Thread: Grant scoring

  1. #1
    Permanently Removed

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Mayfield NY
    Posts
    378

    Default Grant scoring

    I really wonder why FEMA can't tell us our scores from the first part and how we ranked. It would be very helpful in letting us figure out how to spend existing funds. As it stands, we requested new turn out gear, we need it now. It would be nice to know at least the probability of getting a grant. I hate to go our and but the stuff and then later get the grant. Is there a way to perhaps get the preliminary rankings, knowing that it doesn't guarantee anything one way or another?

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    wellsfr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Cold Part of Nevada
    Posts
    94

    Default Please clarify

    When you say "go our and but the stuff" I assmume you mean go out and buy the stuff. Did you mean personally or as a department? If you mean as a department to go buy new turnouts, I would truely question your need for the grant. If your department has the money for the new turnouts, I cant see how you qualify for the grant. If we dont get femas' money we dont get turnouts, it that simple. If you are willing to spend your own money on your own set of gear forget I said any thing.
    wellsfr
    We've been doing so much for so long with so little. We can do almost anything with nothing.

  3. #3
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nelsonville, Ohio
    Posts
    11

    Default

    I have applied for several grants in the past and I can not remember a single one that took the time to tell you where you went wrong. It is always yes or the dreaded Dear John but never if you would have only said this or that. If you want a good idea of where you might have went wrong, talk to people who got funding and study their application and narritive.

  4. #4
    Permanently Removed

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Mayfield NY
    Posts
    378

    Default

    Yes, I did mean to go out and buy as a department. The dilema is this. We need 10 sets, we can buy 2. But then we have no money for other things that we need. We don't have any large diameter house. That is in our grant. Of course you do realize that we are required to maintian our current expenditures and budget for 2 years. The ppurpose of the grant is to bring us up to speed so that we aren't trying to constantly catch up. On another note Our jaws are 20 years old. We will need to look at replacing them soon. Hopefully with the grant we will be able to free up some money to get these other things we need.

  5. #5
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,480

    Default

    StarrFire is right. This process is no different than ANY other grant process where you don't find out why you didn't win. Its not out of the ordinary or unreasonable given the number of applicants. The difference here is most of those people applying have never taken part in a grant process and don't understand that not finding out why you lost is par for the course.

    WebTeam

  6. #6
    Permanently Removed

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Mayfield NY
    Posts
    378

    Default

    I'm not looking for why I did or didn't get a grant. All I want is the results of the computer based scoring and where did I fall in the list. Also, it seems that the formula and basis for the computer generated score should be avaialable. Just my 3 cents worth.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    kprsn1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    643

    Default cdevoe

    Like everyone else has commented it is very unusual to hear results on why you did not get a grant. I can't speak much from experience since I'm new to grant writing and have only applied for a couple grants and our Chief handled most of the Fire Act grant writing but the couple that I have done have been written or typed. As stated before in the forums, written or typed applications would create a tremendous workload for the number applicants that applied for a particular grant even with the online applications such as the Fire Grant. It seems to me though that the online grant applications is just becoming popular or being used more often. However, with the experience that comes with funding organizations using online applications, there may come a time when the results could be emailed or sent back to the applicant. Is it feasible in the future for the organizations to do this is yet to be seen since there are so many factors involved. Is it possible in the future? I would assume so (you know what assume does though!). You never know, maybe FEMA is already looking into the possibilities.

  8. #8
    Member
    ffemt1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    76

    Default Maybe you are wrong

    If you are talking about "private" corporate grants, like the Bill Gages Foundation, or the Eli Lilly Foundation, I would agree that we have no right to expect that kind of information. But if I am not mistaken, this is PUBLIC money. And as a tax-paying citizen, are you saying that I do not have the right to find out where the money is going, who is doing the judging, what criteria they are using, and how I scored? Just because we have never gotten that information before does not mean we didn't deserve it, or that we can not get it not. Freedom of Information Act anyone?
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  9. #9
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,480

    Default

    Here's what will happen if FEMA were obligated to dilvuge to everyone why they got declined:

    - Administrative costs would rise substantially
    - The wait between rounds, between years of funding, etc. would be greater.
    - The entire program would be incredibly more cumbersome and more complicated, like other grant programs, and minimize the chances 'the little guy' will be able to participate.

