General Information

A sample of topics relevant to the fiscal operation of an AmeriCorps program and where they can be found within this manual is shown below.

  • Sample Member Service Agreement - State of Illinois, Department of Human Services (DHS), Community Service Agreement and associated attachments. See Chapter 3.
  • Financial Management Provisions - These topics are found in the AmeriCorps Provisions. A copy of these Provisions is included in Chapter 1.
  • Member Costs - See Chapter 3 of this manual for information on Living Allowances, Child Care, Taxes and Insurance, and Health Insurance. These topics are also discussed in the AmeriCorps Provisions.
  • Public Assistance Programs - See Chapter 5 of this manual for information on Food Stamps, Public Housing, Unemployment Benefits, Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These topics are also discussed in the AmeriCorps Provisions.
  • Deductions to Living Allowances - See Chapter 3, Policy Changes, of this manual for more information.
  • Fund Raising - For an explanation of fund raising issues concerning Members and Staff please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions or contact your Serve Illinois Program Officer.
  • Administrative Costs - Please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.
  • Liability Insurance Coverage - Please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.
  • Termination of the Grant - Please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Match

Programs must meet proposed match every quarter.

Programs that are not meeting proposed levels of match at the end of a quarter should include the following comments in their Periodic Expense Report (PER) and Federal Financial Report (FFR):

  1. An explanation as to why match was not met, and
  2. Plans to meet match the next quarter.

Programs that do not meet match requirements and do not include comments in their PER and FFR reports will be required to submit a letter addressing the two issues noted above.

Corporation funds may be reduced by the Serve Illinois Commission for failure to meet the proposed or minimum match requirements. This would be done to bring the program in line with the match requirements as submitted in the application.

Programs must provide and account for the matching funds as agreed upon in the approved application. This means that the proposed match included in the application must be met even if it exceeds the minimum match requirement.

Cash or in-kind matching contributions that exceed the required minimum will be considered voluntary cost share. Programs that cannot meet the amount of voluntary cost share proposed in their application may submit a request to reduce the amount of cost share their program will contribute. However, the cost share/match cannot be reduced below the minimum percentage requirements as indicated above. See page 66 for more information relating to budget modifications.

Overall Cost Match

Subject to the requirements of § 2521.45, and except as provided in paragraph (b), your overall share of program costs will increase as of the fourth consecutive year that you receive a grant, according to the previous timetable.

A grantee must have contributed matching resources by the end of a grant period in an amount equal to the combined total of the proposed or minimum overall annual match for each year of the grant period.

Year Minimum Overall Share
1 24%
2 24%
3 24%
4 26%
5 30%
6 34%
7 38%
8 42%
9 46%
10 50%

Alternative Match

If your program is unable to meet the match requirements and is located in a rural or a severely economically distressed community, you may apply to the Corporation for a waiver that would require you to increase the overall amount of your share of program costs beginning in the seventh consecutive year that you receive a grant. Contact your Program Officer if you believe you meet the requirements and are interested in applying.

Year Alternative Minimum Overall Share
1 N/A
2 N/A
3 N/A
4 N/A
5 N/A
6 N/A
7 29%
8 31%
9 33%
10 35%

Administration Cost Match

Programs may bill a maximum 5.26% of the Corporation funds actually expended in the operation of the program to the administration line of the budget. Programs must meet this requirement by the end of the program year.

Each quarter that programs have more than 5.26% of grant funds charged to Administration, a letter will be sent noting the fact and reminding the program it must be in compliance by the end of the program year. Programs will be required to respond to this letter with an explanation as to why the 5.26% has been exceeded and plans for compliance by the end of the program year.

Corporation funds in this line may be reduced at the end of the program year if the 5.26% maximum is exceeded. This would be done to bring the program in line with allowable maximum Administrative charge against Corporation funds.

Federal Indirect Cost Match

If you have a Federally Approved Indirect Cost (IDC) rate and choose to use it, the IDC rate will constitute documentation of your administrative costs including the 5.26% maximum payable by the Corporation. Please provide a copy of your IDC rate letter to your Program Officer.

Budget Modifications

The Serve Illinois Commission understands that AmeriCorps programs must sometimes modify their budget during the program year.

