Step 1: Submit the SF-424 to Grants.gov

Fill out and submit to Grants.gov the SF-424 (Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form)

Using Grants.gov

Please note that Grants.gov uses the term "application" and "application package" when all you'll submit is the SF-424 form (Application for Federal Domestic Assistance). You will submit a substantial part of your application through NEA-GO. See Step 2.

In addition to these instructions, you should periodically check the Grants.gov blog or the Grants.gov homepage for tips, updates, and alerts.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
Electronic application (SF-424) through Grants.gov is MANDATORY

  1. Verify that your organization has completed all steps of the registration process. If you have already successfully submitted through Grants.gov, renew/verify your registration.
  2. Verify that you have a version of Adobe Reader that is supported by Grants.gov installed on your computer before you download your new SF-424 from Grants.gov.
  3. Submit your SF-424 no later than 10 days prior to the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit.
    • The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Phone: 1-800-518-4726.)
    • Submit your SF-424 outside of Grants.gov's hours of heaviest usage, generally 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
    • The Arts Endowment will not accept late SF-424s.

Issues related to registration or renewal with the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), System for Award Management (SAM), or Grants.gov

Exceptions to the deadline will be considered only for those issues related to registration or renewal. In those cases, you must maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register or renew at least two weeks before the deadline of record (February 20 or July 24). If you can provide documentation that dates from:

  • February 6 (for the February 20 deadline) or earlier, or
  • July 10 (for the July 24 deadline) or earlier,

that, in the judgment of the Arts Endowment, indicates a technological failure on the part of DUNS, SAM, or Grants.gov, we will consider and address your situation as appropriate. We will not accept late SF-424s that are the result of user error.

Grants.gov SF-424 Submission

You should attempt to submit your SF-424 no later than 10 days prior to the deadline, so that, in case you encounter any unexpected issues with Grants.gov, you will still have time to resolve the issues and submit your SF-424 successfully by the February 20 or July 24 deadline of record. We will not accept late SF-424s that are the result of user error, including failure to verify that your SF-424 was validated and accepted by the Grants.gov system through Track My Application. If you can provide documentation dating from:

  • February 10 (for the February 20 deadline) or earlier, or
  • July 14 (for the July 24 deadline) or earlier,

that, in the judgment of the Arts Endowment, indicates a technological failure on the part of Grants.gov, we will consider and address your situation as appropriate.

Failure to successfully submit the SF-424 form through Grants.gov will make you ineligible to submit through NEA-GO in March or August.

Register or Renew/Verify Registration with Grants.gov

NOTE: Applicants are required to change their Grants.gov passwords every 60 days. See www.grants.gov for more details on requirements for Usernames and Passwords.

It is your organization's responsibility to create and maintain a regularly updated registration with Grants.gov. This includes registration with the System for Award Management (SAM), where your organization's information must be renewed annually. Finalize a new or renew an existing registration at least two weeks before the application deadline. This should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise with Grants.gov or SAM. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your SF-424.

If your organization is not yet registered, go to Grants.gov's Get Registered. If your organization already has registered, renew your registration with SAM and verify that your registration with Grants.gov is current.

Help with registration:

  • SAM Federal Service Desk: Call 1-866-606-8220 or see the information posted on the SAM website at SAM User Help.
  • Grants.gov Contact Center: Call 1-800-518-4726, e-mail support@grants.gov, or consult the information posted on the Grants.gov website at Help. The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register or renew at least two weeks before the deadline of record (February 20 or July 24). If you don't begin registration or renewal at least two weeks before the deadline, you may not have sufficient time to complete the multi-step process.

You do not need to complete the registration process to download the SF-424 and begin to prepare your material (see below). However, you will need your Grants.gov Username and Password that you obtain during the registration process to submit your SF-424.

Download the SF-424

  1. Verify your software

    You must have a version of Adobe Reader that is supported by Grants.gov installed on your computer before you download your SF-424 from Grants.gov. Non-compatible versions of Adobe Reader or other Adobe products will lead to errors and prevent you from submitting your SF-424. If more than one computer will be involved in the preparation of the SF-424, ensure that the same version of Adobe Reader is used.

    Please go to "Download Software" to see the compatible versions of Adobe Reader or to download and install Adobe Reader.