    THAT BEING SAID....HERE IS SOME ADVICE:

    You still CAN have access to information to learn potentially why you were denied in general terms. Your best bet is to ask your local Congressional representative to act on your behalf to obtain a general idea. Doing this DURING the grant award process is probably not the best idea, but between the current and next award process will likely give you a better chance, officials have told us. This won't guarantee you'll find out exactly why, but at least perhaps find out what you scored lower in. Don't expect an answer overnight.

    Its only Round 4...the priority will ALWAYS be getting this year's funds out. Making a significant issue out of being denied now is not going to help you get funds this year. (SEE BELOW ABOUT APPEALS) And more importantly....

    And its best not to frame it that you are bitter about being denied, but rather want to learn why to improve your chances next round.

    BEFORE YOU DO THAT, THOUGH, SOURCES TELL US:

    As for the criteria they are using to make the cuts, READ THE GRANT FINAL RULE AND PROGRAM GUIDANCE DOCUMENT that were published before the application period started. After talking to some folks on here, its obvious that some of those complaining about not getting funds were asking for things had no chance of winning anyway. If you look at other Federal grant programs, especially with such a high number of applicants, its nothing unusual.

    If you got a rejection letter, its almost certain your narrative was never read and you lost out solely because you scored lower on a variety of factors on the computer grading system than other applicants seeking funds in the same category and/or department demographic type.

    Those guidelines are published in the Final Rule. Perhaps next year with all this feedback they'll elaborate on that process, but don't expect that every applicant will find out specifically why they lost. Especially in the computer grading, it could be multiple reasons and depends how other grants in the same category were listed.

    If you didn't read the Final Rule and Program Guidelines and priorities prior to completing your application -- and gear your application intentionally toward that -- you did yourself and your department a disservice.

    ALSO, BEFORE YOU CONTACT ANYONE ABOUT BEING DENIED you should absolutely make sure you are completely familiar with the Final Rule and Program Guidance documents, so you have a better idea if your application truly was written and completed in such a manner to comply with the program's main objectives.

    They are located:
    FINAL RULE (Text Version)
    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/dhtml/insid.../02frfinal.txt


    FINAL RULE SPECIFICS ON DENIALS & APPEALS

    This information is taken DIRECTLY from the Final Rule:

    We will review our decision with respect to a particular application only where the applicant alleges that we have made a material technical or procedural error and can substantiate such allegation. Requests for reconsideration based upon technical or procedural error should be directed to: Director, Grants Program Office, U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA, 500 C Street, SW., room 304, Washington, DC 20472.
    (b) We must receive a request for reconsideration under paragraph (a) of this section within 60 days of the date of the notice of our decision.
    (c) As grants are awarded on a competitive basis, in accordance with the findings of an independent panel of experts we will not entertain requests for reconsideration based upon the merits of an original application.

    Similarly, we will not consider new information provided after the submission of the original application. In the case of new information, we encourage applicants to incorporate said information into their applications for future grant cycles.

    APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS - From Final Rule

    (a) As stated in Sec. 152.5, we will evaluate each application in
    the preliminary screening process to determine which applications best address the program's established priorities. The best applications as determined in this preliminary step will be deemed to be in the ``competitive range.''

    All applications in the competitive range will be subject to a second level review by a technical evaluation panel.
    Using the evaluation criteria delineated in Sec. 152.5, the panelists will score each application they evaluate. The assigned score will reflect the degree to which the applicant: clearly relates their proposed project; demonstrates financial need; and, details a high benefit to cost value of the proposed activities.
    (b) Our award decisions will be based on the stated priorities of the grant program, the demonstrated need of the applicant, and the benefits to be derived from the proposed projects. We will make awards on a competitive basis, i.e., we will fund the highest scored applications before considering lower scored applications.
    (c) In order to fulfill our obligations under the law, we may also make funding decisions using rank order as the preliminary basis then based on the type of fire department (paid, volunteer, or combination
    fire departments), the size and character of the community it serves (urban, suburban, or rural), and the geographic location of the fire department. In these instances where we are making decisions based on geographic location, we will use States as the basic geographic unit.

    FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT??

    Some of you have mentioned this. Again, its probably best to work your local Congressional representative first. We've asked FEMA to provide more information about what, if any, information in the grants process is NOT protected by FOIA and thus not able to be distributed. There are nine exemptions to information being released under FOIA and some of this may be included. We'll keep you posted.

    WebTeam

  10. #10
    Member
    ffemt1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    76

    Default ? ? ?

