Question 83: We currently have two contracts, two different programs, Head Start and Early Head Start. We are working on the applications for the RFI for the next cycle. Can we combine the narrative – specifically the Section II : Proven Program Design and Effectiveness? Most general information, guidelines apply to both HS and EHS. We have two budgets though. Appreciate your feedback.
Your RFI Questions Answered by Levy Staff
Week Ending Nov. 15, 2019: Q&A 83-93
PCL Response: You will need to submit 2 different applications, one for each program service. This is true for any organization that wants to request PCL funding for different program services operated by the organization. This is needed for two reasons. First, the responses you provide to several parts of Section II will be different for the different programs- number of children served, their demographics, the service activities to be offered to the children, staffing for the activities, and more. You are welcome to include the same information in each application, where relevant. Please keep in mind that volunteer reviewers read and score applications, using the scoring criteria published with the RFI. In order to score an application, reviewers need to understand the specific program proposed and the budget requested from PCL to support the program proposed.
Second, the maximum grant amount over 3 years per application is $2,025,000. This gives organizations the option to request grants for different program services by submitting multiple applications, with each application allowed to request up to the maximum 3-year grant amount.
Question 84: In the past, PCL funding applied only to our after-school programs for children in elementary grades (though we serve middle school also). Now the eligible age of children served by after-school programs is 5-18. Is this a change from past policy in earlier funding rounds?
PCL Response: In the 2014 competitive funding round, after-school programs serving children aged 5-18 were eligible to apply for PCL funding. When revenues exceeded projections in 2017, PCL ran a small competitive funding round to make additional investments in after school programs. The Allocation Committee limited eligibility in this funding round to programs serving children in elementary school to reflect a policy priority of concentrating investments in younger children. The current after-school RFI reflects community priorities for after-school funding and programs serving children aged 5-18 are eligible to apply. For reference, see adopted Program Area Strategies and the Community Engagement Report.
Question 85: I saw in a recent RFI Question that PCL will not fund general operations. Can you give a definition of what that is? The program we are proposing fits within one of the PCL strategies and all of the proposed costs seem to be allowable; but a large portion of the proposed program will allow us to grow in our normal services provided. I am curious if our normal services provided would be considered general operations.
PCL Response: In contrast to private foundations, PCL does not make grants for general operating support. Grants for general operating support typically do not fund a particular program of the organization, but instead support overall operations and can be applied to whatever categories the organization chooses. PCL makes grants to fund direct services to children and their families, and funding provided is for an agreed upon set of programmatic services. Applicants may request funding to expand existing services so long as the service fits the program area strategies and requested funds are for allowable uses as described in Section III of the RFI.
Question 86: On page 24, mid-page in the box; list as items that are prohibited;
- Fundraising expenses- what does this mean? Could this RFI include staff time for development position?
PCL Response: Fundraising expenses include funds spent to employ development staff and these expenses cannot be included in your PCL budget request.
Question 87: Are the charts counted as part of the 12-page limit in the Program Design?
PCL Response: Yes. The four tables: Estimates of Population to be Served, Program Activities in Year 1, Program Outcomes, and Staffing for Program are counted as part of the 12-page limit for Section II. Proven Program Design and Effectiveness. Per RFI Instructions, Part 2 on Application Components and Submission, item A, you may adjust the table widths, as needed, in case that helps.
Question 88: Can PCL funded programs rent a vehicle or equipment from their own organization at market price?
PCL Response: If the organization that is applying for the grant owns or rents vehicles/equipment for programs to use, the costs associated with vehicle/equipment use and operation can be allocated to the programs using the vehicle/equipment, and these allocated costs can be included in the proposed PCL program budget. Since the program is part of the organization, the program is not technically “renting” the vehicle/equipment from itself, but rather allocating these costs as it does other costs that are shared among programs (i.e. phone system, copier, office supplies). Be sure to describe the methods used to allocate the cost to your PCL requested budget.
Question 89: Can I clarify the requirements of Exhibit B? For the name of program, are you looking for the organizational program or department name? Or are you instead looking for the name of the PCL funded program area (i.e. Mentoring, After School, etc.)?
PCL Response: Applicants can choose what to call the program, and the name of the program listed on Exhibit B should be the same name you listed on the cover sheet for the application (Exhibit A). This provides an additional way to check that all Exhibits submitted are for the same program application.
Question 90: I understand applicants are to send pdfs of the most recent budget and audit. For my organization, these documents are 417 and 185 pages, respectively. Do you want pdfs of this size? Or, would it be appropriate and acceptable to create a document that has a hyperlink to these items, which reside online on the organization website?
PCL Response: Due to the size of those budget documents, it would be acceptable and encouraged for you to submit a document that has a hyperlink to where those items reside online on the organization’s website.
See also PCL’s response to Question 66 submitted by potential applicants: http://www.portlandchildrenslevy.org/questions
Question 91: Our program is for high school students, and participation is voluntary. Due to program fit and/or schedules, students sometimes discontinue during the year. For the program estimates of population to be served, do you want the number at the highest point of the program participation?
PCL Response: Estimates for the total number to be served should include all youth you anticipate enrolling in the service in Year 1, 2020-21. In response to question II.D.2 and II.F.1 on program attendance, you can explain your attendance goals and attendance patterns for the program. Be sure the information in the tables and the narrative provides the information reviewers and PCL need to understand the total number of youth you expect to serve in Year 1, the number of participants that can be served at a given time and the attendance dynamics of your program.
Question 92: Is it possible to include the RFI grant writing expense in the project budget? We are aware that this is typically not permitted because it occurs prior to grant award, but have experience with some government funders allowing for these costs.
PCL Response: No. Grant writing and other expenses related to the development and submission of your application in response to this RFI are considered fundraising expenses and are not allowed. See Section III of the RFI questions, item 4. Additionally, PCL grants only reimburse allowable costs incurred after a grant award is made.
Question 93: Hello, we have another question. For Exhibit B, it lists clients, staff and board members. Can we add a column or two for our Proctor Foster Parents?
PCL Response: No, do not add columns to Table I: Demographics of Organization’s Clients, Staff and Board Members, Exhibit B. (see the note in Section I of the RFI Questions, Item H). You may use the narrative portion of your application, where relevant, to discuss the demographics of Proctor Foster Parents.
Week Ending Nov. 8, 2019: Q&A 72-82
Question 72: I have a question regarding the types of funding you provide. I see on your FAQ page that PCL does not support general operating but I’m wondering if that includes staff salaries/benefits. We hire licensed clinical social workers and therapists to conduct and guide our trauma-informed programs for our residents. Our program staff also empower our residents to create their own programs based on their strengths and skills. Of course we need quality staff to ensure this all happens effectively to support our foster families so we would like to request funds for our current staff. I hope this question is clear!
PCL Response: You are correct, PCL does not provide support for an organization’s general operating expenses. Programs must address at least one of the service strategies described in the program area Request for Investment. Staff salaries/benefits are allowable expenses. Please see Section III of the RFI Questions for instructions on completing the program budget, including the budget form Exhibit C. These instructions include a listing of typical allowable expenses and prohibited expenses.
