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Grant Selection and Performance

September 10, 2020

Present: Jeni Tilton-Flood, Ed Barrett, Jonathan Barczyk, Matt L’Italien

Discussion on policy changes or additions that are necessary:

> Technical Assistance (TA) fee for Fixed amount grant awards (to cover their portion of the Commission 1%) we must be able to bill them. The question is should we bill monthly, or should we bill quarterly? A case example is the Maine Conservation Corps, in the 2019-2020 grant year their funding was $660,224 and the Commission received $0 in indirect cost – that means that nearly $7,000 in funding was unable to be allocated to the Commission because the Commission does not have a policy on capturing the funds  from Fixed-amount

A policy would only apply to fixed amount grants. Fixed amount grants provide a specific dollar amount per MSY to an organization. Payment is based on enrollment during the period billed.

There is currently no policy on this. Any questions, concerns or suggestions?

Points raised: What other commissions are doing and if this a typical practice; would a flat fee work; where the funding comes from; Consistency of the If 1% funding; Where the money goes and how it is allocated; GTF members asked Grants Officer to provide detailed background information, see below:

 ALL AMERICORPS PROGRAMS CURRENTLY IN OPERATION

Agency

Contract Amount

1 %

Start & End Dates

Alfond Youth Center

$ 30,759

$ 304

9/1/20 - 8/31/21

GPCOG

$ 216,698

$ 2,162

10/15/20 – 10/14/21

Maine Development Foundation

$ 77,395

$ 773

9/1/20 – 8/30/21

Colby College

$ 31,086

$ 344

8/15/20 – 8/14/21

*

USM-MPES

*

$ 158,350

 

$ 0

 

12/1/20 – 11/30/21

Trekkers

$ 30,678

$ 307

9/1/20 – 8/31/21

KVCAP

$ 154,603

$ 1,548

9/1/20 – 8/31/21

Learning Works

$ 283,005

$ 2,828

8/15/20 – 8/14/21

Healthy Acadia

$ 274,649

$ 2,609

9/1/20 – 8/31/21

*

Maine Conservation Corps*

 

$ 660,224

 

$ 0

 

9/01/20 – 8/31/21

Main Street Skowhegan

$ 45,575

$ 454

1/1/20 – 12/31/20

Game Loft

$ 30,292

$ 303

1/1/20 – 12/31/20

Seeds of Hope

$ 29,772

$ 298

3/1/20 – 12/31/20

 

TOTAL AMOUNT OF 1% BUDGETED BY PROGRAMS

 

$

11,930

 

 

                                   

 *Fixed-amount*

 


Proposed Policy #1
: All Fixed-Amount AmeriCorps grants will be billed, not to exceed 1% of their CNCS award, at the time of submission of the reimbursement reques

Background: The 1% (totaling $ 11,930 for this cycle)  pays for services/technical support & memberships that decrease the costs overall for State programs.

THE TOTAL AMOUNT SPENT ON PROGRAM SUPPORT ANNUALLY: ~ $ 13,290

  • the Corps Network (source of AmeriCorps member health insurance. Commission membership means all Volunteer Maine grantees can participate at group rate) – total cost for the past year is $830
  • Service Year membership – the annual cost is $ 2,700 which is made available to all programs as our affiliates for recruiting members
  • OnCorps (the online grant management system – the cost for 2019-2020 was $ 6,561.60)
  • DAFS service to process their payments, set up contracts, -- the amount would be difficult to extrapolate exactly because it is based on processing fees. However, the rough estimate is approximately $ 800 per quarter – totaling $ 3,200 annually

Under cost reimbursement awards, the 1% is based on actual expenditures of each grantee. It is collected each time a program submits an invoice, usually monthly.

Typically, programs do not expend their full awards, so the full 1% is not received.

Due to the different financial and budget requirements for cost reimbursement and fixed amount grants, the absence of a policy to collect 1% from Fixed amount means that smaller organizations are subsidizing larger ones.

  • USM-MPES – the would be 1% = $1,583
  • Maine Conservation Corps – the would be 1% = $ 6,602

The 1% from Fixed Amount grants would be collected in the same manner as the cost reimbursement Formula and other Competitive programs: whenever a program submits reimbursement request, they will be billed for 1% of what is drawn down.

See the extracted NOFO that is at the end of this document  for further information on the 1% Commission share.

Excerpt from the NOFO regarding the 1%: If a commission elects to retain a share of the 5% of federal funds available to programs for administrative costs up to 2%, that decision is identified within each subgrant’s budget. A state commission can take up to 2% in administrative funds, provided the commission has less than 25% in prior year unexpended funds on the Commission Support Grant.  If the commission’s unexpended exceeds 25%, the commission can take up to 1%in administrative funds.

 

  • Minimum hour requirement for members for in State and out of The only current policy that is relevant to this comes from the CNCS FAQ’s:

C. 26 How should a program handle a situation when a member serves no hours during a pay period?

Situations in which a member serves zero hours during a pay period should be very rare and the member should be suspended if there are periods in which no service is performed. Otherwise, since the living allowance is to be distributed evenly over the service period, it should be paid regardless of the number of hours. However, a member’s agreement could also stipulate conditions under which the living allowance is paid and what the member should do if a period occurs in which no hours are served. The agreement could also stipulate the minimum number of hours required during each service period.”

From the staff perspective a member should serve between 10-15 hours, at minimum, per week. We have seen recent situations in which members were serving between 1-5 hours per week, and they are still drawing down their stipend.”

There is currently no policy on this.

Any questions, concerns or suggestions?

