Resource Details

1. Overview of Funding Streams

Victims of Crime Act

The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) was originally passed in 1991. VOCA is comprised of criminal fines collected from white collar crimes in the United States to fund direct victim services. Federal VOCA funds are allocated to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office on Victims of Crime (OVC). OVC then makes grants to every state and territory and each state and territory then makes VOCA victim assistance sub-grants. Each state has latitude to determine the distribution of the sub-grants in their state; however, this requires a collaborative statewide planning process in which the Coalition should be involved.

The vast majority of rape crisis centers will receive some VOCA funds. It is often the role of the coalition to advocate for local programs on the state and federal level for the allocation of those VOCA funds.

  • A cap is placed on the amount of funds that can be released from the VOCA fund by Congress. At the federal level, advocates are often engaged in efforts to increase the cap on the funds released from VOCA thereby increasing the amount of funds available for victim assistance grants. Amounts collected greatly exceed amounts appropriated. Congress uses the amounts remaining in the VOCA fund to help balance the budget so there is often reluctance to increase the cap. The cap was last raised in 2015 and increased 300%.
  • Coalitions can useunrestrictedfunds to advocate for member programs by lobbying to raise that cap. No grant funds (for staff time) should be used for any lobbying efforts, as it is prohibited by most funding sources.
  • Coalitions can also work with their state VOCA administrator to institute policies related to VOCA victim assistance grants and Victim Compensation funds that are helpful to survivors of sexual violence and rape crisis centers.

Violence Against Women Act

First authorized in 1994, The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) includes many different grant programs including formula grant programs that go out to every state as well as discretionary grant programs. Coalitions can apply directly for many of the discretionary grant programs based on their interests and expertise. VAWA legislation allocates its funds to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to administer those funds in most cases. Congress appropriates VAWA funds for those grant programs.

OVW is responsible for managing most of the VAWA grant programs including the State Coalition Formula Grant Program, the STOP Formula Grant Program, and the Sexual Assault Services Formula Grant Program (SASP) as well as a number of additional discretionary programs.

It is important for new executive directors to become familiar with the state offices that manage the VAWA and VOCA dollars that fund local programs. Each state has an official administrator of VOCA funds, STOP funds and SASP funds (both from VAWA). In many states/territories, the administrator is the same for these grant programs. In some cases, they are different individuals or even state offices. Administrators need to develop plans for allocating funds, and it is essential for state sexual assault coalitions to be at the table and engaged in these decision-making processes. Because most local programs do not contract directly with the federal government for funds, it is important for the state-/territory-wide coalition to cultivate and maintain relationships with state administrator(s) on behalf of its member programs.

Office on Violence Against Women(OVW)

OVW is the main federal funder for most state sexual assault coalitions. OVW provides funding for the coalition program, as well as state grant programs, legal assistance for victims, and other grants. Eligibility requirements for these programs change frequently, so it is important to pay close attention to those requirements and visit the website frequently to investigate funding opportunities and join OVW Coalition calls hosted by the RSP and NNEDV as available.

Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) may also provide funding available to coalitions. The Office of Justice Programs is within the Department of Justice and houses the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Program (OJJP), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

Funding for Direct Service Programs

The offices that provide major sources of funding to direct service work are the Office on Violence Against Women, the Office of Justice Programs, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). CDC funds are generally disbursed through each State Department of Health.

2. Grant Awards

STOP (Services Training Officers Prosecutors) Grant

STOP funds are designated by VAWA to activities (such as trainings) that increase collaboration between victim advocates, law enforcement, and prosecutors. Every state receives STOP grant funds, and each state will decide how those funds are spent at the state level.

Coalition Grant

The Coalition Grant program falls within the STOP formula section of VAWA. Congress appropriates funding for the STOP formula program, and then a certain fraction of those funds are designated to state coalitions. The precise dollar amount can vary, but it is usually around $82,000 with an additional $48,000 for SASP totaling about $130,000. This number fluctuates dependent upon Congressional appropriations. If a coalition serves both domestic violence and sexual assault, they will receive appropriations for both issue programs (approximately $213,000).

Rape Prevention and Education (RPE)

RPE funds are allocated by the Centers for Disease Control and are designated specifically for sexual assault prevention work. In some states, local programs receive RPE funds directly from the State Department of Health, and in other states the coalition receives the RPE funds. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is funded by the CDC to provide technical assistance to states for the management of RPE funds.

OVW Discretionary Programs

Funding for discretionary programs within OVW is determined largely upon the level of appropriations and the budget cap. A discretionary program is one in which the applicants must compete to receive the grant. Through a peer review process, the strongest applicants are chosen and awarded grant funds. The number of awards is dependent upon budget caps and amount of funds available.

3. Timeframes for grant awards

Federal grants are awarded at the beginning of the federal fiscal year, October 1, and ending on September 30. Timeframes for grant awards are announced at the beginning of every grant cycle. Open solicitations can be found at the Department of Justice Open Solicitation page and includes the timeline for application submission. The timeframes are often estimations, however, because they are dependent upon the coordination between many federal offices. For this reason, a listed closing date could be delayed due to unforeseeable factors. For general purposes, however, a discretionary grantee should start looking for solicitations in early fall.

4. Eligibility and Exclusions for Coalition Grants

To receive the Coalition Grant, the agency must be designated as the one state-/territory-wide sexual assault coalition. Official designation is maintained by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC will then give the list to OVW so they know who is eligible for the coalition funding. For domestic violence coalitions, Health and Human Services (HHS) designates the one state-/territory-wide domestic violence coalitions. Dual coalitions will have both a domestic violence designation through HHS as well as a sexual assault designation through the CDC. If an organization is not on that list, then they are not recognized as a coalition at the federal and state level, therefore they are not eligible for the coalition grant.