Question 73: I am looking at this questions and these prompts on the RFI: "2. Estimated Demographics of Population to be Served : How did you estimate the demographics of the population to be served in both Table I and Table II? PCL wants families residing or attending school in East Portland to have access to PCL-funded services. In addition, PCL priority populations in the program area are children of color and other historically underserved populations such as children with disabilities, children of immigrants and refugees and children of families experiencing homelessness." I see that table 1 is the separate demographics table for the whole organization. Is table 2 the program-specific table within the RFI, the "estimates for the population to be served"? I don't see that as tabled "table 2" but I might be missing something.
PCL Response: Table II is labeled as such, under Section II.B in the RFI. Here is an image showing the table label:
Question 74: In section D2 you indicated how much of the program children or caregivers should attend to achieve outcomes. You also projected the percentage of total children or caregivers served who would meet that attendance level. How did you determine the percentage?
When you say, "that percentage," are you referring to the percentage children should achieve or are you referring to the projected percentage the children will achieve?
Also, when you say, "how do you determine," are you looking for some reference to best practices on attendance or something else?
PCL Response: “That percentage” refers to the projected percentage of children that will meet the program attendance level needed to achieve outcomes. When we say “how did you determine,” we want you to explain what informed your projection, such as past experience, best practice, model requirements or other factors.
Question 75: We have a question about the Budget form and the request for listing staff positions. Your instructions say "In the Personnel category create a separate line item for EACH individual staff position who directly works on the program that you request PCL fund in whole in or in part". For one of our direct line positions, we have 2.5 FTE that is provided by 5 different staff members. Can we create a line item that includes the full 2.5 FTE or do you need a separate line item for each of the 5 people who contributes towards that total FTE?
PCL Response: You should create a separate line item for each person that you are asking PCL to fund, fully or partially. The budget form directs you to enter in column B the position’s total FTE, hourly rate and annual salary, taxes and benefits at the organization regardless of funding source or program assignment. In column C you should enter the amounts (FTE and costs) you are asking PCL to cover for each position.
Question 76: In table ll, estimates of population to be served, PCL requests a breakdown of youth by age groups. Although we ask people to identify individuals 18 years old and under, we do not ask participants to identify the specific youth age group that they fall into. What is the best way for us to fill out that "AGE" section to capture the number of youth who are collectively 18 and under?
PCL Response: Since you indicate that you don’t know the specific ages of children served, enter the total number of children you expect serve in the “Not Given” category. In the narrative response to Question B.2., discuss the fact that you collect data on people 18 and under so that you know how many children you serve, but do not collect further data on age.
Question 77: One of our program service sites is H.B. Lee Middle School. The school is located in Portland (1121 NE 172nd Ave), but some students at H.B. Lee are not Portland residents. Are the programs we run at this site eligible for Portland Children's Levy funding?
PCL Response: Children served in Levy funded after-school programs are required to reside in the City of Portland. If the program also serves youth who are not Portland residents, you can demonstrate that you plan to use other funding sources to cover the cost of serving these youth or have a method to screen program participants for residency prior to enrollment.
Question 78: In light of us submitting our audit in March 2020 and our current fiscal year ending 12/31/19, we want to confirm that a 2018 financial statement audit will be accepted for the audit requirement. Please advise.
PCL Response: Yes. You can submit a financial statement audit for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018 to comply with the audit requirement.
Question 79: For contractor and tangible costs associated with Communications and Marketing that directly support the operation of our program: are these costs allowable under this the Contracted Program Services and/or Other Program Expenses budget categories?
PCL Response: These costs are allowable and most likely fit in the Other Program Expenses category. If you plan to hire a contractor, and the contractor includes communications and marketing costs in their budget, you may include these costs in the overall costs listed for the contracted service. In general, the Contracted Program Services category is for subcontractors that provide specialized services to program participants or enhance program quality. See Section III.B.2 of the RFI.
Question 80: My question is in regards to the following requirement: Provide annual organization-wide budgets for the current operating fiscal year, and the most recent closed fiscal year that include sources and uses of all funds. Please clearly state the starting and ending months of the organization’s fiscal year.
Our fiscal year is 1/1 - 12/31. To gain clarity on the two documents you are requesting, are you:
A) wanting to see the 2019 (current fiscal year) organization-wide operating budget (only budgeted numbers; not actuals) and
B) wanting to see the 2018 income statement (actual amounts) or the 2018 operating budget (only budgeted numbers; not actuals)? How detailed do these statements need to be?
PCL Response: You should submit the 2019 adopted budget for the organization to meet the requirement for submitting the current year budget. You can submit either the adopted budget or a summary of actual revenues and expenses for 2018. Both documents should include sources and uses of funds. This typically includes a breakdown of revenue sources such as donations, foundation grants, government grants, fees, interest, and a breakdown of expenses such as salaries, benefits, taxes, fees, office supplies, postage, telephone, utilities, insurance, travel and vehicle related costs.
Question 81: In the EC application, for Table II “Estimates of Population to be Served,” should an applicant include the total number of students in an early childhood program, such as Head Start, run by an LEA? Or, should the applicant include a sub-set of the total population to be served, specifically, the number of students in Head Start classrooms that will be served specifically by dollars from a PCL grant award? Also, should the total number reflect number of students over all the years of a PCL grant, or a static, one-year population to be served in a one-year period?
PCL Response: The applicant should include the number of children that will be served by PCL funds in the proposed program. Based on your example, this means children in the Head Start classrooms that you would like served specifically by dollars from PCL. The total number of children served should reflect the first year of the grant, FY2020-21 as labeled on Table II and instructed in the Definitions and Additional Guidance for Completing Tables I and II, pages 13-15 in the early childhood RFI. In your narrative response to Section II.B.1, you can explain how many children will be served in the subsequent 2 years of the grant.
Question 82: For the population to be served, is this the foster parents that we would be helping to get certified, trained, and supported or is this the young people in foster care who would eventually be placed into the foster homes that would be certified and supported through this process.
If we are not providing any services or supports directly to the young people in foster care, would we leave the number of children to be served blank?
PCL Response: Based on the information you provided, it appears the program does not provide services directly to youth and instead serves foster parents. If this is correct, leave Column J of Table I in Exhibit B blank, and complete Column K to reflect the projected demographics of the foster parent population you intend to serve.
Week Ending Nov. 1, 2019: Q&A 61-71
Question 61: We have a budget of over $1M and we conduct an "external review" with an independent CPA firm, but we have not had a full audit. May we submit the external review and otherwise follow the rules for smaller organizations, of including a full audit in our first-year expenses? Our review for the 2018-19 fiscal year is already completed, and our 2019-20 fiscal year ends March 31, so it's not possible to complete an audit by April.
PCL Response: If the adopted budget for the organization in the last closed fiscal year (in your case, April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019) included revenues of over $1 million, then you are required to provide the most recent audited financial statement completed for the organization. An “external review” cannot be submitted in lieu of an audit.
If the organization had revenues of more than $1 million in FY 2018-19, and you are able to submit a completed audit of that fiscal year before the Allocation Committee makes funding decisions in April 2020, PCL will allow you to submit your application in November without the audit. In the email transmitting the application, please indicate you have not included the audit, that PCL gave permission to accept the audit after the application deadline, and state the date by which you will deliver the audit to PCL.
