on the part of DUNS, SAM, or Grants.gov as determined by the National Endowment for the Arts. To be considered for this exception, you must provide documentation of a DUNS, SAM, or Grants.gov failure dating from at least March 30, 2021.
- In addition to these instructions, you should periodically check the Grants.gov blog or the Grants.gov homepage for tips, updates, and alerts.
Go to the Grant Opportunity Package:
Access the Grant Opportunity Package with the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form on Grants.gov by clicking on the link for your deadline:
CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE GRANT OPPORTUNITY PACKAGE ON GRANTS.GOV
[Funding Opportunity Number 2021NEA01CA]
When you go to Grants.gov through the link above, the Grants.gov “View Grant Opportunity” screen will open. Choose “Apply” in the “Action” area. On the next screen, choose “Apply” again. You will be prompted to enter your Grants.gov Username and Password.
You will apply using a Grants.gov Workspace. To create a Workspace, look for the “Application Filing Name” field above the “Create Workspace” button (you must be logged in as the Authorized Organization Representative or AOR to be able to see this button and create the Workspace). Enter the legal name of your organization, click the “Create Workspace” button, and follow the screens from there. Learn more about using Grants.gov’s Workspace.
See detailed instructions on how to complete and submit the required forms through Workspace.
You will submit the substantial part of your application during Part 2.
3. Fill out the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form:
NOTE: All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on this form are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit the form. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the form. Enter information directly into the form. Do not copy from an old Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form or another document and paste into the form.
1. Name of Federal Agency: Pre-populated.
2. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: Pre-populated.
3. Date Received: This will be filled automatically with the date that you submit your application; leave blank.
4. Funding Opportunity Number: Pre-populated.
5. Applicant Information:
a. Legal Name: The name provided here must be the applicant's legal name as it appears in the current IRS 501(c)(3) status letter or in the official document that identifies the organization as a unit of state or local government, or as a federally recognized tribal community or tribe. (Do not use your organization's popular name, if different.)
If you are a parent organization that is applying on behalf of an eligible independent component, do not list the name of the independent component here. You will be asked for that information later.
b. Address: Use Street 1 for your organization’s physical street address. This address should agree with the address that you used for your SAM.gov registration. In addition, use Street 2 for your organization’s mailing address if it differs from the physical street address.
In the Zip/Postal Code box, organizations in the United States should enter the full 9-digit zip code that was assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at www.usps.com/zip4/
d. Type of Applicant: Select the item that best characterizes your organization from the menu in the first drop down box. Additional choices are optional.
e. Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN/TIN): Enter the 9-digit number that was assigned by the Internal Revenue Service; do not use a Social Security Number.
f. Organizational DUNS: All organizational applicants for federal funds must have a DUNS number, which is recognized as the universal standard for identifying organizations worldwide. The number that you enter here must agree with the number (either 9 or 13 digits) that you used with the SAM (System for Award Management) as part of the Grants.gov registration. Otherwise, your application will not be validated by Grants.gov and will be rejected. Confirm your DUNS with SAM.gov before filling out this form.
g. Congressional District: Enter the number of the Congressional District where the applicant organization is located. The Congressional District that you enter here must agree with the Congressional District that you used with the SAM (System for Award Management) as part of the Grants.gov registration. Use the following format: 2 character State Abbreviation-3 character District Number. For example, if your organization is located in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter "CA-005." If your state has a single At-Large Representative or your territory has a single Delegate, enter your 2 character state/territory abbreviation and "-000." If you need help determining your district, go to www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool.
6. Project Information:
a. Project Title: Enter “N/A.” You will provide a project title in the Arts Endowment’s Applicant Portal during Part 2 of the application process, not in Grants.gov. Anything you enter in Grants.gov will not be used in the review of your application.
b. Project Description: Enter “N/A.” You will provide a project description in the Arts Endowment’s Applicant Portal during Part 2 of the application process, not in Grants.gov. Anything you enter in Grants.gov will not be used in the review of your application.
c. Proposed Project Start Date/End Date: Enter the beginning and ending dates for your requested period of performance, i.e., the span of time necessary to plan, execute, and close out your proposed project. The start date should be the first day of the month, and the end date should be the last day of the month. Our support of a project may start on January 1, 2022 or any time after. While a period of performance of up to two years is allowed, we anticipate that most Challenge America projects -- including planning and closeout time -- will be substantially shorter. Your budget should include only the activities and costs incurred during the requested period of performance.
