RFI Questions and Answers
Q1: Could a group that is active in one of the conservation landscapes in Pennsylvania in which the Foundation invested previously create a partnership with other organizations to respond to COVID-19?
A1: Organizations with diverse missions are encouraged to participate in the RFI. As indicated in the RFI guidelines, the Foundation will prioritize ideas that support COVID-19 recovery in southwestern Pennsylvania and present collaborations that achieve scale beyond the efforts of a single entity.
Q2: Will the Foundation consider RFI submissions from a faith-based organization?
A2: Yes, the Foundation will consider submissions from faith-based organizations. As indicated in the RFI guidelines, the Foundation will prioritize ideas that present collaborations that achieve scale beyond the efforts of a single entity.
Q3: Can my organization submit an idea if:
We have never received funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation?
Our last grant from the Foundation was several years ago?
We have an active grant right now?
We also plan to submit a proposal this spring or summer for activities that are aligned to the Foundation’s long-term strategic priorities?
A3: Yes, organizations meeting any of these criteria can submit ideas. As indicated in the RFI guidelines, the Foundation will prioritize ideas that present collaborations that achieve scale beyond the efforts of a single entity.
Q4: Will Foundation staff provide feedback on ideas before they are submitted?
A4. Unfortunately, Foundation staff are not able to give feedback on ideas prior to submission due to the volume of requests being received.
Q5: Our organization is a for-profit entity. The idea that we'd like to submit, if put into action, would involve collaboration with non-profit partners; can we submit to the RFI as our for-profit entity, or is it necessary to be a non-profit entity to submit to the RFI?
A5: A nonprofit organization must act as the lead agency, including submitting the idea. For-profit organizations are welcome to participate in collaborations with nonprofits, but not as the lead agency.
Q6. Can I schedule a call with one of the Foundation staff to discuss how my organization's projects and activities may fit into the scope of the Foundation's COVID-19 response?
A6. Due to the volume of requests for feedback, the Foundation staff are not able to schedule individual meetings to discuss potential RFI submissions or provide feedback on ideas prior to submission. You may submit questions about the RFI process, eligibility criteria, or other topics to firstname.lastname@example.org. Foundation staff will generalize questions and responses will be posted on the Q&A website page so that organizations' privacy is protected.
Q7. If my organization is invited to propose and eventually awarded a grant, what is the timeline for grant funds to be used?
A7. The Foundation will not consider funding more than twelve months of activities, and the Foundation may fund projects that will be completed in less than a year.
Q8. If my organization is awarded a grant, but we don't use all of the funds, can we repurpose the funding to support another, similar project that we are working on?
A8. No, grant funds cannot be used to support other projects or programs. Grants funds can only be used for the agreed-upon purpose. Grant recipients are required to sign grant agreement letters indicating their understanding of the grant's objectives and the terms of the grant. If funds are unspent at the conclusion of the project, the Foundation may request that funds be returned.
Q9. Is the Foundation assuming that graduating seniors seeking full-time employment in the summer of 2020 will have difficulty finding jobs? What are your assumptions about high school students who want part-time employment or internships during the 2020-2021 academic year?
A9. Yes, we assume that high school seniors graduating in June 2020 will have difficulty finding employment if they want to enter into the full-time workforce after graduation. We also assume that in the 2020-2021 academic year, high school students who want to work part-time or complete an internship during the school year will have difficulty securing these opportunities.
Q10. Is the Foundation interested in ideas that would prepare high school students, including seniors graduating in June 2020, to enter into the workplace in the near future?
A10. Yes, we interested in workforce and career supports for high school students, including the class of 2020. We are also interested in ideas that provide workforce supports for adults.
Q11. Is the Foundation interested in seeing proposals for larger collaborations that would need support above the $250,000 maximum grant award guidelines?
A11. If the Foundation invites a proposal based on the idea submitted, the Foundation will not consider funding more than twelve months of activities. The Foundation does not expect that more than $250,000 will be available per proposal. However, if a proposal is truly exceptional, the Foundation may consider providing more than $250,000.
Q12. What does the Foundation anticipate as the 12-month grant agreement timeline?
A12. The Foundation will not fund more than 12 months of activities through the RFI process. The Foundation also welcomes projects that can be completed in less than 12 months to support the region's COVID-19 recovery.
Q13. If awards are to be made at the end of May 2020, does the Foundation expect to identify the starting month for the 12-month project period, or is there opportunity for the collaborative to propose the starting month?
A13. The goal of the RFI process is to address regional needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, organizations that receive funding through the RFI process should be prepared to start the funded activities in June 2020.
Q14. Should the PA COVID-19 stay-at-home order be extended, would the Foundation extend the full application and award timeline accordingly?
A14. The Foundation will make awards according to its published schedule, even if the PA COVID-19 stay-at-home order is extended.
Q15. If agencies participating as part of the collaborative were to experience longer than anticipated periods of hardship and/or take longer than expected to adjust to the new state of operating after this crisis, would the Foundation be willing to work with the collaborative to adjust the proposed idea structure or performance?
A15. Program staff will work closely with funded projects during the course of the grant to respond to unexpected risks and issues.
Q16. Are there guidelines for allowable and unallowable expenditures the Foundation could share prior to the RFI deadline?
A16. The Foundation does not have a prescriptive policy regarding allowable and unallowable expenditures. If organizations are invited to submit a full proposal as part of the RFI process, the Foundation staff will work with the proposing organization to understand the project budget and the organization(s)' administrative capacity.
Q17. Should I submit a full detailed budget as part of the Inputs/Resources section of the Logic Model, or perhaps just identify the total projected expenses as one the necessary resources?
A17. Organizations are welcome to share budget estimates at the level of detail they deem appropriate. However, it is optional to include this information in the initial RFI submission. If they choose to share a budget or funding request totals, organizations can include this information in the executive summary, the logic model, or both locations, as they feel appropriate.
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COVID-19 Response Initiatives
We have launched three initiatives that seek to support a regional COVID-19 response. To find additional information about each initiative click the link below.