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Shot in the dark......but worth a try

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  • Shot in the dark......but worth a try

    Does anyone know of a way to obtain feedback on why an AFG Grant was turned down? I realize it's probably not realistic, however we have had great success in the past, and had high hopes for an Air Fill Station this year due to our switching over to 5500psi bottles. Is there ANY mechanism or option to determine what caused us to be knocked out?

    Also, I heard from a colleague that in the past they were successful on a grant that had been turned down 5x by upping their match amount. (Asking for $400,000 on a Tender instead of the full $500,000). Has anyone had success with this before?

    Thank you in advance for any help / feedback!

  • #2
    PM me and I may be able to help you on both questions
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"


    • #3
      I would also be interested in knowing if increasing the match would help. We need to replace an aging and often not working grass rig. We have been saving and fundraising for 7 years and have enough to pay for half of a new truck. However, I don't think we can wait another 7 years to raise the remaining amount.


      • #4
        You can't indicate an overmatch, you just ask for less on the project. Talking about extra money to go towards it from savings just begs the question on why you're not financing what you're asking for already.

        Also the feedback if you talk to someone tends to be about you versus the guidelines which turns into a case of yes you meet all the high priorities, which tends to cause more confusion than anything. People ask if I met the priorities, why didn't I get funded? Then the answer is simply because others met them and had higher numbers in the categories that were relevant to the project than you, so they scored higher. It's what happens when there are 10,000+ apps asking for $2.1 billion in funding and there's only $330mil to hand out. Makes it almost a 1:8 game we're playing.

        And with Peer Review being half the score, you don't know what was going through the minds of the humans. Many of us around here have taken Peer denied apps, only updated the year and call counts and ended up with 1st round awards the next year which means they were 99s or 100s to be in the first 2 rounds on both computer and Peer scores. Only difference is the Peers reading between those 2 years. That's why I tell people doing the non-competitive thing might get you funded once, but consistent competitive app strategies get funded repeatedly.
        Brian P. Vickers
        CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
        FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor


        • #5
          Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly.

          If we are looking at getting a $50,000 grass rig and have $25,001 saved do we ask for $24,999 (to make it a "micro" grant)?
          Does this increase our competitiveness since we are now asking for a mico grant or does it look suspicious that we are asking for only half the monies needed? Or do we explain that off in our narrative?


          • #6
            If you have $25k saved then you're asking for a $25k rig period. No mention of $50k rig, money saved, you're solving your issue for $25k. That's why extra match can't be entered into the application anymore.

            Or do the other smarter thing and just ask for a $50k project because who's to say you have that $25k in 6-7 months when it funds? Major repair and that money is gone. Or a natural disaster, seems like flooding is what mother nature wants to do most of lately.
            Brian P. Vickers
            CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
            FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor


            • #7
              Think this was in the 2017 also but basically overmatching isn't considered in scoring (page 7):

              Overmatch: In the application narrative, an organization may indicate a voluntary pledge to commit additional financial support toward a project(s) cost, which is in addition to their required cost share obligation as detailed in the NOFO and required by law. FEMA will not account for this promised additional funding in the terms of the award.

              The award budget will not account for any voluntary committed cost sharing or overmatch. The use of an overmatch is not given additional consideration when scoring applications.

              So putting it in is a waste of time since it doesn't get you anything. Better off just reducing your request to reflect it.
              Brian P. Vickers
              CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
              FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor


              • #8
                One thing to keep in mind is that you are able to note it in the narrative though for the ones reading during peer review. Not sure if it will help but you gotta justify the fact that your dept is trying to do it alone, just not feasible in the given amount of time.

                On a side note, grass rigs are not eligible micro grants; but the slide-in, hose, nozzles, lights, etc... are, just not all high priority items unfortunately. Only way to make it all high priority is to go for the complete vehicle, and good luck getting an NFPA 1906 type 6 for $50K. It's easy to build for that yourself on a used chassis, but not to order. Probably cost closer to that $100K range on a new 1Ton commercial chassis. I would recommend asking for $50-$75 and add your $25K on top of.

                The experts on here know way more than me but figured I would give a few cents worth of my advice as well.

                Best of luck and keep asking questions.


                • #9
                  I attended one of the "Loser" webinars this week. They gave the phone numbers of regional grant specialist and encouraged us to contact one that could give us better information on why we were turned down. I contacted my regional grant specialist - she said their normally are "notes" in the system she can see that give feedback on the different parts of the narrative - unfortunately she was unable to pull mine up. She was able to tell me what areas scored the lowest so I can focus on those areas for next year. For those of you have set in on peer review - do you make any notes about the narrative when you score it?


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