  2. Access the SF-424 on Grants.gov by clicking on the link for your deadline:

    For applications under the February 20, 2014, deadline:

    DOWNLOAD

    [Funding Opportunity Number 2014NEA01AW1]

    This will bring you to the "Selected Grant Applications for Download" screen.

    Download the SF-424 and follow the instructions below. It is not necessary to download the instructions from Grants.gov as you will merely be directed back to the instructions in this document.

    The SF-424 for the July 24, 2014, deadline will be available in early June 2014.

  3. When you download the SF-424, the Grants.gov "Grant Application Package" screen will open. Click on the "Save" button and save the application package to a location on your computer or network where you can find it readily. Save your application each time you work on it. You will get the message: "The File already exists. Replace existing file?" Click "Yes" to ensure that you always save the most recent version.

  4. You can access the SF-424 form by clicking on it OR you can scroll down your screen and you will come to it.

Fill Out the SF-424

NOTE: All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on this form are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit the form. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the form. Enter information directly into the form. Do not copy from an old SF-424 or another document and paste into the form.

1. Name of Federal Agency: Pre-populated.

2. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: Pre-populated.

3. Date Received: This will be filled automatically with the date that you submit your SF-424; leave blank.

4. Funding Opportunity Number: Pre-populated.

5. Applicant Information:

a. Legal Name: The name provided here must be the applicant's legal name as it appears in the current IRS 501(c)(3) status letter or in the official document that identifies the organization as a unit of state or local government, or as a federally recognized tribal community or tribe. (Do not use your organization's popular name, if different.)

If you are a parent organization that is applying on behalf of an eligible independent component, do not list the name of the independent component here. You will be asked for that information later.

b. Address:

Use Street 1 for your street address or post office box number, whichever is used for your U.S. Postal Service mailing address. Street 2 is not a required field and should be used only when a Suite or Room Number or other similar information is a necessary part of your address. Do not use Street 2 to give a second address for your organization.

In the Zip/Postal Code box, organizations in the United States should enter the full 9-digit zip code that was assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at www.usps.com/zip4/

d. Type of Applicant: Select the item that best characterizes your organization from the menu in the first drop down box. Additional choices are optional.

e. Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN/TIN): Enter the 9-digit number that was assigned by the Internal Revenue Service; do not use a Social Security Number.

f. Organizational DUNS: All organizational applicants for federal funds must have a DUNS number, which is recognized as the universal standard for identifying organizations worldwide. The number that you enter here must agree with the number (either 9 or 13 digits) that you used with the SAM (System for Award Management) as part of the Grants.gov registration. Otherwise, your SF-424 will not be validated by Grants.gov and will be rejected. Submit your SF-424 no later than 10 days prior to the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter.

g. Congressional District: Enter the number of the Congressional District where the applicant organization is located. Use the following format: 2 character State Abbreviation-3 character District Number. For example, if your organization is located in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter "CA-005." If your state has a single At-Large Representative or your territory has a single Delegate, enter your 2 character state/territory abbreviation and "-000." If you need help determining your district, go to www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool.

6. Project Information:

a. Project Title: State first the NEA office/discipline that you want to review your application (see here for more information). Provide a brief descriptive title for your proposed project. Begin the title with "Local Arts Agencies: To support." For example: Local Arts Agencies: To support An Exhibition of the Works of Georgia O’Keeffe.

b. Project Description: For all projects except those to the Arts Education discipline: In two or three brief sentences, clearly describe your specific project, not your organization. Begin the first sentence with "To support" and include the name of the project. Follow this with up to two more sentences that describe the type of project, the target population that will be served, and where the project will take place. For examples, see Recent Grants.

For Arts Education discipline projects: In two or three brief sentences, clearly describe your specific project, not your organization. Begin the first sentence with "To support" and include the name of the project and whether your project is for a Direct Learning, Professional Development, or Collective Impact project. Follow this with up to two more sentences that describe the type of project, the instructors, the age and number of students/adults who will be served, and where the project will take place.

For example:

To support Creative Arts Program, a Direct Learning music education project for 200 students across two elementary schools in Monroe, LA. Professional teaching artists provide weekly, year-round, instrumental music instruction after school. The program includes master classes with symphony musicians, one on one coaching, and a field trip to an orchestra matinee concert.

