Nonprofit organizations must Prequalify to do business with New York State agencies before they can compete for State grants. The process allows nonprofits to address questions and concerns prior to entering a competitive bid process. Nonprofits are strongly encouraged to begin the Prequalification process as soon as possible.
To become prequalified, a nonprofit must register with Grants Gateway and complete an online Prequalification application. This includes completing a series of forms by answering basic questions regarding the organization, and uploading key organizational documents.
Disclaimer: New York State reserves 5-10 business days from the receipt of complete Prequalification applications to conduct its review. If supplementary information or updates are required, review times will be longer. Due to the length of time this process could take to complete, it is advised that nonprofits Prequalify as soon as possible. Failure to successfully complete the Prequalification process early enough may result in a grant application being disqualified.
Grant proposals received from nonprofit applicants that are not Prequalified in the Grants Gateway at the application due date and time will not be evaluated. Such proposals will be disqualified from further consideration.
How to Prequalify
Nonprofits that have registered in the Gateway can take the following steps to prequalify.
Complete the Prequalification Application
- Login to the Grants Gateway.
- Users logging in for the first time must update their password.
- Click the Organization(s) link at the top of the page.
- Complete all required fields.
- Save your work. On a successful Save, the Document Vault link will appear near the top of the page.
- Click the Document Vault link.
- Complete the Prequalification application by updating all required forms and uploading all required documents. An overview of the required forms and documents is available below.
- Upload optional documents as you see fit. Optional documents will not be reviewed as part of the Prequalification process, but may be of interest to the State agency(s) with which you ultimately seek to do business.
- Review your work.
Submit the Document Vault
- Click the Submit Document Vault link located at the center of the page and attest to the accuracy and currency of the information contained therein. Users will receive a system generated email confirming their vault has been submitted.
- If the State reviewer, a.k.a. Prequalification Specialist, has questions or requires additional information, users will receive a system generated email instructing they to login to the Gateway and take necessary action.
- Once an organization's Prequalification application has been approved, the user will receive a system generated email that they have successfully been Prequalified to do business with New York State. Their Document Vault will be placed in the status of “Document Vault Prequalified.”
Required Forms and Documents
Forms that must be completed include:
- Organizational Capacity
- Organizational Compliance
- Organizational Integrity
- Service Descriptors
- Service Capacity
Documents that must be uploaded include:
- Certificate of Incorporation or equivalent document
- IRS 501(c) determination letter
- IRS 990
- Audit/Reviews and Findings
- CHAR500 or CHAR410
- Board of Directors Profile
- Senior Leadership Resumes
- Corporate Bylaws
A variety of resources are available to assist with Prequalification. A complete overview of the process can be found in the Vendor User Manual located below. Further useful documentation can also be accessed below.
Once Prequalified, it is the responsibility of nonprofits to maintain Prequalification by keeping their Document Vaults current and in one of the following Grants Gateway Prequalified statuses:
- Document Vault Prequalified
- Document Vault Prequalified (Open), or
- Document Vault Prequalified (In Review)
As indicated in the Vendor Prequalification Manual, three of a nonprofit’s essential financial documents - the IRS990, Financial Statement and Charities Bureau filing - expire on an annual basis. A nonprofit must upload current versions of these documents and submit their updated Document Vault for review and approval each year to maintain prequalification.
Effective September 1, 2018, the following three changes to Prequalification are being implemented as nonprofits submit their Document Vaults for review.
- Nonprofits will be provided a full 10.5 months from the end of their fiscal year to provide a current IRS990 or Financial Statement without the interim requirement of uploading extension requests.
- The Grants Gateway will automatically calculate expiration dates for the IRS990, Financial Statement, and Charities Bureau filing.
- Nonprofits will be required to save the Organizational Capacity, Compliance, and Integrity forms within 30 days of submitting their Document Vault for State review.
Since implementation of these changes is occurring gradually over the course of the coming year, it is essential that nonprofits continue to adhere to all Gateway emails instructing them to act in the face of potential and actual loss of prequalification. Failure to act will continue to result in loss of prequalification and inability to compete for State grants.
- Nonprofits whose Document Vault is not in one of the above listed prequalified statuses because their IRS990 or Financial Statement (or a previously filed extension) expired subject to previous requirements, will not have their prequalification automatically reinstated. Nonprofits must act to restore their status.
- Nonprofits at risk of losing prequalification because their IRS990 or Financial Statement (or a previously provided extension) is about to expire subject to previous requirements, must act to maintain prequalification.
These changes are consistent with the long term, fundamental goals of the Prequalification process, and should further enhance a nonprofit’s ability to comply with Prequalification Requirements.
Although all nonprofit organizations seeking to do business with the State must register with the Grants Gateway and complete the prequalification process, certain nonprofit organizations may request a prequalification exemption.
Exemption-Eligible Nonprofit Organizations: All-volunteer firefighting departments or companies incorporated under Section 1402 of Article 14 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.
Required Documentation: Article 14, Section 1402 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law requires a volunteer fire corporation to include certain provisions in its Certificate of Incorporation. This includes, but is not limited to “a) Certificate of incorporation; additional contents. In addition to the requirements of section 402 (Certificate of incorporation; contents), the certificate of incorporation of a fire corporation shall state the precise boundaries of the territory in which the corporation intends to operate.”
To validate exemption from prequalification, a volunteer fire organization must submit a copy of its Certificate of Incorporation meeting these requirements as well as bearing the NY Department of State Seal or Stamp at the time of registration for access to the Grants Gateway.
Exemption Process: A nonprofit requesting exemption from prequalification must submit the following: a Registration Form for Administrator, a Prequalification Exemption Request form, and the required documentation as listed above.
Grants Management personnel will review the request and included documentation. If approved, an Organization account and Delegated Administrators for the nonprofit will be established on Grants Gateway. The nonprofit will be provided with a Document Vault on the system and the organization’s status will be set to Exempt.