Guidelines for the Research Grant Committee for Expenditure of Funds for Education and Research
The Research Grant Committee was created by the Executive Committee of the American Bankruptcy Institute, pursuant to the decision of the Board of Directors at the 1997 ABI Annual Spring Meeting. The Research Grant Committee is charged with the responsibility of fostering research and educational activities administering grants for worthy projects, consistent with the Mission Statement adopted for the Research Grant Committee (previously called the Endowment Committee) by the Board of Directors at the 1997 Annual Spring Meeting.
The Board of Directors and the Executive Committee have, respectively, set up the composition of the Research Grant Committee, as well as the fiscal parameters for funding and grants. Modifications to (1) the Mission Statement, (2) the composition of the Committee, or (3) the fiscal parameters, to the extent deemed appropriate, may be recommended to the Executive Committee, subject to the ratification and approval of the Board of Directors.
In furtherance of the work of the Research Grant Committee, the Committee has adopted these guidelines, designed to assist the Committee in the process of solicitation of grant proposals, to prescribe the format in which grant proposals are to be submitted, to afford the Committee standards for approving or rejecting grant proposals, to give the Committee standards and procedures for monitoring grants, and to prescribe guidelines for rescinding or canceling grants. These are guidelines only, however, and the committee may, in its discretion, deviate from these guidelines if it deems appropriate on a case-by-case basis.
I. The Research Grant Committee (Committee) should seek out and should actively solicit projects that are designed to:
A. Further a better understanding of bankruptcy law and of the bankruptcy system;
B. Enhance or improve the efficacy, efficiency or fairness of the bankruptcy system;
C. Better educate decision-makers and policy-makers in the performance of their duties with respect to the bankruptcy system; and
D. Accomplish any other education or research objective stated in the Mission Statement for the Endowment Fund.
II. The Committee should, in general, advertise its interest in grant proposals through the ABI Journal and such other media as the Committee shall determine. The procedures for requesting a grant from the Committee should be available upon request to the ABI staff and the requisite information for contacting the ABI for further information should be available at ABI’s web site.
III. Expenditure of Funds by the Committee
The Committee shall have authority to expend such funds as may be allocated by the Executive Committee by standing or special resolution.
IV. Guidelines for Submission of Grant Proposals
A. Grant proposals shall be submitted in writing.
B. Grant proposals shall contain, at a minimum, the following components:
1. A brief (no more than one page) statement of purpose, including a brief description of what the project proposes to accomplish, and the reasons that goal is consistent with the Mission Statement of the Research Grant Committee.
2. A description of how the proposed goal is to be accomplished, including staffing, resources, time line, criteria for determining success or completion, and a detailed description of the final deliverable results of the project and the format of the finished product.
3. A description of other financial resources available, or expected to be available, to accomplish the project. These should include, without limitation, other grants for the project and in-kind contributions of all types (such as overhead, secretarial service, computer time and the like).
4. A detailed budget reflecting how and when all monies (from all sources, including in-kind contributions) will be applied. The budget should also contain an explanation of the proposed timing for payments in relation to the work proposed in the grant, and an analysis showing the projected completion date of each deliverable result proposed by the grant proposal and the projected funds required to complete each such deliverable result.
5. A representation regarding the requesting party’s affiliations, including principal employment and associations with any groups that are interested in or related to the issues involved in the research. Such representation shall specifically disclose whether the requesting party is obligated (by employment or otherwise) to take or advocate a particular position or achieve a particular outcome with respect to the proposed project.
6. If the grant proposal provides that the researcher’s employer, or other affiliated organization, institution, or entity, is expected to provide any financial support for the project, whether direct or in-kind, or is expected to accept work done by the researcher on the grant towards his or her employment, the grant proposal shall be signed by both the requesting party and the employer, organization, institution, or entity to indicate the latter’s awareness and agreement to those provisions of the proposal.
C. Grant proposals shall be emailed to the Executive Director of ABI in electronic form. The Executive Director shall promptly email a copy of any grant proposal received to each member of the Committee.
D. Grant proposals may be submitted at any time, but, to ensure timely consideration, applicants should submit proposals at least four months in advance of any period for which they will seek to actually obtain funds. The Committee usually meets in December and April of each year. Proposals are usually considered at those meetings.
