Tribal Exchange Network FAQs FY21
Exchange Network Grants
- What is the Exchange Network (EN)?
- How does the EN support tribal environmental management?
- How can a tribe get involved in the EN?
- How have tribes used Exchange Network (EN) Grants in the past?
- How do I apply for an EN grant?
- What projects are eligible for an EN grant?
- Which tribal entities are eligible to apply for EN grant funds?
- What Are Intertribal Consortia?
- How Can My Tribe Apply for an EN Grant?
- What types of entities qualify as Mentors? What types of support can a mentor provide?
- Can tribes request basic grants training from EPA? If so, what is the process for requesting training?
- If I have questions while completing my EN grant application, who can I contact?
- Are tribes limited to a percentage of EN grants funding annually?
- How many EN grants have tribes received?
- If I am a Federally recognized Tribe can I charge indirect costs?
- What documents are required to charge an indirect cost?
- How do I obtain an indirect cost rate agreement?
- What if my agency does not have an approved indirect cost rate agreement?
- Can I use an expired indirect cost rate agreement?
- Does the EN grants program fund Operations & Maintenance costs?
- What has EPA done to address Operations & Maintenance concerns regarding EN grants? Where can I find additional information on this topic?
- What is the Shared Services Resource Catalog (SSRC) and how does it help me?
- What's New in the FY21 SN?
Exchange Network Technical Topics
- What is a node?
- What is a node client?
- What is the Exchange Network Services Center?
- What is the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy?
- What are the three principles of the Digital Strategy?
- Why is the Digital Strategy important when building my project?
- What are Virtual Exchange Services or VES?
- How does the VES approach assist with development and maintenance of data exchanges?
- Are there limitations on who can implement VES?
- What is the difference between ENSC and VES? Which should I use?
- Can I choose to build my own node and not use VES or ENSC?
- If I have a traditional node, can I continue to use it and receive grant funding under the EN Grant Program? If not, how do I transition to a virtual node and virtual services?
- Would an expense such as node maintenance or server upgrades (operations & maintenance) be considered allowable costs under another funding program (e.g., for an air monitoring project under Clean Air Act 103 grant funding)?
- What is the Cybersecurity term and condition for EPA assistance agreements?
- How does this term and condition affect tribal EN grant recipients?
Questions Asked During FY21 SN Webinar Sessions
- A requirement of the new ‘Individual Capacity Building with Mentorship’ opportunity is that the applicant cannot be a former EN grantee. What if your tribe has received previous EN grants, but not you or your current group of employees. Are we still not allowed to apply?
- Is an Indirect Cost Rate required to apply?
- What happens if a mentor is identified for the ‘Individual Capacity Building with Mentorship’ funding opportunity prior to the grant award, but a change of staff occurs after the grant is funded?
- Is there a list or resources available for tribes to find suitable mentors?
- Would two federally recognized tribes in the same geographic region comprise an eligible partnership?
Exchange Network Grants
What is the Exchange Network (EN)?
The Environmental Information Exchange Network (EN) is a partner-inspired, developed, implemented and governed information network for environmental data sharing among EPA, states, tribes and territories. The EN:
- Facilitates the sharing of environmental data, especially through shared and reusable services;
- Streamlines data collection and exchanges to improve timeliness for decision making;
- Increases the quality and access to environmental data;
- Reduces burden and costs for co-regulators and the regulated community; and
- Supports better decisions on environmental and health issues.
How does the EN support tribal environmental management?
The EN can help tribal partners to:
- Increase capacity to collect, analyze, manage, and share data
- Increase access to environmental and health related information to assist the tribe with planning, decision-making, and addressing environmental issues more broadly
- Improve ability to characterize environmental conditions on tribal land and identify resources needed to address issues
- Facilitate information sharing within a tribe's agencies, with other tribes, states and the federal government
- Expedite sharing of environmental data with emergency managers and community members
- Identify and take advantage of tools and resources already created by other EN partners to meet their Information Technology/Information Management needs
- Support compliance with federal regulations
How can a tribe get involved in the EN?
