Update: 2016 JAMS/NAFCM Mini-Grant FAQ Now Available
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Posted by: Brennan Frazier
JAMS Foundation & NAFCM Mini Grants Program
The JAMS/NAFCM 2016 Mini-Grant/Incentive Support Track III will focus on Navigating Cultural Differences. Your community mediation center may use this focus as part of a preventive strategy—through mediation, facilitated dialogue, and training—cultural differences need not become polarizing differences. This could include facilitated dialogues to increase understanding and removing cultural and religious barriers. This could also include mediating disputes which in part may arise from the misperceptions and stereotypes one party has of the other, discrimination based on religious or cultural appearances, sexual harassment, harassment, communal tensions, bullying, workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, and access to time/space to practice religious beliefs. Conflict prevention, education, and creating educational programs for our community is a needed resource as well.
This year the mini-grant will ask that your community mediation center has formal working partnerships with at least one of the following: The local Human Relations Council, the Ministerial Association, Religious or ethnic-based centers, Fairness Organizations, local colleges and universities with cultural or gender studies department, local organizations focusing on creating a more culturally-inclusive community, or neighborhood associations that are a direct link to municipal governments.
The 2016 Request for Proposals can be found here, and additional information on proposal attachments can be found here.
Important dates if you are considering possible participation in this year’s offer are:
Release Date: By April 18th, 2016.
Bidders' Conference: Friday, April 29th, 2016; 2 PM Eastern standard time. You may register for this conference by clicking here.
All responses to be received by NAFCM on or before June 13th, 2016 at 11:59 PM applicant'slocal time.
This page will provide program and application specifics as they become available. Further, during application periods, NAFCM will post all questions and answers to this page. If you have a question please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Center has several offices and the staff person who will lead this effort is in the organizational chart as the supervisor of the Director of the Office where this project will be based. So for this project that designated staff person will be supervised by someone she would for other situations have oversight. Will that be a problem?
We do not know if it will be a problem internally, between the office director who will now be supervising the work of a person who supervises her. For the proposal state clearly that for this project, this is how the chain of supervision will work and that all parties have discussed this switch for this project and have signed off on the impact of the switch for this project. If this has happened before and has presented no barriers you may wish to have the letter of support from your Center’s Board of Directors make reference to the relationship of the centers and the central office and the flexibility in supervision that is part of the Center’s normative behavior. Please submit both resumes as requested in the RFP as well as the other support documents requested by the RFP.
Was attendance at the Bidders’ Conference an eligibility requirement to apply for the mini-grant?
No. You did not have to attend the Bidders’ Conference in order to submit a reviewable mini-grant proposal.
When will the RFP be ready for distribution?
The RFP is on track to be released on April 18. Other dates of interests would include the Bidders Conference which will be13on Friday April 29 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time/ 11:00 PM Pacific Time and the RFP due date which is June 13 by 11:59 PM (applicant’s local time).
What do you mean by Community Mediation?
Broadly, Community Mediation is Community Mobilization. For specifics, please refer to the 9 hallmarks of a Community Mediation Center that is included in the RFP. Of these 9, you will be asked to identify the 2 characteristics which you believe that your center has that are essential to expand or enhance services that target supporting policy.
How are questions being answered about this RFP?
Any questions about the RFP will not be answered in a one on one communication. All answers will be posted on the FAQ page. Please regularly check the FAQ page.
Do we need to be a member of NAFCM to have our proposal considered?
No you do not need to be member of NAFCM at the time of your proposal submission. However, if you are selected we do expect you to become a member of NAFCM.
Would you like us to include IRS and 501© 3 and supporting nonprofit documentation?
This is not required, but you are welcome to include the documentation if you think these documents are pertinent to a particular question.
Will you answer questions by phone? No. Please put your question is writing.
Does the Community Mediation Center need to be a 501(c)3? No. The Center may be attached to local government, (law enforcement, health department, town hall) or be embedded in an educational institution. However, whatever the legal form the Center must meet the 9 hallmarks of the Community Mediation Center.