Question 62: We are a non-profit that offers in-class instruction, for credit, in alternative high schools. Our program serves a small number of highly marginalized youth; building positive relationships between youth and caring adults (our instructors) is a key part of the program. The program helps students earn the credits they need to graduate and also helps them develop marketable skills and job prospects.
It absolutely "Supports youth’s academic success and positive development" and provides "Individualized and/or group mentoring of youth to support positive youth development and youth’s goals for careers, health relationships/behavior, or interests (e.g. art, math, science)."
Does it matter (count against us) that our program actually happens IN SCHOOL, as part of the school day?
PCL Response: PCL funds may be used for mentoring programs offered during the school day where the program offers elective credit. PCL funds may not be used for mentoring programs that offer credit toward any other subject area required by the Oregon Department of Education for graduation regardless of what time of day or year the program is offered.
Mentoring programs that support and encourage students’ academic success and graduation from high school are also eligible for PCL funding regardless of what time of day or year the program is offered.
Question 63: I want to confirm the budget on exhibit C, column C, is only the amount we are requesting from PCL. We put the total Program cost and other funding in the budget justification, correct? If the program serves a larger geographic area than the city of Portland, but is the same program should we include the areas outside of Portland in the total program budget?
PCL Response: Correct; column C on the budget form should indicate only the amount of funding you want PCL to cover for the line items in the budget. In Section III. A. of the narrative budget justification, indicate the total program costs and the percent of that total you request from PCL. If your program serves a larger geographic area than Portland, and is the same program, then it makes sense to include those costs in the total. In that section of the application, PCL also asks applicants to name the program’s other funding sources and what they contribute to total program costs. All of this information helps reviewers and PCL understand the amount an applicant requests from PCL in the context of total program costs and contributions from other funding sources.
Question 64: We would like clarification on this point: "Indicate the amount or ratio of supervision FTE designated for each direct service staff 1 FTE in the proposed program." How is this calculated for direct service staff who also supervise assistant level staff?
EX: Manager supervises 1FTE Coordinator who runs early learning program. Coordinator supervises part time temporary assistant, community support staff and childcare staff? Is the Coordinator considered supervisor FTE or direct service FTE or do we need to decide how much of the Coordinator's work is supervision and separate that out as supervisor time?
PCL Response: Separate the time the position spends supervising direct service staff from the time the position spends doing direct service. The intent of this question is to try to understand how much supervisory FTE is dedicated to direct service staff FTE. This ratio helps reviewers understand whether direct service staff are adequately supervised. Applicants can refer to these ratios in their narrative response to Section II.F.3.
For example, if a person spends .1FTE of their time supervising 3.5 direct service FTE, then you could discuss the ratio (.03 FTE supervision per 1 FTE) or the hours per week (4 hours). You can also discuss whether staff receive individual and/or group supervision, frequency of supervision and tasks done by supervisor(s) to support direct service staff.
Question 65: We are submitting a proposal in response to the Request for Investment in Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention Program. My question is, where do I find the information on your website that talks about the allowable Administrative Rates and Expenses rate? We need to be able to show auditors why we didn’t request our Federally negotiated rate.
PCL Response: All RFIs, Section III. B.4. indicate that applicants may budget no more than 15% of program expenses in their PCL request toward administrative expenses. In the Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention Program RFI, see page 27. In addition, all RFIs offer PCL’s definition of typical allowable administrative expenses; see Section III. Item 4 under Program Budget (top of page 26 in the Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention RFI). The budget form in Exhibit C has formulas already built in to assist with this calculation; see notes in the cells with Administrative Rate and Expenses.
Question 66: We are working on a proposal for the Portland Children’s Levy and one of the requirements is to provide Annual Organization-wide budgets for the current operating fiscal year and the most recent closed fiscal year that include sources and uses of all funds. Oregon Health & Science University is a large, complex institution and we are hoping the information at this link will provide you with the information you are requesting. Would you verify this will be sufficient? If not we want to have time to come up with another solution to the request for budget information. This document includes the Board of Directors/Accreditation information/Budget information. https://www.ohsu.edu/sites/default/files/2019-02/2018%20Fact%20Book%20Block_for%20Web.pdf
PCL Response: You can submit the “Consolidated Income Statement” (p. 49) from the 2018 Fact Book in lieu of a budget for the entire University.
Question 67: OHSU is rather large, in the RFI when you use the term “organization” I have been assuming that means the organization under which the applicant is employed. Is that correct, or can we just speak to the department they work in?
PCL Response: The term “organization” refers to the applicant, the legal entity that PCL would enter an agreement with if funding is awarded. In this case, OHSU is the organization, not the department within OHSU.
Question 68: Our organization's revenue has a large component of donations, gifts in kind, donated use of facilities, etc. The documented fair market value of this non-cash income brings our revenue well over the minimum requirement, but without counting the non-cash income we would be under that threshold. Can this non-cash revenue be included to meet the minimum annual organizational revenue of $217,000?
PCL Response: For purposes of meeting the minimum annual organizational revenue requirement, revenue refers to cash. In-kind resources cannot be included in organizational revenue. PCL is starting a small grants fund and expects grantmaking from that fund to start sometime in 2020. Please see PCL’s web site for general information on the fund. https://www.portlandchildrenslevy.org/small-grants-fund-survey. Sign up for the Levy newsletter to stay abreast of small grants fund developments in 2020. https://www.portlandchildrenslevy.org/about-us/contact-us.
Question 69: We have a question about Question C in exhibit A. In the template, it has the question separated out with numbers in a similar format to the PDF. Do we have to section out that answer according to the numbers? Or, can we delete the numbers and paste in our answer?
PCL Response: You do not have to use the numbered responses in the application template for Question I.C. It sometimes makes it easier for reviewers to find the information asked for if it’s broken up and numbered, but it’s not required.
Question 70: For the most recent audited financial statement requirement, would you please advise on the exact audit requirements you are looking for? For example, does it need to include a review of internal controls and processes, are footnotes required, or is it strictly financial?
PCL Response: PCL requires submission of audited financial statements prepared by a certified public accounting (CPA) firm or individual. The firm or individual must use auditing standards generally accepted in the United States. Auditors typically examine the organization’s financial records and internal controls, attest to the fairness and accuracy of the financial statements and provide an opinion on whether the financial statements are a fair representation of the organization’s financial condition and accord with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Footnotes and/or endnotes are an integral part of audited financial statements.
Quesiton 71: Should a Head Start program (serving 760 unique clients) that is a program within a school district/LEA (serving 50,000 PK-12 students) apply as the school district or as a Head Start program? The answer has implications for Section I and Table I. If the district/LEA is the applicant should TABLE detail the numbers and demographics of unique clients of the Head Start program situated within the district/LEA, or of all 50,000 PK-12 clients within the entire district/LEA.
PCL Response: Since the LEA is the fiscal agent and legal contracting entity, the LEA is the applicant, not the Head Start program operated by the LEA. The demographics for the districts’ students belong in Table I, column B because the district is the organization applying to operate the program. This helps PCL understand how the demographics of the population to be served compare to demographics of the district population overall. You may refer to and discuss demographic data on the Head Start clients to be served specifically in Section II.B.2. Estimated Demographics of the Population to be Served, and/or E. Explanation of the Program Design. (See also response to Question 17 below).