Please note:

This field on the form has a character limit of 1,000, including spaces. Even if you have less than 1,000 characters, Grants.gov may translate special characters (e.g., apostrophes) in a way that will cause your SF-424 to be rejected. This can happen if you "cut and paste" from an old SF-424 or another document into the form. We strongly encourage you to write a succinct project description and double check the number of characters.

c. Proposed Project Start Date/End Date: Enter the beginning and ending dates for your requested period of support, i.e., the span of time necessary to plan, execute, and close out your proposed project. The start date should be the first day of the month, and the end date should be the last day of the month. The Arts Endowment's support of a project may start on or after: 1) For applicants under the February 20 deadline, January 1, 2015; or 2) For applicants under the July 24 deadline, June 1, 2015. Generally, a period of support of up to two years is allowed. The two-year period is intended to allow an applicant sufficient time to plan, execute, and close out its project, not to repeat a one-year project for a second year.

7. Project Director:

Provide the requested information for the Project Director. Select a Prefix (e.g., Ms., Mr.) even though this is not a required field.

Provide contact information, including an e-mail address, that will be valid through the announcement date for your category.

8. Primary Contact/Grant Administrator:

Provide the requested information for the individual who should be contacted on all matters involving this application and the administration of any grant that may be awarded. For colleges and universities, this person is often a Sponsored Research, Sponsored Programs, or Contracts and Grants Officer. Select a Prefix even though this is not a required field. For the Telephone number field, use the following format: 000-000-0000.

In some organizations, particularly smaller ones, this individual may be the same as the Project Director. If this is the case, you may check the "Same as Project Director" box and not repeat information that you have already provided in Item 7. (If the Primary Contact/Grant Administrator is the same as the Authorizing Official, please complete all items under both 8 and 9 even though there will be some repetition.)

9. Authorized Representative:

Enter the requested information for the AOR (Authorized Organization Representative) who will be submitting this application to Grants.gov. Select a Prefix even though this is not a required field. The AOR must have the legal authority to obligate your organization. By clicking the "I Agree" box at the top of Item 9, this individual will be certifying compliance with relevant federal requirements on your organization's behalf. (These requirements can be found in the "Assurance of Compliance" section of these guidelines.) The "Signature of Authorized Representative" and "Date Signed" boxes will be populated by Grants.gov upon submission of the SF-424.

Submit the SF-424

  1. To begin the submission process, click the "Save & Submit" button. [This button will not become active (and turn from light to dark gray) until you have saved your SF-424 with all required fields completed. Clicking this button will prompt you to save your application package one last time. When asked if you want to replace the existing file, click "Yes." You will then be reconnected to Grants.gov and the Internet.] You will be prompted to provide your Grants.gov Username and Password that you obtained during registration.

  2. Click the "Login" button. This will bring you to the "Application Submission Verification and Signature" screen, which provides a summary of the Funding Opportunity for which you are applying. Click the "Sign and Submit Application" button to complete the process. Be certain that you are satisfied with your SF-424 before you click this button. No revisions to your SF-424 are possible through Grants.gov once it is submitted.

    If you have difficulty submitting, go to Adobe Reader Error Messages or Applicant Resources for several tools and documents to help you.

  3. Ensure that your SF-424 was validated and accepted by the Grants.gov system. Go to Track My Application to confirm the validation and track the progress of your SF-424 submission through Grants.gov.

  4. After the Arts Endowment retrieves your SF-424 from Grants.gov, log in to the Grants.gov system by using your Username and Password to receive your Agency Tracking Number (this will be the Arts Endowment-assigned application number), and information for submitting the rest of your application through NEA-GO. You can begin accessing this information on Grants.gov 1-2 business days after you submit your SF-424, but no earlier than 10 days before the application deadline.

Additional Help

For additional help on how to use Grants.gov, please see the Grants.gov website at Support. You also can send e-mail to the Grants.gov Contact Center at support@grants.gov or call them at 1-800-518-4726, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Remember to go to Track My Application on Grants.gov before the deadline to verify that your SF-424 was successfully submitted. Do not wait until the day of the deadline to verify your submission. We will not accept late SF-424s.