There are many ways for tribes to get involved in the Exchange Network. Tribes in any stage of information management program maturity may apply for Exchange Network grants to build the tribe's capacity to share environmental information with EPA, other EN partners, and the public. Tribes can apply for individual projects or can partner with a more experienced tribe. Tribes can also visit http://www.tribalexchangenetwork.org/ for more information, subscribe to the Tribal EN alerts or subscribe to EN alerts. Tribal representatives can seek assistance from or volunteer to join the Tribal Exchange Network Group (TXG). Tribes may also contact Lydia Scheer (email@example.com) with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) with EN questions. Interested tribes can also participate in open calls or EN-related meetings and conferences on topics of interest hosted by the TXG or announced via Tribal EN alerts.
How have tribes used Exchange Network (EN) Grants in the past?
Tribes use EN grants to develop the Information Technology (IT), Information Management (IM), and sharing capabilities needed by their tribe to support and improve environmental decision-making. Find out more about the types of activities in which states, tribes and territories are involved by reviewing Previous Exchange Network Grant Projects that were awarded from 2002 to 2020. Below are also some examples of how tribes have used EN grants:
- Provide training and support to participating tribes to submit new data for Quality Assurance/Quality Control, data analysis and upload, geospatial features, and share open dump data via the exchange network
- Provide understandable summaries of water quality data to citizens and partner with a local school to empower and create future environmental leaders
- Collect data using Unmanned Aerial System flight imagery and process, interpret, and store those data
- Provide the foundation to collaborate with other tribal nations to help build tools that allow for better environmental management within each tribe's jurisdiction
- Develop tools to manage and monitor water quality as well as facilitate data exchange and analysis to help examine how environmental stressors are affecting wild rice resources across the region
- Develop geospatial data layers and an application to allow for faster and more effective data sharing for quicker emergency response and recovery
- Focus on air data gathering and transmissions through the Air Quality System to improve data submissions and reduce submission costs and burden
- Build the capacity of 23 tribal programs to consolidate, validate, analyze and share their water quality data to the EPA's Water Quality Exchange (WQX), in order to reduce program workload through more efficient processes and mechanisms
How do I apply for an EN grant?
Tribes interested in applying for an EN grant should download the Solicitation Notice (SN) from the EPA Exchange Network website. The SN identifies EPA's grant funding areas and the types of assistance agreements that are available, provides application instructions, optional templates, and includes evaluation criteria used to score the applications. In addition to the SN, EPA has posted additional documents on the EPA Exchange Network website to assist applicants in preparing successful applications. These documents provide an overview of the notice, as well as tips and tricks for preparing an application that meets all requirements.
What projects are eligible for an EN grant?
Section I-B of the Solicitation Notice summarizes funding areas and general categories of projects that are eligible for funding in the current grant cycle. Specific funding opportunities are listed in Appendix A, Appendix B, and Appendix C.
- Appendix A contains opportunities designed to help agencies adopt innovative business processes, data management practices and services to support their workflows.
- Appendix B includes opportunities designed to eliminate paper submittals and expand e-reporting required as part of EPA programs. Opportunities within Appendix B are created by EPA National Program Offices to help their stakeholders submit and share programmatic data for fourteen EPA programs.
- Appendix C has opportunities intended to support applicants in building the IT and data management capacity to manage their environmental programs and enable increased participation in the EN.
Grant funds are intended for the development of IT and data management activities and cannot be used for Operations & Maintenance.
Examples of capacity-building projects include developing a back-end database or implementing an intra-tribal data exchange.
Which tribal entities are eligible to apply for EN grant funds?
Eligible applicants for the Exchange Network Grant Program include federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages and inter-tribal consortia of federally recognized tribes (e.g., the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission).
