The Fund Finder News
By Kurt T. Bradley, Senior Grant Consultant, First Responder Grants
Congratulations, you submitted your grant! Once your application is in, though, there is still one thing left to do. It’s something you can—and should—do with any grant: request letters of support.
Application first, letters second
First off, notice I said you should do this after the grant was submitted. There is a reason for that.
Letters of Support need to be filed in your original grant file (especially in the case of large Federal grants such as the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program). Unless the grant provider has 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 (provided that you scored well enough to warrant a technical review).
When you compose your request for a Letter of Support, be sure that your grant number, such as your 2019 AFG grant number is clearly noted. That way when it is received by AFG, they know exactly what file to put it into.
Who should you ask for letters of support?
First and foremost, ask all the Congressional Representatives from your state, both the US House of Representatives and US Senate.
Remember: This is not time to be partisan! Ask from Democrats as well as Republicans, and regardless of your like or dislike of politicians.
It’s 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.
Also, it’s not a bad idea to ask for letter from your State Governor.
How to make contact
Now you know who you should ask for letters of support. But how do you know who these people are, and where do we find their mailing addresses?
And that’s right: mailing address. Not a phone number. Not texting. Not email. For everyone you want to contribute a letter of support about your grant, you’re going to send an actual letter.
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 Dept of Homeland Security: https://www.hsdl.org/?collection&id=1176#States
Copy this template: What to send in your letter of request
Here’s an example of what your letter of request should look like. We’ll use the FY 2019 AFG as an example, but you can copy, paste and customize this in your word processor to whatever grant you need it to reflect:
(Your Rank and Name)
(Your Department’s Mailing Address)
(Your Direct Phone Number)
(Their Title and Name)
(Their Mailing Address)
RE: Letter of Support for 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
(Dear Mr./Ms./Representative/Senator/Governor LastNameHere)
The (Insert name of department, 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 March 20,2020, to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program offered by FEMA, a copy of which is attached.
This request is seeking $?????? in Federal share funding to acquire critically needed firefighting equipment 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.
This equipment is critical to our ability to be able to safely carry out our mission toward achieving those goals. The current state of the economy has caused our financial stability to falter. We, nor our citizens and your constituents, are financially able to afford the costs this project requires. Temporary outside Federal financial assistance is desperately needed. Your support of our efforts to secure this funding is humbly requested.
Our grant number assigned to his project is (grant number). 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.
(Your Name and Title)
The letter should be addressed and sent to:
Attn: Chris Logan
Acting Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs
400 C Street S.W., 3N
Washington, D.C. 20472-3635
Once you write the letter
Once you’ve customized the letter above for your grant:
- Print the letter on department letterhead
- Sign the letter
- Print out a complete copy of your grant from the online application
- Put this letter on top of the grant request
- Place the letter and grant request copy, unfolded, in a manila envelope and seal it.
- Repeat as needed and mail to all those you addressed it to.
Seeking letters of support is a crucial final step that can make all the difference between rejection and winning a grant. Don’t forget this important last step! It’s something that all our past winners do—and you should also.
See you in the Winner’s Circle!