Why the gap between the submission date (June 13) and the release of decisions in August? After the submissions are received they are sent out to individual reviewers. Their results are tabulated and then they meet as teams to discuss the possible differences in their reviews. After this process the selected submissions are sent on to the JAMS Foundation Board for their review, questions, guidance and approval. After this process has concluded the selected candidates are contacted by a NAFCM representative to make a final joint determination about the fit of this opportunity for the individual Center.
I cannot fill out the forms in the RFP, what I am supposed to do?The RFP is locked and you cannot enter information into the forms contained therein. However, there is a second link at the top of this page for your forms and attachments. These are all word documents. You may download these and fill them in and then submit within the narrative (e.g. the budget table, participatory table).
Does the applicant need to be a community mediation center? Yes, the lead applicant needs to be the community mediation center.
When does the grant start, and with that reimbursement for expenses?
The grant starts after Labor Day in September. When we enter budget negotiations in August we will also be exploring reimbursement options.
Our Project has a robust community mediation service already well placed in the community. May we use funds from this grant to support current and ongoing operations, or are the funds intended to support new operations (new expenses)?
The use of the funds should best fit the community’s needs. Therefore, yes, if the submission supports the determination that supporting the current and ongoing operations of the Center is the best use of the funds to continue the Center’s ability to mediate, facilitate and train regarding helping others navigate cultural differences, then this is how they may be allocated. However, there are at the minimum two immediately new expenses of time. First, the lead person for the project would be expected to participate fully in the learning community team. This team meets twice a month for two hours in September, October and November and then monthly thereafter from December to June. Second, there will be data collection efforts using instruments introduced during these sessions. These efforts include the creation of a local logic model, building on the national logic model, a completion of a data log and then the stakeholder process. All of this is designed, as with the two presently on-going learning communities, to both strengthen and enhance the individual Center’s efforts and to offer insight for community mediation as a whole. If you go to the banner on the NAFCM web page (NAFCM.org), you will read more about the individual centers experience of the learning community team.
What percentage of the budget numbers should go toward developing the program and how much toward offering the services?
Budgets will be negotiable. The focus on staff time is key. The proposal has discretion to make some of these choices between the set line items. Budgets may be different from year 1 to year 2.
May we use the funds of this grant to pay for our NAFCM membership?
No, you may not use these funds to pay for your NAFCM membership.
Does the partnership have to include a sharing of the grant funds? No. There is no requirement that these funds flow outside of your Center. We expect these incentive funds, all $12,000, will be needed by the Center.
Do we have to, in our budget, list the additional financial or in-kind support our partners would be providing? (Part 2/Q4 and Part 3/Q1) No you do not have to add in-kind to the budget table. But you should talk about your in-kind support as a response to both questions. In Part 2 the focus is on how that in-kind demonstrates your community support and your path for sustaining this focus after this mini-grant ends. In Part 3 the focus is on how the resources that will support this effort are larger than the $12,000.00 you are requesting in this mini-grant application.
May we ask for indirect costs? Yes. While proposals that do not request funds to cover indirect costs will be favored you may ask up to 10% ($1,200) be allocated for indirect costs.
Where does the narrative for the budget table go? Either directly above or below the budget table in Part III/ Q1). Please put the table in your narrative response. Explain to the reviewer how you developed the budget and what this will be used for to support the project.
Initial Expectations of Grantees- Process and Practice
I was hoping you could clarify the staff member requirement. Given at-will employment, will my organization still be eligible for grant funds if the proposed staff member decides to leave after the grant is received, so long as another staff member is able and available to implement the grant for the original time dedicated to the Mini-Grant in the grant application?
Yes. However, a change in staffing after submission would require a review of that staff person’s resume and most likely a phone call between them and a representative of NAFCM. The key here is that the new staff person has the ability to participate fully in the Learning Community process and has a relationship with both the community that is the focus of your efforts.
