Piles of Coins and Sign of calMoneySmart

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to many of the most frequently asked questions about the CalMoneySmart grant program. If you have further questions, please contact us at grants@dfpi.ca.gov.

General Program Questions

How do I complete my CalMoneySmart application?

The 2024-26 CalMoneySmart grant application period is open from April 9 through May 6, 2024.  

Click the ‘Apply Here’ icon above which will bring you to the login page of the DFPI grant portal. You can also access this link directly at dfpi.grantplatform.com. You will be required to register your email address and create a password. Once you begin the application, you may save your work and return to it later up until the deadline.

How much funding can my organization apply for?

Applicants may apply for up to $200,000 per year (FY 2024-25) and (FY2025-26). Proposals may include administrative (indirect) costs of no more than 15% of the proposed project.  

There are no minimum grant amounts. Applicants should apply for the funding required to implement their proposed project and no more. We encourage applicants to request funding that is proportionate to their organization’s overall budget and is commensurate with their experience. 

Applicants may receive less funding than their requested amount. 

How often are CalMoneySmart grants awarded?

Beginning this year, CalMoneySmart will run on a 2-year cycle. Applicants will apply for grant funding for the fiscal years of 2024-25 and 2025-26. The next application round will occur in 2026. 

When will CalMoneySmart grants be announced?

Awards are expected to be announced in July 2024, and the grant period will begin on August 1, 2024. Processing of payments will take 6-8 weeks following the announcement.  

If I have more questions, who can I contact?

Please contact Grants@dfpi.ca.gov with additional questions.

Program Eligibility and Funding

What costs should be itemized on the program budget?

Personnel/Staff Costs: may include permanent, temporary, or contract staffing. Include FTE. 

Program Costs: may include equipment, travel, printing, postage, training, etc. 

Administrative Costs: may include, but are not limited to, costs of workforce overhead, human resources, accounting, finance, business and facility operations, and information technology. These are also called indirect costs.  

Can insurance be included in the proposed program budget?

Insurance that is intended to protect the applicant organization (e.g. General Liability, Directors and Officers) is not an eligible expense. 

Health insurance (provided to employees as part of a fringe benefits package) is an eligible expense. 

Can a project provide participation incentives?

Promotional items used for outreach may be approved as part of a comprehensive outreach strategy. However, material items used to “buy” participation would be an unacceptable use of funds. 

Grant funding may not be used for financial incentives for individuals. Prohibited incentives include, but are not limited to, match funding for savings accounts, participant stipends, or gift cards with a cash value.   

How can my organization work with other organizations to apply for a grant?

Collaboration among one or more organizations is allowed and encouraged when it enables organizations to leverage resources and expertise. A grantee signs the grant agreement and serves as the primary contact for the project. Only the grantee can benefit from the grant funds. A grantee may subcontract services that it has agreed to provide under the grant agreement, so long as those services are conducted on behalf of the grantee. Subcontract arrangements must be clearly described in the scope of work and budget.

Accepting grant funds with the intent of distributing those funds to other nonprofit organizations (for example, sub-grants or fiscal sponsorship) is not allowed.

What is a Certificate of Status, and how do I request it?

A Certificate of Status is issued by the California Secretary of State. This document certifies the current status of an entity (e.g., active/good standing, suspended, dissolved, cancelled, etc.) 

Certificates of Status must be current and in compliance with all applicable laws. They must be dated within 90 days of the application submission. Applicants may request this documentation at:  https://bizfileonline.sos.ca.gov/. The Secretary of State provides an Online Help Guide to assist you. Please allow sufficient time to obtain these documents.  

If your organization is incorporated in California, you are only required to submit one Certificate. If your organization is incorporated out of state, you must also include an equivalent document from the state of incorporation. 

Tips for Applicant

What makes a competitive application?
  • Organizational capacity to deliver the project. 
  • Experience serving an unbanked and underbanked target population. 
  • Geographic area: Why are services needed in this area.? 
  • Program description and timeline:  who, what, when, where and how? 
  • Detailed and realistic budget.​​ 
  • Clearly articulated outcomes and measurement. 
  • Provide sufficient detail and use data to support your answers. 
What program outcomes should be included in my application?

We recognize that each CalMoneySmart project is different, and program outcomes may differ depending on the key funding area you have selected (financial education, coaching or financial products).

It is expected, however, that participants enrolled in CalMoneySmart funded activities will achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  1. gain personal financial knowledge and skills
  2. be motivated to make positive changes in their financial behaviors, and
  3. have opportunities to access and use responsible financial products and services.

We encourage you to consider how your programs will achieve each of these three outcomes and how they will contribute to financial well-being for participants.

Approved by Klee 4/20

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Last updated: Apr 30, 2024 @ 11:18 am