Non-Profit Frequently Asked Questions

(Revised October 4, 2020)

General

Question: When can applications be submitted?

Answer

Applications will be accepted from 9:00am August 1st through August 15th at 11:59 PM CST. All applications will be evaluated based on merit and no funds will be awarded until after the application window has closed. If all funds are not depleted during the first round of applications, an additional window will open September 1st through September 15th.


Question: Are grants awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis?

Answer

No, all applications received during the application window will be evaluated and awards will be made based on the application’s merit. For more information on how applications will be evaluated, please see the downloadable recipient packet on the “Grant Information” tab at tncaresact.tn.gov/DHS.

 

Question: Should I submit more than one application with multiple grant administrators? 

Answer

No, please only submit one application per organization. The only exception to this is any food relief applications should be sent to Second Harvest. If you have additional programing you would like to also submit that isn’t food relief, you may submit a second application to another grant admin on top of the Second Harvest application.

 

Question: Can I make revisions to my application after I submit it? 

Answer

If you submitted your application before all informational sessions were held, you will be able to submit a second/updated application for consideration, so long as it is received by August 9th at 11:59 CST. Starting August 10th, the first application submitted is what will be evaluated and any additional applications from your organization will be disregarded. 

 

Question: I have multiple locations or chapters across the state and/or I want to submit an application for multiple programs, should we submit separate applications? 

Answer

No, please only submit one application per organization.

 

Question: What is the deadline to spend the grant funds?

Answer

Recipients must spend funds and submit the appropriate reporting requirements by November 15 or else funds will be subject to de-obligation.


Question: What are the reporting requirements?

Answer

Organizations should submit supporting documentation for their expenditures as incurred, but at minimum on a monthly basis. This reporting will include submitting reports on funds expended, including a narrative on the progress of proposed programs and any necessary supporting documents substantiating eligible expenses. 

 


Question: Will there be any advance on grant funds or will all funds be on the reimbursement basis?

Answer

There will be no advance of funds. All funds will be reimbursed after supporting documentation is provided.

 


Question: Does my grant application have to be approved before I can submit expenses for reimbursement?

Answer

Yes, reimbursements may only be submitted for organizations that have an approved grant. This approved amount is the maximum amount of funding your organization is eligible to request reimbursements for. 

 


Question: What is the timeframe between requesting a reimbursement and receiving a payment?

Answer

Payments will be made as soon as administratively possible after your request is approved. 

 


Question: How will I receive the payment for the reimbursement?

Answer

Payments will be made following the settings associated with your supplier ID in the Tennessee Edison system.

 


Question: How do I know if I have a supplier ID and if I do not have one, how do I get one?

Answer

All payments will require your organization to have a supplier ID on file with the State of Tennessee. When you submit a request for reimbursement, the system will match your organization to your supplier ID on file. If you do not have a match, your grant administrator will reach out to you with instructions to apply for one. Please do not apply for a supplier ID until your grant administrator contacts you with instructions to do so.

 

Question: Do I need a DUNS number to apply and how do I get a DUNS number?

Answer

Dun & Bradstreet provides a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine digit identification number free for all businesses doing business with the federal government. The DUNS number can be obtained in 1 business day.  DUNS Number is required to register with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). If you do not have a DUNS number at the time of application and your application is approved, you will be required to obtain a DUNS number and register with SAM.gov before you are able to submit any request for reimbursement or receive funding through the TN Community CARES program.

 

Question: How will organizations provide substantiating documentation for program expenses?

Answer

Recipients will utilize the TN CAMS system to upload the required information for the expenses they have incurred.

 

Question: What substantiating documentation for program expenses will be required?

Answer

Supporting documentation for expenses will be required. Such support can include and may not be limited to receipts, invoices and proof of payment.     

 

Question: Can a purchase order be submitted for reimbursement and proof of payment be provided at a later time?

Answer

No, proof of payment must be submitted as supporting documentation before a reimbursement is submitted. 

 

Question: Is there a cap on the frequency of reimbursement request? 

Answer

No, there is no cap on the frequency of reimbursement request. They may be submitted as frequently as your organization would like, but must be submitted at least monthly, assuming there have been eligible expenses incurred during the month, until the full grant amount has been funded.


Question: Do organizations have to be a registered 501c3 to be eligible for the program?

Answer

Yes, your organization should be a registered 501c3 and provide your IRS determination letter with your application.

 

Question: Are there any 501c3 organizations that are not eligible?