What sort of time commitment is required in the Learning Community?
Initially the group will meet 2 times a month via ZOOM for 1.5 hours each session, which should taper off to once a month after 5 to 6 months. The grant recipient will also have individual calls with D.G. Mawn, NAFCM Associate Director, once a month as we are partnering with you to best enhance your efforts. You will also be required to develop and facilitate a webinar. Meetings do not require travel; however, we will get to know each other well during meetings and working together.
What is the purpose of the Learning Community?
The learning community is there to support everyone and strengthen both individual and collective impact within your local community, across the membership of NAFCM as well as with national stakeholders.
How many hours of work will the staff person need?
That is something that is up to the discretion of the program, the RFP does not have a particular staff model in mind. These funds may be used to move in different directions and explore opportunities in this area. The staffing will depend on the local circumstances. However, whatever your choice you need to explain how you developed your staffing plan.
Will there be a grantee evaluation process?
Yes, the process will be a collaborative effort between the grantees, NAFCM, and the JAMS Foundation.
Will the centers be working with NAFCM and the other grantees?
Yes, the mini-grant program looks to strengthen the entire field. Funded organizations will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with NAFCM and other grantees on a regular basis. There is the requirement that all grantees will attend at least one monthly group meeting, beginning in September to enhance programming, shared resources and best practices.
Will monthly meetings for grantees be face-to-face?
No, these meetings will be held electronically.
Will the work product be shared with JAMS Foundation network?
The work product will be shared through the NAFCM Clearinghouse and other NAFCM platforms.
Will there be national partnerships developed?
NAFCM has begun exploring ideas and asks everyone to feel comfortable reaching out with ideas. Such ideas as subjects for future webinars, is a possibility.
How often does the Learning Community meet? The group meets twice a month in September, October, and November and then once a month thereafter for two hours each time. This is a web-based meeting. This is the time to step back, create a logic model and look at the situation through local needs assessments. These Learning Community meetings are intended to strengthen your work and reduce your stress. The Centers also develop webinars to help inform our broader community.
Will outcomes be addressed in the Learning Community? Will we be talking about things that we want to track within the Learning Community? Yes, the first thing we will work on is a logic model which will serve as our road map for our first year together. In the proposal you are asked to present your intents and outcomes in a broad sense, those items will be clarified through the Learning Community process.
Letters of Partnership
Can letters of partnership be in the form of an email?
The letters of partnership may be emailed to you, however please make a copy of this email (including the header information) into a word document and send as an attachment to your response. In the alternative you could scan their letter of support into your computer and send that document as an attachment with your response.
What is the difference between letters of support and letters of partnership?
Letters of support are written generally because the agency believes in your work, similar to a sponsor. A letter of partnership, which this grant requires, demonstrates that the other parties are in this with you to help you, and them, achieve the vision you have set forth in your submission to the RFP. Last year the focus was on Letters of Support – which focused on referrals from partnering agencies to the Community Mediation Center. This year, the focus is on a partnership with the agencies. The letters should focus on how you, the center and the center staff are viewed by the community. The letter should discuss how these partners recognize that your center is best to do this type of work. The author of the letter should be able to speak for their constituency in their support for your center in doing this type of work and that they will partner with your center to make sure that this work is done.
What do we do if our local government is dysfunctional? The letter of partnership for this category is for an entity of local government (city, town, county, heath department, law enforcement, public school) or other government connected body that has a committee, taskforce, office that is charged with dealing with issues of cultural oppression, disenfranchisement or discrimination. The focus here is that the body/entity has an official committee, office, branch or purpose to address the needs of the members of the community as related to cultural differences.
Do I really have to have somebody connected with the local government? One of the reasons that the government partnership is important is so that the government does not contradict or unintentionally subvert your work but instead is committed to working with the Center to address these community issues. We need your local government to recognize that they are supporting you and working with you. If you do not have a group, have the council pass a resolution through your city manager or some other noted office that the local city, town or county will support the effort.
