The Fund Finder News, by Senior Grants Consultant Kurt Bradley
No matter what sector of public safety you serve in, once you submit your grant it can be easy to think your job is done. There is just one final piece of business that any grant applicant, on any Federal or other grant program, should take care of after they have submitted the grant: requesting letters of support.
Send Letters of Support after you submit your grant
First off, notice I said, “after the grant was submitted.” There is a reason for that. Letters of Support need to be filed in your original grant file. Unless we have a grant number to associate that file and the Letter of Support, your letters will not make it into the file where they will be seen by the technical reviewers, if you scored well enough to warrant a technical review.
Clearly note your grant number on the letter
When you compose your request for a Letter of Support, be sure that your grant number is clearly noted so that when it is received, they know exactly what file to put it into.
Who should you request Letters of Support from?
Now, who are we going to ask for Letters of Support? First and foremost, all the Congressional Representatives from your state, both the US House of Representatives and US Senate.
And remember: This is not the time to be partisan. Ask from Democrats, as well as Republicans… and regardless of your like or dislike of politicians.
It is also always good to get a letter from your State Department of Homeland Security director. If your grant is for communication equipment, request a letter from the Director of State DHS Emergency Interoperable Communications.
It’s also not a bad idea to ask for a letter from your State Governor.
How to find mailing addresses
But how do you know who these people are? Where do we find these mailing addresses (do not request via email)? Let me help you out as much as I can:
Directory of US House of Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives
Directory of US Senate: https://www.senate.gov/reference/reference_index_subjects/Directories_vrd.htm
State Governors Directory: https://www.nga.org/governors/
State Department of Homeland Security: https://www.hsdl.org/?collection&id=1176#States
An example Letter of Support
Here’s how a letter could look. We’re using the FY 2021 SAFER grant as an example, but remember, you can put Letters of Support to work with any public safety grant you apply for, regardless of which part of the public safety sector your agency serves.
Customize the letter below as necessary for your grant, including the mailing address for the organization behind the grant. The grant’s program website FAQ’s or program office help desk can help you figure out who to ask and what address to have letters of support go to.
Congressman ????? or Senator?????
RE: Letter of Support: 2021 SAFER Grant Program
(Dear Congressman ??? or Senator ????)
The (Insert name of FD, City, State) and our citizens, whom we are charged with protecting, respectfully requests a letter of support from your office in support of our recent grant application submitted on (insert current date), to the SAFER program offered by FEMA, a copy of which is attached.
This request is seeking $?????? in Federal share funding to hire critically needed firefighters necessary for us to ensure the health and safety of our firefighters and citizens that we protect and in response to compliance with the National Response Framework established by the Department of Homeland Security.
These firefighters are critical to our ability to be able to safely carry out our mission towards achieving the goal of compliance to NFPA1710 (or 1 720). The current state of the economy has caused our financial stability to falter. We, nor our citizens and your constituents, are financially unable to afford the costs this project requires. Temporary outside Federal financial assistance is desperately needed and your support of our efforts to secure this funding is humbly requested.
Our grant number assigned to his project is EMW-2018-??-????? We would greatly appreciate a letter of support from you be sent to the address below referencing our grant number and lending your support to this vital project in support of your constituency.
The citizens and our department thank you for your time and support.
(Name, Title, Department, Address)
The letter should be addressed and sent to:
Attn: Pamela Williams
Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs
400 C Street S.W., 3N
Washington, D.C. 20472-3635
Now, print out a complete copy of your grant from the online application and put this letter on top of the grant request, put it in a manila envelope, and mail to all those you addressed it to. Don’t forget this important last step. This is something that most all my past winners do, and you should also.
And there you have it. Remember: No matter what grant you applied for, Letters of Support can be like a cheering section that helps get your application into the winner’s circle.