M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Instructions for completing Strategic Projects grant administration forms

Grant Agreements

A Grant Agreement (GA) is issued each time a Trust award is made. The GA will be delivered to you by email through DocuSign. Your organization’s executive director/CEO and board chair/board officer must carefully read, sign, and submit the GA. DocuSign will deliver the signed document to the Trust, and you will receive a submission confirmation and a copy of the GA in the Grants Portal for your records. If you have questions about any aspect of the GA, contact your assigned program director or the senior program director for grants. It is essential that the executive director or CEO sign the document. If the board chair is not easily available, then it is permissible for another board officer to sign it on behalf of the board.

The Trust will estimate a payment schedule for your grant based upon the type of award (outright or contingent), the project budget, and more generally the timing of your need for funds. However, you can request an initial outright payment and also suggest a complete payment schedule in the GA as long as it is consistent with Trust practice. Payments can also be requested with a Progress Report or Conditions Met Report, all of which will appear in your Grants Portal in the Reports section. If you are uncertain about how to schedule payments, you may leave that section of the GA blank or contact your assigned program director. Be sure to visit Grants Administration and Reporting Resources on the Trust’s website to find definitions, samples, and tips related to the grant administration process.

At the time your grant is awarded, you will need to review the contacts associated with the grant and determine if you want to change the persons to whom correspondence from the Trust will be provided throughout the grant administration process. The executive director or CEO must remain as the primary contact; however, the board member and third contact person may be replaced by the appropriate staff member. Please consider adding as the third contact the person who will have responsibility of tracking the grant expenditures and preparing the reports. Grant contacts can be updated or changed by submitting a Project Update Report.

Project Update Reports

The Project Update Report (PUR) can be used to report a material update regarding the awarded grant, but unrelated to any payment request. Material updates may include, but are not limited to, an organizational or project leadership change, circumstances that will change the payment schedule for your grant, a request to change the authorized signers or update their contact information, a pending organizational name change or possible merger, the receipt of an updated IRS determination letter, an office relocation, the receipt of a one-time transformational gift, the loss of a key employee, or other notable circumstances that may impact the implementation of an open grant.

A PUR is always available in the Reports Due section of your Grants Portal. You may not need to use this report during the life of your grant, in which case you do not need to submit it.

Please complete the following:

  1. Project Updates—Provide a brief narrative describing the material update and the effect it will have on your awarded grant.
  2. Project Update Documents upload—Upload any documents related to the material update.

While you are working on your PUR, you may save and return to the report at a later time.  When it is complete, you will need to click the Submit button, after which point the Report status will change to Under Review, and it will move to the Submitted Reports section of your Grants Portal. Your assigned program director will review your PUR and contact you with any decision or change to be made to your grant.

Progress Reports

The Progress Report (PR) is to be used to update the Trust on the status of an open grant in order to request a payment. PRs are scheduled at the time a grant is awarded based on an estimated payment schedule. Targeted payment dates often shift during the life of a grant, in which case the PR due dates will shift accordingly.

You will find scheduled PRs in the Reports Due section of your Grants Portal. You may complete and submit a PR whenever you would like to request a payment. You may need to reference your original grant proposal, which can be found in the Active Grants section of your Grants Portal, or the Grant Agreement, which can be found in the Grant Agreement Document section of your active grant record.

Please complete the following:

  1. Summary Narrative—Provide a brief narrative of your project’s progress since the grant was awarded or the last report submitted. Examples might include a short description of the building construction or renovation, e.g. percent completion, timeline; the status of the purchase of equipment, e.g. date an order was made, specifics on the item ordered and the manufacturer, timeline for delivery, installation, etc.; the status of a new staff person, e.g. the name of the person hired, start date, the development of materials; and/or the implementation of a new or expanded program. In all cases, you should comment on your progress relative to the goals or outcomes outlined in the proposal. You are encouraged to succinctly offer successes, failures, surprises, challenges, and lessons learned to date. Brevity, accuracy, and candor are hallmarks of a good PR.
  2. Payment Request—The amount of Trust grant funds received to date will auto-populate in this section. Provide the dollar amount of the grant award, the total project cost (this figure should match the project budget total provided with the proposal or the revised project budget submitted in the review process), and the amount requested. Using the comparative budget, clearly describe how Trust grant funds have been used and how any unexpended funds will be used in the future.
  3. Budget Details—Attach a comparative budget of the project using the same budget as was presented with the proposal or a later approved revision. If appropriate use a multi-columned spreadsheet to report the original budget line item by line item, the actual costs of the project, how Trust funds were applied, and the balance of unspent funds. The budget should reflect all known costs to date and the entire amount of the Trust award. The budget and presentation of how grant dollars will or have been used is the key to the payment request. For scientific research grants, please also summarize how you intend to spend the payment requested toward the project budget. Be sure to review the samples provided in the Grants Administration and Reporting Resources on our website.
  4. Certifications—The PR must be certified by an authorized signer, preferably the executive director or CEO. However, others within your organization may have been authorized to execute this and other Trust reports. Those with authority typically include those copied on all Trust correspondence and usually include two of the following: a board member, a CFO, a project manager, or a designated development staff member. These or other signers must be known to the Trust and your assigned program director.

While you are working on your PR, you may save and return to the report at a later time.  When it is complete, you will need to click the Submit button, after which point the Report status will change to Under Review, and it will move to the Submitted Reports section of your Grants Portal.

