Before making any project-ending decisions, reach out to the AFI Resource Center
to work through your problem
Relinquishing a Grant Prior to the End of the Grant Period
Managing an AFI grant can present struggles for many grantees, as unforeseen problems come their way over the 5-year project period. Whatever the challenge, remember: The experts at the AFI Resource Center have almost certainly seen something like it before. Before a grantee makes any project-ending decisions, it should always reach out to the center to try to work through its problem. For grantees and the larger community, it's almost always preferable to consider changes in design, personnel, or implementation before closing out prematurely.
Grantees who are confronting problems implementing their projects should consider the following options with their Program Specialists:
Despite a grantee's best efforts, however, circumstances can change, and after discussing the issue with its Program Specialist it might find that it is unable to implement its AFI project. If changes in project design or other strategies aren't practical, the grantee should use the following steps to relinquish an award:
- Write a letter, on agency letterhead, signed by the authorized official, briefly stating why the grantee needs to give up the award and when the relinquishment would be effective.
- The letter should clearly state whether the grantee has drawn down any Federal funds or opened any IDAs under the project.
- If the grantee has not drawn down Federal AFI funds and did not enroll participants, it will not need to prepare reports.
- If the grantee has begun project activities and drawn down Federal funds, it should prepare Narrative Program Progress Reports and Financial Status Reports for the period(s) it was active.
- Send the original copy of the letter by mail to the Grants Management Specialist assigned to the project.
- Send a copy of the letter to the Office of Community Services, AFI Program office, by mail, email attachment, or fax.
- Review the general instructions on closing out a project.
- The Office of Grants Management will respond with a letter beginning the official closeout process.
- If the grantee has unused Federal dollars in the Project Reserve Fund, it should review the instructions on how to calculate and return those unused funds.
Relinquishment of AFI Awards With Enrolled Participants
- Whenever possible, the grantee should try to help any participants with open IDAs complete their purchases. If this is not possible, ask the AFI Resource Center whether there are other AFI projects in the area that might be able to enroll these participants.
- If the grantee has multiple AFI projects with overlapping project periods, it might be possible to reassign active participants to a different project. Discuss this option with the AFI Resource Center.
- If there are active IDAs, the grantee will have to work with its financial partner(s) to convert the IDAs into other savings accounts or provide another option to participants.
- If IDAs require a grantee staff signature for withdrawal, be sure the financial institution and participants know how and when to change access to the accounts.
Finally, do not give up. There are all kinds of reasons why an AFI project might not achieve its goals. Grantees committed to the asset-building strategy should consider taking the benefit of their experience and applying for a later award. Having to relinquish an AFI award will not prejudice the review of a subsequent application.