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Grant Selection and Performance

August 9, 2019


PRESENT: Ed Barrett, Jamie McFaul, Joe Schmidt, Jonathan Barczyk, Maryalice Crofton

Discussion items

  • Axiom notified the Commission it will not continue the AmeriCorps program. Their notice came a day after the funding award from CNCS. If it had come before, the federal agency would have removed the funds from Maine. In this scenario, the funds are dedicated to Maine and the Commission can do a new call for proposals immediately. This isn’t a scenario CNCS likes but it does give the Commission a chance to provide resources to community organizations. 
  • With the $243,072 in funding that is unallocated, MCCS will put out RFP’s in the early Fall (we are currently waiting for the FY20 AmeriCorps NOFO to be sent out from CNCS) before moving forward. There will be:
    • 2 Formula awards
    • 1 Competitive award

If the competition is run in the Fall we would have the programs starting up in January. The high priorities in Maine are: aging in place, school readiness, opioid abuse (Healthy Futures), and Child abuse prevention.

  • The conversation that will occur in September among Commissioners about the level of risk we are willing to take on will center around the selection side of the grant. There is potential to apply a risk-based model to the selection side. Some things to keep in mind:
    • Annual risk assessment
    • Get people engaged with what the rural grants are
    • Ed B. mentioned having an economic development and loan contact
    • It was asked whether anyone has a contact with SBA or business startup, so that way we have another framework to consider.  EB suggested that the economic development and loan contact about risk factors and perhaps compare them to what we are doing
    • Ed B. requested that we send out the risk model that we use as a starting point
  • The selection process needs to be reviewed as it may have failed to reveal flaws within proposals. The attached document that we reviewed was the Grant Assessment New Application
    • The document only deals with the paperwork that was submitted, it evaluates a programs track record and looks at past performance
    • Maine Community foundation uses it, basically the reviewers do the paper review with scoring and flagging
    • Task force not only looked at the fiscal side of things but what would help sort out what might just be aspirational reporting and would truly reflect program capacity. There is a fundamental issue with time which means that we would have to enlist additional commissioners
    • There is a suggestion which addresses the need for more commissioners to be on the Grants Task Force and that is to go back, as it was done in the past,  and automatically appoint individuals to participate
  • Grant assessments are coming up and there are some items that may need to be addressed
    • Member enrollment has moved from 30 days to 7 days.
  •       Moving to Skype for Business for future GTF meeting 
    • Run a test – on the first Friday of September or the last week of August to test capabilities

Update on the SUBS for the GTF

  • RecoveryCorps – They are realizing their site agreements and their site supervisor training needs to improve. They are actively recruiting in the AmeriCorps portal and not Service Year.
  • Mid-Coast Conservancy is doing great with recruitment – having 26 people in the third quarter applying for the next year. Their program is also doing very well.
  • Trekkers - Their program and the AmeriCorps members have been successful – new partnerships, they have far exceeded their goals for community volunteers recruited, they are actively recruiting for next year
  • Learning Works –AmeriCorps members have regularly been assisting with Maine’s recent influx of asylee families from the U.S. southern border. Asylee families are being hosted at the Portland Expo, and our AmeriCorps members have been engaging with children and serving meals.
  • Colby College – Actively recruiting

 Rural grantees – all up and running relatively well, updates will follow as programs progress through their first grant year

  • Seeds of Hope
  • Game Loft
  • Main Street Skowhegan
  • MSAD 70