Answer

No, all 501c3 organizations are eligible for the program. It is important to note that while your organization may be eligible to apply, duplication of benefits is strictly prohibited. If your organization was eligible for any other federal funding or CARES Act funds, you may only apply for funds under the TN Community CARES program that are within the program guidelines and that have not already been funded by another eligible program.

 

Question: Does our organization have to be headquartered in Tennessee to be eligible for the TN Community CARES program?

Answer

No, all 501c3 organizations that provide support and services to Tennesseans are eligible for the program. It is important to note that the grant will only cover eligible expenses, which includes only expenses that are related to services provided in the State of Tennessee and documentation must show that.  

 

Question: Can our organization apply for a grant less than $25,000 or receive funding from another non-profit that receives a larger grant amount?

Answer

No, the minimum grant amount for this program is $25,000. You may not receive funding from another non-profit, as the program does not allow sub-recipients. Partnering with other non-profits are allowed, but each organization must apply for their own grant and report their own expense for reimbursement. Because the grants can cover program expenses from March 1- Nov 15, we would encourage you to reach out to your grant admin to consider ways you may can qualify for the minimum amount of $25,000.

 

Question: Where can I get confirmation that my grant submission was received?

Answer

You should receive an automated email as confirmation of your application being received from no-reply@tncaresact.com. There were several submissions during the first 2 days applications were open that did not receive an automated confirmation email. If you applied before August 3rd, you should receive an email of confirmation by 5pm EST on August 6th. If you still have not received a confirmation email after this time, please contact your grant administrator for assistance.     

 

Question: Do I have to select the administrator for my region or can I choose any administrator?

Answer

The grant administrators span across the state of Tennessee and are intended to be a local point of contact for their respective communities. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is serving as a grant administrator with statewide coverage for proposals related to food relief. When selecting your preferred grant administrator, please consider the graphic region of your organization’s headquarters, but also the best fit for your program needs.  For additional information about Grant Administrators, please see the Grant Administrator page at tncaresact.tn.gov/DHS

 

Question: Where can I find the conflict of interest statement I am required to sign and upload with my application?

Answer

The conflict of interest statement should be a signed statement on official letterhead attesting that: based upon reasonably inquiry, neither the organization, its employees, nor any affiliated individual who will perform services under this potential contract, as a result of this application, have a possible or perceived conflict of interest. There is not a standard form for this statement.

 

Question: Can you clarify what budget should be uploaded as a part of our application?

Answer

There are two application questions related to budgets. The first is the most recent annual operating budget for your organization. The second requested budget is your proposed program budget for spending the TN Community CARES Program grant funds. This proposed budget should equal the grant funding amount you are requesting from the TN Community CARES Program.

 

Question: Is there a template we should use for the requested budgets?

Answer

No, please upload a budget that best suits your organization and describes your proposed program best.

 

Question: Will there be an option for the requested grant amount to be partially approved, or is the full amount requested either approved or denied?

Answer

Yes, it is possible that your proposal will be approved to be partially funded. The Grant Administrator reviewing your application will make a recommendation on the approved award amount for your proposal, based on their review of your application. 


Question: How do I change my email or contact information in TN CAMS?

Answer

For any change of user access to TN CAMS, please email support@tncaresact.com with your request. Your email should come from an email address already associated with your organization, either that of the primary or secondary contact, and should include any relevant support for the change in access. Please allow 2 business days for the change request to be processed.

Eligible Expenses


Question: Are expenses that are reimbursable under Stafford Act Public Assistance eligible expenses under the Community CARES Program?

Answer

While several expenses will be considered eligible expenses under both programs, duplication of benefits is strictly prohibited. All expenses that have been (or will be) reimbursed under FEMA PA are not eligible expenses under the Community CARES Program. As a part of the review of supporting documentation, any expenses that may be covered by FEMA will be sent to TEMA for review.


Question: Can organizations use the grant award to reimburse eligible expenses incurred prior to the receipt of their grant award?

Answer

Grant funds may be used to cover eligible costs incurred from March 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020. If eligible costs were incurred prior to receipt of the grant award, they may be covered by the grant as long as they were not incurred before March 1, 2020 and the required supporting documentation was maintained.


Question: Can grant funds be used to reimburse donors for goods that have been previously donated to the organization?