How many letters of partnerships are required, 3 or 4?All submissions must have three letters of partnership one for each category listed on page 4 of the RFP under Proposal Checklist.
How detailed do these letters of partnership need to be?They should be as detailed as is necessary for them to be persuasive. They should indicate the cultural difference you are attempting to navigate and speak to why a partnership with the community mediation center would be beneficial at this time to address oppression, discrimination or disenfranchisement experienced by this minority population.
Because the community mediation center is the applicant why are you requesting a letter of partnership from the center’s board? We want to assure that the applicant has the support of their board of directors and that the board of directors has an appreciation of the work involved in applying to have NAFCM and JAMS support and guide. A motion by the board of directors supporting this focus on navigating cultural differences would strengthen this letter.
May one partner be used to cover more than one of the partner categories? No. There needs to be three partner letters from three different entities.
I am the Board President and I am the one initiating this first time grant, so I will be signing the Application Coversheet, do I need someone else to sign the letter from the Board so that my signature does not appear in two places? As the Board President you can write the letter on behalf of the Board, however have your letter explain how the board discussed this issue and attach the motion passed by the Board in support of this focus to have the Community Mediation Center work to help others navigate cultural differences. If the Board has already discussed this and passed the motion, use that one, you do not need to revisit the issue.
Would a partner that is a coalition which includes government entities be sufficient to be considered a government partner? No, unless that coalition with the government partners is designed to advice and guide the government partners with their decision-making around this issue.
For the partnerships, regarding the government body – could those include a school district or law enforcement? Law enforcement and public schools are government bodies. No matter whom you select as your governmental body, all applicants should explain their government agency of choice and also have them in their letter of partnership mention what office, program, or practice they have in place which the work of the Center, focusing on navigating cultural differences, would help to strengthen.
If we did work with a local public school, do we have to have a partner letter from the Board of Education or could the partner letter be from the principal of the particular school? Because this is not a building focused effort, but a community effort, we would suggest that you obtain your letter from that entity that can speak for the public commitment of the school system to this partnership. The very nature of the partnership would seem to require a letter of partnership either from the superintendent of schools or the Board of Education. With that said, we would rely on you to know your community and who you believe needs to be at the table to begin to address the issue of cultural differences which must be navigated.
Needs Assessment Documentation
Will the agency which is awarded the grant have to conduct the needs assessment or can the information be gained by others?
We do not expect a Community Mediation Center to implement a full scale evaluation. However, the items listed in the grant will be expected to be a part of those data points collected or you are not able to obtain a particular data point another data point will be negotiated with you if you are selected. In the learning community, you may gather information from other resources to strengthen your needs assessment for your center and learn how to submit the data.
There does not seem to be a needs assessment question as with your previous Mini-Grant RFPs. Why the change? We are not asking for a needs assessment or written benchmarks, that is correct. However, we ask the respondent to address aspects of needs assessment in Part II questions 2 and 3. In Part II Q 2 you are asked to “ make sure in your example that you note the data, program evaluation, evolving research and other factors that were used to guide your decision” and the question goes on to ask “detail your Center’s capacity to collect and synthesize relevant data .” And in Part II Q3 you are requested to list your archival and research data sources and to present your “measures for successful impact.”
Project Focus of Mini-Grant
I do not see anywhere to include what we actually would be doing for the proposal. Am I missing something or is your concern with the organization and our ability to reflect on who we are and establish our viability?The proposal does not ask the applicant to present what the Center would “actually be doing” as in a work plan; but does however ask for the applicant to discuss the future work’s area of concentration.
Are these funds appropriate to target mediation services for families so that they do not need to appear in court? The funds are to support mediation centers who are or would want to enhance their community’s ability to navigate cultural differences through mediation, dialogue and training. The focus of the work described in your question seems to be to create avenues for alternatives to seeking redress in the court room, which is not the focus of this year’s funding.