What Are Intertribal Consortia?
An intertribal consortium is a coalition of two or more separate federally recognized Indian tribes that join for the purpose of applying for a grant. An intertribal consortium is eligible to receive a grant or Cooperative Agreement from EPA only if the intertribal consortium demonstrates that all members of the consortium meet the eligibility requirements for the Cooperative Agreement, and all members authorize the consortium to apply for and receive assistance.
How Can My Tribe Apply for an EN Grant?
Tribes can apply for resources as an individual applicant or as a partnership. The funding limit on individual grants for FY 2021 cycle is $200,000. For FY 2021, tribes can also apply for Individual Capacity Building with Mentorship which is available to individual applicants who have never been awarded an EN grant. Under this opportunity the tribe identifies a mentor to help them with their capacity building project and may receive up to $15,000 for mentorship support costs on top of the $200,000 threshold for individual capacity building grants (for a possible total of up to $215,000).
Tribes and inter-tribal consortia can also apply for partnership grants which include one or more partners. The funding limit for partnership grants for the FY 2021 cycle is $400,000. Eligibility requirements for partnership grants can be found in Section III-D of the SN.
What types of entities qualify as Mentors? What types of support can a mentor provide?
Mentors should be a tribe, state, or territory that has successfully completed an EN grant and that currently reports or publishes data for one or more environmental programs using an EN node, Virtual Exchange Services (VES), or APIs.
Support activities of a mentor may include:
- Demonstrating the mentor's implemented system;
- Providing technical assistance to set up the data exchange;
- Training on data entry, data analysis, and report generation;
- Giving ongoing support after installation:
- Addressing data and exchange questions;
- Providing guidance on submitting reports and completing close-out activities;
- Offering guidance on how to actively participate in the Exchange Network, as well as Tribal Governance Group trainings and assistance.
Mentoring activities may take place by phone, over web conferencing, or in person, as needed.
Can tribes request basic grants training from EPA? If so, what is the process for requesting training?
YES. EPA's Office of Grants and Debarment offers training opportunities for tribal grantees and potential applicants online throughout the year. Sessions include topics related to grants management, new regulations, EPA policies, and more. Training opportunities for grant applicants and recipients can be found here.
EN Grants Specific training: After posting the Exchange Network Grant Program Solicitation Notice, EPA holds webinars on writing an Exchange Network (EN) grant application. EPA's Regional Exchange Network Coordinators hold conference calls and meetings with grantees throughout the year. Information about upcoming trainings and webinars will be posted to this web page. EPA also has a cooperative agreement with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) to support tribal participation in the EN and conduct webinars and trainings on data managment. Tribes may also contact Lydia Scheer, ITEP, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any EN questions.
If I have questions while completing my EN grant application, who can I contact?
Applicants with questions about eligibility can contact EN Grant Program Manager Erika Beasley (email@example.com) at (202) 566-2530.
Are tribes limited to a percentage of EN grants funding annually?
No, however, EPA remains committed to awarding at least 10% of the appropriated funds being used to award EN grants to tribes. The amount awarded to tribes may be greater than this, depending on the final appropriated amount for grant programs, the number of applicants, proposed project budgets, the merit of tribal applications, and on the competitive review of all applications.
How many EN grants have tribes received?
Since 2002 EPA has awarded 205 Exchange Network grants for a total of approximately $40 million to tribes.
If I am a Federally recognized Tribe can I charge indirect costs?
Tribes must have an approved indirect cost rate agreement from the Department of the Interior's National Business Center to apply an indirect cost rate.
What documents are required to charge an indirect cost?
If you wish to include indirect costs in your proposed budget when applying for a grant or cooperative agreement, you must (1) Provide a copy of your current approved indirect cost rate agreement, or (2) Provide a copy of documentation showing that you have submitted an indirect cost rate proposal to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approval if you do not have a current approved indirect cost rate.
How do I obtain an indirect cost rate agreement?