Week Ending Oct. 25, 2019: Q&A 54-60
Question 54: In the Hunger Relief RFI, the scoring criteria on page 29 under E, Explanation of Program Design, includes: "Demonstrates how proposed program activities reflect best practices for the program model. Describes how program activities will lead to proposed outcomes." That criteria section has 3 points assigned to it. However, the question related to best practices and outcomes is not in the Hunger Relief RFI questions as it is in the other RFIs. Will that criteria and its point value apply to the question about standards for nutrition and quality of food distributed, and/or can you clarify to what it will apply?
PCL Response: Thank you for bringing this error on the score sheet to our attention. Staff has revised the Hunger Relief RFI score sheet Section II.E to eliminate the criteria quoted in your question. The total point value for Section II.E remains 17 points; the 3 points assigned to the eliminated criteria have been redistributed as follows:
- “Explains how demographics of direct service staff will reflect population to be served. Explains whether direct services staff will speak home language of population to be served. Overall, evidence in the organizational section of the application, including Table I, supports these explanations” is increased from 1 to 2 points.
- “Employs strategies to reduce stigmatization of people accessing the program” is increased from 1 to 2 points.
- “Has and uses high standards for nutrition and quality of food distributed. Food distributed includes high percentage of fresh, perishable foods” is increased from 3 to 4 points.
In addition, the words “and specified outcome goals” have been deleted from the criteria “Convincingly demonstrates racial equity, diversity, inclusion considerations in its explanations for population to be served and program activities.”
The corrected Hunger Relief RFI with these revisions to the score sheet will be posted on PCL’s web site with a note on the date it was changed, and notification of this revision will appear in the email accompanying the weekly digest.
Question 55: I could still use some clarification about the formatting of the grant application. We are not supposed to repeat the questions on the form, correct? Does that mean that it is best to simply save each document by the title such as "Section 1" and not include any special headings? How will the reviewers distinguish between sections?
PCL Response: You are correct, do not include the text of the questions in the RFI. Since there are page limits for each section, we want to allow as much space as possible for applicant response.
PCL recommends using Appendix A for your narrative response. It’s a Word doc file that should have downloaded automatically with the RFI you downloaded. Appendix A includes a coversheet and pre-formatted space to complete the narrative portion of the application. This space includes headings and numbering that corresponds to the RFI questions. Refer to RFI Instructions, Part 3, item A for additional formatting requirements.
Question 56: Is it possible to submit an application for multiple program areas?
PCL Response: No. Per Part 2, item A of the RFI Instructions, applicants may not request that a single application be considered for funding in more than one program area. PCL staff may recommend to the Committee that the application be considered in a different program area than the program area selected by the applicant, and the Committee has discretion to do so.
If you plan to submit applications in different program areas, be sure to address the specific strategies in each program area and respond to the unique questions and program features requested in each. See PCL response to Question 16 in Q/A digest for additional information about submitting applications in multiple program areas.
Question 57: We are a training team that offers specialized behavioral management training to parents, caregivers, and program staff. We do not have direct contact with youth, but we do have direct contact with parents, as well as staff members of specific organizations who serve youth, such as rec centers and after-school programs. Given our structure, we have three questions.
- We are collaborating with some local after-school programs to provide behavioral training to their staff, as well as parents whose children attend those programs. The RFIs seem to list parents or youth as the sole recipients of proposed services. Does this funding allow us to train the staff members of these organizations alongside the parents?
- Since our services are aimed at parents and after-school program staff, we are not sure which client demographics to include on Exhibit B. Should we include the family/parent demographics, the staff demographics, or the youth demographics?
- We are submitting the same exact proposal for three of the different Program Areas. Is it possible to be awarded all three?
A. The After-School RFI requests “after-school services for children and youth aged 5-18” and the goal of the program area services is to provide safe and constructive after-school and summer programming that supports children’s well-being and school success. In addition, proposed programs must provide services during the school year in the afternoon hours after the school day ends. Programs that only provide training to after-school providers and parents without providing after-school programming to youth will not meet those requirements. Organizations applying for PCL after-school funding may include contractors and training in their program plan and budget.
PCL funds training for staff of grantee organizations with a portion of funds set aside by the Allocation Committee for this purpose rather than through this competitive funding round for direct services to children, youth and their families/caregivers. Contracts for professional services are done through the City of Portland’s procurement process (Professional, Technical and Expert services) and are subject to a different set of rules and requirements. If the proposed program is primarily providing training to the staff of child and youth serving organizations, it may be more appropriate for the project to be funded through Training and Technical Assistance funds instead.
B. To complete Column B of Table I in Exhibit B, applicants should include the demographics of whomever they view as the clients of their organization’s services. This can include staff of youth serving organizations that the applicant is training, as well as parents or others served by the organization. In Section I, H there is space to talk about the demographic data on the organization’s clients, staff, and board members. You can use that space to help reviewers and staff understand who is included in the client demographics.
Based on the information you provided, it appears the program does not provide services directly to youth and instead serves parents and staff of youth serving organizations. If this is correct, leave Column J of Table I in Exhibit B blank, and complete Column K to reflect the projected demographics of the parent population you intend to serve. You can discuss the population of staff from youth-serving organizations you intend to serve in your narrative responses to Questions B1 and B2 in Section II of the RFI, and include projected demographics of this separate service population there.
C. You can submit applications in any program areas where the services you wish to offer meet all requirements stated in the program area RFI. As discussed above, it does not appear that the program as described in the question meets the requirements of the after-school RFI. It is possible for one organization to receive funding in more than one program area. If you are submitting the “exact same proposal” in 3 program areas, you could be violating the requirement in Part 2 of the Instructions that prohibits an applicant requesting that a single application be considered for funding in more than one program area. If you plan to submit applications in different program areas, be sure to address the specific strategies in each program area and respond to the unique questions and program features requested in each.
Question 58: Our organization's total revenue during the last closed fiscal year exceeded $1 million. We have not conducted a financial audit to date. However, we do plan to conduct this audit in mid-2020. It is also possible for us to move up the audit to early 2020 and submit the final report prior to the final PCL decisions being made. Given that the final audit report will not be ready for the November 20th deadline, does this preclude us from applying for the PCL funds? We are able to submit our 990 forms for the last closed fiscal year.
PCL Response: If you submit the completed audit to PCL before the Allocation Committee is scheduled to make funding decisions in April 2020, PCL will accept the audit and permit the organization to apply. In the email transmitting your application, please indicate you have not included the audit, that PCL gave permission to accept the audit after the application deadline, and state the date by which you will deliver the audit to PCL.
Question 59: We understand that the maximum request amount is $2,025,000 (or $675,000 per year). We also understand that the total amount we request over three years, divided by three, cannot be more than 30% of our total revenue in the last fiscal year.
Our question is whether the $675,000 per year maximum is per category OR across all categories for which we submit an application. For example, if we submit two applications in two different categories, could we request a total of $4,050,000, or would our total requests for two applications in two categories still be capped at $2,025,000?