Can one of the groups with whom we are working be a tribal entity? Yes, if you are focusing on navigating the issues of cultural differences.
Would you consider restorative justice to be a facilitated dialogue? Yes, but be clear how you present the process in your response. These funds are not set aside to support a restorative justice program in a courthouse or school, but to go one shade deeper and use the restorative justice principles to deal with the underlying racism, homophobia or other element that is underneath.
Through our peer mediation program in schools our primary focus is students who get into trouble at school and are expelled and then end up in more trouble and get incarcerated. We do this primarily through mediation at schools. Would this be an idea that would fit into the RFP? Peer mediation within a school system does not fit the purpose of this mini-grant. If however, the funds would be used to support the same underlying causes that rose to the need to have a peer mediation, bullying based on racism or religious differences for example and what goes on in the larger community outside of the school house then yes these funds would be appropriate. Or looking at how students are treated when they return to school after being incarcerated this could be a fit.
What is an example of something that could weaken our impact? (From Part 1 / Q3 in RFP) This work could challenge your brand that community mediation is impartial. Your personal views, values or perspective may have you favor one side or the other, yet that partiality must not be apparent to the participants. We are about helping the community mobilize to address their issues as is most appropriate for them. We are not about taking sides. CMCs provide opportunities to share, listen and learn. How are you going to ensure that your services are perceived as community-grounded (and not a branch of the government and not representative of a single faith or a single constituency within the community)? Integrate in your answer reference to your vision and mission and 9 hallmarks. You will want at least one of your letters of partnership to address this aspect as well.
Are you looking for an example of an efforts we have already done? Or – is it more specific regarding what we are proposing for this grant? (Part 1/Q3 in RFP) We are looking at capacity – so – what you have done to date – give an example and let the reviewer know how that experience and the steps your took to develop that experience are possibly transferrable to this focus. If you have already begun to prepare for this grant – mention that work as well. If you have not started then talk about the foundation work you have done, the needs assessments, the conversations.
Part III Question 2 has the participatory table; may we add a row for our volunteer staff members? Yes. The table is a word document and designed for you to populate. In your narrative please note that you did modify the table and add an explanation. Having a row for “Number of volunteer staff” would strengthen your application. We believe in the power of our volunteers and what they bring to the work of the Center.
Part III Question 2 has a row for the number of collaborative councils and associations on which the Center has a formal seat. What is your definition of a “formal seat” on a community collaborative or council? Our loosest definition would be a council or collaborative that has open attendance available to all who are interested. In you narrative you would be encouraged to list each by name and note the type of relationship the Center has on each body.
Part III Question 3 is about staff. If we hired somebody new to fulfill this work – should I submit a job description rather than a resume and explain that in the narrative and the competencies we are looking for? There are two answers. To your question as presented, yes if you do not have a staff person then do submit the job description rather than a resume. However, the deeper question is: May you submit a winning proposal without knowing who the staff/point person would be? Here the answer would be we do not think you can, because the success of this project is contingent on how anchored your lead person is within your Center and community of focus. We strongly recommend that person is on board at the time of the application or is known to you and the community and that you name this person within your application and submit they will begin once the grant is awarded. Having someone unknown to the Center and the Community will likely create an unnecessary barrier.
Did I hear you say that in addition to the staff resume that you are also looking for another person’s resume – like our Board President’s resume? We would only be interested in your Board Presidents’ resume if the Executive Director was the going to be the designated staff person or point person for this project as in that case the Board President would be the supervisor.
Do the resumes need to be complete? They need to say enough that the reviewer has a sense of who this person is, but do not need to be more than two pages.
Can we use these funds to target ending homelessness? No. The centers need to focus on navigating the cultural differences that may emerge when the community addresses the issues of homelessness or when there is a struggle between a homeless shelter and the neighbors, but not have the focus be on ending homeless. These are only two examples of possible areas that may benefit from community mediation, facilitated dialogue and training.
