The Department of Financial Regulation provides discretionary grants for financial services education initiatives undertaken by public and nonprofit organizations aimed at informing the public about financial services, in particular the prevention and detection of securities, banking, and insurance fraud. The grant program is authorized in 9 V.S.A. § 5616 and § 5601.
Provided that monies are available in the Fund for grants, awards are available of a maximum of $75,000 per applicant per year for a maximum of four years and for a total of $200,000 over the life of an award. The Commissioner is in no way restricted from modifying these maximums as the program evolves, provided the new maximums are communicated to all applicants.
Selection of Grantees and Pre-Award Eligibility and Risk Assessment
Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a grant:
- Applicant is a public or nonprofit organization.
- Applicant proposes an initiative aimed at educating the public about financial services.
- Applicant identifies performance targets for its initiative that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
- Applicant identifies how it will determine whether the performance targets are achieved for each year of the initiative.
- Applicant demonstrates that it has the personnel and resource capacity to successfully implement the initiative.
- Applicant is determined by the grant management team to be eligible to receive grants pursuant to the Agency of Administration’s Pre-Award Eligibility Determination.
- Applicant is determined by the grant management team to be low or moderate risk pursuant to the Agency of Administration’s Grantee Risk-Based Assessment; alternatively, applicant is determined to be high risk and the Commissioner concludes that it is nonetheless in the State's best interest to award a grant to the applicant.*
- Applicant will offer its financial services education to the Vermont public and not restrict access to a particular subset of the population in Vermont unless applicant demonstrates that the particular subset of the population is underserved. An applicant can focus its program on serving the public in a specific geographical area of the state.
* In completing the Grantee Risk-Based Assessment, the grant management team may consider examination and other information about a grant applicant acquired by the Department pursuant to the Department’s regulatory authority under Titles 8 and 9 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated. This information is most relevant to addressing the topic of “Other issues that may indicate high risk of non-compliance” on the Grantee Risk-Based Assessment.
Priority is given to the following applicants:
- Applicants who have not previously received a grant.
- Applicants determined to be low or moderate risk on the Grantee Risk-Based Assessment or determined to be high risk solely based on the points assigned for not receiving a prior grant from the Department.
- Applicants whose initiatives will serve underserved populations or communities.
- Applicants whose initiative will serve a different population, community, or need than prior grantees.
- Applicants whose initiative will meet a need for which other avenues of funding are not generally available.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. An application is not considered complete unless all of the information requested in the application has been provided. The grant management team determines whether to award a grant to each applicant, using fund availability, the eligibility criteria, and the above identified priorities.
The grant management team may request that an applicant modify their initiative in order to receive a grant if such modifications would improve the likelihood of success of the initiative or serve another purpose in the public interest, such as an expansion of those offered financial service education, that the grant management team identifies are prudent and reasonably within the scope and capacity of the applicant.