FAQs About Institutional Grants

Q. What organizations may apply?
A. Any non-profit organization or institution of higher learning in the United States or Japan that deals with Japanese studies, the study of the United States, public affairs, or the arts may apply. Individuals may not apply for support directly to the Commission except for the Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship Program.

Q. When are JUSFC deadlines?
A. July 1 annually for all programs except the Creative Artists Fellowship Program, which has an annual submission deadline of February. All hard copy applications must be received at the Commission’s office by the close of business 5 PM, July 1. Means of delivery are via regular mail, commercial delivery service, in-person, or via messenger. Fax copies will not be accepted. If July 1 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Holiday, applications will be accepted until the close of business on the following Monday or business day.

Q. What is JUSFC’s grant decision timeline?

JUSFC has only one grant cycle per year. Grants are evaluated annually and not on a rolling basis.

July 1 – Grant application deadline.

September – JUSFC Grantmaking Meeting

Early October – Successful applicants are notified of awards via a formal letter sent by Email. Awardees must formally accept the grant offer in writing within two weeks of the award notification. This acceptance letter does not establish a contractual agreement for the remittance of funds, but allows JUSFC to execute a grant agreement, which is sent to each grantee approximately 60 days prior to the project start date.

Up to 60 days prior to their anticipated project start date, grantees will receive a grant agreement and a payment authorization form from the Commission. Funds will be disbursed approximately three weeks after the grantee signs and returns the grant paperwork to the Commission. The funds are directly deposited into the grantee’s preferred bank account via a U.S. Department of Treasury check. Funds cannot be disbursed unless the grantee returns the signed grant agreement to the Commission.

Q. How long is the average duration of a project?
A. Projects may range in duration anywhere from a few months to approximately one-and-a-half years. If a project is longer than this, 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. When should the project begin?

A. The project start date should be within 12 months of the grant application date of July 1. However, the project may continue into the following year.

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. For more information about JUSFC grants, please visit www.usaspending.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 costs; dissemination costs; and work-shop or conference expenses. As a general rule, the Commission does not fund hardware, or equipment costs, or costs related to the preparation and submission of the grant application.

Q. Whose CVs should I include?

A. Please include the CVs of all individuals who will be in charge of leading or administering the project.

Q. What should I include in my project proposal?

A. Applicants are encouraged to focus on program content (its importance and relevance to the United States and Japan), impact, outreach, partnerships, and cost-sharing.

Q. How should I present the budget?
A. Please refer to the Commission’s model budget Excel 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. Please feel free to add columns to reflect funding from other sources, or any additional financial information you would like to share. Please be as explicit as possible.

Q. How can I find my congressional district?
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 cover sheet?
A. Yes. Institutional Grant Application Cover Sheet 2017 (PDF) or Institutional Grant Application Cover Sheet 2017 (MSWord) must be used.

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. Will the Commission cover the cost of preparing and printing the application?
A. No.

Q. How many hard copies should I submit?
A. Please submit one hard copy of the entire application, including back up materials. This includes the application coversheet, project narrative, budget outline, and abbreviated curriculum vitae of the principal project participants.