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NY State Prequalification FAQ’s

NY State Prequalification FAQ’s

Transition to SFS

The Grants Management team is pleased to announce that on January 16, 2024, New York will transition grantmaking activities from the Grants Gateway to the Statewide Financial System (SFS).  Following the transition, the Grants Gateway will be retired and SFS will become the State’s new enterprise grants management system.

This transition is based on successes to date and sets the stage for expanded grant making activities.  Many improvements are envisioned, including paperless registration and an enhanced prequalification interface.  The Grants Management team will continue to support all aspects of  State grantmaking, including:

  • Ensuring a user friendly and intuitive SFS solution
  • Preparing for a seamless conversion
  • Promoting Agency and grantee business process transformation
  • Supporting day-to-day nonprofit activities

Key components of the grants management business process remain the same, with the understanding that there will be some differences in the way SFS supports the business process, given it is a differentsystem.This webpage has been established to keep current and future grantees advised of key project information and will be updated regularly

Grants Gateway Shutdown

The Grants Gateway will not be accessible from Wednesday, January 10, 2024 until Tuesday, January 16, 2024.  After January 16, 2024, only competitive grant applications for grant opportunities that were posted in the Grants Gateway prior to January 16, 2024 will be processed in the Grants Gateway. For questions about this, please contact grantsreform@its.ny.gov.

Registration

The December 15, 2023 cutoff date for registration in the Grants Gateway has passed. Instructions for completing registration in the Statewide Financial System can be found on the new Registration Page.

SFS is accessible using a computer or mobile device with an internet connection. SFS website: https://www.sfs.ny.gov/

  • Existing Grants Gateway accounts will NOT be converted to the SFS Vendor Portal.
  • It is important that organizations prepare for this transition by logging in to SFS.
  • If your organization previously registered with the Grants Gateway or has a SFS Vendor ID, your Primary Contact was granted access to the SFS Vendor Portal.
  • The Vendor Delegated Administrator is responsible for making account changes, designating access for other User IDs within their organization, and maintaining your profile in SFS.
  • If your organization is unable to access SFS, contact the SFS Help Desk at helpdesk@sfs.ny.gov or (855) 233-8363.

Get more information in the new SFS PowerPoint here.

Organization Information and Required Documents

  • Requirement for Not-for-Profit Corporations.¬†All applicants must be registered with the NY Attorney General’s Charities Bureau in order to pre-qualify to be eligible for any security grant. Register online here.
  • See information below with specifics for Religious Corporations.

Answering the Organizational Capacity Questions

Consider the Grants Gateway process as an “educational” experience. Grants Gateway asks questions that represent “best practices” for well-run nonprofits with the hope that organizations will adopt policies consistent with good governance.¬† Some policies are required by law.

  1. Staff Code of Conduct: All organizations should have a personnel manual.
    Here is an example of a template to help you put one together.
  2. Fiscal/Internal Controls Policy. A primary responsibility of a nonprofit’s board of directors is to ensure that the organization is accountable for its programs and finances to its contributors, members, the public and government regulators. Click here for the NY AG’s guidance and the financial policy guidelines from Nonprofit Financial Commons for a framework for drafting and adopting financial policies for your nonprofit.
  3. Conflict of Interest Policy: All NY nonprofit corporations must have a Conflict of Interest Policy. Sample Conflict of Interest Policy   Annual Form
  4. Whistleblower Policy: Nonprofit corporations or charitable trusts with 20 or more employees and an annual revenue in excess of $1,000,000 in the prior fiscal year must have a Whistleblower Policy. Click here for a sample.Your board of directors should approve the above policies.

Required Documents for Religious Corporations
(e.g., synagogues or religious schools incorporated as religious corporations)

  • Certificates of Incorporation: You should already have a Certificate of Incorporation demonstrating that you are incorporated under the New York Religious Corporations Law.
  • 501(c)(3) Status: Religious corporations should provide their IRS Recognition Letter ( also known as a 501(c )(3) or tax exemption letter) from the IRS if they have one. Those that do not, may satisfy this requirement by uploading a signed letter, on organization letterhead, stating they are exempt from this requirement.
  • Bylaws: For an example of bylaws click on the appropriate link (Members/No Members) and an explanation of New York State synagogue bylaws here.
  • Form 990: Religious corporations are not required to file IRS Form 990. In lieu of this form, applicants may upload a signed letter, on organization letterhead, stating they are exempt from filing a Form 990. When asked for the ‚ÄúNext due date‚ÄĚ, state 1/1/2024.
  • Audited Financial Statements/Reviews: Religious corporations that do not have a formal audit may upload their financial report from the previous fiscal year. It can be a review from an accountant or even a QuickBooks ‚ÄúProfit and Loss‚ÄĚ and a ‚ÄúBalance Sheet‚ÄĚ report showing income and expenses. It should be accompanied by a letter signed by the President, Secretary or Treasurer; stating that the Board of Directors/Trustees reviewed and approved the financial report.
  • Already Charities Bureau Registered Religious Organizations. If the Charities Bureau has in the past determined that you are exempt from annual filings, they would have sent you an exemption letter. If you cannot find your letter, simply search the NY Charities Registry for your organization¬†here¬†and take a screenshot of the information and upload it to the Document Vault.
  • Register your charity online. The Attorney General‚Äôs Charities Bureau now offers online registration for charitable organizations.
    • If you are not already registered.
        1. Click to the Charities Bureau Online Registration Page. Review the “Registration Checklist”. Although most charitable organizations are required to register, the law exempts some, including religious organizations, from registering. If you believe that your organization may be exempt from the registration requirements, you will have an opportunity to claim an exemption when you fill out the online registration application.
        2. Have the listed documents ready to upload. For more information Scroll down and check the box (see screenshot) to continue. For more information, click to the Online Charities Registration: User Guide 
        3. If you do not already have a registration account with the Charities Bureau, follow the directions to create an account and click on “Register a new account”.
        4. Complete the “Contact Info” section, basically the name and address of your organization, the EIN,¬† and an email address of the person submitting the registration.
        5. Answer the “Statutory” questions (User Guide, p. 12)
        6. Click on the “Register as an Exempt Organization” box.
        7. Among the organizations exempt from registration are religious organizations (houses of worship) and other charitable organizations run by religious organizations; membership organizations that do not solicit from the public; Parent Teacher Associations, educational institutions that file annual reports with the New York State Department of Education; and governmental agencies.
          • If applicable, answer yes to, “Was the organization formed for religious purposes?” (see the User Guide, p. 15 for more information). If so, the system should inform you that your organization is exempt from registration.
        8. Click to the Charities Bureau Registry Search and you should be able to find your organization.