If you do not have a previously established indirect cost rate (IDC), you must prepare an indirect cost rate proposal in accordance with 2 CFR 200 Subpart E, "Special Considerations for States, Local Governments and Indian Tribes." Submit your indirect cost rate proposal to:
National Business Center
Indirect Cost Services
U.S. Department of the Interior
2180 Harvard Street, Suite 430
Sacramento, CA 95815-3317
What if my agency does not have an approved indirect cost rate agreement?
If you have not submitted a proposal for an indirect cost rate (IDC) agreement you may choose one of the following options for including indirect costs in your proposed budget: (1) Select the EPA 10% Default Indirect Cost Rate for the life of the agreement, or (2) Choose not to charge the indirect cost rate for the life for the agreement.
Can I use an expired indirect cost rate agreement?
EPA may approve a regulatory exception to allow a recipient with a fixed rate with carry-forward to continue to use the fixed rate for up to four additional fiscal years after the rate's expiration date. Please note you must submit a regulatory exception to continue to use an expiring/expired fixed rate with carry-forward request to EPA for approval. Instructions follow below on how to continue to use an Expiring/Expired fixed rate with Carry-Forward:
The applicant/recipient should email the exception request to OMS-ARM-OGDWaivers@epa.gov, copy the Grants Managment Officers (GMOs) when submitting the exception request, and:
- The email subject should be "IDC Regulatory Exception." Include grant numbers for all current grants with the EPA. These numbers are available on the EPA grant award documents, and will start with the Program Code (such as "GA" for a GAP grant) and then eight alphanumeric characters (such as J0110962)
- Include the Recipient Organization's Name, as shown in www.SAM.gov
- Include the Recipient Organizations Unique Entity Identifier (currently the Dunn and Bradstreet or DUNS) Number
- Include the recipient Organization's Contact Information (email address, mailing address, and phone number)
- Include a statement that the applicant/recipient is requesting an exception to the requirement at 2 CFR 200.414© that it charge indirect costs based on an approved rate
- Include a justification for the exception (description of why the exception is needed, any extenuating circumstances that may prevent compliance with the requirement to obtain an approved fixed rate with carry forward prior to expiration)
- Include a copy of the most recent IDC rate agreement; and
- Include any additional information that may help EPA to make a determination
Does the EN grants program fund Operations & Maintenance costs?
EN grants do not fund operations and maintenance costs because these costs would overwhelm the program's grant resources. Instead, EPA encourages EN partners to investigate the possibility of using media program grant funds to support operations and maintenance. EPA understands that operations and maintenance expenditures are of concern to tribes and EPA has tried to address those concerns by leveraging existing Virtual Exchange Services (i.e., virtual node) to minimize the need. The following costs are also not allowable: construction costs, workshops and conferences, pre - award costs, management fees, or the development and deployment of physical partner nodes. EPA includes definitions of operations and maintenance in the solicitation notice.
What has EPA done to address Operations & Maintenance concerns regarding EN grants? Where can I find additional information on this topic?
EPA realizes that Operations and Maintenance is a main concern of our tribal stakeholders. While we cannot fund activities that are considered operations and maintenance, we provide existing Virtual Exchange Services or VES (i.e., virtual node) for select dataflows. VES are free to use and grantees would not have to develop their own node to exchange data. Also see answer to FAQ directly above.
What is the Shared Services Resource Catalog (SSRC) and how does it help me?
The Shared Services Resource Catalog (SSRC) is part of EPA's System of Registries. It is both a catalog of EPA, state, tribal and territory services and a registry of XML schema, widgets, plug-ins, web services and many other resources all of which can be reused by others. SSRC has a searchable interface with which users can search for existing data and IT assets, grouped by resource types of similar assets. Anyone can search these resources by going to the SSRC public website, which hosts all publicly viewable resources without requiring registration or a password.
