Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant Guidelines & FAQs
Purpose: The Arts & Science Council (ASC) developed the Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant program to support science and environmental education offerings and strengthen the quality of science and environmental education programming in schools, neighborhoods and towns throughout Mecklenburg County and the Duke Energy service area. (See the FAQ section.)
Funding Partners: The Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant program is funded through funds generated by the Duke Energy Science Education Endowment fund.
Eligibility: Please consider applying if your project meets the following criteria:
- The project is a science or environmental education project that takes place in Mecklenburg County or the Duke Energy service area.
- The project is occurring between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.
- Applicant organization is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that is in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) located in Mecklenburg County or within the Duke Energy Service Area (Groups that do not have tax-exempt status may apply through a fiscal sponsor organization – see FAQs.).
- Organizations that have delinquent paperwork for a previously-funded grant are not eligible to apply.
- Multiple requests for the same project OR from the same organization (with the exception of large 501(c)(3) organizations such as a library system, school system, YMCA or University)
Application Deadline: There is one biennial deadline for Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grants. The next deadline is Friday, October 8, 2010, at 12:00 NOON. This deadline will be for projects that occur between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. All applicants are required to apply through our online application system. Applications must be submitted no later than 12:00 NOON on the deadline date. Unfortunately, applications received after this date and time cannot be accepted.
Written Notification: By November 30, 2010
Support Period: January 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012
How to Apply: All applicants are required to apply through our online application system.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How much can I request?
A: Applicants may request up to $20,000 ($10,000 each year for a 2 fiscal year period). Requests must be for a specific project only, not for operating support. Historically, this has been an extremely competitive process, therefore all applicants are encouraged to develop a strong application and be realistic with regard to funding expectations. Every application will not receive funding.
Q: Am I required to match the grant?
A: Applicants are not required to provide a match; however, matching funds are encouraged. All else being equal, a proposal showing a serious financial commitment from the applicant will be looked upon more favorably than one that does not. The match can be 100% cash or a combination of 50% cash and 50% in-kind support.
Q: What is a Fiscal Sponsor?
A: The Fiscal Sponsor (or Fiscal Agent) is an organization that agrees to accept and be responsible for grant monies on your behalf. The Fiscal Sponsor must be a Mecklenburg County-based non-profit organization. Individuals and groups that do not have tax-exempt status will need to apply through a Fiscal Sponsor. All grant payments will be made payable to the Fiscal Sponsor organization. It is the applicant's responsibility to identify a Fiscal Sponsor and to outline specific responsibilities of each party.
Q: What is in-kind support?
A: In-kind support is defined as anything provided to the project (space rental, supplies, printed materials, volunteer time, etc.) at no cost to the applicant. All contributions should be given an appropriate cash value. Commonly-used in-kind support includes volunteer time, which is currently valued by the Independent Sector at approximately $20.25/hour.
Q: How will my application be reviewed?
A: A panel of ASC volunteers, science educators and representatives of Duke Energy serve as application review panelists. The panel is chaired by an ASC board member. ASC staff cannot serve as panel members. Panelists assess the strengths and weaknesses of each application. Based on panel evaluation and available funds, panelists make recommendations for funding to the ASC Board of Directors. All Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant applications are reviewed based on the following criteria (30 points):
PROJECT QUALITY (10 points) – Evidence of a clear project plan and appropriate goals and measures for success.
PROJECT FEASIBILITY & SUSTAINABILITY (10 points) – Evidence that the project can be completed within the project period and proposed budget and the sustainability of the project over time.
INNOVATIVE USES OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND/OR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION (10 points) – Evidence of a clear plan for innovative approaches to science, environmental education, and/or use of technology.Duke Energy Science & Environmental Grant panelists are not required to attend activities and may not necessarily be familiar with your organization. Therefore, as you prepare your application, it is important to clearly articulate the value, impact, and quality of the project, as it may be the first exposure a panelist will have with your proposed project.
Q: What can Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant dollars be used for?
A: Funds can be used for program-related fees & contracts, marketing & advertising expenses, expendable supplies & materials, space rental, etc. If you are unsure if you can use grant funds for a specific expense, please see the list of ineligible costs below or contact the ASC Community & Cultural Investment Program Assistant at 704-333-2272.