V. Guidelines for the Approval or Rejection of Grant Proposals by the Committee and Requirement for a Written Grant Agreement
A. The Committee shall at a minimum meet semi-annually to consider grant proposals. The Committee may meet more frequently upon request of the Chair, provided at least twenty (20) days notice is given to all other members of the Committee. Such meetings may be in person, or may be conducted telephonically, and a vote may be taken during the meeting, or by a subsequent submission of written votes to the Committee Chair. If the purpose of such a special meeting is to consider a grant proposal, then a copy of the proposal shall be sent by email to the members of the Committee, together with written notice of the meeting. A vote on a proposal may be taken by e-mail without a meeting, provided that all members of the Committee are given at least ten (10) days advance written notice of the deadline for the vote.
B. Grants will be approved on the majority vote of those Committee members actually voting, provided that a quorum has been met. The decision of the Committee with regard to the approval or rejection of a grant proposal is final.
C. Grant proposals shall be considered in light of the purposes set out in the Mission Statement, and consistent with the solicitation guidelines set out above.
D. Upon the Committee’s approval of a grant, the Chair shall designate a Committee member to monitor the grant (the “Grant Monitor”). The Grant Monitor shall be responsible for contacting the grant applicant and having the applicant sign an agreement (the “Grant Agreement”) for administration of the grant. The Grant Monitor shall provide a copy of the Grant Agreement to each Committee member.
1. The Grant Agreement shall include a definition of the work to be done, the schedule on which the work is to be completed, and the product (report, publication or other product) that is expected to result from the work. In defining the schedule on which the work is to be completed, the Grant Agreement should define interim milestones and reports to be supplied by the grant recipient to the Grant Monitor during the course of the work to verify that the schedule is being met.
2. The Grant Agreement will also specify the schedule on which funds will be released by the ABI to the grant recipient. Except in very unusual circumstances, release of funds will be timed to correspond with verification by the Committee that the work schedule is being met.
3. No funds will be advanced prior to execution of the Grant Agreement and no funds will be advanced during the course of the work until and unless the Committee is satisfied that the work is on schedule.
4. Modification of the Grant Agreement requires a majority vote of the Committee.
5. The Grant Agreement shall provide that the grant recipient understands that it is legally obligated to refund the grant if the recipient does not meet the schedule provided in the Grant Agreement.
6. The Grant Agreement shall provide that the grant recipient will acknowledge the support of the American Bankruptcy Institute in any publication of the results of the work supported by the grant. This the acknowledgement will include the following disclaimer: “The funding support of this project by the American Bankruptcy Institute does not constitute an endorsement by the ABI of the work product of the grant recipient.”
E. A grant proposal shall not be approved if:
1. The grant is inconsistent with the Mission Statement or these guidelines, or is in any way inconsistent with the goals and policies of the ABI.
2. The grant would support a portion of a faculty academic-year salary or a portion of the ongoing administrative operations of the party seeking the grant (or the entity by whom the party is employed or with which it is contracted).
3. The grant is to a political party or organization associated with a political party.
4. The grant is to a Member of Congress, or organization associated with a Member of Congress.
5. The grant is to a staff member of ABI or an entity in which a staff member has a significant economic interest.
6. The grant is to a member of the Committee.
7. The grant proposal fails to contain the required information as set forth above.
F. Except under special and unusual circumstances, a grant proposal shall not be approved if the grant would support a portion of a faculty academic-year salary or a portion of the ongoing administrative operations of the party seeking the grant (or the entity by whom the party is employed or with which it is contracted).
G. If a requesting party has or will obtain funding from multiple sources, it shall disclose those sources to the Committee and provide a full description of the source, nature, amount and obligations associated with that co-funding.
H. Grant proposals shall be considered without regard to race, creed, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or age.
I. A party seeking a grant may be requested by the Committee to supplement, revise or resubmit its proposal, and to set deadlines for such supplementation, revisions or resubmissions. The failure to meet a deadline imposed by the Committee may be sufficient, in and of itself, to warrant denial of a grant proposal.
J. The Committee may, in its sole and absolute discretion, refuse or deny any grant proposal for any reason. The decision to deny or refuse a grant proposal is final, and the grounds therefor are deemed to be confidential and proprietary. This shall not preclude the Committee from providing information and feedback to the applicant at the sole discretion of the Committee, upon majority vote.
K. No grant proposal shall be funded unless:
1. There are Endowment funds currently available to honor the grant, or in the alternative, the Executive Committee specifically authorized the funding.
