Grantmaking Process

Initial suggestions for the entire process:

  1. This process should be completed by the appropriate staff within a grantee's organization who have access to the required information and an understanding of its importance within your organization. For some parts of the process, the fiscal agent or accounting staff will be needed.
  2. Use Microsoft Edge - other browsers may cause problems when accessing the Grant Accountability and Transparency (GATA) and IDHS systems. 
  • Note:  There are 4 systems based on Microsoft Edge that you will be accessing in the IDHS grant process:
    • For GATA, the Catalog of State Financial Assistance (CSFA) and CroweHorwath CARS systems
    • For IDHS, the Community Services Agreement (CSA) and Centralized Repository Vault (CRV) systems

Find information about each of these areas:

Finding Grant Information

Two options exist for IDHS grantees:

  1. Go to the Grant Accountability and Transparency (GATA) website,, and choose the CSFA (Catalog of State Financial Assistance) section to find information about all State of Illinois grants
  2. Use the IDHS website, Grants from IDHS section,  to find information about the current grant opportunities. The IDHS website has grants listed by each respective division

Pre-GATA Process

Before you apply for any grant, complete the following steps that are not within the GATA or IDHS systems:

  1. Ensure you have a federal employer identification number (FEIN) for your business entity. To get a FEIN, go to the IRS website section for FEIN numbers, .
  2. Ensure you have a current SAM Account.  This must be renewed/updated yearly.  For a SAM account, go to .You will get a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) that you will report in your GATA registration.The questions asked by will involve knowledge of your financial operations and the appropriate staff should be involved in the registration and updating process. 
  3. Make sure you are registered and in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS).  However, this is not a requirement for government entities or schools.

TIP: for smooth renewal/update each year, the same person with the same email address will need to access the SAM site and complete the updating. The original email address and password are important details; updating can be problematic if those are not available. This can become an issue for organizations with higher staff turnover or those who change their email addresses.You should save the original email address and password somewhere, and mark a calendar for the time to update these sites.

Now You Are Ready for the GATA Registration and Pre-Qualification

  1. Before you start the GATA registration and the required prequalification process, you must first authenticate your organization at . You will need to use a business or personal email to establish an account.

GATA Log-in Screen

  1. If you have previously created an account for an IDHS system, you may insert "EXTERNAL\" before your username or enter "" after your username.
    1. Example:  EXTERNAL\Mike.Jones - OR 
    2. Example:
  2. GATA registration is required. Use the  to access the registration process or to return to it to make changes. You will be asked for all the information you completed in the above Pre-GATA steps. The GATA registration process will verify that information by auto-checking with the respective federal, DUNs, SAM, and SOS systems. If not verified, your registration will not be considered active.

GATA's Pre-Qualification

ICQ -- Before formally applying for a grant, you must complete the Fiscal and Administrative and Programmatic Risk Assessment questionnaire, also called the ICQ (Internal Control Questionnaire), located on the GATA system, and accessible after registration.

  1. The answers are automatically graded by GATA's system, but they will be reviewed and accepted by IDHS's program staff.
  2. Once the ICQ is approved, the GATA system will auto-email  the grantee informing them of the approval. Please check your regular email but also check "junk" email folders as auto-generated emails are sometimes blocked from regular email accounts.

TIP:  ICQ stands for Internal Controls Questionnaire.  ICQ questions will ask about the grantee's internal controls of fiscal and administrative operations. A manager with overall fiscal and organizational knowledge is the best person to answer the ICQ questions.

TIP:The ICQ is done only one time for an organization/provider, no matter how many grants an organization may apply for and no matter how many state agencies the grants are with. 

IDHS Registration

Grantees intending to submit an application will need to register in two IDHS systems:

  1. CSA (Community Service Agreement) Tracking system at -- for registration and the ability to view and print your potential Grant award (contract) with IDHS. 
  2. CRV (Central Repository Vault System) at -- the system used to upload a variety of required documents.

Tip:  Record your log-in information.  You may need to re-enter the system each month to keep your password current.

Tip:  It is possible to have more than one log-in.

Application Process

Grant Application

  1. Download the Application Form from the IDHS website.  See your division webpage for information about the NOFO, Question/Answer Session, and Application form.  Find your grant and the link to that specific grant's application form.  If there is no link, it may be that the posting hasn't happened yet - or that the time period to apply has expired.