    [B]"Administrative costs would rise substantially" [B]

    What is your data to support this statement? The people who are making the decisions are already making the decisions "somehow". Right? Would it be incredibility expensive to check a box on a form, or fill in a box with a score? If you are going to send a "Dear John" letter ANYWAY, how much more would it cost to put the scores there? Have you ever heard of the SAT tests? MILLIONS of people take the test every year, the tests are graded, and EVERYONE of them get a report. Everyone knows EXACTLY what their score was. We are only talking about 19,000 or so tests here. Is it too much to ask to see your score?

    [B]"The wait between rounds, between years of funding, etc. would be greater."[B]

    Why? I would guess that the people doing the judging are not the same people doing the contacting. So why would it slow down. I would even bet the some of the "Webteam" members could come up with a way to automate the process. You know, maybe you could ever us COMPUTERS. If the computers are doing the scoring, MAYBE they could even send the scores out. What do you think?

    [B]"You still CAN have access to information to learn potentially why you were denied in general terms."[B]

    And you can "potentially" find out some accurate information. No need to deal in facts. Lets deal in possible facts.

    [B]"lost out solely because you scored lower on a variety of factors on the computer grading system"[B]

    And you see no reason to actually publish those "factors"? The tests are in. Should be easy to pass out the answer key now, don't you think?

    [B]"If you didn't read the Final Rule and Program Guidelines and priorities"[B]

    Obviously everyone that does not make the cut DIDN'T read it beforehand because that is about the only information that is public knowledge. But what about the three or four people that DID read it beforehand?

    [B]"Requests for reconsideration based upon technical or procedural error"[B]

    I LIKE this one, and I am sure a lawyer wrote this. Lets look at this closely. If we are not given the technical or procedural process, which is what everyone is asking for, exactly how can you ask to be reconsidered ? ? ?


    One last thought. This Friday, or next, or on the fifteenth of Sept., what ever day you get your next paycheck, look at what you earned, then look at what you actually take home. Then subtract your state sales tax, your gas tax, your local tax, your property tax, the tax on beer and wine and alcohol if you are so inclined, and the hundreds of other smaller taxes. Then ask yourself if you has spoke up sooner, BEFORE they spent it all, do you think maybe you could have kept more? Maybe if we PARTICIPATED in this goverment, rather than sitting by waiting for a handout, we would be better off. Just a thought.
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  11. #11
    Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Bastrop,TX
    Posts
    44

    Default I Understand Your Point!

    They need to find some kind of a notificaton system for everyone. I don't think it is important that the winners know their exact score, but the 14,000 or so denial letters should at least give some insight as to why one department recieved a grant over another. If this problem is not dealt with properly then you wind up with a lot of people wondering where they went wrong. I read the final rule that FEMA published prior to putting my narrative on the application. I made a few changes in the wording, but the grant didn't change.

    I think I remeber, from somewhere, that the computer scan was going to be used to classify the application ie.. Volly, Career or rural, urban, suburb. How do the departments that were turned down know they were not put in to the wrong classification by mistake?

    I agree that this could drive the cost of the process up a little, but I would rather see a little more of the money spent on the process itself, if would make a substantial improvement. If we wait till the end of the grant period to find out if a mistake was made then it is kind-of-like crying over spilt milk don't you think. What are they going to do, take a grant back from one department and give it to another because they made a mistake?

    I know it is to late this year to make a change, but we should all take the time to give as much feed back as possible to FEMA at the end of this period. I don't think FEMA would exclude anyone on purpose, but if we see things in the process that need to be changed we should speak up. If not they may not see the problems and we could face alot of these issue's again next time. FF-EMT1 thank you for speaking your mind! I know that is not alway's popular here, but something's just need to be said!
    SERVING FOR PRIDE
    PROUD TO SERVE!

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    wellsfr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Cold Part of Nevada
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Hell, Send me your application Ill score it for you if it will make you feel any better.
    wellsfr
    We've been doing so much for so long with so little. We can do almost anything with nothing.

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    kprsn1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    643

    Default

    Has anybody ever taken one of those online psychology quizes to see if you are nuts for running INTO a burning building instead of out? Or an EMS quiz, internet class, or something similar? Pick your answers, categories, etc., submit your picks, and results back in a minute. This seems very similar to the first round computer grading on the grants to get to the peer review process. So how about something like that, apply to a standardized (don't ask how do do that!) online form that kicks back a result on whether you've passed, scored well or poorly, for the first round and then you may fill out a narrative for review and then go from there? Just a thought.

