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Letters of Support
1. Not Required
Letters of support from public officials for the project are not required or expected. The fact that a public official does or does not submit a letter of support does not confer any inherent competitive advantage to an applicant.
2. Types of Support Letters that Make Sense
Match Pledged by Partner
Some letters of support can be critical to the success of an application. If funds for the cash match are to be provided by the state legislature, a letter of commitment from the state's governor or comptroller certifying the availability of the funds would help the Merit Review Panel greatly in its review.
Support from Companies Likely to Participate
It is important to demonstrate that companies you intend to help plan to participate in proposed project activity. Letters from companies in the industry can help demonstrate industry support. If you include such letters as application attachments, they are more likely to be seen by the Merit Review Panel.
3. If You Submit Support Letters, Include as Application Appendices
Ensure the Merit Review Panel Views These Letters
MDCP award evaluation and selection procedures stipulate that the Merit Review Panel base its scoring on the applications submitted. The best way to get the Merit Review Panel to see support letters is to attach them to the application. If you mail them to the Department separately, you decrease the chance that the letter will be added to your application in time to be considered by the Merit Review Panel.
Free Up ITA Resources
Support letters submitted to the Secretary of Commerce and other Department officials are tasked to the MDCP Director. Even though managing the MDCP competition is a top high priority of the MDCP Director, a higher internal priority is attached to processing support letters in order to ensure a prompt response. By attaching support letters in their applications rather than having them mailed separately, applicants can help ensure that more time is available to considering their applications.
4. Panelists More Likely to See Letters Attached to an Application
Applicants that choose to submit letters of support should secure them soon enough to include them as application appendices. Including these as appendices may make it easier for all reviewers to find such letters in the same place in the application. The Department's standard practice for letters of support not included as application appendices is to make them available to reviewers as soon as it can do so reasonably. For letters submitted separately this can take some time. The Department will continue to present separately-submitted support letters available to the Merit Review Panel only until the time the Panel identifies the top-ranked applications.
5. You May Address, But Please Do Not Send Letters to, the Following:
Although support letters may be addressed as set forth below, the letters should be included in the application, rather than submitted separately. We cannot guarantee that letters sent to the addressee below will be seen by ITA reviewers, including the Merit Review Panel.
MDCP Merit Review Panel c/o Brad Hess
U.S. Dept. of Commerce
14th St. and Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20230
6. No Letters from International Trade Administration (ITA) Employees
Please do not include letters in support for your project from ITA employees. Yes, talk with commercial officers and trade specialists in ITA/Global Markets Commercial Service overseas posts and U.S. Export Assistance Centers. Yes, mention these and coordination with ITA's D.C.-based Industry & Analysis specialists and Global Markets country desk officers. But do not include a letter from any these or any other ITA employee in support of your application. All ITA staff will have the opportunity to comment internally on your application after it is submitted. (See point 5 on the MDCP Competition Period page.)
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