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Prequalify in New York State

Prequalify in New York State

New York nonprofits must ``prequalify`` before they submit applications for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) or the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes (SCAHC) grants.

Prequalification in NY has changed. Click on the + in any box to learn more on how to prequalify:

Need help with SFS?

Questions? Don’t know your NYS Vendor ID? Can’t find the SFS feature that you’re looking for? Contact the SFS Help Desk at helpdesk@sfs.ny.gov or (855) 233-8363. The most efficient way to reach them is by email.

New York State is transitioning many grantmaking activities from the Grants Gateway to the Statewide Financial System (SFS).  What does that mean to nonprofits applying for NY State and federal security grants? Users will see improvements, including paperless registration and an enhanced prequalification interface.

Don’t be confused!

Even though your organization simply wants to apply for a NY State or federal security grant, NY State considers your organization a “vendor” even though you won’t be selling anything to NY State. When they use the word “vendor” in their instructions they mean you.

The two grants (NSGP & SCAHC) are administered by different NY State agencies (DHSES & DCJS). Organizations that wish to apply for grants will only be able to prequalify in the SFS system, and both DHSES and DCJS will use this system for prequalification. For other steps in the grant process, each agency will have its own steps. While things may change, as of January, 2024:

  1. If a your Grants Gateway Document Vault was¬† in a ‚ÄúPrequalified‚ÄĚ status on December 15, 2023, the following components of your most recent approved prequalification application should have been transferred to SFS:
    • Prequalification Status
    • Prequalification Expiration Date
    • Responses to Organization Capacity, Compliance, and Integrity Questions; and
    • Required Documents
  1. Prequalified NSGP applicants will continue to submit their application packages through the DHSES E-Grants system, which will also be used for contracting and quarterly reports. Reimbursement requests will still be submitted via email.
  2. Prequalified SCAHC applicants will continue to submit their application packages through GMS or SFS, which will also be used for contracting. Stay tuned for more information.

What happened to my old documents and prequalification?

If your organization was prequalified as of December 15, 2023, you’re fine. Your documents and your prequalification status should have been automatically transferred to SFS (the new system). If your organization previously registered with the Grants Gateway or has a New York State Vendor ID, your primary contact received an enrollment email with login credentials and instructions on how to access SFS. Log in to the Statewide Financial System (SFS)¬† to verify that you have access and your¬† organizational profile (e.g., primary contact, address, banking), is up to date. Questions? Email grantsreform@its.ny.gov.

Did you receive an email? Sign into the new SFS system.

(Click here to see more info on the email)

To access the new SFS system (AKA the “Vendor Portal”), click to the registration screen at: https://esupplier.sfs.ny.gov and enter the temporary login information found in the email:

  • User ID: [PRE-FILLED ID NUMBER]
  • Password:¬†[PRE-FILLED PASSWORD]

Once you are logged in, select “Create New User Account” to create your personal user account. When doing so, use the following information:

  • Access Code:¬†[PRE-FILLED ACCESS CODE]
  • Vendor/Supplier ID: [PRE-FILLED ID NUMBER]

If you had a Grants Gateway account, but did not receive an email, or you can’t find it, contact the SFS Help Desk at¬†helpdesk@sfs.ny.gov or (855) 233-8363. The most efficient way to reach them is by email and leave a phone number. They will be able to help you with credentials.

If your organization had a Grants Gateway account, contact the SFS Help Desk at helpdesk@sfs.ny.gov or (855) 233-8363. The most efficient way to reach them is by email and leave a phone number. They will be able to help you with credentials.

The Grants Management Registration Form for Statewide Financial System (SFS) Vendors must be completed and emailed.