These budget modification guidelines summarize the AmeriCorps Provisions on this issue. They are intended only as guidance and are not a substitute for the Provisions or other federal rules and regulations. For more information, please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Deadline and Process

Programs must submit budget modification request to the Commission in a timely manner. While budget modification requests will be accepted on a rolling basis, programs are requested to submit budget modifications that require the approval of the Corporation for National and Community Service by April 1 of the current program year. This will provide sufficient time for the Commission and the Corporation to review the request before members complete their terms of service.

Programs submitting a budget modification request must submit the following:

  1. A letter detailing the request and explaining why the modification is needed.
  2. A revised budget form.
  3. A revised budget narrative.

Programs should not consider budget modification requests approved until written notice is received from the Illinois Commission and the Corporation.

Line Item Changes

Programs may move funds between line items if the amount moved is less than 10% of the total federal award. Keep in mind that modifications must be approved in OnCorps before they are considered effective. For example, a program that receives a $100,000 grant may move up to $10,000 between line items without approval as long as the transfer is in compliance with all other applicable. Programs who wish to transfer funds totaling more than 10% of the federal award must receive prior approval from the Illinois Commission and the Corporation. (OMB Circular A-11, Subpart C, Section 25.) The Commission requests that funds slated for Member Stipen remain within Section II-A (Member Cost).

Sub-granting Funds

Programs must receive prior approval from the Illinois Commission and the Corporation to sub-grant or subcontract program activities not previously approved in the application for funding. Programs must receive prior approval from both the Commission and Corporation to transfer the grant or to sub-grant to a different organization. For more information, please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Equipment

Programs may not purchase equipment costing more than $5,000 with grant funds unless specified in the approved budget or application without prior approval from the Commission and the Corporation. All purchases of equipment and supplies should be handled in accordance with 45 CFR 2541 - "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments" or with 45 CFR 2543 - "Grants and Agreements with institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and other Non-Profit Organizations." For more information, please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Matching Funds/Voluntary Cost Share

Programs must provide matching funds as agreed upon in the approved application and budget. At a minimum, Programs must meet the proposed level of match every quarter. Programs that do not meet this match at the end of the quarter should include comments on their fiscal reports (both the Periodic Expense Report and Financial Status Reports, when applicable) explaining why the match was not met and how the program will ensure it will meet the match requirement at the end of the next quarter. If comments are not included, a letter from the program addressing these two issues will be required.

Voluntary cost share is defined as cash or in-kind matching contributions that exceed the required minimum levels of match as noted above. Programs will be held accountable for meeting the amount of voluntary cost share they proposed in their application. Programs who cannot meet the proposed levels of voluntary cost share must submit a revised budget and budget narrative to the Illinois Commission and Corporation for approval. All programs are encouraged to raise funds from the private sector. For more information, please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Fiscal Reports

Type of Report Deadline
PER (Monthly) 20th of each month
FFR (April - Sept. 2010) October 20, 2010 (09-10 programs only)
FFR (Oct. - March 2011) April 20, 2011
FFR (April - Sept. 2011) October 20, 2011

Periodic Expense Reports (PERs)

AmeriCorps*State programs must submit PERs on a monthly basis in the Serve Illinois' Online Reporting system, OnCorps.

PERs from programs are due in OnCorps no later than the 20th day of each month for the prior month's expenses. Should the 20th fall on a weekend, the reports are due the Friday before the weekend. The Illinois Commission will issue a reimbursement payment based on timely monthly expense reports submitted by programs. The monthly payments will result in year-to-date payments being equal to year-to-date reported expenditures, by program.

Failure to report monthly expenditures by the due date will result in a delay in issuing reimbursement payments. If you experience technical difficulties reporting in OnCorps, please contact your Program Officer.

Federal Financial Reports (FFRs)

FFRs are cumulative financial status reports used by the Corporation to monitor sub-grantee spending. AmeriCorps*State programs must submit Federal Financial Reports (FFRs) in OnCorps semi-annually. These reports are due October 21 and April 21 or upon approval of the PER submitted that month.

The last FFR completed for each program year must be marked as a "Final FFR." By marking a FFR as "Final," there can be no further charges or expenses claimed against the program year. Whether the FFR is "final" is a specific question on the FFR form.

NOTE: There may likely be times when it will be necessary for a program to submit two PERs and two FFRs on the same due date. This happens when expenses are being incurred that are the result of two different program years, i.e., program Year Two and Year Three overlap. Programs should report expenses associated with each program year separately on program year-specific PERs or FFRs.