  14. #14
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nelsonville, Ohio
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Has anyone ever applied for any grant and received a critique or score with their Dear John letter??? That's just not the way anyone plays the game,you apply and the answer is simply yes or no.
    The closer you truthfully write your grant to the stated guidelines the higher you score. If you carefully read the guidelines and are honest with yourself, you should have a fairly good idea of how you are going to score when you proof read you application.

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    kprsn1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    643

    Default StarrFire

    Actually, yes. Informally, but an answer to why we did not receive a grant nonetheless. The past several years we have applied for a Forestry grant. We know our chances of getting this grant are slim to none due to the limited monies available and lack of State and Federal forest land in our area but we apply anyway because we are eligible and because you never know. One of our captains and I applied last fiscal year. Our captain was either contacted by or called the grant contact (I'd have to ask him which) and was told why we were not selected. Heck, we'll probably apply again even though our chances have not improved by knowing why we did not receive a grant. Which brings up a good point. By knowing why you were not selected, will you be able to do anything about it in some or even most cases? (Hmmm?)

    Just because it's always been done that way doesn't mean it has to be continued being done that way. Lord knows that the fire service is testament to that over the past 100 years!

  16. #16
    Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Bastrop,TX
    Posts
    44

    Default You make a good point StarrFire

    I know it is not common for a grant process, but the computer grading is not common either. The computer grading process, as far as I remember had little to do with the "Final Rule" that was published. It specified how the money would be broken down and the specific area's that would receive more consideration ie...Commercial chasis over Custom, RIT request, ect. As far as I can tell their was close to 10,000 application that never made it far enough to find out if they read and adheared to the final rule or not. If the computer gave them a low score because they had a higher budget than others in their classification or something else that should be specified with the score. If not than there is no system for checks and balances on the computer grading and we all should be uptight about that. Like I said you have a valid stance as far as the "NORMAL" processes, but their is nothing normal about this process. This is the first and likely only chance a lot of department accross this country will have at money of this magitude and we must ensure that everyone gets a fair shot and don't get left out on technicalities. I will get off my soap box now "I didn't mean to get off on a RANT there".
    SERVING FOR PRIDE
    PROUD TO SERVE!

  17. #17
    Permanently Removed

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Mayfield NY
    Posts
    378

    Default

    Well my original suggestion was not to tell me why I had been denied. (In fact we are still in the running). However, I believe the first phase is a computer generated score and this is used to put the applications in some sort of order. Obviously, those who scored highest on the computer score have gotten grants while the rest wait. My suggestion was to publish the list of scores so that each department still in the running knew where they were on the list. It is a simple proccess and would do nothing to delay the grants.

    As this discussion has progressed it has raised the point of why not give at least a brief explanation as to why a grant was denied. This might delay the awarding of some grants, however it would be helpful for those who lost to know why they lost.

    Myself, I wrote our grant and I tailored it to the rule and priorities of the grant. I read the final rule several times and made sure we followed the rules. I believe I put in about 15 hours getting the prices and items wnated. I then spent another 30 hours preparing the grant and the narrative, making sure to follow the guidelines.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Sturgis, MI. U.S.A.
    Posts
    198

    Question Why keep it a secret?

    At risk of further angering the webteam, I must agree with you cdevoe. Most of us are new to the grant process. I also feel like I am stabbing in the dark. Last year we applied for only a few critical items. Not enough for the whole department as it seemed like too much to ask for. We were turned down and I am OK with that. I am waiting for the verdict on this year's request.

    I happened to meet a person that wrote a successful grant last year. I showed him my narrative. He thought it looked like a "wish list" since we were not getting enough equipment for all of our firefighters to be properly protected. He recommended that this year I apply for enough for all firefighters to be 100% NFPA & OSHA compliant. Build a complete fire ground safety program for the department. I did, and that's a lot of money. Now I look at the successful departments thinking that I may have shot too high.

    How much is too much? How much is too little? It has to affect the grade somehow, right? Maybe I should have gone with the plain pass alarms and not the heat sensing type, or dropped the portable radios from the program. Maybe the narrative just wasn't convincing enough.

    I agree with the webteam on one thing. To inform each and every department of exactly why their request was denied would become an endless argument.

    They could however release the grading guidelines at the end of the program. Tell us where the cuts had to be made and which items were given highest priority. I know there was some basic information on this in the final rule, and in the guidelines; but how did it all come out in the end?

    How about nameless statistics on successful departments providing the size population protected, department type and size, specific items funded, department's annual budget, etc. along with the amount awarded? This information is already in the application database. Why not use it to help next year's applicants see where they fit in?

