Understand the Review Process
Every grant application receives a comprehensive review, conducted by a panel of independent subject matter experts who volunteer, or are nominated, to become grant reviewers. Each application is reviewed by at least three reviewers, who separately score the application according to review criteria spelled out in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). A panel chairperson oversees each review panel.
After all applications are reviewed, reviewers meet to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each application and arrive at a consensus score. The panel creates a rank ordered list, which ACF uses when considering which applications will receive funding.
For each application, the panel develops a summary report that describes the applications strengths and weaknesses. Applicants receive their own summary report and can receive their cumulative score upon request. This information can be used as constructive feedback for future applications specific to that program.
Results of the competitive objective review are taken into consideration by ACF in the selection of projects for funding; however, objective review scores and rankings are not binding. They are one element in the decision-making process.
Section V.1. of the FOA describes in detail the review criteria that will be used to evaluate and score applications. Review criteria vary for each FOA, but some common categories include:
- Needs assessment;
- Evaluative measures;
- Organizational Capacity; and
- Budget and Budget Justification.
Most funding opportunity announcements include more specific criteria for each category and many list additional review criteria.
The content on this page is for informational purposes and should not be construed as instructions for submitting an application. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Announcement of interest for detailed instructions.