Answer

No, the guidance provided by the U.S. Treasury regarding the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) prohibits CRF from being used to reimburse donors for goods they have previously donated to an organization. Additionally, if you have received a monetary donation that was restricted for the purchase of certain goods (for example personal protective equipment and face coverings), you cannot use funds under this program to purchase those same goods and reallocate the donated funds to other needs. 


Question: Can an organization use funds to purchase personal protective equipment?

Answer

Yes, this would be an eligible expense as long as the personal protective equipment is used for purposes of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and was used for the programmatic purposes described in your application for the funds. The expense must be incurred between March 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020.


Question: Can the funds be used for the purchase of hand sanitizer and cleaning products for donation to individuals and businesses?

Answer

Yes, this would be an eligible expense as long as the goods are used for purposes of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and was used for the programmatic purposes described in your application for the funds. The expense must be incurred between March 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020.

 

Question: Can the funds be used to cover payroll expenses for employees?

Answer

Yes, the funds may be used to cover payroll expenses, but only for employees who are substantially dedicated to programs that are responding to COVID-19. 

These employees who are deemed substantially dedicated to COVID-19 can have their payroll from March 1-November 15, 2020 reimbursed in full.  If the employee was only partially dedicated to COVID-19 then you would only be able to seek a portion of their payroll to be reimbursed and documentation would need to be supplied regarding the percentage of time and hours spent working on COVID-19 related activities.  

If your organization received a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loan or other federal funding, you may not use funding from the TN Community CARES program to also cover that same payroll. 

For example, if an organization received a $100,000 PPP loan with payroll for the 10 weeks of 5/1-7/15 totaling $100,000 used in the forgiveness calculation: Payroll prior to from 3/1-4/30 and after 7/15, plus all other eligible expenses would qualify for grant applications if they were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cost related to payroll for employees who are absent due to positive COVID-19 testing, waiting for results to a COVID-19 test, or quarantining due to exposure are not eligible. The only payroll eligible is that for employees dedicated to programing that is responding to or preventing the spread of COVID-19.

 

Question: Can the funds be used to replace lost revenue? Since scheduled fundraising events have been cancelled because of COVID-19, can we be reimbursed for loss of anticipated economic income?

Answer

No, replacement of lost revenue is not a permissible use of these funds. All funds should be used to fund programs that are responding to or preventing the spread of COVID-19. Please see the Applicant Informational Packet posted on the website for more information around the priorities under this program.

 

Question: Can the funds be used to reimburse any expenses related to the organization’s development of a proposal for the Tennessee Community CARES program?

Answer

No, costs incurred to submit your application for these funds are not reimbursable.

 

Question: Will any administrative expenses be reimbursed under this program?

Answer

Any administrative and overhead costs incurred by your organization that are allocated to this program will be eligible for reimbursement. These will be limited to 10% of direct cost. 


Question: What supporting documentation is required to support my 10% of direct cost?

Answer

Allowable administrative and overhead cost should be supported by providing a listing of expenses that your organization has incurred and how much of those expense you are allocating to the oversight of this program. Care should be taken to ensure the expenses considered "administrative and overhead" are not duplicated with expenses already directly covered and reimbursed.

See Treasury Guidance Supplemental Guidance on Use of Funds to Cover Administrative Costs at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Guidance-for-State-Territorial-Local-and-Tribal-Governments.pdf


Question: For organizations providing financial assistance to individuals and families impacted by COVID-19, what documentation is needed to support these requests for reimbursement?

Answer

Organizations providing financial assistance to individuals and families impacted by COVID-19 should document their verification that the client was impacted by COVID-19 and should provide an aggregated report to Grant Administrators.  If the organization is chosen to be audited, the organization will need to provide all the details and information necessary. 

 

Question: Is it acceptable for a non-profit to give funds to a client for them to pay their electric or other utility bill?

Answer

Yes. Per the U.S. Treasury FAQs that can be found on the U.S. Treasury website, Fund payments may not be used for government revenue replacement, including the replacement of unpaid utility fees. Fund payments may be used for subsidy payments to electricity account holders to the extent that the subsidy payments are deemed by the recipient to be necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and meet the other criteria of section 601(d) of the Social Security Act outlined in the Guidance. For example, if determined to be a necessary expenditure, a government could provide grants to individuals facing economic hardship to allow them to pay their utility fees and thereby continue to receive essential services. Because the determination of need based on the impact of COVID to each individual will be made be the non-profit level and not at the state level, it is allowable for the recipient of a TN Community CARES award to make direct payments to utility companies for a clients electric or utility bill, so long as that person is in need of assistance due to loss of income from COVID-19 impacts.


