Federal officials have made some significant changes to the STOP School Violence Act grant applications this year to make the process more efficient. The $74 million now available will fund at least 150 evidence-based violence prevention programs nationwide.
“I would urge anyone who was not successful last year, to apply again this year,” said David Adams, who oversees the program for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. “We had a lot of applications last year but were only able to fund a small number of projects. You have a good opportunity to be successful if you continue to apply.”
Adams discussed the application process and the changes to take effect this year during a webinar that was held in conjunction with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Center for School Safety.
In previous years, applicants were asked to select from up to four categories. This year, there will be only two categories to select from:
- Level One — Designed for projects being proposed by state agencies.
- Level Two — Is for all other applications, which include local school districts, nonprofit organizations, community centers, and tribal nations. Those who apply under this category are required to submit a memorandum of understanding with the lead law enforcement agency in their district.
Also in past years, applicants were required to submit a separate application for each project. Now several projects can now be included in one application. States can apply for up to $2 million in funding, while local agencies can apply for up to $1 million.
“We are looking for agencies to take a holistic approach to their training,” Adams said. “If only applying for one project, show how it works within your existing strategy. It’s also better to look at your capacity, rather than just submit for the maximum amount of the award.”
He noted that local or state agencies can also partner with nonprofit organizations when applying for funding. However, because state agencies are not required to submit a “memorandum of understanding” (aka MOU) — like local agencies and nonprofits are — he suggests the state agency would be the lead on the application.
Memorandum of Understanding
Adams said the MOU required from local agencies and nonprofits will be with the lead law enforcement agency where the program will be held.
The MOU needs to clearly outline the intent of the project and the start date, as well as the roles and responsibilities of those involved. That would also include any additional support personnel, including social workers and mental health professionals. Any funding placed in the budget for partners must also be included.
Everyone who has a role in the plan is required to sign the document. For those with an existing MOU, an addendum would be sufficient, Adams said. If an MOU is not available, a similar document showing the agreement between the parties must be provided.
Those applying for funds through the program will be required to include an abstract with their application, a maximum of 400 words. Adams noted the importance of this section, and what to include.
Whether applying for funding for one project, such as training, or several that also includes an anonymous reporting system, all should be mentioned within the first one or two sentences of the abstract.
The abstract should also describe the strategies being used to address specific needs. The more detailed the abstract, the better, including details about the methods used to carry out the plan and who will be served by the project. Also, include how the proposal fits in with the school’s existing safety plan.
Deadlines and Funding
The awards will be announced at the end of September, with funding expected by Oct. 1, 2021. Adams noted, however, that due to the late solicitation notice of the grant this year, some of the money may be delayed.
“We realize it’s a different process this year,” Adams said. “As a result, I would plan to submit your application a couple of days early. That way, any potential problems with the application can be resolved before the deadline.”
For additional assistance, potential applications are being encouraged to contact the National Center for School Safety.