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Grant Selection and Performance

March 2, 2018

Present: David Wihry, Ed Barrett, Laurel Bernier

The task force met by phone conference and convened at 8:30 am. 

DISCUSSION ITEMS:

  1. Site Visits: Laurel reviewed her process for visiting sites, and general observations. Findings were largely positive, with the biggest concern being minimum time members at some sites are having difficulty fulfilling their hours around busy college schedules. Task force members asked to receive the visit reports when they are completed, especially for ME Campus Compact and Eastern Maine Development Corps (EMDC) who started new programs later than other grantees.
  2. National Direct Feedback Submitted to CNCS: We met two days after the feedback was due and submitted, and the commissioners present read the consultation forms in advance of this meeting. The only program that did not receive Commission support was Share Our Strength, because they did not submit a consultation form, and nutrition education is not a current priority.  
  3. Certification of Peer Reviewers: Commissioners present noted that “Applicant A” (initials C.B.) did not have much direct, applicable experience to nonprofits or AmeriCorps. Although their financial background could prove useful, commissioners were more hesitant about this application than the other. “Applicant B” (initials T.S.) was supported by the Commissioners, who said they were well-qualified and should be accepted. We are waiting on more applications to come in before assigning the reviewers to grant applications. 
  4. EMDC Northern Maine AmeriCorps Collaborative: Continuing to work with Michael on their startup process, and have submitted their budget modification to CNCS for approval. 
  5. 2018 Spring AmeriCorps Grant Calendar: Task Force members reviewed the list of important dates, and will conduct their May meeting open to the public on June 8, to allow for task force members to consult privately on proposals on June 1.  
  6. Adobe Connect: The State of ME ended support of Adobe Connect, and is switching to Skype. Ed will check with his IT team to make sure this won’t create a problem.

AmeriCorps State & National (ASN) Request for Member Eligibility Verification: Laurel reviewed ASN’s request to programs that they provide documentation that members were eligible to serve, if their Social Security Number or Citizenship Status is not verified in the My AmeriCorps Portal. About 45 Maine members now have their Education Award and student loan forbearance interest payments put on hold by ASN. Program Directors received conflicting information from ASN, and were told to submit documentation that has not been required before. Task force members suggested that we clearly state to ASN that this will be a hardship for programs and that their messaging needs to be clearer. Also suggested that ASN require an I-9 form for members, which should provide the information they need.