Grantseekers Take Heed: Don’t Miss Out on FY 2017 Funding!

July 5, 2016 | By Lily McManus | Post a Comment

moneypile2-300x168As federal agencies approach the end of federal fiscal year (FY) 2016, grantseekers can expect to see more funding opportunity announcements on Grants.gov marked with “$0” under “Estimated Total Program Funding,” or with the caveat that the number of awards the agency expects to make are “subject to the availability of federal funding.” If you are a potential applicant, don’t let this deter you from preparing and submitting your proposals before application deadlines.

FY 2016 will end on Sept. 30, 2016, and Congress must set appropriations for federal agencies in time for the start of FY 2017 on Oct. 1 in order to continue funding federal programs.

Federal agencies and grantseekers alike have faced a lot of uncertainty in past years about the funding that they can expect to have available to them because the back-and-forth in Congress has prevented omnibus appropriations bills from being passed in time to meet the end-of-fiscal-year deadline. This resulted in a partial government shutdown in 2014, forcing Congress to pass numerous continuing resolutions, which are temporary spending bills that allow federal agencies to maintain their spending at the levels set by the previous fiscal year’s legislation, pending passage of a final appropriations bill.

As federal agencies start to plan awards that are dependent on FY 2017 funding, grantseekers may see award notices on Grants.gov in which the “estimated total funding” field is left blank. The full funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) often will include language that makes clear that the length of the period of performance, the number of awards given and the amount per award will all depend on the availability of future funding. However, don’t adopt a “wait and see” strategy for selecting grant opportunities and submitting applications. Even though awards will depend on FY 2017 appropriations, the application deadlines for applicants often will fall well before the Oct. 1 start of FY 2017, meaning that applicants will need to prepare proposals, and submit completed applications before the program is guaranteed to be funded in order to be in the running for an award.

You also may start to see more “forecast” notices on Grants.gov, a new function that allows agencies to post notices about funding opportunities that they plan to release at some point down the road. Forecasts allow potential grant applicants to start planning early, even if they do not provide enough information to prepare a complete application.

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