Question: How should we address supply chain issues, where the items we have purchased and ordered are not received by the November 15th deadline for submission of an RFF?

Answer

Per U.S. Treasury Guidance, covered costs under the Coronavirus Relief Fund must be incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 30, 2020 (the “covered period”). Further, the cost of an expenditure is not considered to have been incurred until performance or delivery has occurred. Recipients of TN Community CARES awards may submit an RFF before the November 15th cut-off in CAMS with all the support they have at the time. This can include the purchase order, proof of payment, contract, and support for estimated delivery time. Recipients may submit the missing documentation (proof of delivery) when it is available, so long as the item is received by December 30, 2020 as required by Treasury guidance. Any items not delivered by December 30, 2020 are not eligible for reimbursement based on the Treasury guidelines. For additional clarification please see Treasury Guidance at the following link: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Guidance-for-State-Territorial-Local-and-Tribal-Governments.pdf


Question: Will costs incurred after the November 15 deadline be eligible for reimbursement?

Answer

Treasury has stated that all costs must be incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 to be eligible for coverage under CRF. Accordingly, an applicant may submit a RFF for expenses incurred after the November 15 program submission deadline so long as the applicant submits proper documentation for these expenses by November 15 and substantiates those expenses once they are paid in December. The funds will be approved by the November deadline as obligated funds but they will not be disbursed until all December expenses have been substantiated. For example, if the applicant prepays December expenses by November 15 and has proof of purchase of those costs by November 15, then they can submit them for reimbursement through this program. Additionally, the applicant may submit work orders and invoices for the expenses to be paid in December, projected payroll costs for December, etc., however the funding will not be released until the cost/expense is substantiated in CAMS with the proper documentation.

Additional FAQs for Grant Administrators


Question: What are the expectations of responsibilities of the Grant Administrator role?

Answer

The Grant Administrator will be responsible for outreach, marketing, and reporting of funds they administer. The state of Tennessee’s CARES Act compliance partner, HORNE LLP, will work with the Grant Administrators to facilitate outreach and provide training on program specifics where needed. All reporting will be done through the TN CAMS system. The Grant Administrator will take applications, approve funding, and monitor the programs as funds are spent. The Grant Administrator will also be responsible for coordinating with TEMA on Stafford eligible expenses so that those expenses can be evaluated by TEMA.  


Question: Can my organization apply for a grant as a recipient and also be a Grant Administrator?

Answer

No, if your organization is a Grant Administrator, you will not be eligible for a response and recover grant at this time. Please note that Grant Administrators have now already been selected.


Question: Is my organization still eligible to apply to be a Grant Administrator if we only have capacity to administer an amount less than $30 million?

Answer

Yes, your organization may apply and include in the application the maximum amount of funds you would be willing and able to administer. Please note that Grant Administrators have now already been selected.


Question: As the administrator, will we have custodial care of the funds we are to administer?

Answer

No, the administrator will perform the roles defined in the FAQ above, but the disbursement of funds will be processed through the TN CAMS system and the State of Tennessee in the form of an advance, with reporting requirements on all program expenses. The system of record for all funds administer by your organization will be the TN CAMS system.


Question: Is the administrative fee for Grant Administrators paid as funds are disbursed or at the close of the program?

Answer

Administrative fees will be paid as verified expenditures are reimbursed to organizations on eligible programmatic expenses. The TN CAMS system will automatically process payments for admin fees as reimbursements are processed for grant recipients.


Question: Will the receipt of funds require a Uniform Guidance Single Audit for grant administrators?

Answer

No, while funds to non-profits to spend on programing are subject to Uniform Guidance, as a grant administrator, you are a contractor of the State of Tennessee and the payment for your service is not subject to Uniform Guidance. 


Question: With the state maintaining control of the funds, will Grant Administrators be required to report the funds on our 990?

Answer

No, Grant Administrators will only report on the 990 the administrative fee the organization is paid


Question: Will the administrator be able to promote the importance of local non-profits applying for these funds using local and regional media outlets?

Answer

Yes, DHS and HORNE will work with the administrators on hosting townhall webinars for potential applicants to learn more information. You may develop and manage an outreach, communications, and engagement strategy that will be subject to approval by DHS.


Question: What support and technical assistance is available to grant administrators?

Answer

A series of training webinars will take place prior to application processing and review. HORNE and DHS will both be available to answer questions and provide technical support for the CAMS system.