Domestic violence and dual coalitions have additional grant funding specific to coalitions allocated in the Family Violence Prevention Act (FVPSA) which is administered through HHS.

5. Contract Management & Compliance

A new director should contact the program manager of their agency’s grant(s) to inform them of new agency leadership and point of contact as well as ensure that the organization is in compliance with the grant contract(s). Furthermore, the director should feel comfortable contacting the program manager with any questions, concerns, adjustments to the budget, grant extensions, or any other grant-related questions. Written correspondence to and from program managers regarding approvals or other important information should be archived in case of an audit. Read the checklist for new executive directors.

As part of the contractual monitoring of grants, some funders may conduct site visits to coalitions. This is an opportunity for the funder to talk with program staff, stakeholders, and other grant partners about the coalition programs and best practices, see how dollars are being spent, discuss possible challenges the coalition might be facing, and offer any technical assistance. The funder is obligated to ensure that taxpayer’s dollars are being spent in a fiscally responsible way.

Grants are not a guaranteed source of income for a nonprofit coalition; a fiscally responsible agency should always have access to a diversified funding stream. Furthermore, when a grant is awarded to a coalition, it may take some time before those funds are actually made available to the coalition. For this reason, many coalitions have a continuing line of credit to provide support and back-up during the months that the grant funds have not come in.

Conditional Clearances

It is also important for the executive director to be aware of conditional clearances on grant funds. Conditional clearances will prevent the agency for drawing down those funds until specified stipulations have been fulfilled. The conditional clearances will be in the body of the grant award special conditions, so be sure to read to fine print.

Conditional Clearances can include:

  • Conditions related to a delinquent audit
  • Financial capability questionnaire
  • A conditional clearance can be placed upon funds if the Office of the Comptroller has not given a financial clearance. If the office of the Comptroller is responsible for reviewing the budget detail, they will give the program managers in the OVW offices a financial clearance. Once this is received, grant managers can process the award.

Office of the Comptroller

The Office of the Comptroller (OC) reviews all OJP budgets. There are many deadlines to be met and awards must get out before a certain timeframe. These dates are non-negotiable, so if the OC has not reviewed the OJP budget before the deadline, they will issue a conditional clearance; a condition that allows the award to be made and the documents processed and sent to the grantee, but the funds are not available for withdrawal until the OC has reviewed and approved the budget.

7. SF269

The Standard Form 269 is the financial status report; a quarterly financial report that is made electronically through the Grants Management System to the Office of the Comptroller. The purpose of the report is to show how much money the coalition has spent, how much is billed, and how much money is left. It shows that the coalition is exercising fiscal responsibility and tracking the activity of funds.If a coalition does not submit the SF269 on a quarterly basis, or are out of compliance with reports, they may be frozen out of the system.

8. Matching Funds

Some federal grants will require a match for a portion of your program funding. For example, if a grant requires a 25% match, the coalition is responsible for providing 25% of those dollars.

The coalition is responsible for finding the additional funds to match the grant contract. The matching funds can derive from any source that is not federal (for example, the funds can come from state or private money or in-kind donations).The dollar amount your coalition has agreed to match should be written in your grant budget. As a new executive director, ensure that you are holding true to the match written in the budget. If you do find the coalition budget straying from the grant budget, contact your grant manager. They will have the authority to decide if an adjustment is necessary.

Matched dollars are subject to special conditions; even if those dollars consist of in-kind donations or cash. Some coalitions volunteer to match funds in an amount above what is required of them by the grant (for example, the grant requires a 25% match, and the coalition volunteers to match 35%). The coalition is contractually obligated to match the amounts they specify; if the fiscal year ends and they have not matched the extra 10% they originally volunteered, they must pay that money back to the granting agency.

9. Grant Numbers

When a grant application is first submitted, it will be assigned a number that follows this formula:

(the year)-X(4 digit number)-(initials of the state)-(coalition program code)

There are 3 types of Coalition codes: SW = Sexual Assault Coalition, DW = Domestic Violence Coalition, MU = Dual Coalition

For example,if a sexual assault coalition in Washington State submits a grant application in the year 2017; that application will have the following grant code:

2017-X1456-WA-SW

When the grant application is awarded funds, the code will change and follow a different formula:

(the year)-(coalition program code)-AX-(different 4 digit number)

For example, when the sexual assault coalition in Washington State is awarded the grant in the year 2017, the grant award will have the following grant code:

2017–SW–AX-0001

A coalition will be assigned an award number based upon the year they applied for that grant. If a coalition applies for a continuation to that grant the following year, they will have:

  • 2 application numbers (based upon the 2 years they applied for the grant)
  • only have one award number

When a coalition accesses their award record through the Grants Management System (GMS), the 2 application years will be combined under one award number.

For example:

A coalition applies for an award in 2004, applies for a continuation grant in 2005, and is awarded funds for both applications. The coalition will be assigned 1 award number (a 2004 number), even though funds have been distributed for that particular grant twice.

It is not necessary for a coalition to file a final report every time a supplemental grant has been awarded. For example, if a coalition is awarded monies in 2004 with a closing date of September 2005, and they apply for and receive a supplemental in 2005, the closing date will be pushed back to September 2006. The final report must be filed before the last closing date of the final supplemental grant (in this example, before September 2006).

10. Grant Adjustment Notice

A grant adjustment notice can be filed for a variety of different reasons. Some examples include (not an exhaustive list):

  • Updating contact information for the director
  • A change of office locations
  • A budget modification if the adjustments are greater than 10%
  • A no cost extension of grant funding past the initial grant end date.
  • If a coalition wishes to file a no cost extension grant adjustment, they may do so no sooner than 90 days before the closing date of the grant.