Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Grants Clearinghouse?
The Grants Clearinghouse is an online grants application process and was created by the California Fire Alliance and is managed by the California Fire Safe Council at http://www.grants.firesafecouncil.org/.

Why does the Grants Clearinghouse exist?
The California Fire Alliance, through grants to the California Fire Safe Council, originally spearheaded the Grants Clearinghouse to help achieve the goals of the National Fire Plan by facilitating an open, collaborative process for grant funding. It expands the playing field to more organizations by making it easier to find and apply for grants. It increases collaboration among agencies by sharing information and facilitating planning across agency boundaries.

How can I apply for a grant through the clearinghouse?
Go to grants.firesafecouncil.org. You can start with your community's project idea, but you'll need to explore many factors before you're ready to submit to the Grants Clearinghouse. We strongly recommend you download and read the Request for Applications (RFA) and the Grants Clearinghouse Workbook that is available on our website. These documents will outline the many rules and requirements of the Grants Clearinghouse as well as offer insight into developing a competitive grant application.

Why does the clearinghouse only accept grant applications online?
To meet the demands of organizations wishing to control costs and reduce the amount of paper involved in grantwriting. The Grants Clearinghouse also reflects the federal government's focus on electronic government and simplifying the grants process. The Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act calls for improving the effectiveness and performance of Federal grant programs; simplifying grant application and reporting requirements; improving the delivery of services to the public; and facilitating greater coordination among those responsible for delivering such services.

How will the information I submit online be protected?
Your user name and password limit who can see your information. It's your choice whether to share your user name and password with others. You, grant managers, funding agencies and anyone you share your user name and password with will see your grant application.

How will the Grants Clearinghouse help me find funding?
It will help organizations find funding by reducing the time and money spent on grantwriting. The clearinghouse provides these benefits to organizations:

  • No more research to identify specific grant programs, requirements and deadlines – Under the Grants Clearinghouse, there is one deadline for all participating programs (if applicable). Filling out the grant applications gives CFSC the information they need to make preliminary funding decisions.
  • No more writing multiple, extensive applications just to be considered by the review committee – Just fill out the grant application and submit it. Once projects are selected for funding, applicants will then be asked to provide additional, specific information it needs.
  • Diverse funding opportunities – The Grants Clearinghouse can help facilitate multi-agency funding of projects. In addition, projects may be funded through grant programs applicants may not otherwise have known about.
  • Less paper – Grant applications are accepted electronically, giving applicants more time to complete them, and saving the cost of photocopies and postage.
  • Grant applications live on – The Grants Clearinghouse keeps watch over projects that aren't funded the first time for another chance at funding if additional funds become available. And organizations can resubmit unfunded projects for two additional funding cycles.

I'm with a public agency, and I think our grant program is working just fine as it is. Why change it?
To provide better service to communities throughout California, and to facilitate better inter-agency collaboration. Here's how the Grants Clearinghouse will help agencies:

  • Better planning – For the first time, the clearinghouse will give agencies a landscape look at projects across ownership boundaries. Timing projects to complement each other can potentially lead to landscape-scale improvements.
  • Diverse funding opportunities – The Grants Clearinghouse will facilitate the matching of the right proposed projects to the right grant programs, offering CFSC the ability to support projects and organizations they may not otherwise have known about.
  • Less paper – Once the CFSC review committee select projects, they only have to process additional, specific information for projects they will fund.

Which grant programs are participating in the clearinghouse?
Go to grants.firesafecouncil.org to see the specific source of funds. For the 2013 cycle, the U.S. Forest Service is the only participating agency.

Who can apply?
Organizations and government agencies working in California and representing their communities. For a list, go to grants.firesafecouncil.org.

What projects are eligible for funding?
For a list of eligible projects, go to http://www.grants.firesafecouncil.org/.

What's the deadline?
The deadline to submit grant applications is midnight July 31, 2012. Letters of Commitment and Fiscal Sponsor Letter must be postmarked no later than July 31, 2012.

How can I get help?
Sign up for a grant writing session at http://grants.firesafecouncil.org/PreAwardWorkshops.cfm e-mail a grant manager, or call 800/FS CALIF (372-2543).

What's the funding cycle?
Although there is one deadline for grant applications, funding organizations have different funding cycles. Applicants whose projects are selected for funding will be notified of the appropriate cycle. In general, CFSC is interested in funding programs that can be done in 12-18 months, beginning when the organization receives funding. Applicants should be aware that funding is contingent upon Congressional appropriations for federal grant programs. In some cases a project may be selected for funding, yet if appropriations are lower than anticipated, CFSC may have to cut projects.

What are the judging criteria?
An initial review will determine if a project can be considered for funding based on the Evaluation and Scoring Criteria contained in the Request for Applications (RFA) which is available in the Resource Center at http://www.grants.firesafecouncil.org/. Applications passing initial review will be scored by a Grant Review Committee consisting of an independent, volunteer panel of experts in wildfire issues and grants review/selection. The Grant Review Committee provides funding recommendations to the CFSC Board who approves the Review Committee's recommendation.