PCL Response: The RFI states that the maximum grant allowable is $675,000 per year, per application. As you state, the maximum an applicant can request in one application is $2,025,000 over three years. There is no limit on the number of applications an organization can submit except the limitation on total funding requested by a single organization (annual average of all PCL requests can be no more than 30% of total revenues in the last closed fiscal year).
Question 60: Are we required to include references for any citations we make in the text of our grant proposal? If so, what format? Should we include them in a footnote or a full reference page?
PCL Response: Applicants should footnote any references or citations to other people’s work as needed to support content in their application. The footnoting approach will: 1) allow reviewers and PCL staff reading applications to easily see the citations used in your narrative; and 2) prevent applicants from using application page space for an entire bibliography. Applicants may make footnote font size as small as 9-point font. See this style guide for help formatting footnotes: https://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/chicago-turabian/footnotes/
Week Ending Oct. 18, 2019: Q&A 48-53
Question 48: On page 4 of 32 of Portland Children's Levy 2019 RFI in After School Programs, you list the Program Area Strategies and possible Service Approaches per Strategy. Later, on page 21 of 32, Section II. Proven Program Design and Effectiveness, Question D. Program Design. (1) Main Program Activities, applicants are asked to complete the table to show the main activities of the program, and to specify up to three service activities most fundamental to the program.
Do the terms "Program Activity" and "Main Activity" and "Service Activity" all mean the same thing as the term ""Service Approaches"? Please clarify the definition(s) for these terms so I can appropriately complete this Table. Examples would be very helpful to illustrate your preferred distinction between these many terms.
PCL Response: In the after-school RFI, the Possible Service Approaches are a mix of activities that could be offered in connection with one of the strategies (e.g. tutoring or mindfulness instruction), and approaches for delivering the activities (e.g. a single program that provides sports instruction using a curriculum that focuses on social-emotional skill building). Service and program activities are the same. Main service or program activities refer to the primary activities that comprise the proposed program. For example, a program could offer weekly tutoring with an advocate for academic support and sports activities after tutoring is completed, and both activities could be listed in the chart.
Question 49: Are depreciation and other occupancy expenses for agency-owned buildings allowable costs or do they fall under unallowable capital acquisition costs specifically referred to in the RFI?
PCL Response: Applicants may include occupancy expenses directly related to the proposed program including depreciation. If these costs are allocated across agency programs, please describe the allocation method used.
Question 50: The After School program area RFI states the target age ends at 18. During the summer our staff will continue supporting students who were involved in our after school program through either a Ninth Grade Counts site or a summer program for seniors transitioning to college. However, some of those who just graduated may have just turned 18 or will be turning 18 during the programming. Are they still eligible to participate?
PCL Response: The RFI allows after-school programming to be provided to children aged 5 through 18 which includes youth who are 18 years old. If a youth is 18 when they enroll in programming, and turns 19 while still enrolled, the program may continue serving the youth through the end of the school year.
Question 51: Our preliminary audited financial statements for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 reported admin at 10% of management/general expenses and at 6% of fund-raising expenses. With supporting service expenses combined, can we budget for an administrative rate of 15% in our PCL grant application?
PCL Response: Applicants may budget up to 15% of program expenses as administrative expenses for the general operation and management of the agency. The PCL budget form subtotals Personnel, Contractors and Other Program Expenses categories; applicants may budget up to 15% of that subtotal toward administrative expenses. These expenses are typically defined on the IRS form 990 as "Management and General Expenses". Fundraising expenses are prohibited and cannot be included as part of administrative expenses.
Question 52: If a proposed program strategy needed materials only available in English translated into Spanish or another language, are translation fees an allowable expense? What about instructional design or website fees?
PCL Response: Translation is an allowable expense, as is interpretation. In RFI Section III. Program Budget and Budget Justification, you can find a listing of typical allowable expenses for each of the 4 budget categories. PCL funds must be used for direct services to children and families (see RFI Instructions Part 2.C). An applicant's budget justification should explain the cost calculations for the program budget and explain why each cost is necessary to the proposed program. Any proposed costs for instructional design or websites should be justified in the budget section of the application.
Question 53: What is the definition of "closed fiscal year?" Does the prior fiscal year budget, on which we calculate the maximum we are permitted in the budget, have to have completed its annual audit? Our FY19 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2019, but the audited financials won't be available until after the application is due. Should we instead use the year before (FY18) as the "prior closed year?"
PCL Response: The budget you are asked to submit for the organization's last "closed fiscal year" refers to the most recent fiscal year that has ended by the time you submit the application. For example, if the organization's fiscal year runs July through June, the applicant should submit the budget from the 2018-19 fiscal year since that fiscal year has ended by the time the application is due.
Pre-Application Conferences: Q&A 18-47
Question 18: Does PCL require that the site at which services are delivered be in the City of Portland?
PCL Response: No. People served must be residents of the City of Portland and applicants must be able to track residence data. See PCL response to Question 5 in Q/A digest.
Question 19: Do programs need to serve all ages?
PCL Response: No. Programs may serve the full range of ages or a sub-set of the age range.
Question 20: In the demographic information, how much emphasis will be placed on the integrity of the data? If we want to explain demographic data, where would that go in the application? If we have different methods for collecting the different pieces of data, is that ok? If we have methods for estimating demographic information in Table I and/or Table II, do we explain them?
PCL Response: In Section I, H there is space to talk about the integrity and challenges of the demographic data on the organization's clients, staff, and board members. That part asks applicants to discuss their methods for arriving at the data in Table I; the scoring criteria reflect points for data collected directly from clients, staff, and board members. PCL understands that different funding sources and requirements, and other factors, impact how organizations collect demographic information. Applicants can explain the variation in their data collection and their methods for completing Table I. Similarly, Section II.B.2 asks applicants to explain how they arrived at the demographic data on the proposed program population to be served as shown in Tables I and II.
If you can estimate the data requested in the application and have confidence in your methods, then you may estimate and explain your methods. If you're missing data, then depending on the data you're missing, it may be best to simply indicate it as missing and explain why. In all cases, do your best to complete the data and explain it so that reviewers and PCL staff understand your figures and methods.
Question 21: How should we represent sub-activities in the Program Activity table?
PCL Response: The program activity table asks you to list the main program activities. You will need to choose which program activities are the most central to your model and include these in the table. If other activities not included in the table are relevant to responding to any of the other RFI questions, you can include that information in the narrative response.
Question 22: Can we use data about a program delivered in the past to show that it is a proven program even if the program is not currently being delivered?
PCL Response: Yes. You can use any data or experience you have to support your application.
Question 23: In the Hunger Relief RFI page 21 in the staffing table, what is meant by the adult to child ratio and caseload parts of the table?
PCL Response: Programs that offer classes or groups activities to youth may have adult to child ratios. If those parts of the table are not applicable to your program design, you can respond "not applicable."
Question 24: For the after-school program area, can we request funding for a program that takes place during school hours?
PCL Response: See responses to Question 6 and 11 in the Q&A digest.
Question 25: In the staffing table in Section II of the RFI, should we include all staff of the program in that table, even if we are not including them in the budget for our PCL grant request?
PCL Response: If the staff are integral to the program delivery, include them in the staffing table in Section II, even if they are not in the grant budget. Volunteer reviewers scoring applications need to understand the full program design, including staffing. If the budget you request will only be used to support some staff positions of the program, use the budget narrative in Section III to justify the personnel costs you want PCL to cover.