Progress Reports

The APR is built from several components, in My AmeriCorps and OnCorps, including:


  • MEMBER DATA

Enrollment - My AmeriCorps
Exits - My AmeriCorps
Time Logs - OnCorps


  • APR MAP (OnCorps)

Performance Measures
Implementation Plans
Outputs
Outcomes


  • GREAT STORIES (OnCorps)

Member and/or Program Success Stories


The completed APR/PROGRESS REPORT includes information on: progress toward performance measures, member and volunteer hours, program challenges, and any program changes.

Approving Performance Measures

Your Program Officer is responsible for approving performance measures in the APR Map after they have been entered by Program staff. Programs are unable to enter the necessary data to aggregate/roll up into their progress report to show progress toward their performance measures until approval is given.

Support and Training for Performance Measures

Project STAR, a Corporation for National and Community Service sponsored technical assistance provider in performance measurement, is available to assist your program with measuring performance. Project STAR can help you set up your performance measurement system and consider the outputs and outcomes as you look to improve your program.

You can contact Project STAR by calling 1-800-548-3656. 

Final Reports

Programs completing the final year of their three-year grant cycle must submit a Final Project Report in addition to their Progress Report due October 31 of each year. A Final Progress Report is a cumulative report covering the entire project period. This report is due January 20 following the end of the three-year grant cycle and should include the following information:

The narrative should include a three page, double-spaced summary of the qualitative accomplishments that the AmeriCorps grant has made for the duration of the grant period. Include a discussion of the impacts of any special initiatives that fall within this grant. Discuss what exists now in the communities that are served that did not exist prior to the grant. Use of quantitative data to support the impact statements is encouraged.

Final Federal Financial Report

A program completing the final year of its three-year grant cycle must submit a final Federal Financial Report (FFR) that is cumulative over the entire project period. This FFR is due January 20 following the end of the three-year grant cycle. This Final FFR should be completed on the required form and on the OnCorps reporting system. Please see Federal Financial Report (Standard Form 269A) included in this chapter.

Equipment and Supply Inventory Form

Programs completing the final year of their three-year grant cycle must submit two (2) inventory forms. These are due March 1 following the end of the three-year grant cycle. One form is for any equipment inventory having a current fair market value of $5,000 or more and purchased with federal grant funds. The second form is for any unused or residual supplies inventory purchased with federal funds exceeding $5,000 in value. These reports should be completed on the Equipment and Supply Inventory Form included in this chapter. If no equipment or supplies were purchased using federal funds, programs should reflect this on each form. For more information, please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Deductions to Living Allowances

Programs occasionally request the ability to deduct amounts from living allowances for member absences and other purposes. Programs may make deductions to living allowances or other payments made to AmeriCorps members; however, programs may not deduct any portion of the living allowance paid to the member by the Corporation.

Before making any deductions, programs are advised to consider the implications related to the treatment of employment laws, including those laws addressing minimum wage and unemployment compensation. Further, programs that deduct amounts from member living allowances may be required to increase their match funds as a result.

For more information, please refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Sustainability

General Overview

The Serve Illinois Commission defines "sustainability" as a plan that, through an organization's use of various resources, will provide for a stronger infrastructure, stronger programs, and community self-sufficiency in regards to supporting the needs of its constituents, its financial health, and its ability to be well managed and accountable.

Sustainability Policy

Programs must also follow the Sustainability Policy. Each program is required to gradually decrease reliance on federal funds, while continuing to meet the minimum match requirements.

More information on these topics may be found in the AmeriCorps Provisions.

Policy Guidelines

The Corporation for National and Community Service has published the following increasing match requirements for all AmeriCorps programs. Under this policy, each program is required to gradually decrease its reliance on federal funds, yet still meet the Overall Minimum Match requirements. By either cash or in-kind matches in any category, programs must reach the required match level each year. Please note that the Corporation has created an alternative match requirement for grantees located in either a rural or a severely economically distressed area prior to submitting their grant application.

The Commission will provide assistance to programs in the area of sustainability by sponsoring additional training and technical assistance on collaborations and partnerships, leadership, and fundraising, as needed.

Policy Implementation

The intent of the policy on sustainability is to decrease program dependency on federal funds, to ensure that services provided by AmeriCorps members will continue if federal funding is discontinue, and to make more funding available to support new programs.