Q: Is there anything that I am unable to use ASC funds for?
A: Yes, Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant funds cannot be used to support the following:
- Colleges, universities and libraries may receive grants for programs that are community-based or generate regional science or environmental involvement. Grants may not support their internal programs, administration or operating expenses (i.e. library books, lab activities, equipment purchases).
- Grant funds may not be used to award prizes, including scholarships, tuition or financial awards to individuals or organizations.
- Religious organizations or churches may not receive grant funds unless the programs are presented outside regular church services, engage the larger community, and do not contain religious content.
Grant funds money may not be used for the following kind of expenditures:
- Capital expenditures - Capital expenditures include expenses for purchase of buildings or real estate, renovations or improvements involving structural changes, payments for roads, driveways or parking lots, or permanent and generally immobile equipment such as grid systems or central air conditioning. Capital expenditures include acquisitions, which are expenses for additions to a collection of art. However, funds may be used to underwrite some technology or equipment-related costs required to complete the proposed project.
- Contingency funds - funds for an event that may occur but that is not likely or intended
- Costs for selling and/or marketing any products or services of the organization that are unrelated to the funded project.
- Deficit reduction, bad debts, interest on loans, indirect cost rate expenses, losses on other awards or contracts, or fines, penalties, or litigation costs.
- Donations and contributions to other organizations.
- Entertainment costs (costs of amusement, diversion, social activities, ceremonials, and costs relating thereto, such as meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, and gratuities) or costs for food or beverages for parties or receptions or for alcoholic beverages.
- Events specifically designed to fundraise.
- Fundraising and investment management costs.
- Goods or services for personal use of the organization's employees.
- Lobbying expenses
- Operating support (administrative salaries, ongoing operating expenses, etc.).
- Organizational establishment or reorganization costs.
Q: If my organization receives funding, what will be required?
A: Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant recipients will be required to do the following:
- Complete and return a Funding Agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of the award and a revised budget and narrative (if the applicant receives less than the requested amount).
- Comply with ASC Marketing Guidelines for Grantees including usage of the ASC and Duke Energy logos and the following credit line in all materials related to the funded project:
This program is supported, in part, through an investment of the Arts & Science Council and the Duke Energy Science and Environmental Education Fund.
- Submit an interim and final report and all additional paperwork and project documentation, no later than 30 days after the project has been completed.
Q: The application asks me to provide my City of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County District numbers. Where do I find these?
A: If you do not know your district information, go to the website below and follow the steps listed: http://www.meckboe.org/AddressSearch.aspx.
STEP 1: Enter the house number, street name, and street type, click “GO.” The results of the search will show up below the search fields.
STEP 2: Select your address.
STEP 3: Your County District Number will be located next to County Commissioner." Your City District Number will be located next to "City Council District."
This geographic information assists with the review of your application. In addition, it allows the ASC to track the reach of its investments. However, if your organization or project is not located within the Charlotte city limits or within Mecklenburg County (but falls within Duke Energy service area), please choose N/A.
Q: Other than the online application information, can I submit any additional support material?
A: Your organization may submit ONE copy of up to five (5) 8 ½ x 11 pages of additional support material. (newspaper clippings, brochures, etc.) If any materials cannot be uploaded with your application, you may submit them to the address below. Support materials must be received by the deadline. Materials will not be returned.Arts & Science Council
Cultural and Community Investment
Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grant Program
227 W. Trade Street, Suite 250
Charlotte, NC 28202
Q: What assistance does ASC provide to applicants?
A: Online grant-writing tips are available here. Additionally, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a draft of their application to be reviewed for comments and suggestions prior to final submission. Draft applications can be reviewed up to one week before the deadline. Unfortunately, we are unable to review draft applications after Friday, October 1, 2010.
Q: I have more questions. Where can I get help?
A: ASC's Cultural and Community Investment staff is available to answer questions as you develop your application. Please contact the Program Assistant at 704-333-2272.
Q: When do I have to turn in my application?
A: There is one deadline biannually for Duke Energy Science & Environmental Education Grants. Applications must be received by Friday, October 8, 2010, at 12:00 NOON. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications submitted after 12:00 noon.