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Best Starts FAQ, Continued

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Evaluation

How should we measure parent and/or family engagement work for this proposal, since that is one of the indicators? Will family engagement as part of our work with youth be funded by this project?

Organizations receiving funding from Best Starts for Kids will be asked to participate in data collection and reporting activities to support evaluation and learning. After funding decisions are made, BSK evaluation staff, and SOWA staff, will work collaboratively with grantees to identify mutually agreed upon performance monitoring and evaluation goals. This funding supports children and youth exclusively, so although encouraging communication with parents/families is important, as is supporting children and youth to strengthen relationships within their families, this funding will not support direct services to families.

How do organizations show that they are meeting indicators? For instance, will we need to submit grades to ensure academic improvement?

SOWA will not be asking for academic data, although you are welcome to collect and report on it. The list of BSK indicators on page three of the RFP is a compilation of the indicators King County and its partners expect to impact through its investments in programs for 5 to 24-year-olds. You should call out in your proposal narrative, which of the indicators you believe your program will influence.

How will outcomes and measures be defined?

Organizations receiving funding from Best Starts for Kids will be asked to participate in data collection and reporting activities to support evaluation and learning. After funding decisions are made, BSK evaluation staff, and SOWA staff, will work collaboratively with grantees to identify mutually agreed upon performance monitoring evaluation goals.

Will you provide standard tools to evaluate the program, once it is implemented?

All funded organizations will be required to complete the program quality assessment annually. In addition, organizations will work with BSK evaluation staff, and SOWA staff, to identify mutually agreed upon performance monitoring and evaluation goals, and the data collection required to meet them.

Budgets

It was my understanding in your workshop that each Place-Based partner submit their budgets individually, yet I see on your budget template that there is a tab for each partner. Since our organization is the coordinating partner for our cohort, should we cut and paste each individual budget into the Partner A, B, and C tabs?

The coordinating organization’s budget should be included on the Primary or Coordinating Organization tab and each partner’s individual budget (related to the project you are proposing) should be included in the subsequent partner organization tabs.  Place-Based partnerships will submit one budget workbook, reflecting all partners’ budgets.

In the examples, a lot of the budget narrative says “starting Summer 2018” which I don’t understand.

We are offering examples of budget narrative for certain line items.  For Phase Two organizations that begin programming in spring 2018, the example expenses – transportation for instance – could be incurred in summer, 2018.  These are only intended as examples.

BSK is based on a calendar year (Jan-Dec), but does that mean for our “Year 1” that we have to exclude the months of Jan-March, since Phase II applicants don’t begin until the spring?  Or do we include those months as well in our budget?

You should include costs for January-March in your budget.  Even though Phase Two programs won’t begin providing services to children and youth until spring, 2018, they will still be incurring costs to prepare for implementation, including time spent with the SOWA team on quality supports.

For the partner budgets, do they have to include funding/revenue as well? Would their funding/revenue only be tied to the specific service they are providing (i.e. cultural arts program two days per week)?

Yes, partner organizations must detail revenue sources and amounts, and yes, it should only apply to the specific service they will be providing.  So, in this example, if BSK will be the only funding for the cultural arts program, then the expenses listed for the partner organization would be equal to the total amount requested by that partner organization.  However, if the cultural arts program currently has sufficient funds to provide one day of programming, and BSK funds will allow it to expand to two, then the revenue stream for the one day currently provided should be included in the budget, along with the costs for providing two days of programming.  The BSK request would be the amount required to expand programming from one day, to two.   Organizations should include details on each of their partners as part of their overall proposal narrative. 

Some of the budget instructions are a bit unclear. Can SOWA provide clarifications?

Yes. We have added the following clarifications in the instructions tab of the online budget form. The budget template itself has not changed. Organizations that have already started work on their budgets may wish to review the updated instructions on the form linked from the SOWA BSK webpage.

On the budget, do we include the OST program request in the Revenue for each agency? And if so, do we put the among requested, I assume in so it totals out to a grand total? Or do we only include it as a among requested in the proper place?

The amount requested should not be included in the income/revenue.

On the Expense side of the budgets for each partner, assuming we include all existing revenues for each partner (and/or not the OST request) do we include all the staffing and operating expenses and indirect that already exists for After School programming each of us do? Or only the staff/operating expenses/indirect requested with the OST application? Obviously a “total” picture of current revenue should be offset with current expenses otherwise (particularly if we include the OST revenue requested) it’s going to look out of wack, so to speak.

The revenues and expenses should relate specifically to the scope of the work that the RFP is addressing, not for the entire organization if it has multiple programs.

What is the contract end date?

Contracts will be written for three years, with the understanding that the third-year funding will not be allocated until the King County Council approves the next biennial budget. So contracts could extend as long as December 31, 2021.

How does the Coordinating Partner denote on the budget worksheet those expenses/costs that are “coordinating” separate from the Coordinating Partner’s expenses/costs that are direct OST services or directly in support of the OST services the Coordinating Partner is providing to children and youth? Understanding that the 15% max only applies to coordinating function(s) and yet the Coordinating Partner will have costs for the actual direct programming.

