Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant Assurances

2015 Funding

Grantee understands and agrees that the terms of the 2015 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant Assurances and Grant Award Letter fully apply to and are incorporated as part of the terms and conditions of the Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant.

Grantee agrees that:

  1. Grantee shall complete an Evaluation Plan for the project that will contain specific Project Activities for it to accomplish as part of this grant. Copies of the Evaluation Plan and Progress Report templates are included with these Assurances as Attachment B. The completed Evaluation Plan with Projects Activities require LSC approval, and, once approved, become incorporated in this grant agreement. Any modification of the Evaluation Plan must be approved in writing by LSC, including changes to specific Project Activities and the timeline for achieving Project Activities contained in the Evaluation Plan for this grant. Failure to perform Project Activities in a timely manner may result in the termination of this grant.
  2. The final approved budget for the project is a part of the grant award package and included as Attachment C. Grantees are required to obtain prior written approval from LSC for changes in this approved budget when cumulative changes to the approved budget exceed the greater of 10 percent of the grant amount or $10,000. Prior written approval from LSC must also be obtained when the change to an individual line item in the budget exceeds 20 percent of the affected line item and is a change of at least $5,000. Requests for changes to the project budget should be emailed to the Grant Administrator, who will provide instructions on what must be submitted to request a budget change. If a budget variance is discovered for which prior approval should have been obtained and was not, the Grantee must contact the Grant Administrator for instructions as soon as the variance is discovered. LSC may disallow costs for any budget variances that lack a required prior approval.
  3. Grantee shall report to the Grant Administrator any significant problems, issues or proposed project modifications (e.g., changes in project design, staffing, equipment, contracting, or other changes that would affect the scope, objectives, or activities of the project) within 30 days after these are identified. Changes to the project design, staffing, equipment, or contracting — or that would otherwise affect the scope, objectives or activities of the project — require written approval by LSC prior to implementation. Requests for changes to the project should be made to the Grant Administrator who will provide instructions on what must be submitted to request a change.
  4. All funds disbursed by LSC pursuant to this grant shall be used solely for the project for which this grant is being made. In some cases, the ultimate cost of project implementation will be less than the originally approved budget because of project staff turnover, reductions in the anticipated costs of hardware or software, or other factors. The grantee may not repurpose or reallocate these budget surpluses without prior, written, LSC approval. The grantee may not reallocate surplus funds to different Pro Bono Innovation Fund projects or to other grantee activities. Requests to reallocate surplus funds must demonstrate that the Pro Bono Innovation funds would be used in a manner related to the original purpose of the grant. Absent such justification and written approval, all surplus funds must be returned to LSC with the grantee's Final Report and Final Financial Report and no later than 60 days from completion of the project. As part of the final payment request (or as part of the closeout process if the grant is terminated), the grantee will submit a Final Financial Report in the format of the approved project budget, with any approved modifications. This report must show the actual expenditures on the project, as well as a narrative in the format of the approved project budget template explaining any changes in actual expenditures as compared to the approved budget. This is done online by the grantee as a task in LSC Grants. Grantees should consult the current Accounting Guide for LSC Grantees for guidance on financial accounting and reporting standards. 
  5. Grantee must comply with LSC regulations on transfers and subgrants when providing Pro Bono Innovation funds to third parties. 45 CFR Parts 1610 and 1627. The grantee will review all third-party payment arrangements for compliance with these regulations. Third-party payments are any expenditures of Pro Bono Innovation funds to a third party that is not part of the grantee's ordinary non-subgrant expenditures (such as salary, rent, or utilities). The grantee must follow all transfer and subgrant requirements, including obtaining written, LSC pre-approvals of subgrants. The grantee may not transfer any Pro Bono Innovation funds to a proposed subgrantee until LSC approves the subgrant agreement. The award of a Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant does not constitute a subgrant pre-approval. LSC should be contacted with any questions regarding which third-party payment arrangements require subgrant approval. LSC may disallow costs if the transfer or subgrant requirements are not followed.
  6. Approval of a Pro Bono Innovation Fund application does not imply LSC approval of any specific contractor. All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. All third‐party expenditures, regardless of cost, must be appropriately documented and are subject to 45 CFR Part 1630 - Cost Standards and Procedures. As long as the grantee complies with the provisions on contracting set out below, it may add its own contracting requirements. In the event that the grantee expends $5,000 or more of the funds provided to it pursuant to this grant on a single transaction to pay a third party for goods or services that is not otherwise subject to the LSC Property Acquisition and Management Manual, it will:
    1. (1) solicit bids from a minimum of three providers or (2) document the reasons for doing otherwise if it is necessary to (i) award a contract on the basis of fewer than three responses or (ii) purchase from a "Sole Source" because of technical or quality requirements, organizational or personnel expertise, knowledge of the program, the lack of dependable vendors, or when there is an emergency;
    2. maintain documentation for LSC review, including: the solicitation and receipt of bids or sole source justification; the reason for selection of a contractor; senior management approval of (1) contractor selection and (2) any sole source justification; the terms and conditions of the agreement; and all payments, adjustments, and credits;
    3. provide a copy of the contract to LSC with the payment request for the period in which the contract was executed (the submission of said contract is only for the purpose of verifying the execution of said contract; recipients remain responsible to ensure that they comply with all applicable LSC requirements regarding, among other things, the process through which it was entered, its terms, and the expenditure of LSC funds pursuant to it); and
    4. ensure the proper expenditure of, accounting for, and audit of the contracted funds.
  7. Within 30 days of the end of each reporting period, grantee shall submit a Progress Report on Project Activities and a Payment Requests to LSC staff and through LSC Grants supplemented by supporting documentation as required by LSC.
  8. Grants can be terminated for four reasons: (1) by default if the grantee fails to provide required documentation on time, unless LSC, in its sole discretion, provides a written waiver or extension; (2) by modification or withdrawal when the grantee and LSC agree that the Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant should end early by mutual consent; (3) by termination based on LSC concerns about grantee performance; or (4) by default if the grantee ceases to be a recipient of an LSC Basic Field Grant (General, Native American, or Migrant). Additional information on Termination Policies and Procedures can also be found at Grant Administration.

