RFP #201810206 Answers to Submitted Questions
Questions must be submitted by email to Service.Commission@maine.gov with the subject line: “AmeriCorps State Competitive RFP # 201810206”.
The deadline for written questions is November 16, 2018.
Submitted questions/answers (updated 11/20/2018):
Q1: This is on page 28 Section: Intervention first sentence -- The proposed intervention detailing the program design, roles and activities of AmeriCorps members, and roles of any partners.
I am clear about the activities of the AmeriCorps members and the partners but I would like a little guidance about how much detail to put into the proposed intervention. I can summarize the program design, which is a mentoring program, in two very specific paragraphs or I can give greater detail in about 1.5 pages. I want to be thorough but I don't want to bore the reviewer. Should I assume that while the reviewer does not understand Waldo County or the Game Loft they may have an understanding of Positive Youth Development, mentoring, and tutoring or should I spell out what these things mean?
A1: On page 27 of the RFP, under “General Advice on Narrative Form” there is a bullet that says:
“Be clear and succinct. Answer the questions – don’t waste space on information that is tangential. Reviewers are not interested in jargon, boilerplate, rhetoric, or exaggeration. They are interested in learning precisely what you intend to do, and how your project responds to the selection criteria presented below. They want the answers to the questions asked, in the order in which they are asked, and without distracting stories or unrelated data.”
Just below the bullet quoted above it says:
“Don’t make assumptions. Most peer reviewers are not from Maine. Do not assume proposal reviewers know anything about your organization, its programs, the geographic area you intend to serve, the local issues, your partners, or your beneficiaries. Avoid overuse of acronyms.”
The narrative points – one of which you quote in your question – should be addressed in the manner you determine best conveys your proposed program and keeping in mind the advice provided in the RFP.
Q2: Re: Start Date ~ is the grant period (Apr-Dec) different from the start date? Our intention is to start the project on May 15th to allow time for on boarding members.
A1: The grant period (April-Dec) means the first day expenses and activity can take place under the grant for that 9-month period. The term start date, as you allude to, can mean several things such as the first day of service by AmeriCorps members. If an applicant sets a grant start date of May 15 in the application, expenses and activities related to the grant will start on that date.
Q3: We plan on two members FT for 1700 hours. And we have staff assigned to the project. Unless I am missing something when we enter the annual salary and figure the % allotment it is based on 12 months not 9 months. Are we supposed to do additional calculations to reflect a nine month grant period?
A: It is difficult but not impossible for AmeriCorps members to complete 1700 hours in 9 months. The first budget period of this grant is 9 months and subsequent budget periods will be 12 months. All costs should reflect 9 months of operation as directed in the RFP.
See RFP Page 2: Proposals submitted in this competition may only propose full-time terms of service for members (1700 hours over 44 weeks or 1200 hours over 32 weeks). The minimum team size is two (2) and the maximum team size is five (5). Members must serve within the applicant agency.
See RFP Page 7: This grant project period is 32 months: 9 months (April 2018-December 2018) the first budget period and then 12 months for the second and third budget periods. Each budget period will award the same number of member positions and funds to support the members. Proposals submitted in this competition only include the budget and AmeriCorps positions for the first 9 months. If a proposal is selected, only the initial period of funding will be awarded. Funding and positions for years 2 and 3 will be awarded under a continuation application process. Each time, the Commission reviews program operations and performance to determine whether another year of resources is merited.
Q4: We do not know the health care status of potential hires so it is difficult to budget for that. Is there a suggested range?
A4: Applicants in the past have used one of the public schedules for the Affordable Care Act to estimate or the Corps Network rates offered to AmeriCorps programs (https://corpsnetwork.org/about-us/join-the-corps-network/health-insurance/). Some organizations explore estimates from their own provider and use those. There is no recommended rate.
Q5: Who usually attends monthly grantee meetings which I assume are in Orono?
A5: The monthly technical assistance and training for AmeriCorps grantee staff is in person quarterly and virtual other months. The program director always attends but other staff may be required, depending on the topic. In-person meetings are generally in Augusta although they have moved around the state some years.