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Date last updated: Wednesday, June 9, 12:41 PST

Sarah Wilson Grants 101
with Sarah Wilson

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What your 2010 JAG application must include

By Sarah Wilson

As you begin your 2010 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) grant application, there are a number of elements to keep in mind as you are preparing your application. I’ve outlined the 4 attachments below as well as some helpful hints on how to build out the narrative sections.

Program Narrative

All JAG applicants need to submit a program narrative that gives a solid overview of the proposed program activities for the four-year grant period. The program narrative is going to be the key element in your JAG grant proposal. It is the first impression the reviewer will have of your project and funding request. The program narrative must make a clear, concise and evidence-supported statement of the problem you are addressing and attempting to solve.

The narrative must address each of these three areas:

1. Outline the type of programs to be funded
First, think about the purpose for developing the proposal and how your department came to this conclusion. Why has it become an issue? What is the history of this problem and who is the problem affecting? Why is it your department’s problem to solve?

2. Provide a brief analysis of the need for the programs
How did your organization come to realize that this problem exists? A good way to document this is to have conducted a needs assessment within your community to identify the problems. The community is probably already aware of the very problem you are planning to address in your grant proposal and can be an excellent community partner in the development of the grant.

Talk about who is your target audience and how will they benefit from the project. Describe the socioeconomic, geographical and societal context. Describe the cost to the target population and the community. Remember to show causality of the relationship between problem and the cost to the community.

You are going to need evidence to support this claim. You will need to site your data and data sources. Utilize internal/external data to support that the problem is real and can be measured. The information gather should be factual and directly related to the problem to be addressed by your grant proposal.

3. Identify anticipated coordination efforts involving JAG and related justice funds
Keep in mind that joint applications will need to specify the funding distribution to each unit of local government and the purposes for which the funds will be used.

Budget and Budget Narrative

JAG applicants need to submit a budget and budget narrative. Your project budget must match your program layout. This narrative must outline how JAG funds will be used to support and implement the program described in the program narrative. It is your job to clearly and precisely articulate what your department will spend to make your vision a reality.

This narrative should include a full breakdown of administrative costs, as well as an overview of how funds will be allocated across approved JAG purpose areas. Your budget narrative will explain why the costs are what they are. Keep in mind you will need to write a justification for the line item totals only, not each line item.

A sample budget form may be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/forms/budget_detail.pdf.

Review Narrative

Applicants must submit information documenting that the date the JAG application was made available for review to the governing body on a date not less than 30 days before the application was submitted to BJA. In other words, when your department decided on your proposed project, when was it made available for review by your department’s governing body? Examples of governing bodies are a state commission, city council, tribal council, county commission, county board of supervisors, or other legislative body at the local level.

Be sure to also include a statement that the application was made public and an opportunity to comment was provided to citizens and neighborhood or community organizations. Many departments accomplish this by posting a notice in a local newspaper.

If you are applying as part of different jurisdictions, include the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), outlining each participant’s allocation and indicating which jurisdiction is serving as the agent for the joint funds.


The last attachment of your JAG application is an abstract. An abstract includes the applicant's name, the title of the project, goals of the project, and a description of the strategies to be used. The abstract should not exceed a half-page, or 400-500 words.

Standard Form 424

Your final piece to your JAG puzzle is the Standard Form 424. This is a standard form required for use as a cover sheet for submission of applications and related information under discretionary programs. See http://www07.grants.gov/assets/SF424Instructions.pdf for instructions on how to complete your SF-424.

Keep in mind that missing any of these sections may negatively affect the review of the application. A good rule of thumb is to title each of the sections that OJP expects you to include. If you are struggling with any of these narratives and need additional help from the team here at PoliceGrantsHelp, just send us an email. Best of luck with JAG 2010!

Sarah is responsible for the day to day management of the Grant programs on PoliceGrantsHelp, FireGrantsHelp, EMSGrantsHelp, GovGrantsHelp, and EducationGrantsHelp. She has been working with non-profits professionally and personally for over 10 years. Through her leadership the grant assistance program has helped over 20,000 public safety and local government agencies with grant assistance resulting in over $75 million in funding.

Prior to managing the Grants program, Miss Wilson was the Director of Operations for Praetorian Digital and held various marketing and organizational management positions within financial services. Sarah earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Davis. A west coaster her entire life, Sarah was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, raised in Southern California and currently calls San Francisco home.

Contact Sarah Wilson

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