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The first thing that you should do is write a proposal about the project that you have in mind and a possible solution to the pastoral need. In the proposal you should list in general terms a justification for the project, or the motive for proposing the project and why it is important for your community.
In the proposal you should describe the goal of the project, the objective the project seeks to complete, making sure that the goal can be obtained in the amount of time proposed. Remember that a project can have more than one goal.
Goal: Form fifty pastoral agents in the rural zone of Cha-Cundinamaraca in a period of 8 months.
In the document you should write how much time it will take to develop your project proposal. Finally, you should calculate the general cost of the project. It's important that you have an idea of how much you can contribute to the project and the approximate value needed in a grant from the Subcommittee of Bishops.
What should I do if my community has various needs at the same time?
If you have detected various needs, first consider if those needs can be treated as different stages in the same project. You would need to develop those activities so that they meet the proposed goal. A way to test if an activity belongs to the same project is examining if its development would contribute to accomplishing the proposed project's planned objectives.
If these activities definitively belong to different projects, you should determine which is the priority for your community and apply for funds at the Subcommittee for only ONE project. Remember that the Subcommittee of Bishops can only distribute funds to an organization one time a year. The year begins after the date that the Subcommittee approves the funds.
What should I do once I have written my proposal?
Congratulations for completing the first phase of the process. You can send your application to the Subcommittee on the Church on Latin America in two ways, but remember that you should only utilize ONE. If we receive the same proposal various times the application can be nullified.
1) You can mail your written proposal by regular mail to the following address:
Church in Latin America
3211 4th Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20017-1194
2) You can also send your document by fax to: (202) 541-3460
Who will respond to my application?
The USCCB works with an office called the Collection for the Church in Latin America, whose staff will manage the projects.
The staff of the Collection for the Church in Latin America will analyze your proposal once it has arrived in the mail, by fax or in electronic form and will determine if the proposal falls under one of the eight categories established by the Bishop's Subcommittee and if the amount that you have estimated is appropriate for the completion of the project.
If you desire more information about the project categories that the bishop's subcommittee has established, you can consult the link on categories.
If you proposal is pre-approved, we will mail you the official application form and a complete guide for your use.
You should fill out the application form following the instructions that can be found in the guide. It is important that you study the guide before completing the form. This guide is designed so that a person without experience in projects development can easily prepare a proposal. The guide includes practical examples taken from the proposals that arrive everyday at the Church in Latin America.
Once you have the official form correctly filled out, you should consult the guide or our web page to find what support letters you will need to obtain. These letters will depend on the geographic area covered by the project in the proposal and the type of institution(whether or not it is ecclesiastical). Keep in mind it is very important to obtain these letters of support. Without these, your petition will be returned.
Can I send my official form by fax?
No. The staff will only accept the original form sent by regular mail accompanied by the letters previously referred to.
The Subcommittee on the Church on Latin America recommends that you keep a copy of the filled out form. Sometimes clarifications are required about specific aspects of the proposal. Also, you will need the form during the project in order to follow it's guidelines and suggestions.
Finally, we have noticed the tendency of certain organizations to send back the Project Manual with the application form. It is not necessary that you send this guide, it is something that can serve for future consultation if you decide to apply for a grant again either through our organization or another funding entity.
I have a blank copy of the application form from a previous project, would I be able to use it for a new project?
No. When an application is pre-approved by the staff it creates a file in the database for that specific application and automatically prints a form for that specific project. The form has the name of the person who applied, the date and a provisional project number. Additionally, the form specifically asks that "no photocopies be made of this form." We would sincerely appreciate it if you followed these instructions.
When the staff receives the form that has been created for a determined project, although the form is for a different project, the old project number produces the data about the old project and it is immediately rejected. We would appreciate if we could avoid this situation to prevent further confusion and the waste of the staff's time clarifying information.
What happens with my form once it arrives at the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America?
Once the staff at the Church in Latin America receives the application package, it will be reviewed to make sure that it contains the corresponding support letters according to the goal of the project and the origin of the organization which is applying for funds.
In the following phase, it will be analyzed to make sure that the project has an adequate justification, the goal is feasible and to ensure that the objectives and goals are coherent. In the case of an event, retreat, seminar, workshop and/or classes, it is important that this information be complete.