Download and complete the Grants Management Registration Form for Statewide Financial System (SFS) Vendors

  • The form must be authorized by the head of the organization.
  • The form must be notarized. The notary must complete each box in the ‚ÄúAcknowledgement to¬†be completed by a Notary Public‚ÄĚ section, and then sign and stamp the form.¬† Please note:¬† NYS now allows Electronic Notarization.¬† Notaries must be physically located in NYS for this service to be valid.¬† For more information on electronic notarization, visit the¬†NYS Department of State Website.
  • If your organization does not already have a New York State SFS Vendor ID, complete and attach the¬†Substitute W-9 Form
  • If your organization already has an SFS Vendor ID, do not submit a Substitute W-9 Form.
  • Return all forms by email to grantsreform@its.ny.gov.

Hints to fill out the form

Section 1: Vendor (organization) Information and Purpose

  • Legal Business Name ¬†An organization should enter the name shown on its charter or other legal documents that created the organization. Do not abbreviate names.
  • Organization Type¬† Check the Entity Type doing business with New York State: Not-for-Profit, For Profit, Tribal Organization, Governmental Entity, or Individual. Select one.
  • Purpose
    • New SFS Registration¬† Select this option if your organization is not already registered as a vendor in SFS.¬†Access to Grants Management will be provided as part of your initial registration.¬†¬†Download, Complete, and Attach the Substitute W-9 Upload: Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification
    • Access Grant Management¬†Existing SFS Vendors only.¬† Select this option if your organization is already an SFS vendor but has not been provided access to Grants Management. Provide your SFS Vendor ID.

Note: If your organization was ever prequalified, you have SFS Vendor ID. Click to https://grantsgateway.ny.gov/ and sign into your old Grants Gateway account. Click on the “Organization” tab. Scroll down below your organization name and address and you will see your “SFS Vendor ID.”

Section 2: Authorization

  • This section must contain information on the Head of the Organization (for example, the Chief Administrative Officer, Executive Director, CEO or comparable title).
  • Enter the Last Name, First Name, Title, Phone Number and Email Address for the Head of the Organization.
  • The Head of the Organization must sign and date the form.

Substitute W9 Form

If your organization does not already have a New York State SFS Vendor ID, download, complete, and attach the Substitute W-9 Form to the completed Registration Form for Administrators and the Grants Management team will obtain one on your behalf.

Help Desk: Contact the Help Desk for assistance with your registration form.

If you can’t find the right buttons in SFS, you’re not alone. It’s the most common glitch. Chances are that you haven’t assigned the proper roles. Here is a quick Q&A:

What are roles in SFS?

Roles in SFS control what screens that a user can view and what functions are available.

Who assigns or controls the roles?

Your organization’s Delegated Administrator is the only person who can assign or change any roles that are applicable for your organization.¬† The Delegated Administrator is responsible for making account changes, designating roles for other user IDs within their organization, and managing address and contact information.¬† The Delegated Administrator can also assign roles to their own account, so if they want to apply for prequalification,¬† submit/upload documents, answer organizational questions or review existing prequalification documents for your organization they must also be a Prequalification Processor. The Delegated Administrator¬†can have both roles simultaneously, or assign multiple people to be Prequalification Processors.

Where can I find more information?

The following links provide more information about how to add a user and roles in SFS and the roles available in SFS related to grants functionality.

I’ve assigned the new roles and it’s still not working.

Upon assigning the necessary roles, if you are still having any issues seeing the Grants Management tile on your SFS Vendor Portal homepage, please follow the below instructions to clear your cache and try again:

  • Log out of the SFS Vendor Portal.
  • Clear your cache/internet browser history.
    • Request that cookies, cached images and files, passwords and other site data be clear.
    • Be sure to clear cache for ‚Äúall-time‚ÄĚ, not just for a recent time frame.
    • Tip: On most browsers, you can click Ctrl+Shift+Delete on your keyboard to prompt you to clear your cache/history.
  • Once cleared, close all browser windows, and try navigating to the Search for Grant Opportunities tile again.