Question 26: We are applying as a lead in a collaborative. In our program, the subcontractors will have staff providing direct service, but the lead organization will not. Should we include program direct service staff from our subcontracting partners in the staffing table?
PCL Response: Yes, include all the staff needed for proposed program in the staffing table. It is important that reviewers and PCL staff understand who will provide the direct service. You may discuss the staffing in your responses to Section II. E Explanation of Program Design and F.3. Staff Development and Supervision.
Question 27: How should agencies applying in partnership represent the partnership in the proposed budget? How are the revenue and annual grant amount calculated for purposes of determining compliance with the rule limiting funding to 30% of organizational revenues?
PCL Response: PCL requires that any collaboration applying in partnership select a lead agency as the applicant who will enter into the contract with PCL and be responsible for reporting and invoicing. The lead agency should include any staff of their agency that will work in the program in the personnel section of the budget. Services delivered by partner agencies should be listed in the Contracted Program Services budget category. Justification for the contractor line items should be detailed in the budget narrative in Section III. Be sure to explain what services the partner will provide, what they cost, and why they are necessary to deliver the program.
PCL will look at the revenue and total grant requests of the applicant (lead) agency for purposes of complying with the rule limiting funding to 30% of organizational revenues in the last closed fiscal year. It is up to the partnership or collaboration of agencies to select a lead agency to apply for the funds.
Question 28: Please clarify how to calculate the maximum grant amount that an organization may request.
PCL Response: Please see PCL Response to Question 10 in Q&A digest.
Question 29: Is the $675,000 maximum grant amount the maximum annual amount that can be requested? Can annual amounts differ for the 3 years of the initial grant?
PCL Response: The $675,000 maximum annual grant means that the maximum an applicant can request for 3 years is $2,025,000. Applicants can distribute the maximum total funding among the three years however they choose. Applicants must request at least $65,000 per year which means that the minimum 3-year request is $195,000. While applicants can request the same funding level for each grant year, PCL staff advises building in budget increases each year to account for inflation and other cost increases.
Question 30: If our agency's 2019 fiscal year audit is not yet complete, should we submit the previous year's audit?
PCL Response: Yes. Submit the most recent complete audit for the organization.
Question 31: Can the cost of an audit for agencies with revenues less than $1 million in the last closed fiscal year be included in the proposed budget?
PCL Response: Yes. See Part 3.B of RFI Instructions.
Question 32: Can applicants expect cost of living adjustments if grants are renewed after the first 3 years?
PCL Response: The availability of COLAs depends on revenues and expenses over time. If funds are available, PCL has provided COLAs at the time of renewal in the past. The COLA rate is based on the City of Portland annual COLA.
Question 33: If we want to include funds for program evaluation in our proposal, is that considered an administrative expense?
PCL Response: Refer to the Program Budget section of the RFI for a definition of typical administrative expenses. Program evaluation is not an administrative expense. You can include expenses related to program evaluation in any relevant budget category (e.g. program personnel, contracted program services, other program expenses).
Question 34: Do you have recommendations for personnel costs as a percent of the grant request?
PCL Response: It varies by program model and design, and it depends on whether the program has other funding sources supporting program staffing. PCL has no recommendation.
Question 35: Are reviewers collaborating with one another or working independently? What training is provided for the volunteer reviewers?
PCL Response: Reviewers complete a sign-up form to be a reviewer which includes questions on experience and knowledge in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion, and in the program areas funded by the Levy. They will meet in early December to receive training from PCL staff, including practice scoring. Reviewers will score applications independently and will not meet to discuss applications. PCL staff will check-in with each reviewer mid-way through the review process to provide support and guidance as needed and will meet individually with each reviewer at the end of January to review score forms to assure all information has been completed.
Question 36: Is there a stipend for reviewers?
PCL Response: Volunteer reviewers may request a stipend of $25 per application scored if application review will be done outside paid work hours.
Question 37: Do reviewers read the whole application? Should we repeat information in our application in case they read only parts.
PCL Response: Yes, reviewers read the entire application and are not assigned to read only parts. You do not have to repeat yourself. However, to help reviewers, you may choose to repeat information or refer reviewers to the section or page where the information appeared earlier in the application.
Question 38: What other role(s) does/do volunteer reviewers play in the funding process?
PCL Response: Reviewers' only role is to score the applications based on the scoring criteria included in the RFI. They do not rank the pool of applications in a program area. Staff uses the reviewer scores and the criteria listed in the RFI to formulate recommendations to the Allocation Committee. Staff also read every application. Staff considers the whole program area and the individual applications when making recommendations to the Committee. See Part 4 D of RFI Instructions for staff recommendation criteria.
Question 39: How do you determine whether a reviewer has a conflict of interest?
PCL Response: We use the same conflict of interest standard that the City of Portland procurement services uses. Reviewers may not have any conflict as a result of any financial or other interest (individual, immediate family or partners) in applicant organizations applying in the program area in which the reviewer is scoring. Reviewers also may not be employed with any applicant organization in the program area in which the reviewer is scoring. Click here to see PCL’s Conflict of Interest form.
Question 40: Will reviewers include DHS staff, foster parents, or birth parents in the foster care program area?
PCL Response: Our goal is to have at least one DHS staff reviewing each application in the foster care program area and in the Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention program areas. Foster parents and birth parents, as well as people who have worked with children, youth and parents involved in the child welfare system could all serve as reviewers if they meet the qualifications outlined in the Grant Reviewer position description. We also want reviewers with experience and knowledge of organizational management, particularly with equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are currently recruiting reviewers through our website. We need approximately 80 volunteers.
Question 41: How will the video testimony from applicants be done by PCL- in what locations?
PCL Response: PCL staff will arrange and record video testimony. In February, PCL will notify applicants of times and locations for video recording. Applicants interested in providing video testimony will need to sign-up for a time slot. Assuming that PCL receives 125-150 applications, PCL anticipates limiting video testimony to 3 minutes or less per applicant (i.e for all people speaking on behalf of the applicant) to assure that Allocation Committee members have time to review it. Only PCL-recorded testimony is permitted to assure that production quality is the same for all applicants. We plan to have multiple locations and times available to applicants to give video testimony. Applicants may have whomever they choose testify. If people providing testimony require interpretation, PCL will provide interpreters and additional time for the testimony.
Question 42: Do you forecast more proposals this year than in the past?
PCL Response: We have no way to know. We always learn of new organizations each time we offer funding. We are projected to have more revenues available on an annual basis than are currently granted in FY 2019-20. We have consistently had a ratio of $3 requested for every $1 we have available. The number of applications submitted in the past varies by program area and amount of funds available in the program areas. Page 3 of each RFI provides a few key data on the competition for funds in PCL's 2014 grantmaking.
Question 43: Should the narrative be single or double spaced?
PCL Response: Single spaced. The preformatted application form (Exhibit A) has double-spacing between the lettered and/or numbered parts in each of the 3 sections, and it has page breaks between the 3 sections. This spacing format helps reviewers more easily read each application.
Question 44: What is the last day to submit RFI questions to PCL staff?