7. Project Director:
Provide the requested information for the Project Director. Select a Prefix (e.g., Ms., Mr.) even though this is not a required field.
Provide contact information, including an e-mail address that will be valid through the announcement date for your category. Due to restrictions from the Department of Homeland Security we are not able to send emails to alias addresses that forward to another email account. Do not enter this type of email address.
8. Primary Contact/Grant Administrator:
Provide the requested information for the individual who should be contacted on all matters involving this application and the administration of any grant that may be awarded. For colleges and universities, this person is often a Sponsored Research, Sponsored Programs, or Contracts and Grants Officer. Select a Prefix even though this is not a required field. For the Telephone number field, use the following format: 000-000-0000. Due to restrictions from the Department of Homeland Security we are not able to send emails to alias addresses that forward to another email account. Do not enter this type of email address.
In some organizations, particularly smaller ones, this individual may be the same as the Project Director. If this is the case, you may check the "Same as Project Director" box and not repeat information that you have already provided in Item 7. (If the Primary Contact/Grant Administrator is the same as the Authorizing Official, complete all items under both 8 and 9 even though there will be some repetition.)
9. Authorized Representative:
Enter the requested information for the AOR (Authorized Organization Representative) who is authorized to submit this application to Grants.gov. Select a Prefix even though this is not a required field. Due to restrictions from the Department of Homeland Security we are not able to send emails to alias addresses that forward to another email account Do not enter this type of email address.
The AOR must have the legal authority to obligate your organization (e. g., be a senior member of the staff such as an Executive Director, Director of Development). See specific requirements for who can serve as an AOR for colleges and universities. Contractors, including grant writers or grant consultants, or administrative support staff cannot serve as an AOR.
NOTE: By clicking the "I Agree" box at the top of Item 9, this individual will be certifying compliance with relevant federal requirements on your organization's behalf. (These requirements can be found in the "Assurance of Compliance" section of these guidelines.)
The "Signature of Authorized Representative" and "Date Signed" boxes will be populated by Grants.gov upon submission of the application.
Submit your application to Grants.gov:
- To begin the submission process, log on to Grants.gov and go to the Forms tab on the Manage Workspace page. Click the “Sign and Submit” button, under the Forms tab.
- Be certain that you are satisfied with your Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form before you click this button. No revisions to your form are possible through Grants.gov once it is submitted.
- Once you complete and submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen explaining that your submission is being processed. Take a screenshot and retain the Grants.gov Tracking Number that you receive in the application submission confirmation screen.
- If you wait until the day of the deadline to submit your application you are taking a significant risk! We strongly suggest that you submit your application no later than April 13, 2021. This should provide ample time to resolve any problems you might encounter.
- We will not accept late applications. The only exception is for a technological failure on the part of Grants.gov, as determined by the National Endowment for the Arts. To be considered for this exception, you must provide documentation of a Grants.gov technological failure dating from April 13, 2021 or earlier. We will consider and address your situation as appropriate. We will not make exceptions for applications that are the result of user error, including failure to register in SAM.gov or to verify that your application was validated by the Grants.gov system through Track My Application.
- Failure to successfully submit the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form through Grants.gov will make you ineligible to complete Part 2 of the application process.
Verify that your application was validated by the Grants.gov system. Go to Track My Application to confirm the validation and track the progress of your application submission through Grants.gov. Take a screenshot of your validation confirmation for your records. Do not wait until the day of the deadline to verify your submission in case you encounter any difficulties.
For a detailed list of Workspace statuses, see here.
Part 2: Submit to Applicant Portal
- Read the Part 2 instructions (PDF). This document will guide you through Part 2 of the application process, including information about how and when to access the Applicant Portal as well as the application questions and requirements. You must refer to the Part 2 instructions (PDF) to complete your application.
- You will not have access to the Applicant Portal until the Part 2 application window described in the instructions. However, we urge you to use this document to prepare your responses and material well in advance so you will have them ready to upload once the system opens.