After logging into the SFS Vendor Portal with a user account that has been assigned the necessary roles, you can proceed with your prequalification through the Prequalification Application tile (found after clicking the Grants Management tile on the SFS Vendor Portal homepage).  Please see the following training material and step by step handbook for guidance:

Official guidance: 

  1. Sign into SFS;
  2. click on the “Grants Management” button;
  3. and then the “Prequalification Application” button.

This is a screenshot of the Sign-On page.

Click on the “Grants Management-State” tile to get to the “Welcome Page”

At the bottom of the “Welcome Page” screen you are given two choices: “Select an activity below”: “Update Prequalification Application” or “View Version History.”

To respond to reviewer comments or update attachments, go to the “Grants information tab”. The instructions for filling out the “Grants information tab” is found in the Grantee User Manual starting on page 15.¬†¬†¬† https://upk.sfs.ny.gov/UPK/VEN101/FILES/Grantee_User_Manual.pdf

Organization Information and Required Documents

Note: CSI has requested updated guidance on these questions and the guidance below is subject to change. The new New York State Prequalification Manual for Grantees explains many of the organizational questions and required documents.

  • ¬†Requirement for Not-for-Profit Corporations. All applicants must be registered with the NY Attorney General‚Äôs 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.

Organizational Integrity Questions

The Integrity questions pertain to matters of organizational and business ethics. These questions are structured in a simple yes or no format. ‚ÄúYes‚ÄĚ answers will, in most cases, invite further inquiry from a Prequalification Specialist; they will not necessarily render an organization ‚ÄúNot Prequalified.‚ÄĚ The term ‚Äúyou‚ÄĚ shall refer to the individual responding to the questionnaire and any member, including senior staff, key employees, and board members of the organization and its affiliates. For any ‚ÄúYes‚ÄĚ answer you must provide a complete explanation including the names of the parties, date of the cause of action, and any resolution or outcome.

Answering the Organizational Capacity Questions

Consider the Grants Gateway process as an ‚Äúeducational‚ÄĚ experience. Grants Gateway asks questions that represent ‚Äúbest practices‚ÄĚ for well-run nonprofits with the hope that organizations will adopt policies consistent with good governance.¬† For an explanation of the reasons for the questions see the NY State Attorney General’s: Internal Controls and Financial Accountability for Nonprofit Boards. Some policies are required by law.

  1. 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.
  2. Staff Code of Conduct: All organizations should have a personnel manual.
    Here is an example of a template to help you put one together.
  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. Not every not-for-profit organization needs to apply for 501(c) tax exemption (e.g., houses of worship and other religious organizations). If your organization is not required to apply¬† for IRS tax exemption recognition, upload a signed statement on your organization letterhead that you are a religious corporation. meet the requirements of IRC Section 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS. Sample wording: Congregation XYZ is a house of worship and meets the requirements of IRC Section 501(c)(3). We are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS, nor are we required to file IRS Form 990.
  • 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.¬†Sample wording: Congregation XYZ is a house of worship and meets the requirements of IRC Section 501(c)(3). We are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS, nor are we required to file IRS Form 990.
  • 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 ‚ÄúRegistration Checklist‚ÄĚ. 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 ‚ÄúRegister a new account‚ÄĚ.
        4. Complete the ‚ÄúContact Info‚ÄĚ section, basically the name and address of your organization, the EIN,¬† and an email address of the person submitting the registration.
        5. Answer the ‚ÄúStatutory‚ÄĚ questions (User Guide, p. 12)
        6. Click on the ‚ÄúRegister as an Exempt Organization‚ÄĚ 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, ‚ÄúWas the organization formed for religious purposes?‚ÄĚ (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.

Need help with SFS?

Questions? Can’t get into your account? Don’t know your NYS Vendor ID? Can’t find the SFS feature that you’re looking for? Contact the SFS Help Desk at helpdesk@sfs.ny.gov or (855) 233-8363. The most efficient way to reach them is by email.