There is a tab in the budget template for the coordinating organization. Please be sure that the coordinating organization in your partnership completes that tab. Expenses related to direct programming, and those related to partnership coordination, should both be included in the budget worksheet designated for the coordination organization, and should be described briefly (and noted as a coordinating expense where appropriate), in the budget detail fields.

Is the fiscal year for the grant a calendar year? Meaning that year one would be 2018, year two – 2019 and year three – 2020? If so, can year three funding be stretched into the spring of 2021 so we aren’t just doing a half school year program?

Yes, the fiscal year is the calendar year. Yes, programs may carryover funding into spring 2021 if they choose. Please note, that funding for the third year will not be assured until King County Council passes the next biennial budget.

How much indirect cost is allowed?

SOWA has not set an indirect percentage. Organizations requesting indirect costs should explain how they established their indirect rate.

What if the yearly budgeted amount is slightly below the grant minimum for POC-led organizations? (for example, if the annual project budget is $52K)

Organizations may submit proposals for under the grant minimum, however we urge organizations to develop budgets that support livable wages for OST staff and adequate resource investments to assure high quality OST programs.

For evaluation, is it okay if the coordinating organization doesn’t have 10% allocated but partners do?

Yes, as long as there is some intentional focus on evaluation in the partnership. Up to 10% can be allocated, organizations don’t need to allocate a full 10%.

Do you anticipate making full awards or will there be a chance that grantees get a partial award?

We have the option to do either. Final funding decisions will be made collaboratively by SOWA and King County, guided by the recommendations of the review committees.

For Place-Based partnerships, does each partnering organization submit a budget?

Yes, each organization must submit a budget, using the budget template, as part of the collective application. SOWA will be contracting directly with each partner.

Within a Place-Based partnership, must all partners be funded through BSK or are they still considered partners if they provide key elements of the proposed program, but do not need/want BSK funding? For example, they may have other funding to support their work on this project.

Partners within Place-Based partnership proposals are welcome to include both organizations that are requesting funds through the OST RFP, and those that are not.

Are the quality supports funded separately?

Quality supports are funded through King County’s contract with SOWA. Organizations do not need to include the cost of quality supports in their budgets.

What expenses can go into “coordinating expense”? And where should they be listed?

Partner organizations submitting Place-Based partnership proposals should determine what functions and supports will be required for the partnership to work together to effectively provide high quality OST programs. The coordinating organization should include them in their budgets, using the budget template and the tab for “primary or coordinating organizations”. Those expenses should fall into the appropriate categories (i.e. personnel, etc) and be noted as a coordination expense in the details.

How does SOWA plan to compensate coordinating organizations for the expenses incurred for fiscal oversight, auditing, and monitoring functions?

SOWA will contract with each partner separately. Organizations within Place-Based partnerships should include reasonable costs for the coordination of the partnership. The coordinating organization will not be providing fiscal oversight, auditing or monitoring. Those functions will be part of the contract management role assumed by SOWA.

How much funding can partnerships of three organizations request?

The funding range for Place-Based partnerships is from $100,000 to $300,000 annually, for up to three years. Regardless of the number of partner organizations, the total request for a Place-Based partnership must not exceed $300,000.

In the budget can we include staffing costs for support staff like accounting and data collection?

Yes, you may include a portion of their time as long as they would be directly supporting the program proposed.

Can applicants who have a nonprofit fiscal sponsor apply for a grant?

Yes.

If a fiscal sponsor has been granted other grants from King County, does this lower the likelihood of a fiscally sponsored grantee being awarded a new grant?

No. Decisions on funding will be based on the quality of the OST program being proposed and the applicant’s effectiveness in making the case for community need.

Can we delete the examples provided on the budget template?

Yes.

Additional Questions

With transportation being such a huge issue, is there any way a transportation organization can support multiple partnerships/applications?

Organizations may request transportation funding in their budgets. Any suggestions for transportation organizations would be welcomed.

Is there a way to encourage linkages to summer partnerships around food? How can we make sure that youth get access to free meals?

We encourage organizations to seek out partnerships for summer food programs. Potential resources for meals funding are available on the SOWA website.

Given the need, BSK funding is not enough. How do we advocate for more?

We recognize that the demand for high quality OST programs exceeds the funding available. The BSK Implementation Plan prioritizes out-of-school-time programs, along with many other services and supports, for children and youth ages 5 to 24. We expect that King County will continue to invest in OST through Best Starts for Kids, with the understanding that future funding will be based on available revenue. School’s Out Washington is also dedicated to advocating for increased funding for high quality OST programs.

Part of our programmatic work supports families and provides services to parents. Can this funding go toward supporting families and parents directly?

No. This funding supports children and youth exclusively.

Will there be a different grant opportunity for families?

Not specific to OST programs.

Can you publish a list of organizations who attended?

This is available on the BSK webpage on the SOWA website.