    Good luck to all that are waiting.
    Congratulations to the successful departments.

    Stay Safe.
    Last edited by TriTownship600; 09-19-2002 at 10:00 AM.

  19. #19
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,480

    Default

    Most of these questions will be answered in a story we are currently completing which should run today or tommorrow.

    Thanks
    WebTeam

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,700

    Default

    Here's one possible reason to not tell people why the are not receiving a grant...how many would change their next grant request to fix that problem just because it's what was bad last time? Not change it because it's something they need now, just change it because it failed last time.

    How much is too much? How much is too little? It has to affect the grade somehow, right? Maybe I should have gone with the plain pass alarms and not the heat sensing type
    Seems pretty simple to me, write a grant request for what you actually need. Not what you want, not what the next guy has, write it for what you need.

    TriTownship600- not picking on you, just took your line as an example.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Full disclosure - even if it slows down the process somewhat - is better than leaving depts in the dark after they spent endless hours putting the application together.

    I'll take a stab at the scoring procedure for the narratives:

    Applicant demonstrates knowledge of demographics in area served:
    0-25

    Applicant clearly identifies and supports need:
    0-25

    Applicant request reasonably and commensurately satisfies stated need:
    0-25

    Applicant requests are consistent with final rule and program priorities:
    0-25

    Applicant clearly articulates and supports financial need for request:
    0-25

    Applicant demonstates high level of benefits (FF safety, # of depts/people affceted) from request:
    0-25

    Applicant demonstrates a coherent plan for use of items granted in overall operation of dept:
    0-25

    Applicant demonstrates request satisfies relevant NFPA standards for requested items:
    0-25

    As for the computer's cut, I cannot even fathom the ratios and models that are used to cut roughly 1/3 of the applications from further review.

    I've been on the "granting" side of a few programs and have even designed a couple. The fact they don't divulge scoring is not entirely relevant for two reasons: 1. This is taxpayers money, and transparency should be part of the process, and; 2. This program directly affects FF/EMS and public safety, and; 3. Departments would be substantially helped with this information.

    FEMA should maintain its appeal procedures, and say the scoring info is for information purposes only, and to assist departments in subsequent years. They should put it on the net where your password would access only your score.

    Finally, FEMA should demonstrate a little backbone and give some feedback even it makes their lives slightly more uncomfortable.

  22. #22
    Member
    ffemt1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    76

    Thumbs up

    Bravo Snewman. In my opinion, a very well thought out proposal. Information is NEVER the enemy. Open forums with an exchange of ideas really works.
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  23. #23
    Junior Member
    Phil4601's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    New Florence, PA USA
    Posts
    9

    Angry It all smells like yeserday's diapers

    We got our "Dear John" e-mail the second day that they were being sent out. I have been on a low boil ever since. I have tried to stay proactive. I re-read the final rule in an effort to see where we may have gone wrong. I'm sure the final rule for the next fire grant process will change so I think I have wasted my time.

    Web-team, so your telling us that we need to invite our congressional representitive to our next company banquet or picnic? Or place a large black and white glossy of him in the fire hall windows in the weeks before election day? Isn't that the way the "Good Old Boys " used to get things from government. Maybe we should just pen off a note to President Bush and have him put in a word for us too.

    You guys make me laugh! I have seen some of the largest cities in the country get grants for almost one million dollars. Small volunteer organizations can't seem to get a grant for $53,000.00. Which just happens to be the amount we applied for.

    As for the secret scoring system, well from what the web-team seems to tell us the grading folks must take a lot of time to find out if a letter from a congress rep. has your name on it, but it would take too much time to send your score back to you by e-mail. I may have been born in the morning, but it wasn't yesterday morning.

    Face it folks, its probably random. They pick one and throw 20 or 30 in the reject box, and so on, and so on.......

    So to all of us that got a rejection. Put your congress reps on your mailing lists for company events. Send them honorary membership cards. But in my town if they want a their picture in the paper it wont be kissing a baby, if you all get my drift.

    If I sound POed, you're right!

    Phil
    Phil
    Stay Alert & Stay Safe

  24. #24
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    6

    Question Failure Of Large Departments to Obtain Grants

    I have viewed the lists of departments who received grants so far this year and in 2001 also. I do not see any large departments receiving grants. Why is that? Large departments have the same needs of small departments just on a larger scale.

  25. #25
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,480

    Default

    I do not see any large departments receiving grants.
    This is not a correct statement. Multiple large departments have received and will receive substantial grants.

    -WebTeam

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register