SSRC also houses the records of any EN resources that have been registered in accordance with the EN grant program's requirement for applicants to register any newly developed resources (required since 2011) and the reuse of existing resources (required since 2018). At the time of grant close-out, Exchange Network grantees work with their Regional Exchange Network Coordinator (RENC) to complete a webform which is used to create a record in SSRC. Any data flows, EN services, and other IT resources previously registered in the now-retired Reusable Component Service (RCS) Inventory System have been migrated to the SSRC.
Past project records on the EN Grants website now contain information, where available, on reusable components that were developed as part of the project and registered in SSRC. To find any registered reusable components follow these steps:
- Visit the Previous Exchange Network Grant Projects and select a link for the fiscal year you would like to search.
- In the PDF file, examine the column marked "Registered Components". Projects that have components registered in EPA's Shared Services Resource Catalog (SSRC) will include a hyperlink in that column.
What's New in the FY21 SN?
Potential applicants are encouraged to review the new FY21 Solicitation Notice (SN) in full, as significant updates have been made throughout the document. Significant updates to the FY21 SN include, but are not limited to:
- The reduction from 5 to 3 Exchange Network (EN) Funding Areas;
- An increased emphasis on the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy (EEDS) (see EEDS section in the question "What is the Digital Strategy? under Exchange Network Technical Topics below);
- Updated Evaluation Criteria;
- New and updated EN funding opportunities (see Appendices A – C); and
- Updated Applicant Guidance in Appendices E & F.
Tribal applicants should also note that a new capacity building funding opportunity has been added to Appendix C under EN Funding Area 3. This opportunity, titled 'Individual Capacity Building with Mentorship', allows for up to $15,000 in mentorship support in addition to the $200,000 funding threshold for individual applicants. Please read the funding opportunity write-up thoroughly for more details, including applicable restrictions and requirements (see SN Page 70).
The Exchange Network Grant Program has also made 3 optional, fillable templates available to applicants on the EN website. There are templates for the application cover letter, project narrative, and budget narrative attachment form. These templates are available on the EN website.
Exchange Network Technical Topics
What is a node?
A Node or Network Node is a server running specialized software that initiates and responds to requests for environmental information from Exchange Network partners. The requests and responses use common formats expressed in eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and conform to the Exchange Network protocol and specifications. A Node can initiate the submission of data, request data from another node, and respond to a request for data from another node or an application making a data query over the network. Sending data in response to a query is known as publishing. Nodes allow for machine-to-machine communications, which means that data exchanges can be automated. A node has an administrative interface that lets its owner configure and operate it.
What is a node client?
A node client is a software application that allows a user to send data to Exchange Network nodes using Exchange Network services but cannot listen to requests or other messages coming from nodes. It allows for human-to-machine communication as opposed to machine-to machine communication. Node clients are easy to install and use and are available in .NET and JAVA versions. A Node Client Developer Kit (SDK Software) simplifies integrating Node client functions (web service calls) into any software application with just a few lines of script. Examples of clients include:
- Exchange Network Service Center
- Windsor Client
- CDX JAVA Client
- Homeland Emergency Response Exchange (HERE)
What is the Exchange Network Services Center?
The Exchange Network Services Center (ENSC) is a web-based tool designed to allow Exchange Network users to easily send, get, and download information from other partners on the Exchange Network. This website is a:
- "No Frills" web access to Exchange Network services
- Simple, easier-to-use and more intuitive site designed for the less technical program user and more advanced technical users
- More personalized experience that allows you to quickly access the services and data that you use most often
What is the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy?
The E-Enterprise Digital Strategy (EEDS) (PDF) (14 pp, 2.3 MB) reflects the evolution of IT and services and, as a living document, will continue to be updated to incorporate new technological developments and changing programmatic needs. The EEDS serves as a high-level framework for an environmental enterprise that is Customer-Centric, Information-Centric, and based on Shared Platforms and Services. The funding opportunities (as detailed in Appendix A, B, & C) within this Solicitation Notice (SN) encompass these principles and will continue to do so in future versions.
