Sachs Program grant awards can be disbursed in one of two ways, depending on the grant award category and the nature of the awarded project.
Below, we’ve outlined detailed information about the two disbursement options: what they are, who they are available to, the pros and cons of each, and the necessary steps to take to pursue either option.
Information about what it means to be a Fiscal Conduit for a Sachs Program grant award can also be found on this page.
The two disbursement options
The grant funds can be transferred to a University of Pennsylvania department, program, or center to manage the funds as a designated Fiscal Conduit. The Fiscal Conduit will work with the grantee to purchase supplies, pay contributors, etc., according to the project budget. Please see more information below about the role of a Fiscal Conduit.
The grant funds can be disbursed directly to individual students, faculty, and staff members as an award through the Penn Marketplace. If the individual is not already in the system as a supplier, they would be onboarded by Sachs Program staff and paid through the Penn Marketplace in collaboration with Provost Admin Affairs. Awards are subject to tax but not employee benefits.
Who are they available to (and for what)
Individual faculty and staff can choose to work with Fiscal Conduits to manage Independent Creative Production Grants or independently driven Project Support Grants and Rolling Grants, contingent upon the Fiscal Conduit agreeing to provide that support. This is the university’s preferred method of grant disbursement.
Project Support Grants, Community Partnerships Grants, and Artist Residency Grants proposed by centers, departments, and programs must be managed by the department, program, or center in collaboration with their designated BA.
Project Support Grants, Curricular Grants, Rolling Grants, and First-year Seminar Grants proposed by Faculty or Staff to support curriculum or programming taking place within/across Departments, Programs, or Centers (i.e., not Independent Creative Production or other such independently driven projects) should be managed by a Department, Program, or Center.
Individual faculty and staff can receive Independent Creative Production Grants or independently driven Project Support Grants and Rolling Grants as an award through the Penn Marketplace. This is not the university’s preferred method of disbursement.
Students must receive Student Grants as an award through the Penn Marketplace. This marks a change from previous grant cycles. International students will be taxed on their award based on the relevant tax treaty between the US and their home country, not to exceed 30%.
Student Groups may either designate one individual to receive the grant on the group’s behalf or set up an LLC to manage the grant award and route funds to the group. This setup is similar to the President’s Innovation and Engagement Prize Awards disbursement process.
Pros and cons
The university manages the grant funds. The grantee will only be taxed on any portion of the grant awarded directly to them as income. The university is responsible for managing payments to partners, vendors, contractors, etc.
This option can often be much slower. You are relying on the support of Penn staff members, who often juggle large workloads, so this is important to remember. Penn’s systems are also often slow. This is particularly the case when it comes to paying individuals. In reality, paying individuals can take weeks up to months. So, if you are trying to get project partners paid quickly, this is important to keep in mind.
Grant funds can be disbursed relatively quickly. You retain autonomy in managing the grant funds.
The downside is that awards are considered taxable income. This would result in some percentage of the grant being owed as taxes, which will differ depending on the individual’s residence and tax status. The university is not allowed to give tax advice, so any tax implications would need to be discussed and handled by an external accountant. The grantee would also be directly responsible for managing payments to partners, vendors, contractors, etc.
Necessary steps for either option
- Get approval from your sponsoring department, program, or center.
- Share with them your budget and timeline.
- Confirm in the application that you will be working with a Fiscal Conduit and which department, program, or center that will be.
- If awarded the grant, share with your Fiscal Conduit a list of project partners that need to be paid, including the following information:
- LLC or business (if applicable)
- Email address
- Amount being paid
- What they are being paid for
- Confirm in the application that you plan on receiving the grant as an award.
- If awarded the grant, share the following information with The Sachs Program:
- Legal first and last name
- Preferred email address
- Phone number
Additional information about the onboarding process for suppliers and Penn’s guidelines for allowable expenses will be shared with grantees and their designated Fiscal Conduit at the time of grant disbursement. We will also offer advice on these issues to anyone submitting a draft application for review.
Get in touch
If you have any questions about Sachs Program grant award disbursement, please email Sachs Program Associate Director Chloe Reison at firstname.lastname@example.org.