Each grantee must submit a Sustainability Plan as part of the initial application for funding. This plan must provide details on community outreach and collaborations, community, new partnerships, and new resources provided to, or received from, the community. Subsequently, a Sustainability Progress Report must be submitted with each Continuation Application showing the progress made that year in the Sustainability Plan.

My AmeriCorps and OnCorps Member Information Reporting

Programs need to know what is required of program/sites in terms of member data collection in order to monitor that they have met their reporting requirements. The specific CNCS rules as to when some of these forms must be completed are shown in the table below:

TYPE OF FORMS DEADLINE
Member Commitment Tracker Forms Immediately upon offer of a position (enrollment must follow less than 30 days later)
Member Information Profiles Must be completed before enrollment can be created
Member Enrollment Forms Within 30 days of enrollment
Change of Term/Status Forms Within 30 days of change
Member Exit Forms Within 30 days of exit
Member Time Logs No requirements, but see note below

A sample of each of these forms can be viewed in chapter 8 of this manual. These forms are created through the members My AmeriCorps Portal and approved by Program staff. It is important that member forms are completed in a timely manner. Timely completion could also play a role in future grant funding decisions, especially for competitively awarded funds.

Time logs track hours served by members in direct service, fundraising and training. (Note: the average of member training hours can be no more than 20% per grantee. Member fundraising hours may be no more than 10% per person.) Time logs need to be completed on a regular basis in order to ensure that the program/site is tracking member hours accurately as time log data is aggregated into the APR, and ultimately the GPR. It is critical that time logs be up to date prior to the submission of these reports.

My AmeriCorps and OnCorps have tools to help programs monitor member progress. These tools can identify members who are falling behind and at risk of not being able to complete their required number of hours of service to earn an education award before the end of the program year.

OnCorps Due Dates

Fiscal Reporting Requirements for AmeriCorps*State Program Cycle 2009-10:

  • PER = Periodic Expense Report (Monthly Report)
  • FFR = Federal Financial Report (semi-annual)
  • Progress Report (semi-annual)
Report Type Due Date
PER (Monthly) 20th of each month
FFR (Aug. - March) April 21, 2011
FFR (April - Sept.) October 21, 2011
Progress Report

April 30, 2011

October 21, 2011

FINAL FFR January 20, 2012

IMPORTANT

Please understand that there may be times when it will be necessary to submit two PERs and two FFRs on any given due date. This would occur when you are incurring expenses toward two separate program years during the same reporting period. You will report all expenses claimed under each program year accordingly - NOT together. One program year is not completed until the "Final FFR" has been completed.

The last FFR completed for each program year must be marked as a "Final FFR". By marking an FFR as "Final", there can be no further charges claimed toward the corresponding program year (This is a specific question on the FFR form).

Records Retention

All financial records, supporting documentation, statistical records, evaluation and performance data, member information, and personnel records must be retained for three years after the close of an AmeriCorps grant.

If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit or other action involving the records has been started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arise from it, or until the end of the regular 3-year period, whichever is later.

TYPE OF DOCUMENTATION
EXAMPLES

All Materials Related to the Grants Process

- NOFAs
- RFPs or RFAs
- all applications received (not just those funded)
- all correspondence and notes from negotiations
- score sheets
- reviewer confidentiality/conflict of interest agreements
- CNCS approvals of awards


Grant Agreements and Contracts
- Grants and contracts between State Commissions and grantees
- Grants and contracts between National Programs and sites

Program Documents
- Reports
- Correspondence
- Policy Statements

Monitoring Notes
- Monitoring Reports
- Site Visit Tools
- Reports on site visits to grantees/sites

Official Correspondence
- Letters on Other Matters

Resources

Progress Reporting

The CNCS' AmeriCorps Application Instructions contains an overview of reporting requirements for grantees. The Project STAR web pages at the Resource Center offers online tutorials, toolkits and tips for performance measurement development, data collection and analysis and reporting. Project Star also hosts conference call and webinar trainings on the APR and GPR. The Commission will provide information regarding progress reporting in OnCorps as it becomes available.

Financial Reporting

CNCS and Walker and Company have developed an online eLearning course: Key Concepts of Financial Management, available at the Resource Center.

For an overview of Walker and Company's other available services and resources; please visit the Training and Technical Assistance web page at the Resource Center. 

Other Reporting resources

Please visit the Resource Center for additional Tools and Training for Volunteer and Service Programs.