What are the three principles of the Digital Strategy?
The three principles of the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy (EEDS) include the 'Information Centric Approach', the 'Shared Platform Approach', and the 'Customer Centric Approach'; click the link in the section above to access the full EEDS text and learn more.
Why is the Digital Strategy important when building my project?
The FY21 SN's Evaluation Criteria (see Section V-A) were updated to better align with the three principles of the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy (EEDS). Ten application scoring points are now directly associated with an application's adherence to the EEDS.
What are Virtual Exchange Services or VES?
Virtual Exchange Services are EPA cloud-based services that support all the functions of a Network Node. VES can host any number of state, tribal, and territory partner data exchange activities and provide all the same services as a traditional Exchange Network node for the data flows listed in Table 1 below. The VES environment is maintained by EPA while each partner can be provided a secure tenant to configure and implement fully functional data flows with no coding required. Currently, there are no costs to Exchange Network partners for the use of VES other than the charges incurred for partners to implement data flows in their environment (e.g., mapping data, database enhancements, local security requirements). EPA maintains the dataflow templates that allow users to import each dataflow and avoid coding, installation and hardware and software costs for the data exchange process. Partners will have to complete the following tasks:
- Create a staging database (format and install code provided on the site)
- Push data into the staging database that is to be exchanged
- Set-up the Internet service bus connection (documented on the site). For more information, see: Virtual Exchange Services
|Table 1: Data Flows Supported by VES|
|Air Quality System (AQS) 3.0|
|Integrated Compliance Information System - AIR (ICIS-AIR)|
|Emissions Inventory System (EIS)|
|Integrated Compliance Information System - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES)|
|Integrated Compliance Information System – Digital Services (ICIS-DA)|
|Water Quality Exchange (WQX v2.1)|
How does the VES approach assist with development and maintenance of data exchanges?
The VES approach simplifies development and maintenance of data exchanges using inheritance features and plug-in support. It eliminates software licensing costs, server costs and much of the administration costs for partners, while providing a simplified development model and greater economies of scale. State, tribal or territorial administrators retain complete control of all aspects of their VES, their data flows and access to their staging tables or databases. VES is currently in production with large and small states, tribes and air districts. Some states are using VES for new flows listed in Table 1 above and keeping their physical nodes for existing flows.
Are there limitations on who can implement VES?
Certain technical requirements are necessary for successful implementation of VES. Technical Requirements are a Machine Windows 64-bit Internet connected computer with a modern web browser, a Database SQL Server Express Edition, an SQL Server, an Oracle Connectivity Internet Service Bus (ISB) Technical Skill Database processing to move data from source(s) into the staging database. There needs to be an additional Tool or process to map data into the staging table.
What is the difference between ENSC and VES? Which should I use?
To help determine which is the right option for your organization, the VES/ENSC Decision Tree (PDF) (1 pg, 178 K) was created to guide partners to the select the best solution. More information and resources to help your organization decide are available on the Virtual Exchange Services website.
Can I choose to build my own node and not use VES or ENSC?
YES. EPA, however, no longer provides grant funding to build and deploy physical nodes. Furthermore, the Agency does not provide funding for node operation and maintenance.
If I have a traditional node, can I continue to use it and receive grant funding under the EN Grant Program? If not, how do I transition to a virtual node and virtual services?
EN Partners that have their own nodes can apply for grant funding to deploy new data exchanges or for data publishing projects that use their own node. EPA, however, provides funding for partners to leverage existing services for the dataflows supported by Virtual Exchange Services (VES). Please see Appendix A of the FY 2021 EN Grant Solicitation Notice for VES funding opportunities.
Would an expense such as node maintenance or server upgrades (operations & maintenance) be considered allowable costs under another funding program (e.g., for an air monitoring project under Clean Air Act 103 grant funding)?
