Interested in applying to the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding round for the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program)? You may find the following information helpful in getting started. The CDFI Fund is tentatively planning to open the FY 2021 CDFI Program and NACA Program application round in the first quarter of calendar year 2021.
CDFI Program and NACA Program Financial Assistance (FA) and Technical Assistance (TA) awards are flexible tools that can help your organization grow and expand your capacity to serve your community. It’s helpful to have a clear idea of which award type you would like to apply for, as well as what you would like to use your award for, before beginning the application. As part of the application, you will need to provide the CDFI Fund with a clear narrative of how your selected award types will benefit your organization and your community.
Learn About the Programs
The CDFI Fund has a great deal of information about the CDFI Program and NACA Program available on its website. While last year’s application round (for FY 2020) is no longer accepting applications, the resources for that application round are still available online. In particular, the FY 2020 CDFI Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), NACA Program NOFA, Financial Assistance Application Guidance, and Technical Assistance Application Guidance provide an overview of the different types of applications and what the general application requirements are. Reviewing these documents will provide you with useful background information as you prepare for the upcoming FY 2021 application round. Please note that all guidance materials are subject to change for FY 2021.
If you are interested in applying for a FY 2021 Financial Assistance award, please also note that only organizations that have been Certified as CDFIs as of the date the NOFAs are released will be eligible to apply. You do not have to be a Certified CDFI to apply for a Technical Assistance award.
While potential applicants to the programs should find reviewing last year’s materials very helpful, the CDFI Fund would like to highlight some upcoming changes for the FY 2021 application round below.
Upcoming for FY 2021
All elements of the FY 2021 CDFI Program and NACA Program applications are subject to change from the previous year, and more information about the applications will be available when the FY 2021 NOFAs are published in the Federal Register in early calendar year 2021. However, at this time the CDFI Fund anticipates the following changes from the FY 2020 applications:
- The addition of a new application deadline, 30 days after the NOFA is published, for Small and Emerging CDFI (SECA) applicants that wish to request an FA award of more than $700,000.
- The removal of the minimum portfolio size requirement to apply for an FA award.
Pre-Application Webinar Recording and Presentation
The CDFI Program and NACA Program team held a pre-application webinar for potential applicants on December 2, 2020. The recording of that webinar and the accompanying presentation is now available for review on the CDFI Fund’s website and via the links below. The webinar covered the below information, including setting up essential System for Award Management (SAM), Grants.gov, and Awards Management Information System (AMIS) accounts before applying for an award. Additional helpful links may be found below.
FY 2021 Pre-Application Webinar
Initial “Getting Ready to Apply” Steps
The below information has been previously released and updated for the FY 2021 application round. As always, the CDFI Fund encourages you to thoroughly review the information provided on SAM.gov and Grants.gov in advance, as the CDFI Fund is not responsible for maintaining those systems and processes may change.
To successfully submit a CDFI Program or NACA Program funding application, your organization will need to have key information on hand and account access for several different federal government websites. You can act now to speed things up for your organization when the application period opens for the CDFI Program and the NACA Program.
Completing the following will ensure that you will be able to access required forms and information in SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and AMIS. Please note that while we have done our best to compile useful links to help you, the CDFI Fund is not responsible for maintaining links or the accuracy of the information on other organizations' websites.
Step 1: Obtain your DUNS and EIN Numbers
Each applicant must provide, as part of its application submission, a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Applicants without a DUNS number will not be able to register in SAM.gov and Grants.gov, nor submit a Standard Form (SF)-424 Mandatory in the Grants.gov system. Further, the DUNS number in your SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and AMIS accounts must all match and must be the correct DUNS number of the Applicant.
- Please allow sufficient time for Dun and Bradstreet to respond to inquiries and/or requests for DUNS numbers.
- Learn more about how to obtain a DUNS number here.
Applicants must also have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to register in SAM.gov, which is a prerequisite to submit a SF-424 Mandatory via Grants.gov. Applicants that do not have an EIN number must apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain the number. Further, the EIN number in your SAM.gov and AMIS accounts must match and must be the correct EIN number of the applicant.
- Please allow sufficient time to obtain your organization's EIN.
- To obtain an EIN, please visit the IRS.gov page here.
Step 2: Create or Update Your SAM.gov Account
SAM is an official website of the U.S. government that collects, validates, stores, and disseminates business information about the federal government's trading partners in support of the contract awards, grants, and electronic payment processes. You must have an active registration in SAM.gov to do business with the federal government.
Registration in SAM is required as part of the Grants.gov registration process and for all applications submitted for the CDFI Program and NACA Program.
Applicants that have previously registered with SAM must verify their accounts are current and active, as they need to be renewed annually. Even if your organization has registered with SAM previously, you should not assume that your account is still active. Also, the process to reactivate your SAM account may take longer than you anticipate. If your SAM.gov account is not active, you will be unable to submit the Grants.gov portion of your application. Additionally, if your organization is selected to receive a FY 2021 CDFI Program or NACA Program award, the funds from your award will be paid to the bank account you have on file with SAM.gov. Therefore, it is important to have accurate bank information in the system.
- SAM.gov requires the public to have a Login.gov account to use SAM.gov. Here's more information about how to use Login.gov to access SAM.gov.
- Here’s a useful link on how to register a new entity with SAM.gov.
- This process may take three weeks or longer for both new applicants and applicants that need to re-activate an existing SAM.gov account.*
Step 3: Create or Update Your Grants.gov Account
Applicants must have a Grants.gov account and submit the appropriate SF-424 Mandatory by the deadline listed in the applicable program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published in the Federal Register.
The appropriate SF-424 Mandatory must be completed and submitted electronically via Grants.gov before the application materials are due in your AMIS account. You will not be able to submit the SF-424 to the CDFI Fund directly. If you upload the SF-424 Mandatory to your AMIS account, it will not be reviewed. An SF-424 Mandatory must be submitted separately for each program applied to on an annual basis, in accordance with each program's NOFA.
- Please allow sufficient time to register for a Grants.gov account.
- Here's a useful link on how to register for a Grants.gov account.
Step 4: Create or Update Your AMIS Account
Make sure your AMIS account is up-to-date: verify the contacts for your organization are current and assign them the proper permissions. Only a user designated as an Authorized Representative in AMIS can sign the FY 2021 CDFI Program or NACA Program application. Make sure that the person signing the application as the "Authorized Representative" has authority to sign legal documents on behalf of your organization. Consultants working on behalf of your organization cannot be designated as Authorized Representatives. Be sure to include e-mail addresses and phone numbers for each contact. Also, make sure that your organization's mailing address is correct.
In addition, your organization must have an EIN/Tax ID and DUNs number recorded in AMIS in order to submit your application when the applicable funding round is opened. These numbers should reflect those recorded in the SF-424 Mandatory.
- Please allow 1-2 business days to create or update an AMIS account.*
- Learn how to establish an AMIS account here.
*Applicants are advised that the stated durations are estimates only and represent minimum timeframes. Actual timeframes may take longer.