Next Steps in the 2022 Grant Process
By Joyce Landers, UTO Vice President
Thank you to everyone who applied, supported applicants, or donated to support the 2022 grant process. The deadline has now passed, and the UTO Board is in the process of reviewing applications. We wanted to share with you a bit about the process that happens behind the scenes so you’d have an idea of why it takes so long between the deadline and the announcement date.
Every application is processed by Heather Melton, our staff officer, so she removes it from Formstack and puts everything into a file. Each file is organized the same way to help Board members easily find what they are looking for. She checks word limits on the application and to see if everything is included (which you know if you’ve submitted your application prior to the deadline to ensure it is complete) and makes a note for the Board regarding those things.
Heather does all of this by the end of the deadline day and sends off the files that evening to the grants committee. Committee members review each file. Their job is to ensure that everything the applicant has requested in the budget is eligible for funding by UTO as listed in the criteria. If they aren’t clear on something, they follow up with applicants through our staff.
Those applications which are found to be eligible and complete are then forwarded to the Board for review. Board members read every application independently and rate each one using a standard rubric. We submit our scores, which are then averaged to create a final score for the grant. We then fund the highest scored grant down the list until we run out of money from the previous year’s Ingathering. The Board then approves the final list, before handing it off to the staff to create reports for Executive Council while we create cover letters and the narrative list of grants.
All of this will be sent to Executive Council on March 20 to meet the deadline for their April 20 meeting. So, if you’re keeping track, that means that all applications are read, reviewed twice, and all reports created in just 44 days by our Board of volunteers, many of whom also have jobs and families to care for as well. Once Executive Council approves the list of grants, our staff immediately sends email notifications to everyone who applied regarding the status of their request. They also immediately send off the payment packets for final review and authorization and payment by the Finance Department of DFMS, which can take about a month after the announcement day to happen.
We know that it can feel like it takes a very long time to hear back about your grant, but we promise that we try to turn the grant process around, from application deadline to award day, as quickly as we can. We do ask for your patience and prayers during this time. Every year our hearts are broken by grants that end up not being funded simply because we do not have enough money to fund them. We would love it if the Ingathering were enough to fund everyone, but we can only do that with your help. Please promote giving to UTO in your congregations; please consider using some of our amazing and free materials. Practicing gratitude changes our lives and will change our communities, so we hope you’ll join us in this important work.