PCL Response: The last day to submit questions is at 5 pm on November 18. Responses will be posted on the PCL web site on November 19.
Question 45: Does PCL staff recommend submitting applications before the Nov. 20 deadline?
PCL Response: PCL staff has no recommendation on timing of application submission. You may submit early, but late applications won't be considered. You will receive verification of our receipt of the application within 2 business days of your submission. Remember to call the number in the RFI if you don't receive verification within 2 business days.
Question 46: How will grant renewal be affected by the need for voters to reauthorize the Levy?
PCL Response: PCL plans to offer 2-year renewals conditioned on voter renewal of the Levy. As always, grants are conditioned on the availability of revenues.
Question 47: Is there an update on the small grants program?
PCL Response: Interviews for the small grants manager position will begin the week of October 14th and we hope to have completed hiring by November. The small grants fund parameters and process has not yet been designed and will likely not roll out until this competitive funding round has concluded.
Week Ending Oct. 11, 2019: Q&A 11-17
Question 11: It looks like I wasn't clear in my initial inquiry [Q6]. This statement accurately reflects the Oregon MESA program: "If the program provides programming in the after-school hours, and in addition provides school-day services/staffing, the program is eligible to seek PCL after-school funding and request some portion of funds be used for school-day activities (e.g. programs that provide after-school academic support where program staff also provide supports during the school day such as advocating for youth with school staff)."
Is this correct: MESA could receive funding for its entire STEM program which is predominantly an after-school program but also provides training and support for a limited number of schools to provide the same service during the school day.
If the District pays the teachers' salaries for school-day activities, but MESA also provides paid classroom mentors during that time (as they do for the predominant after school sessions), would the school-day mentor expense be eligible?
PCL Response: The primary purpose of after-school grants is to fund programming for children in the hours after the school day ends, both to engage youth in positive activities during these hours, and to provide child supervision while parents and caregivers may be working. All after-school programs funded must primarily provide programming during these hours at all sites served. If an after-school program also provides access to school-day services and summer program services at the same site, PCL will contribute to funding those school-day and summer services as extensions of the support provided in the after-school programming. In the situation described previously in Question 6 and clarified above, PCL would not fund school-day services (the classroom mentors) because the program does not offer after-school services at the site.
Question 12: Page 28 of the RFI includes one point for "51% or more of direct service staff identify as a person of color." If an organization provided all direct services through volunteers and/or contractors, and had no direct service staff, does that mean they would automatically lose the point because they had no direct service employees? Even if the volunteers were predominantly people of color?
PCL Response: Yes; an organization that has no direct service staff will not earn a point for the racial/ethnic identification of those staff. You can discuss the racial/ethnic identification of volunteers providing direct services in other parts of the application as described in the response to Question 8.
Question 13: Exhibit B provides demographics on clients, staff, and the board. However, it does not include volunteer or contracted service providers. Certainly, we would highlight those demographics in the text, again, if an organization delivered all services via volunteers and/or contractors, does that mean they would lose points because direct service staff would show up on the form as zero?
PCL Response: You can earn the points in Section I, Question H that relate to the demographics of the population served, management staff and board of directors, and for gathering demographic data directly from people. You will not be able to earn the point in Question H that relates to direct service staff if you do not employ direct service staff.
Question 14: Do program directors and program managers count as direct service? Or is direct service only the line-level staff who interact directly with youth and families?
PCL Response: Direct service staff are defined in Section H of the RFI as staff “that work directly with clients,” which in the case of an after-school program means those who work directly with children or youth and their families to provide program services.
Question 15: I have another question regarding the CEO signature on the cover sheet, since we are instructed to submit the Exhibit A as a Word file. Can we create a separate page for the cover sheet, have our CEO sign, scan and submit this single page as a separate pdf? Or do you advise another solution? I am reluctant to include a digital image of the CEO signature on a Word document that is sent externally, which could potentially be inserted into other documents if electronic files were ever compromised.
PCL Response: Applicants can either insert the signature as a picture in the Word document (see MS Word Help menu for information on inserting signatures as pictures and using digital signatures), or submit the cover sheet ONLY as a PDF with the CEO’s signature. Please remember that your responses to the RFI questions which comprise the remainder of Exhibit A should be submitted in Word format.
Question 16: It has been said (in the past) that sending in two PCL applications in different program areas would “sort-of” be competing against yourself. My understanding is that that is not correct- grant reviews are separate and funding decisions (both amount available and amount allocated) are separated by program area. Is my understanding correct? The kids served are non-overlapping between the two applications.
PCL Response: Applications are reviewed, and funding decisions made by program area. Applications in one program area do not compete, per se, with applications in another program area. Many organizations submit applications and receive grants in more than one program area. Keep in mind that resources for each program area listed in the RFIs are approximate and could change before or during funding decisions. Total resources in a program area may change due to revenue forecast adjustments or Committee decisions to move resources between program areas after applications are received. Also, be sure to check that the total amount of funding your organization is requesting, divided by 3, is not more than 30% of the organization’s revenues in your last closed fiscal year.
Question 17: Thank you for informational session today. For our proposed project, if we have one school that we are talking about adding a classroom to, would you want to see the demographics for the school in column B or the district in column B? Column J is a new, smaller population being added to the school that we would serve. So in other words, if we put district-wide demographics in column B, that is going to be further removed from column J than if we were putting in school-wide demographics in column B. The school in question has more diverse demographics than the district as a whole.
PCL Response: The demographics for the district belong in column B because the district is the organization applying to operate the program. This helps PCL understand how the demographics of the population to be served compare to demographics of the district population overall. You may refer to and discuss demographic data on the school specifically in Section II.B.2. Estimated Demographics of the Population to be Served, and/or E. Explanation of the Program Design.
Week Ending Oct. 4, 2019: Q&A 1-10
Question 1: Our school district is considering applying for the grant opportunity due in November. If we may ask now, we have some preliminary questions before the webinar in October. Would PCL consider applications that used Year 1 as more of a planning year to develop programming that would be implemented in subsequent years? For example, hire an Administrator/Director who would work within the community to conduct activities such as needs assessments and partnership development that would lead to actual programming for children and families in Years 2 and on?
PCL Response: No. The grant funds are for direct services. PCL suggests that agencies that need a planning year to develop their services should seek other funders to support that work and consider applying for PCL funding in the future. PCL will only accept applications for services that address at least one strategy outlined in the RFIs.
PCL note: PCL does not plan to have a webinar in October. We have 2 pre-application conferences happening that interested applicants can attend in person: Oct 9, 1pm – 2pm at Midland Library (805 SE 122nd) and Oct 10, 10am -11am at Portland Water Bureau Auditorium (664 N Tillamook).
Question 2: Given the planning strategy above, is it allowable to submit a budget for Year 1 that would ultimately be less than what is needed for Year 2 and on? For example, Year 1 might include some FTE, consultation services, travel, etc. but by Year 2 we would be adding actual service delivery (Administrator plus teachers, professional development, other contracted services, etc.) How do we show that our trajectory of spending increases after Year 1? Should we simply include our estimated costs in the Year 1 budget to ensure we get the amount needed to implement programming in Year 2? I'm thinking of an example such as a federal grant for an after-school program where we ask for $500,000 in year 1 and that amount remains the same throughout the life of the multi-year grant. Is that how PCL funding works?