How do you want to receive the proposal?
By electronic mail. Please mail the proposal and attachments together or in series. If in a series please have cover sheeting which lists clearly how many emails and documents would comprise this series. Please have all documents you wish to have reviewed received by NAFCM at email@example.com by 11:59 PM your local time on June 13, 2015.
Can we exceed the page limit suggested for a particular question?
You can not exceed the total page limited of 16 pages in total for the proposal narrative and budget. You may vary from the suggested page limits of any particular question. Also the attachments do not count against the page limit.
Who should the grant be addressed to, for example, in the letters of partnership?
Please address the letters of partnership to Mr. D.G. Mawn, JAMS/ NAFCM Learning Community Coordinator.
Where should electronic submissions be sent?
All electronic application materials should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
May we submit our response by hard copy? No. All submissions are to be received electronically.
What should we name this when we send this by email? When you send your proposal to email@example.com please make sure in the re: you list the name of your center and what is attached. For example you may say: Babylon CMC RFP narrative and budget part 1 of 2. This allows me to know there will be a second email that may say: Babylon CMC RFP Attachment A thru E part 2 of 2.
May an applicant who is currently receiving funds through the NAFCM/JAMS mini-grant apply for these funds? No.
When is the very latest we may submit a proposal response? The latest you may submit a proposal response is 11:59 PM your local time on June 13, 2016. NAFCM will not accept any late submissions. This includes all parts of your submission. If you submit your narrative and budget before 11:59 PM on June 13, 2016, but your attachments on June 14, 2016 the proposal will be viewed as incomplete and not suitable for review.
May the font size in the tables be at Times New Roman 10 while the text is at Times New Roman 12? Yes.
May the narrative and budget be less than 9 pages? Yes. We will enforce the ceiling of no more than 16 pages, but if you believe that you can draft a narrative and budget that responds fully to all the questions in less than 9 pages you may submit such a response.
There are four forms. Are any of these included in the 16 page narrative and budget part of the proposal? Yes the Request for proposal form should be filled out and be the opening paragraph, if you will, at the start of your narrative. The Budget Table and Participatory Table should be completed and pasted in either before or at the end of the question to which they belong. The other form, Application Coversheet, should be the cover page of your proposal and is not counted as part of the 16 page count for your narrative and budget presentation.
You have covered attachments A (letters of partnerships) and Attachment B (Job Descriptions and Resumes). What do you mean by Attachment C, Organization Chart? First you will find these attachments on the NAFCM.org Mini Grant page through a link. These are the word documents. What we are looking for with the Organization Chart is where this program fits in to the work of the Center. You do not need to create a new Organization Chart, although you may want to have a paragraph with the Chart so the reviewer is clear as to where this work is located.
You said we do not need to have a sustainability plan, but Attachment E: Other has a bullet for both the sustainability plan and logic model. So what is required? If you have a sustainability plan and logic model for your center or for another program of your center – you would place these documents under Attachment E. Please do not create a sustainability plan and logic model for this project. You will not lose or gain points by having a sustainability plan and logic model.
Attachment E – are you referring to a Sustainability Plan or a Logic Model regarding this particular project or for the Center? We are looking for a Sustainability Model and/or Logic Model for your Center. There is no request to create one for this application. If you have one for your center or another project please submit under attachment E.
What are you looking for in attachment D- Center Board Diversity? We are looking for a list of the members who serve on your Center Board of Directors. The list needs to include each member’s name, occupation, street address (city as well) and email address. If they do not have an email address, then indicate not available. If they are retired then indicate that they are retired. Being a parent and/or a student are occupations. You do not have to use a chart, use whatever format you presently use to cull this information. With that said you may want to mimic this chart if this is not information your center easily maintains about the members of your Board of Directors.
Are these attachments required? Yes all of the attachments are required. So even for Attachment E: Other. If you have no other, than include a line that states Attachment E: Other not applicable. The attachments do not count against your 16 page narrative and budget page limit.