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Guidelines for Open Applications grant stream

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Objective of this grant stream

The objective of the Support Fund Open Applications is to help organisations to remain viable and meet increased demand for services during COVID-19 outbreaks and recovery.

Charities and NFPs can apply for an Open Applications grant, whether the organisation is contracted by DCJ or not.

What the payment can be used for

The payment is designed to support the medium-term service needs of charities and NFPs, help to ensure their viability, and maintain diversity in the social, health, disability and animal welfare sectors.

The funds must be used for services your organisation would normally deliver to clients and communities.

You can use this payment for:

  • your organisation’s gradual return to service delivery, as close to business-as-usual as possible, based on your COVID management plan, Public Health Orders and any other NSW Health advice
  • brokering services for clients
  • paying incidental expenses to clients.

In addition, up to 50% of the payment can be used to retrospectively reimburse expenses incurred since 26 June 2021 (when the Greater Sydney lockdown started).

You can’t use this payment for:

  • significant service variations, such as a new service model
  • minor capital, property, infrastructure or technology improvements
  • any other significant organisation capability development
  • activities that incur a liability or expectation for DCJ to provide additional funding.

Eligibility criteria

Organisations eligible for this grant

Your organisation is eligible for an Open Applications grant payment if you meet all of the following criteria; you:

  • are a charity or not-for-profit registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC), the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), or NSW Fair Trading (note that this criterion has been updated)
  • provide social, health, disability or animal welfare services for citizens in NSW
  • aren’t currently receiving JobSaver or JobSaver for Not-for-Profit
  • have the capacity to expend the grant by 30 April 2022. This date can be extended up to 30 June 2022 if your organisation requests an extension and DCJ consents to the extension before 30 April 2022.

In addition, your organisation is eligible if, for July–September 2021 when compared to April–June 2021, due to COVID-19 you have had either:

  • a revenue decrease of less than 15%, and an increase in operating expenses or an increase in demand for services, or
  • no change in revenue or an increase in revenue and, to meet demand, operating expenses have increased over and above revenue.

Note that revenue includes government grants.

Organisations not eligible for this grant

We’ll assess eligible organisations at a point in time to determine whether they’re receiving JobSaver or JobSaver for Not-for-Profit payments. Organisations receiving either of these payments aren’t eligible for an Open Applications grant payment.

If your organisation’s revenue decreased by more than 15%, you’re not eligible for this grant. However, you may be eligible for JobSaver or JobSaver for Not-for-Profit.

If your circumstances change or you have questions about your eligibility, contact the Social Sector Support Fund mailbox.

Reporting requirements

Successful organisations will be required to complete a financial report via SmartyGrants in May 2022. You’ll need to report how much of the grant has been expended and whether your organisation has been able to meet the demand for services.

If your organisation is contracted by DCJ to deliver funded services, you’ll be required to include the grant in your corporate financial statements that are submitted as part of your annual accountability 2021–2022 reporting. You won’t be required to submit a financial breakdown of the grant in the annual accountability report.

How to apply for this grant

Your organisation can apply for this grant through SmartyGrants.

Grant applications open Thursday 4 November 2021 and close at 11:59pm Sunday 28 November 2021.

It’s a straightforward process to apply for this grant, based on eligibility criteria. It’s not a competitive tender.

If your organisation registered interest for the Support Fund, you’re still required to formally apply for an Open Applications grant. While you’re required to answer similar questions, you’re also required to provide more information and, in some cases, evidence to support your answers.

You’re required to:

  • nominate the grant amount you’re applying for
  • justify the amount based on your organisation’s:
    • total revenue, and
    • change in revenue for July–September 2021 when compared to April–June 2021, and
    • for the same period, changes in operating expenses and in demand for your organisation’s services
  • provide supporting data for your revenue and expenses; for example, income and expenditure statements (not required to be audited)
  • briefly explain how your demand for services has changed; for example, the number of people you’ve had to turn away, the number of calls you’ve received, or the number of people you have on a waiting list.

You’re not required to submit a detailed project proposal or budget.

If you have questions, contact the Social Sector Support Fund mailbox.

How we’ll assess your application

DCJ has allocated $22.5 million of the Support Fund for the Open Applications grant stream. Our aim is to ensure an equitable distribution of funds across organisations in the social, health, disability and animal welfare sectors.

The key considerations for assessing your organisation’s application are:

  • you satisfied all of the eligibility criteria, and
  • the net effect of your organisation’s change in revenue and increase in expenses or increase in demand for services due to COVID-19, for July–September 2021 when compared to April–June 2021, and
  • you have the capacity to expend the grant by 30 April 2022, unless agreed with DCJ beforehand.

We may ask for more information or evidence to make our assessment.

If the Open Applications grant is oversubscribed, we may take into account any of the following considerations:

  • whether your organisation received a Select Tender grant or Workforce Contingency payment from the Support fund, in which case we’ll prioritise applications from organisations that haven’t received a Support Fund grant
  • whether you’re an Aboriginal organisation, or your organisation primarily delivers services in regional NSW, in which case we may prioritise your application
  • whether you’ve applied for and received other grants to help your organisation respond to COVID-19, and the amounts received, in which case we’ll prioritise applications from organisations that haven’t received other grants.

If necessary, depending on the amount of oversubscription, we may:

  • use a standard percentage to reduce the amounts requested in all applications
  • set a cap on amounts over a value to be determined, based on the number of applications and the amounts requested.

If the Open Applications grant is undersubscribed, DCJ may offer you an increased grant or reallocate funds to other Support Fund grant streams.

DCJ will assess applications by 6 December 2021.

If successful, your organisation will be issued a Funding Deed with DCJ, which you’ll be required to sign and return.

Important note

After payments have been made, DCJ will review a certain percentage of successful applicants to verify the information the organisations provided in their applications. If we find there are inconsistencies, we may request the funds be returned to us.

How to appeal a decision

You can appeal a decision made in relation to this grant by contacting the Social Sector Support Fund mailbox.

Appeals must be submitted by 31 March 2022.

Find out more at our online forum

We hosted an online forum on 11 November 2021 that:

  • went through the guidelines and grant process
  • explained this grant in relation to other Support Fund grant streams, JobSaver, and the other government assistance that’s been available to charities and NFPs
  • gave organisations the opportunity to ask questions.

Download the slide deck that we used at the forum.

Read answers to the questions asked during the forum.

Watch the video recording of the forum.

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Last updated: 22 Feb 2022