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 first register with Grants Gateway. Once registered, nonprofits 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.
Note: Applicants to the Securing Communities Grants may complete a Streamlined Prequalification Questionnaire.
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, Charities Bureau filing, and Financial Statement - 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. Nonprofits are provided a full 10.5 months from the end of their fiscal year to provide these documents without the interim requirement of uploading extension requests.
The Internal Revenue Service’s COVID-19 extended deadline of July 15, 2020 for affected nonprofits to file their IRS 990 has passed. Nonprofits must file their annual IRS 990 and upload it to the Grants Gateway no later than the Extended Due Date provided on the IRS website to avoid loss of Prequalification status.
Nonprofits are strongly encouraged to upload their IRS 990, CHAR500, and Financial Statement to the Grants Gateway in a single transaction. This allows organizations to update their Document Vault once, rather than multiple times, per year. However, nonprofits that have not filed their CHAR500 or whose Financial Statement is not yet available can still request a six-month extension to upload these documents.
The following factors should be considered before requesting an extension.
- Are you able to obtain the CHAR500 and Financial Statement with relative ease? As noted above uploading all 3 documents at once is the expedient approach to maintaining Prequalification status.
- Are you currently applying for a grant or in the process of signing a contract with a State agency? Do you expect to do that shortly? If so, you have an immediate need to be Prequalified. Follow the instructions below. Additional instruction can be found in Section 4.7 of the Vendor User Manual, beginning on page 47.
- Open your Document Vault.
- Navigate to the IRS 990 form and click the ADD button at the top of the page. Upload the current IRS 990. For the tax year begin and end date, enter the Tax Year Start and End Date of the current IRS 990. The due date for next year’s filing will be displayed.
- Navigate to the CHAR500 and Financial Statement section and click the ADD button(s) at the top of the page. Download this Extension Request Form and upload it. For the tax year begin and end date, enter the Tax Year Start and End Date of the last approved version in the Grants Gateway. The due date that automatically populates will continue to show the current deadline. If the current deadline is in the past, contact [email protected].
- Review, update as needed, and save the Organization Capacity, Organization Compliance, and Organization Integrity forms.
- Submit your document vault for review.
A Prequalification Specialist will review your Document Vault. If the extension is warranted, the Prequalification Specialist will apply the extended deadline to each document and award the status of Prequalified. If you have any questions regarding the Prequalification Specialist’s review or disposition, contact [email protected].
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.