Tip:  While all State of Illinois application forms are all similar, no matter which agency offers a grant, each IDHS application form has specific information about its respective grant. Grant information by division is posted on this IDHS website.

A printable PDF timeline to be used as a guide for grantees!


  1. Download the budget form for calculations only.
    1. There are downloadable budget forms which may be available on the divisions' grant information pages but these are only available for budget preparation, not for submission.
  2. Submit your budget via IDHS's CSA system (you previously registered for). 
    1. Both Uniform(regular) budgets and Rate-based budgets are submitted via the CSA.
      1. The CSA system will tell the provider which budget template they are to complete.
    2. Budgets must have 2 signatures - the Chief Financial Officer and the Executive Director.  Some grantees may not have these positions in their organization. Never-the-less, there must be two separate people signing the budget and they should be at the highest level in the organization.
    3. Budgets must be uploaded to the CSA by the time that the application is submitted.

Tip:  Every potential grantee applying for a grant must submit a budget at the time of the application. Most grants will use the unified budget but some will be rate-based. There is a drop-down selection box on the Budget Template in the CSA system to make the choice. The CSA system will tell the provider which budget template they are to complete.

Grant Award

NOSA - Notice of State Award

DHS NOSA RecipientManual (June 2017) (pdf)

  1. Receive the NOSA from the GATA system.

    The NOSA will come to the potential grantee from the GATA portal. It is important that the grantee maintain the correct contact information in GATA's portal to be certain they receive this. This may also be an automated email which sometimes ends up in "junk email" so please check those email boxes from time to time.

  2. Review the NOSA for any changes.

    The Notice of State Award will make the formal offer of the grant to the grantee. It may exactly mirror what the grantee proposed in their application or it may have different or additional requirements or different funding amounts. Should any risks have been revealed by the ICQ or the Programmatic Risk Assessment conducted by the grant program manager.  it will have requirements that address these risks. Grantees will want to work with their IDHS division's program staff and the IDHS division's fiscal staff to understand the changes.

  3. Return the approved NOSA to IDHS.
Reminder:  The NOSA is returned to IDHS -- NOT GATA

Note:  The approved NOSA does not constitute an IDHS Grant award (contract).  That formal process will begin after the approved NOSA has been returned.

Indirect Cost Rate (ICR)

All grantees are required to make an election in the Centralized Indirect Cost Rate system.

  1. There is a time limit for getting an ICR.
    1. For new grantees, this must be done within 90 days of the grant's effective date.
    2. For returning grantees, this must be done within six months following the end of the grantee's fiscal year.
  2. Grantees will elect one of the following options in the Indirect Cost Rate Election System:
    1. Claim no indirect costs, which means the grantee cannot receive reimbursement for indirect costs during the fiscal year. (Some grants do not allow ICRs)
    2. Choose to take the de minimis rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs;
    3. Declare your federally negotiated Indirect Cost Rate if you already have one, or finally,
    4. Choose to negotiate an Indirect Cost rate of your own (NICR).
  3. Grantees that elect to negotiate an indirect cost rate with the State of Illinois will receive an invitation to the CARS system operated for GATA by Crowe Horwath.  The CARS system is where grantees will submit their proposal and other required documents for review and approval.
  4. The GATA website has many details concerning the Centralized Indirect Cost System and the calculation of the Indirect Cost Rate. Please see their website,  and go to the grantee links and webinars tabs for training and information.

NOTE: All grantees must make an election or negotiate a rate in CARS to be able to claim reimbursement for indirect costs.  Indirect costs may be disallowed if an election or rate is not elected in the Centralized Indirect Cost Rate System.

Also, the determination of the ICR will impact the budget. If the ICR has not been determined by the time a grant application and budget is completed, the grantee may expect that the budget will need to be re-calculated and re-submitted.

Internal IDHS Contractual System

Once you have completed the NOSA and returned it to IDHS, the Department of Human Services will begin our internal process for creating a grant award (contract).  The contract, a Uniform Grant Agreement, will be created complete with its respective exhibits.  At times, funding may be revised.  The internal agency-approval processes will take place.  When the completed award is available, it will be published to the CSA system and the grantee will be notified.