2. The requesting party has executed a Grant Agreement in a format acceptable to the Committee, documenting the requirements and criteria set out above, including the agreed schedule described in Article VI(D)(1) and VI (D)(2).
3. The Committee has, by majority vote duly recorded by the secretary of the Committee and transmitted to the Executive Director, approved the Grant Proposal.
VI. Guidelines for Monitoring Grants
A. Grants require monitoring to assure that the funds given are being properly expended. Disbursements shall be based upon the accuracy and promptness of information contained in the periodic reports timely submitted as required in the Grant Agreement.
B. Grant recipients are required to submit written reports to the Grant Monitor on a periodic basis as prescribed in the Grant Agreement or as otherwise reasonably requested by the Grant Monitor.
1. The periodic written reports shall detail the progress made, the standards by which the progress is measured, any difficulties encountered, and whether the deadlines originally forecast in the Grant Agreement will be met.
2. If particular documents, analyses, or other written work products were to be produced during the reporting period, a copy thereof will either be attached to the reporting form, or an explanation provided as to why the original deadlines have not been met.
3. In addition, the report must contain a detailed statement of expenditures, by category, during the reporting period, and a statement of funds remaining in the grant. The periodic written reports may be required to contain such other additional information as the Committee may specify in its Grant Agreement. Copies of the periodic reports (or, in the discretion of the Committee, summaries thereof) shall be furnished to the members of the Committee by the Grant Monitor.
C. If there are any changes in the co-funding of the project, including the sponsorship, goals, direction or purposes for the co-funder with respect to the project, that will be promptly disclosed to the Chair of the Committee and the designated Grant Monitor.
D. The Committee may, upon majority vote, as it deems fit, set more frequent or more detailed reporting requirements for a given grant recipient than for other recipients.
E. Payment of grants will be as set forth in the Grant Agreement and reviewed on a quarterly basis in accordance with the proposed schedule of activities and expenditures as set forth in the Grant Agreement, as it may be modified.
F. The grant recipient shall not use data, legal, or factual analyses produced as a result of the grant funding to create work on behalf of any other party (including by the preparation of legal articles, briefs or the like) without first notifying the Committee of the preparation of the work and providing it with a copy thereof. This applies whether the work is being provided to a co-sponsor of the grant or an independent party.
VII. Guidelines for the Withdrawal, Rescission or Limitation of Grants
A. The Committee may withdraw or rescind a grant, by majority vote, if it determines that any of the information contained in the grant proposal is false, fraudulent or misleading.
B. The Committee may cancel any grant or refuse to disburse further funds, by majority vote, if, based upon its review of the periodic reports, it determines in its sole discretion that:
1. The grant recipient will not be capable of completing the purpose of the grant within the time allotted or within the budget allotted in the Grant Agreement. This shall not preclude the Committee from agreeing to extend the time for performance of the grant or to re-allocate the remaining payment amounts if, in its sole discretion, it believes the grant recipient is making adequate progress towards completion of the grant objectives.
2. The grant recipient is using funds inconsistent with the Grant Agreement. A grant recipient may alter the permitted use of the grant funds only upon written request and a written modification to the Grant Agreement, and with the approval of the Committee.
3. The grant recipient is discovered to have furnished false, fraudulent or misleading information in its periodic reports, or other materials, or is discovered to have been guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude or breach of the ABI’s ethical standards.
4. The grant recipient has, without prior notice to the Committee, obtained cofunding or co-sponsorship that the Committee reasonably deems inconsistent with the goals and policies of the Committee or ABI and is unwilling to terminate such support upon objection by the Committee.
5. The grant recipient has assigned or attempted to assign either the performance of the grant, or the proceeds thereof, to any party other than the grant recipient, except as explicitly provided for the Grant Agreement.
6. The decision of the Committee to withdraw, rescind or cancel a grant is final, and the grounds therefor are deemed to be confidential and proprietary.
C. The Committee may, upon majority vote, as a condition to funding, require that, in the event subsequent funding or changes in the goals, direction, purposes or use of the project prove to be inconsistent with the goals and policies of the Committee or the ABI, the grant recipient shall cease any further use of the name of the ABI in association with the work product of the grant recipient.
VIII. The ABI staff shall prepare an annual report of the activities of the Committee. The grants made by the Committee shall be published in the ABI Journal and may be published in any ABI media.