Some program grants, but not all allow funds they provide to defray IT/data management or maintenance, and reporting to EPA. A decision on applying funds for Operations & Maintenance in these areas needs to be obtained from the National Program Office to whom the tribe is reporting.
What is the Cybersecurity term and condition for EPA assistance agreements?
Cybersecurity includes policies, procedures and technologies that ensure data confidentiality, integrity and availability. As part of EPA's cybersecurity efforts, the Agency wants to ensure that its partners are protecting their data and ensuring that network connections between partners and EPA are also secure. Consequently, EPA has added a Cybersecurity Term and Condition to all assistance agreements, including agreements with tribes. The tribal term and conditions require that the recipient follow all applicable tribal law and policy cybersecurity requirements to protect environmental data it collects and/or manages. (It does not, however, require tribes to establish cybersecurity requirements, only to adhere to requirements that already exist.) Second, recipients that connect with EPA information systems must ensure that machine to machine connections meet EPA security requirements and enter into Interconnection Service Agreements as appropriate. The second requirement does not apply if the tribe is connecting to EPA through EPA's Central Data Exchange, as they already have their own security in place.
How does this term and condition affect tribal EN grant recipients?
This Term and Condition requires tribes to follow applicable cybersecurity requirements. It does not, however, require tribes to establish cybersecurity requirements, only to adhere to requirements that already exist. EPA, however, encourages tribes that do not currently have such requirements to develop them. The second requirement, which concerns connections with EPA, does not apply to EN grants because tribes will be connecting to EPA through the Exchange Network. The Exchange Network already has its own security in place.
Questions Asked During FY21 SN Webinar Sessions
A requirement of the new ‘Individual Capacity Building with Mentorship’ opportunity is that the applicant cannot be a former EN grantee. What if your tribe has received previous EN grants, but not you or your current group of employees. Are we still not allowed to apply?
If your tribe has received a previous EN grant award, the tribe is not eligible to apply under the Individual Capacity Building with Mentorship opportunity. The exception to this would be if your current tribal entity/group has a DUNS number which differs from the DUNS number of the entity which previously received an EN grant. Please visit sam.gov to determine if your “group” has a separate DUNS number.
Is an Indirect Cost Rate required to apply?
An Indirect Cost Rate is not required to apply for a grant. However, if you wish to include indirect costs in your proposed budget, you must provide a copy of your current approved indirect cost rate agreement in your application package. Please revisit the ‘Budget and Cost Overview’ portion of the FY21 Exchange Network Solicitation Notice Webinar presentation for more information on this topic and for additional options that are available specifically to tribal applicants.
Please note that all applicants may also elect to use the De Minimis Rate of 10% of modified total direct cost to charge indirect costs in a proposed project.
What happens if a mentor is identified for the ‘Individual Capacity Building with Mentorship’ funding opportunity prior to the grant award, but a change of staff occurs after the grant is funded?
If your mentor has changes during your grant’s period of performance, a change request will be required to modify your grant award.
Is there a list or resources available for tribes to find suitable mentors?
For assistance in finding an appropriate mentor, applicants should consider contacting the:
- Environmental Council of the States (ECOS)
- For suggestions on potential state or territorial mentors
- Contact Kurt Rakouskas, Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP)
- For suggestions on potential tribal mentors
- Contact Lydia Scheer, Project Manager, at email@example.com
- Applicants may also find the following websites helpful for identifying potential mentors:
- E-Enterprise Community Inventory Platform (EECIP)
- Previous Projects Page of the EN Website
Would two federally recognized tribes in the same geographic region comprise an eligible partnership?
Yes, two different federally recognized tribes in the same geographic region may apply for funding as an EN partnership, as these are two distinct governments.
Additionally, a noneligible tribe (e.g. one that is not federally recognized) may partner with an eligible one in the same geographic region, as long as the eligible entity is the lead applicant.