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Grant Selection and Performance

January 11, 2013

Grants Selection & Performance Task Force Minutes

11 January 2013, Regular Meeting

Meeting convened 8:00am

Commission Members In attendance: Celeste Branham, Betsy Fitzgerald, Susan Hammond, David Wihry

Members Absent: Kathy Billings, Scott Blake, Ron Holmes, Joan McDonald

Staff: Michael Ashmore, Pam Zeutenhorst

Guests: Joely Ross, Steve Niles

Members and guests were welcomed and agenda was adjusted to take updates Volunteer Generation Fund Requests first, to be followed by remaining business.

Consideration of Volunteer Generation Fund Continuation Requests (two)

MA provided a brief summary of the request from Downeast Resource Conservation & Development Council (DRCD).  PZ noted that DRCD was approved for funding ($3000) in August 2012 to support a peer network. For 2013, they are applying for additional funding for an expanded scope of work to promote and administer the volunteer management portion of www.VolunteerMaine.org in addition to supporting the peer network. Thus, the request is partly a continuation of the earlier funding and the addition of $8562 in new CNCS funds. PZ also noted, and members discussed, the potential issues identified in the Financial Management Survey related to internal controls. The members moved to recommend to the Commission funding DRCD in the amount of $11,562, to be matched locally with no less than $ 8,746, with the condition that the organization continue to improve internal controls with continued monitoring by Commission staff. Betsy Fitzgerald abstained from voting on the motion.  All others voted in support.

MA provided a brief summary of the request from HealthReachRSVP, a new applicant applying for funding to establish a peer network in Kennebec County and to promote and administer the volunteer management portion of www.VolunteerMaine.org.  PZ noted that this request assists in covering an area of the state from which not requests for funding were received in initial and subsequent RFP's related to VGF funding.  MA noted that RSVP's are CNCS funded programs, the organization is managing federal funds with ongoing monitoring from the Corporation.  PZ also noted that the new scope of work is complimentary to the RSVP work and will expand the program's reach to new age groups.  The members unanimously moved to recommend to the Commission funding HealthReachRSVP in the amount of $13,484, to be matched locally with no less than $ 8,161, with no conditions.

Consideration of AmeriCorps Competitive Applications (two)

MA described the two-tiered process for funding of AmeriCorps Competitive applications and then provided a brief summary of the application from Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, a new applicant applying for AmeriCorps funding totaling $146,330 to support 11 MSYs in order to develop capacity to increase reading scores in the Greater Waterville, Southern Somerset county area.  The application received a final score of 112 of a possible 150 points.  Members expressed strong support for the application and unanimously moved to recommend to the Commission that the applicant be moved forward for submission to the national competition with the condition that budget and other typographical errors be corrected prior to submission.

MA provided a brief summary of the application from The Opportunity Alliance, a new applicant applying for AmeriCorps funding totaling $133,022 to support 18 MSYs in order to develop capacity in support of regional councils to fulfill the mission and vision of the Juvenile Justice Task Force in creating alternatives to detention and incarceration.  The application received a final score of 86 of a possible 150 points. Members discussed a variety of weaknesses exhibited in the application; noting that, although they were sympathetic to the concept, it was presented in a manner that made it difficult to understand and that the errors in the financial plan were extreme. Members moved unanimously moved to recommend to the Commission that the applicant not be moved forward for submission to the national competition.  They recommend that the applicant receive all feedback and be assisted in crafting a revised application for future competitions.

Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) Continuation request

MA provided information on the unusual nature of this continuation (because of annual program start delay, the initial continuation application is submitted prior to the start of the program's first year after recompete).  MA described the changes made to the MCC program model in its recompete application. Also addressed were historical strengths and weaknesses under the past program model and previous conditions [placed on the program.  Members discussed the performance over the past year (under the prior program model) and how it was affected by leadership changes within the program over the course of the year and by changes resulting from consolidation of Department of Conservation with other state agencies.  Members moved unanimously to recommend to the Commission continuation of funding for MCC in the amount of $351,583 to be matched with no less than $915,531, with the condition that the organization implement a rigorous strategic planning process aimed at making the program more competitive, engage the new director in intensive training in the AmeriCorps model and convene a local advisory board to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of the program.

Updates:

Consultation from National Directs Operating in Maine (process)

MA described the process and policy relating to the Corporation's request that State Commissions provide input into National Direct programs that operate within the state.  Current policy is that programs who do not submit consultation paper work do not receive Commission support.  Programs that do consult and operate programs within the scope of the Commissions strategic plan receive support and those that consult but operate programs outside of the Commission's areas of focus are offered a neutral ranking (with a note that this is Commission policy and should not be viewed as a negative endorsement).  DW moved that a recommendation be made to the Commission that programs seeking to operate in Maine with a focus on Veterans and Military families be included with those that operate within the scope of the Commissions strategic plan.

Other

DW asked about the status of the Mayor/Governor Initiative discussions taking place with the City of Bangor.  MA updated the members on the progress the city and partners are making in forming an application for the funding, including that the city should have an application for review by the 25th of January.