No Way Around a Short Turnaround: The Federal Homeland Security Grant Timeline

SecurityIf you have applied for the Federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) in the past, then you have likely noticed that there is often a late release of the application and then a very short turnaround time until the application is due. This is firstly because the NSGP allocation is always a part of the Federal Department of Homeland Security Allocations bill which is included in the annual Omnibus Spending Package. An Omnibus Spending Package includes many different bills packaged together with the purpose of limiting scrutiny and debate in Congress. Unfortunately, sometimes the Omnibus Spending Package can have the opposite result, causing a divide in Congress over many different issues included in these bills, and resulting in threats of a government shut-down which we often hear about.

There is another aspect in the legal design of NSGP that limits the possibility to extend the turnaround time. By design, NSGP requires that once the Federal government passes the bill and appropriates the dollars, FEMA must release a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the grant within 60 days. Once the NOFO is released, each individual state releases their grant process and deadline. Nonprofits must then complete the application and submit to the state for review. But this is not the final review. Each state must then review all of the submitted grant applications and only then can they pass it on to the Federal Government for final submission– all within 60 days of the release of the NOFO! While it would be nice to have a longer window to apply, it’s not going to happen in light of the federally mandated timelines. 

States like New York, which sent over 400 applications for Federal review last year, need to have enough time to review applications before sending them to DHS within the 60-day window. This means that organizations must be ready to submit their NSGP application almost as soon as it is released. Therefore, it is imperative to get started on your application and all the related parts now even before the NOFO and applications are released so as to be able to submit as soon as possible. Please reach out to our Security Grants Specialist, Rebekah Rybstein for more information or assistance at