PCL Response: Because PCL funds direct services, the RFI does not include an option for budgeting for planning. You can propose services that vary in size and scope over the 3 years and adjust your total request to reflect different service levels or types in Years 2 and 3. For example, if you want to expand program sites over time, you could propose to add service sites in each of the 3 grant years. The budget form should reflect Year 1 costs only. Use the budget narrative, Question A on total program costs, to explain the projected difference in costs for Years 2 and 3 (e.g. each additional site will increase costs by X; additional service activities added in year 3 will cost X). The Program Summary requested in Section II.A should include reference to any additional sites or activities planned for Years 2 and 3. The remaining questions in Section II specifically request information for Year 1 (2020-21).
Question 3: It seems that some capital expenditures are not allowed per page 25 of the RFI. I am assuming playground equipment is not allowed, but can you confirm? Also within this capital expenditure context, are one-time costs such as furniture for classrooms allowed? And finally, while we are not looking to buy a building, would we be able to use funds to retrofit an existing space to make it conform to early learning standards? E.g. change things such as plumbing, walls, kitchen space, etc.?
PCL Response: PCL will allow one-time equipment costs for the proposed program such as computers and phones for staff, program furniture and minor program equipment (e.g. classroom desks/chairs, playground balls or mat, sand/water table, and toys and materials for learning activities). PCL funds may not be used to build an entirely new playground, or to purchase major equipment (e.g. climbing structure, vehicle, buildings), or to retrofit an existing facility to conform to early learning standards. Minor repairs for health and safety are allowable but facility renovations related to plumbing, walls, kitchen space are not allowable.
Question 4: Is it possible to submit letters of support from community leaders or partners as part of the RFI application?
PCL Response: No. Only the required materials will be read and scored by reviewers and considered by PCL staff and Allocation Committee. Please refer to the RFI Instructions, Part 3. Application Components and Submission for a list of the required materials. Applicants can discuss partnerships and relationships with other community organizations in response to Question F in Section I of the RFI and/or in response to questions in Section II regarding program design as applicable.
Question 5: Our service area is Washington and Clackamas counties. Though there are parts of Washington County in Portland, is the RFI process restricted to Multnomah County applicants?
PCL Response: No. Geographic limitations apply to the eligibility of the service population. All children and families to be served with PCL funding must be residents of the City of Portland. For children and youth in foster care, the residency eligibility criteria is met if the child is living in a foster care home within city limits or if the child’s birth parent(s) live in city limits. Eligible applicants include non-profit corporations (501(c)(3), local education agencies, community colleges and universities who provide services to those who meet the residency eligibility requirements.
Question 6: Oregon MESA is predominantly an after-school program. However, a handful of schools have moved MESA programming to the school day. In the city of Portland, the schools with school-day MESA programs are Fabian and George Middle School. They get the full MESA experience with college and career field trips, family nights, statewide competition, etc. This approach makes it possible to bring MESA to schools where after-school is a challenge for the students or the schools, and it helps a school like George MS bring the program to far more students. MESA funding includes mentors in the classroom, teacher training, offsite activities for students, etc. In addition to our after-school programs are these school-day programs also eligible for grant funding?
PCL Response: No. Programs that only provide school-day services are not eligible for PCL after-school grant funding. If the program provides programming in the after-school hours, and in addition provides school-day services/staffing, the program is eligible to seek PCL after-school funding and request some portion of funds be used for school-day activities (e.g. programs that provide after-school academic support where program staff also provide supports during the school day such as advocating for youth with school staff).
Question 7: Are the project description and budget for year one of three only? If so can you provide any guidance on developing the total three-year ask amount (e.g. would it just be the same amount increasing 3% per year, or would we factor in other factors like increasing or decreasing growth)?
PCL Response: You can propose services that vary in size and scope over the 3 years, and adjust your total request to reflect different service levels or types in Years 2 and 3. For example, if you want to expand program sites over time, you could propose to add service sites in each of the 3 grant years. The budget form should reflect Year 1 costs only. Use the budget narrative, Question A on total program costs, to explain the projected difference in costs for Years 2 and 3 (e.g. each additional site will increase costs by X; additional service components added in year 3 will cost X). The Program Summary requested in Section II.A should include reference to additional sites or activities planned for Years 2 and 3. The remaining questions in Section II specifically request information for Year 1 (2020-21).
Question 8: For direct service providers and other support providers (such as family liaisons who lead MESA's regional advisory councils), there is a mix of contractors, MESA employees, and third party (e.g. Mt. Hood Community College) employees. The teachers who lead the chapters are all contracted, but the mentors may be student employees of PSU, student employees of another university, contracted, etc. MESA staff oversee programs in partnership with staff from partners with a portion of their hours paid by MESA. When calculating demographics, should we just include everyone who is genuinely performing the services regardless of employment status? Or is this something we should discuss in more detail?
PCL Response: Staff of the organization refers to employees of the organization applying for the grant and does not include contractors and staff of partner organizations. You can discuss contractors and partners in response to other questions in Section 1 of the RFI as applicable (e.g. Question E asks about service user voice and influence; Question F asks for information on how the organization engages and collaborates with partners; Question G asks for achievements related to equity, diversity and inclusion). You can also discuss characteristics of people who are delivering program services in response to Section 2 questions (e.g. Questions E.1 and E.2 ask for explanation of program design elements including staffing and family voice; Question F.3 asks for information on program staffing and supervision).
Question 9:As we're developing our scope of work for our new RFI and the budget needed to support it, I'm looking at ways to ensure that funds go as much towards service implementation as possible. Our understanding is that one of the ways to demonstrate the complexity of the work and level of organizational commitment to a body of work is through inclusion of the staff time that will be spent supporting the work paid for in a proposal. As such, our past proposals have included funding for the 1-5% of FTE that staff who support PCL-funded work dedicate to doing so. Does including these staff help illustrate organizational commitment to the body of work we are asking PCL to fund, or could this commitment and complexity of work be otherwise demonstrated if the funds paying those small amounts of staff time could be instead used for direct service?
PCL Response: It is up to applicants to decide how much funding to request, and which activities and staff you want PCL funds to support. Some applicants have multiple funding sources for a program and request PCL fund a portion of program costs; other applicants request that PCL fund all program activities and costs. Either way, applicants should demonstrate that there are sufficient staff and resources to carry out the program as proposed. The narrative budget justification in Section III should clearly explain how the costs were calculated and justify the amount you are requesting from PCL.
Question 10: I understand from Section II of the RFI that applicants “must demonstrate that total PCL funding requests, in all program areas, would comprise no more than 30% of the applicant organization’s revenues for its last closed fiscal year.” Does this mean that organizations can request no more than this 30% figure PER YEAR, over the course of the 3-year grant? Or does this mean the total (the sum total of the request for all 3 years) must be no more than 30% of the applicant organization’s revenues for its last closed fiscal year?
PCL Response: The average annual request (total request divided by 3) can be no more than 30% of the applicant organization’s revenues in the last closed fiscal year. This requirement promotes fiscal health and stability, and prevents organizations’ overreliance on PCL funding.