Helping Fund Tribal Safety Initiatives with CTAS Grants
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By Meaghan Provost
In only its second year of the current structure, the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) was recently released by the Department of Justice. Unique in its layout, the CTAS program combines a multitude of tribal-specific grant opportunities into one solicitation with one due date. Tribal applicants now are responsible for one submission for up to 8 program areas, where previously separate applications were due for each program at varying times during the year. Tribes are also eligible to receive multiple awards for projects that span several purpose areas.
The program is structured slightly differently from the previous years' application based on feedback from applicants considered by the program managers. Major changes include a longer span from release to deadline, a standard 3-year project period for each purpose area, merging of several purpose areas, and elimination of matching funds (except for purpose areas that statutorily require a matching amount). Tribal Authorizing Resolutions are not due at the time of application, as well, but do need to be in place before awards are utilized. Purpose areas in the FY2011 CTAS solicitation include:
- Public safety and community policing (COPS)
- Methamphetamine enforcement (COPS)
- Justice systems, and alcohol and substance abuse (BJA)
- Corrections and correctional alternatives (BJA)
- Violence against women (OVW)
- Elder abuse (OVC)
- Juvenile justice (OJJDP)
- Tribal youth program (OJJDP)
Even though only one submission is required (and only the last submission will be reviewed) by the tribal applicants, the application does include separate program documents for each purpose area, including a narrative for the particular program as well as a timeline. Applicants must also submit only one demographic narrative and summary of the current state of operations that apply to the application as a whole.
While this might seem to be an easier approach to tribal funding opportunities on all fronts, there are some challenges to structuring the application as it stands today. While the application this year included a longer runway for developing the program documents, the three-month timeframe from release in late January to the deadline on April 12, 2011, because there are so many purpose areas that can be targeted, is still a time crunch for some applicants. It also requires a great deal of coordination on behalf of each applicant with the different tribal departments responsible for each purpose area, since there are documents that are communal for the application and must reflect the application as a whole. This includes only one executive summary, demographic narrative, problem statement and needs assessment, and a budget that combines the requests for each program over the three-year project period. There is also the option to include only one timeline reflective of the projects together. It's important for applicants to be aware of these communal documents, and have conversations early on about the responsibilities for each department or project to get a consistent application budget and narrative together in time for the quickly-approaching deadline.
Since it is a time crunch, it is also necessary to have conversations about which purpose areas will tackled in each application. It might seem like a good idea to pose responses for each purpose area to maximize the funding, especially since the programs are now all combined at one time during the year, but it is important to recognize the areas with the most dire needs and focus efforts on presenting a cohesive application to these specific programs.
Overall, the format of the CTAS application makes it a unique funding opportunity, holding great potential for tribal applications. Last year alone, the Department of Justice awarded over $127 million to 150+ applicants—69% of applicants saw awards for one or more purpose area. Technology is also an allowable budget item for many purpose areas, including computer hardware/software, digital cameras, video equipment, vehicles, computer networks, data management systems, and law enforcement technology/equipment.
For more information about this years' CTAS application, please see: http://www.tribaljusticeandsafety.gov/ctas11.html.