Your assigned program director will review the PR, verify the information provided, and schedule a payment. If additional information or clarification is needed, the report will return to your Grants Portal in the Revisions Requested section. To receive a payment, be sure to submit your PR by the due date listed on the report in your Grants Portal.

Conditions Met Reports

The Conditions Met Report (CMR) is to be used to (1) report your success in meeting a contingency placed on an open grant each time one is met and, if needed, (2) request a payment. If you are requesting a payment, no additional reports are required. CMRs are scheduled at the time a grant is awarded based on an estimated payment schedule. Targeted payment dates often shift during the life of a grant, in which case the CMR due dates will shift accordingly.

Please complete the following:

  1. Summary Narrative—State the condition placed on the grant and provide a brief narrative of the source of funds used to meet the condition, with an appropriate level of detail. For example, 3 donors gave gifts of over $10,000, 15 gave gifts of $2,500 or more, and 40 gave gifts of over $1,000, etc. Another option is to provide similar data by source (board members, individuals, foundations, corporations, churches, institutional funds, debt, etc.). Always provide other foundation grants by name and amount. The goal will often be obtained with a combination of contributed income (outright, pledged, and in-kind) and earned income. Be sure to provide a good accounting of all revenue sources, including organizational reserves and external debt. We do not need copies of the pledges or the names of the donors, but we expect them to be available should they be requested by the program director.
  2. Payment Request—If a payment is warranted as a result of meeting a condition of the grant, complete this sectionand the amount requested. The dollar amount of the grant award, the total project cost, and the amount of Trust grant funds received to date will auto-populate in this section. Also, provide a brief project update since the last payment was received (see PR instructions for further explanation), and using the comparative budget, clearly describe how Trust grant funds have been used and how any unexpended funds will be used in the future.
    You are encouraged to attach a multi-column spreadsheet to better track and present this information, especially if multiple grant payments are expected. You can upload this in the Documents section. The budget and presentation of how grant dollars will or have been used is the key to the payment request. Be sure to review sample reports found in Grants Administration and Reporting Resources on our website.
  3. Certifications—Regardless of whether a payment is being requested, the CMR must be certified by an authorized signer, preferably the executive director or CEO. However, others within your organization may have been authorized to execute this and other Trust reports. Those with authority typically include those copied on all Trust correspondence and usually include two of the following: a board member, a CFO, a project manager, or a designated development staff member. These or other signers must be known to the Trust and your assigned program director.

While you are working on your CMR, you may save and return to the report at a later time.  When it is complete, you will need to click the Submit button, after which point the Report status will change to Under Review, and it will move to the Submitted Reports section of your Grants Portal.

Your assigned program director will review the CMR, verify the information provided, and schedule a payment. If additional information or clarification is needed, the report will return to your Grants Portal in the Revisions Requested section. To receive a payment, be sure to submit your CMR by the due date listed on the report in your Grants Portal.

Final Reports

The Final Report (FR) is to be used to report and celebrate the results of the project and initiate the closing of the file. It is due as soon as all the grant funds have been expended and the project is complete. Your grant file remains open until an FR is received and approved.

Use up to five pages to provide a detailed narrative and assessment of the outcomes as compared to your original plans and goals and another one page to provide a financial accounting of the project expenses and how the Trust’s grant was applied to them. The Trust is interested to learn how this project may have advanced your mission and enhanced your ability to serve your constituency.

Please complete the following:

  1. Summary Narrative—(1) Describe the time frame of your project, (2) the goals and outcomes as measured against your own objectives as outlined in your proposal, and (3) the impact it has or will have upon your organization. (4) Provide a financial accounting of the project expenses, and (5) tell us if and how the project will be continued and supported going forward. Finally, (6) tell us what you learned along the way, what went well, and what did not go as expected or planned. Also explain how this process might affect future projects undertaken by your organization.
  2. Budget—Attach a comparative budget of the project using the same budget as was presented with the proposal or a later approved revision. If appropriate use a multi-columned spreadsheet to report the original budget line item by line item, the actual costs of the project, and how Trust funds were applied. The budget should reflect all known costs to date and the entire amount of the Trust award.
  3. Certifications— Part of closing your grant file is the certification that the funds provided have been allocated in accordance with the original GA and applied to the project in a manner consistent with the project budget. The FR must be certified by an authorized signer, preferably the executive director or CEO. However, others within your organization may have been authorized to execute this and other Trust reports. Those with authority typically include those copied on all Trust correspondence and usually include two of the following: a board member, a CFO, a project manager, or a designated development staff member. These or other signers must be known to the Trust and your assigned program director.

While you are working on your FR, you may save and return to the report.  When it is complete, you will need to click the Submit button, after which point the Report status will change to Under Review, and it will move to the Submitted Reports section of your Grants Portal.

Your assigned program director will review the FR, verify the information provided, and take the necessary action. If additional information or clarification is needed, the report will return to your Grants Portal in the Revisions Requested section. Once the file is closed, you will receive an email confirming this.

The Trust thoroughly enjoys reading about your successes and learnings, and celebrates your achievement. Furthermore, your FR helps educate and inform the Trust’s staff and provides insights for future grantmaking practices. Because most of the Trust’s time is spent with organizations before and during a grant application process, it is difficult for staff to attend formal celebrations, building dedications, etc. However, the Trust wants to know of your celebration plans. When possible and travel schedules allow, the program directors will make an effort to join you for those special events.

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