    In situations (1) and (4), the grant automatically terminates and closeout procedures will be initiated for the grant, including the consideration of what funds, if any, will be provided for any grant Project Activities completed prior to the termination of the grant and what funds, if any, will be returned to LSC. UPON AUTOMATIC TERMINATION, THERE IS NO RIGHT TO APPEAL.

    When a grant is terminated for any of these reasons, the grantee agrees to work with LSC staff to close out the grant, to provide a final accounting, to provide a report detailing why the grant was not completed, and to return any unspent funds. Additionally, if LSC terminates a grantee's Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant for performance concerns or failure to provide timely documentation, the grantee is not eligible to receive a Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant for three years after the grant is terminated except that this ineligibility shall not apply to programs that work with LSC to end a Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant early after an unsuccessful project implementation resulting from key staffing changes, technology limitations, a failed proof of concept, or other reasons outside of the grantee's control.
  9. If a grant is terminated for one of the four reasons specified in Grant Assurance #8, the closeout procedure will include a review of the non‐expendable personal property with an aggregate current fair market value of $5,000 or more to determine if the property should be (1) retained by the grantee, (2) retained by the grantee with LSC to be reimbursed for the percentage of the property's current fair market value that is equal to that percentage of the property's acquisition cost that was borne by LSC funds, (3) transferred to another LSC grantee, or (4) sold. If the property is to be sold, the grantee may retain the proceeds from the sale after compensating LSC for that percentage of the property's current fair market value that is equal to the percentage of the property's acquisition cost that was borne by LSC funds.

    If LSC, in its sole discretion, determines that a transfer is appropriate and non‐LSC funds were used in part for the acquisition, then the grantee shall be entitled to reimbursement from the transferee of the percentage of the property's current fair market value that is equal to that percentage of the property's acquisition cost that was borne by non‐LSC funds. If the Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantee does not transfer the property when instructed to do so, then 100 percent of the current value of the property will be charged to the grantee and LSC may recover that amount as a disallowed cost under 45 CFR Part 1630.