The Project Manual that accompanies the application form is a useful guide that contains examples that illustrate the most frequently presented cases.
If in your project you will be developing an event, like a seminar, retreat, workshop, etc, please take extra care to count the number of participants, the total number of training hours, the number of program hours and include the budget. Again, the guide will help you correctly fill out the forms.
The staff at the Collection for the Church in Latin America also takes care to ensure that the proposed grant total submitted to the bishop's subcommittee does not exceed 67% of the total budget of the project.
If the staff at the Collection for the Church in Latin America finds that the project is clearly outlined, contains all of the necessary information (including the corresponding support letters) and does not require clarifications, we will write the applicant a letter containing the date that the subcommittee will evaluate the project.
Because the staff can not predetermine what the subcommittee's decision will be, we ask that no economic commitments be made with the possibility of receiving aid from us until after you have received notification on whether or not you will receive aid and if so, the amount of your grant.
If the staff of the Collection for the Church in Latin America finds that the proposal has an aspect that is not clear, imprecise, incomplete or that simply needs some type of clarification, a written communication will be mailed to the applicant by email or fax asking for the respective information.
The applicant should respond in the same means of communication inside of the following 8 days providing the pertinent clarifications.
Who approves the financial support for pastoral projects in Latin America?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops created the Committee on National Collections to coordinate and support the national collections. This work includes administering the grant process for select national collections. For Latin America, the Committee works through the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America to make decisions with respect to the aid and financial support.
The subcommittee is composed of 9 Bishops that are appointed for a 3-year period.
The current chairman of
the subcommittee is Most Rev. Eusebio L. Elizondo, MSpS, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle.
When will the Subcommittee meet during the year?
The bishops meet 2 times during the year, in June and November.
What type of decision should I expect from the subcommittee?
The subcommittee of bishops evaluates the projects presented by the staff of the Collection for the Church in Latin America and can make 3 of the following decisions: finance the total request of the application, finance part of the requested amount, or decide not to finance the amount applied for.
How are the funds mailed from the staff to the applicant?
For those projects that have been approved either partially or in total, the staff will do a bank transfer. When this is not possible, a check will be delivered.
It is important that you fill out the information form very carefully and review it various times. The inter-bank transferring systems are so detailed that whatever inconsistency in the information can impede the success of the transaction.
The funds will be transferred inside of the month following the meeting at which they were approved.
What should my organization do once it receives the funds?
Congratulations! You have succeeded in obtaining funds to benefit your community. This is the result of your perseverance and patience for a noble cause.
The staff will send along with the funds and a packet of information that contains: i) The acknowledgment of receipt of the funds, ii) A form that should be filled out with the final report once the project has been executed, iii) A guide for the use of the funds.
The acknowledgment of receipt of funds is a formal certification that the economic resources were received by the applying organization. It is important that you verify that you have the grant in your bank account. It should be filled out and sent directly by fax and/or regular mail.
The final project form should be filled out once the project has been finished and all of the data has been gathered. Remember that the clarity, detail and promptness with which you send this report will determine what the subcommittee and staff of the Collection for the Church in Latin America consider in future project funding for that organization.
If I already have an approved project, can I apply for funds again?
Organizations that have applied for funds cannot apply for funds during the time a financed project is being executed. In other words, if the project was approved by the subcommittee in June of 2014 and the project lasted for eight months, the organization should: i) Mail the final report a month after the project was finished, ii) Wait until the final report's acceptance has been acknowledged by the subcommittee's staff before making a new request.
To present a new project, all previously approved projects must have a completed final report on file. This is a necessary requirement.
How much time is necessary for the processing of the application?
The time it takes to process an application from when it was received to the transfer of funds varies. It is subject to delays in mail, the clarity of the project proposal (whether or not clarifications or more descriptions are necessary) and receipt of all required documents. If a project meets all of the requirements and does not need any further clarifications, it can be prepared for presentation to our bishops within a few weeks. However, the actual presentation to the subcommittee of bishops will only be done in June and November. Therefore, it can take between six to eight months for an application to be considered and a decision on funding be made.
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