Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Submission of Proposals to the Commission

Q. Who may apply?

A. Any non-profit organization in the United States or Japan may apply for support of a project involving Japanese studies, the study of the United States, public affairs or the arts. The Commission does not accept applications from individuals.  However, individuals may apply for support directly to the Commission except for the U.S.-Japan Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship Program, through the National Endowment for the Arts. (See Creative Artist Program FAQs.)

Q. When is the JUSFC deadline?

A. The application deadline is July 1 annually for all programs except the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program. Hard copy applications must be received at the Commission’s office by the close of business 5:00 PM on July 1. Applications may be submitted via regular mail, commercial delivery service or messenger. Commercial delivery services are recommended.  Fax copies will not be accepted.  If the deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, applications will be accepted at the close of business 5:00 PM Eastern Time the following Monday.

Q. How long is the average duration of a project?

A. Projects may range in duration anywhere from a 2-3 months to approximately one year.  The Commission does not award multi-year grants.  If a project’s activities will exceed one year, the Commission may approve support for Year One, and in principle for the remaining years, pending successful outcome of Year One of the project. In this case re submission of a request for support for each successive year will be necessary.

Q. What is the amount of the “average” grant? How much can I ask for?
A. There is no meaningful “average” for an award. Rather than asking how much the Commission will support and then building a budget to meet a targeted figure, it is better that an applicant itemize a realistic budget based on the needs of the project as fully described in the project narrative. The Commission’s most recent biennial reports and grant awards are available at its website at www.jusfc.gov.

Q. What is overhead, and how much will the Commission support in overhead costs?
A. Most budgets include overhead expenses (also called indirect costs), which allow a project to bear a portion of the administrative costs of the day-to-day operations of an organization. Enter overhead or indirect cost in a budget as one line item after calculating a project’s total direct costs. Examples of overhead items may include a percentage of a bookkeeper’s salary, rent, electricity, etc. They are costs that are incurred whether or not the project moves forward, and ones that an organization has to pay in any event. The Commission will allow a maximum of fifteen (15) percent in overhead costs. (Note that the Commission does not normally support an institution’s rent as a direct cost.)

Q. What budget items does the Commission support?
A. Costs that the Commission will consider are expenses associated with a project including but not necessarily limited to: salary and benefits; travel expenses; direct project administrative and communication costs; dissemination costs; and work-shop or conference expenses. As a general rule, the Commission does not fund hardware or equipment costs.

Q. How should I present the budget?
A. Please refer to the genericbudget (Excel Format) for the format the Commission prefers. You may download the model budget and edit it to create your own budget or create your own budget making sure to include the information fields in the model budget.

Q. How can I find out what my congressional district is?
A. Please consult http://www.house.gov/

Q. How can I get a DUNS Number?
A. Please consult DUNS number information

Q. Do I have to use the Commission’s Application cover sheet?
A. Yes. The Application cover sheet PDF (or Word Document) may be printed from this website.

Q. What constitutes back-up material, and how many copies are necessary?
A. Back-up material is any information that will give the commissioners a more complete understanding of the nature, background, and costs of the project. One copy of any back-up material is sufficient in hard copy and, where possible, in electronic format. Examples may include: full cvs of principals; information about the organization submitting the proposal; examples of the published results of relevant projects the organization has undertaken in the recent past; letters of endorsement, recommendation or confirmation of participation and funding; tapes, videos, catalogs, slides; news clippings, etc. For conservation purposes, please use double-sided copies where possible and avoid including extraneous pages.

Q. Why must hard copies be unbound and hole punched?

A. Staff binds together all proposals received for the commissioners to read at one time. Staples, folders and other means of attachments that have to be torn apart are not acceptable. Proposals may be separated with clips, colored paper, etc. For conservation purposes, please use double-sided copies where possible and avoid including extraneous pages.

Q. How many copies should I submit?

A. 24 copies plus the original. This includes the application coversheet, project narrative, budget outline and abbreviated cvs of the principal project participants.

Q:  When are awards announced?

A:  Awards are announced by mid-September following the July 1 deadline.

Q:  How many awards does the Commission make annually?

A:  The Commission makes between ten and twenty awards annually.  There is no fixed number of annual awards.

Q:  What types of projects are most successful?

A:  Those projects where directors have programs that are well-thought out and at the advanced planning level rather than the conceptual stage; where the directors have consulted directly with staff prior to submission regarding the appropriateness of the project, budget, etc; those projects that have a reasonable and well-thought out budgets with cost-sharing and cost-saving measures.  When is doubt, please contact JUSFC staff to see if your project or program is appropriate for submission.