    LSC may, at its discretion, allow the Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantee the option to purchase the LSC share of the property with non‐LSC funds. If the Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantee is permitted to purchase the LSC share of the property, but fails to do so as part of the Pro Bono Innovation Fund closeout, then the value of the LSC share of the property will be charged to the grantee. Any charges under this Grant Assurance that are not resolved in the Pro Bono Innovation Fund closeout process will be disallowed costs that may be deducted from any LSC funds and/or subject to collection by LSC.
  10. As part of its compliance with the LSC program integrity requirement, 45 CFR Part 1610.8, Grantee will maintain objective integrity and independence from any organization that engages in LSC-restricted activities; and it will structure, monitor, and maintain any Pro Bono Innovation‐funded collaborations with non-LSC legal services providers consistent with maintaining overall program integrity.
  11. With respect to any product or software program developed with these grant funds or used to promote Pro Bono Innovation Fund projects:
    1. Ownership of the product or software shall vest in either the LSC recipient, or the developer of the software, as the particular agreement between those parties so specifies, provided that regardless of who owns the product or software, both LSC and the recipient shall have royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable licenses to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the product or software, including making the product or software available to other LSC recipients without LSC or any LSC recipients paying any fees. All contracts with vendors shall include language to this effect to protect the rights of LSC and its recipients and shall acknowledge agreement to this by the vendors.
    2. Such products or software programs, including websites, shall comply with or conform to the National Subject Matter Index (NSMI) standard developed by the Legal Aid Information Standards Group. If this requirement is likely to substantially impede the successful completion of a project, the recipient shall communicate that to the assigned LSC staff person and request a waiver of this requirement.
    3. Such products or software programs (including, but not limited to, document assembly products) shall comply with naming conventions currently under development. Naming conventions are definitions of fields within documents (respondent, litigant, address, etc.). If these conventions are likely to substantially impede the successful completion of a project, the recipient shall communicate that to the assigned LSC staff person and request a waiver of this requirement.
  12. In the development of any website, pro se materials, or other grant-supported product, the recipient shall consider and address the special needs of persons with disabilities to ensure that the sites, materials, and other products are accessible to them using standards based on or exceeding those imposed on federal agencies through Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794(d), and implementing regulations.
  13. In the development of any website, pro se materials, or other grant-supported product, the Grantee shall consider and address the special needs of persons with limited literacy, limited English proficiency, limited experience with or knowledge of computer-related technologies, limited access to computers, or those who have limited access to most web-based or other computer-related systems for any reason. Grantees shall write all new publications, forms, and materials produced under this grant in a clear, concise, well-organized manner following plain language principles, examples of which can be found at www.writeclearly.org and www.plainlanguage.gov.
  14. Any materials created with grant funds or used to promote Pro Bono Innovation Fund projects shall display the LSC logo, including publications, websites, videos, and webcasts. It shall forward electronic copies of these materials to the assigned grant administrator via email. Any such material will be subject to the terms of Grant Assurance #11.
  15. It understands and will comply with the Policy on Disclosure of Interests for Determination of Conflicts ("Conflicts of Interest Policy") which can be found at Attachment D; it will distribute the Policy to the persons covered by the Policy; it will ensure that the persons covered by the Policy complete and sign a copy of the Conflict of Interest Acknowledgement and Disclosure Form ("Disclosure Form") which can be found at Attachment E; it will maintain in a single location these forms and any written updates of them related to new conflict situations, or additional information to correct an inaccurate or incomplete previously signed and provided Disclosure Form; and it will maintain in that location a statement of the resolution of each conflict situation and confirmation that the decision on the conflict resolution is documented in the grantee's board minutes, with a copy of such minutes or a reference to where they are located, including whether the transaction involved is or is not in the best interest of the grantee. These materials will be made available to LSC, including the Office of Inspector General, and other authorized parties as per the general requirements regarding access to grantee records in applicable laws, regulations, policies, grant assurances and other applicable authorities, and these materials will be retained as per normal retention requirements for LSC grant-related documents. Violations of this policy, including failure to identify and resolve these issues in a timely fashion, could result in disallowed costs under 45 CFR Part 1630, as well as other options available to LSC.
  16. By accepting this grant award, the grantee commits to providing staff assigned to the project sufficient time to achieve the Project Activities of the grant as specified in the Evaluation Plan consistent with the staff time allocations in the Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant application, budget form, and project budget for this grant. The total time commitments of any staff member working on this grant shall not exceed 1.0 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) for all grantee-assigned work.
  17. Grantee will sufficiently document and have internal controls in place to track and identify the source and application of funding from the Pro Bono Innovation Fund. These methods must include separate reporting of the grant funds by line item in the annual audit. The grantee must maintain accurate and separate timekeeping and recordkeeping to track all time and costs charged to this Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant separate from charges to other funds including other LSC grants and non-LSC grants. Personnel activity reports are required for all salary and wages charged directly to this grant, regardless of whether the timekeeping requirements of 45 CFR Part 1635 apply. For additional guidance on these requirements, see 45 CFR Part 1628.3(g), 45 CFR Part 1635, and 45 CFR Part 1630.3 and the most current edition of LSC's Accounting Guide for LSC Recipients.
  18. LSC requires all Basic Field-General grantees to allocate an amount equivalent to 12.5 percent of their annualized basic field award to involve private attorneys in the delivery of legal assistance to eligible clients, see 45 CFR Part 1614(a). Grantee will not count any portion of the Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant, including subgrants or contracts using Pro Bono Innovation funds, towards this PAI requirement, Nonetheless, the grantee may allocate this PAI requirement costs and expenses within the Pro Bono Innovation Fund project and budget that are paid for with funds from sources other than the Pro Bono Innovation Fund (e.g., non-LSC funds or LSC basic-field funds), but only if they otherwise meet the Part 1614 criteria.
  19. Any and all other LSC grant assurances for any other LSC grants that the applicant/grantee agrees to are hereby incorporated by reference, and those grant assurances will apply in full force and effect to the applicant/grantee's use of all of its funding from the LSC Pro Bono Innovation Fund. The other grant assurances incorporated herein include both the grant assurances currently in effect and any future grant assurances agreed to by the applicant/grantee during the term of this Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. In the event of any conflicting language, the later terms will apply.