Points raised: Enforcement; CNCS guidance; how much time a member would need to serve to complete their service; the scope of responsibility of the programs

Service Hours can be accumulated in a variety of time periods but only full-time (40 hrs/week) receive living allowances. Programs that continue to disburse the living allowance rather than suspend the member run 2 risks: the grant expires without the member doing required service; and the funds the member can receive are fully paid out before the member completes service. Either is not allowable use or practice.

Slot type

Service Hours

# of Full-time weeks

Full-time

1700

42.5 weeks

Reduced Full-time

1200

30 weeks

Half-time

900

22.5 weeks

Reduced half-time

675

17 weeks

Quarter-time

450

11.25 weeks

Minimum-time

300

7.25 weeks

 

Proposed Policy # 2: All AmeriCorps members will serve a minimum of 6 hours/ week

 

  • Consequences for habitual delinquent reporting. Currently the only specific policy addressing this is in their contract: “The Grantee understands that the reports are due within the timeframes established and that the Department will not make subsequent payment installments under this Contract until such reports are received, reviewed and

The CNCS policy (from 2007) is as follows: The Corporation restricts grantee (Commission) access to award funds when a program progress report or financial status report is more than 45 calendar days late.

When programs are habitually late the Commission consequences include: reports to CNCS with incomplete data, loss of access to funds to pay other grantees; late reports that impact VM ability to compete well due to record of not meeting our commitments to the federal agency.

The program reporting schedules are as follows (below is directly from their contract):

Reporting Schedule

The Grantee shall submit all of the reports listed in the table below to the Department in      accordance with the deadlines established within the table:

 

 

Name of Report:

Period Captured by Report: (“Each year/quarter/month/week”)

 

Due Date and/or Frequency: (# days after each year/quarter/month/week”)

1.

 

OnCorps GPR

Each calendar quarter

 

20 days

2.

 

Service & Volunteerism

Report

Each calendar quarter

 

20 days

3.

 

OnCorps PER

Each month

 

15 days

4.

 

Request for Funds

Each month

 

20 days

5.

 

OnCorps AFR

Each calendar quarter

 

20 days

6.

 

OnCorps Income Reports

Each calendar quarter

 

20 days

7.

 

Final Financial Report

& Closeout info

Agreement end date

 

60 days

The time frame for a quarter is defined by the Federal Fiscal Year, so quarterly reports are due in January, April, July and October. Final reports deadlines are defined by the  agreement  end date. The Final Program Report  can  be waived if the  program can demonstrate that all activity for an Agreement period is reflected in the fourth quarter report.

There is currently no policy on this.

Any questions, concerns or suggestions?

Points raised: The finance training; mechanism for reimbursing the programs if they are delinquent in reporting; CNCS rules about this; the adequacy of the 45-day rule; Shortening the period to 15 days; policy equity and reason for bringing it to the table; penalty for late reporting; Commission authority to fine programs; what other agencies do in circumstances of repeated late reporting

Proposed policy # 3 – When grantee reports are not submitted according to the schedule in the grant agreement or contract, and no extension has been requested, there will be the following repercussions:
First offense: Written warning letter from the grants officer with requirement of corrective action plan sent to program staff and agency director  
Second offense: Written notice requiring new corrective action and suspension of reimbursement until evidence that corrective action is in place and working. The written notice will be distributed to the full Commission  
Third offense: 5 points will be deducted from the grant review total, during continuations and recompetes, for every instance of delinquent reporting thereafter

 

  • Upcoming RFP timeline is below, the dates will be sorted out soon: Applications are due to CNCS Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time to Successful applicants will be notified by mid-May 2021

 

2020-2021 Competition schedule

Fall 2020, RFP proposed submission deadline: November 12, 2020

AmeriCorps Competitive: Cost Reimbursement

  • LearningWorks AIMS HIGH [18ACHME001-0002] – Second Continuation
  • Healthy Acadia Recovery Corps [18ACHME001-0001] – Recompete, with Eval Plan Competitive Fixed price
  • ME Conservation Corps II [18ESHME001-0001] – Recompete, with Evaluation

 

Spring 2021, RFP due date TBD

AmeriCorps Formula: Cost Reimbursement and Rural State

  • Colby College, AC Rural AmeriCorps [18AFHME001-0006] – Recompete, with Eval Plan
  • Trekkers, AC Aspirations [18AFHME001-0003] – Recompete, with Eval Plan
  • Skowhegan, AC Outdoor Recreation [18AFHME001-0008] – Recompete, with Eval Plan
  • Game Loft/MYA, I Know ME AC [18AFHME001-0010] – Recompete, with Eval Plan
  • Seeds of Hope, AC Community Outreach [18AFHME001-0009] – Recompete, with Eval Plan
  • AlfondYC, AC Mentoring [18AFHME001-0012] – First Continuation
  • MDF, Main Street Fellows AC [18AFHME001-0013] – First Continuation Regular Formula
  • KVCAP/Educare, First4 AC [18AFHME001-0011] – Second Continuation
  • GPCOG, AC Resilience Corps [18AFHME001-0014] – First Continuation Formula Fixed Price
  • USM/MCC, MEAP [20AFXHME001-0001] – First Continuation

 

CNCS funding priorities for the competitive NOFO released on 9.11.20 

The funding priorities that changed from last year are highlighted below:

 

CNCS seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources in the following areas:

  • Efforts to help local communities recover from the COVID-19 Applicants may propose programming in any CNCS focus area to aid communities as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Programs that actively engage in removing structural racial inequities, advancing racial equality, and increasing opportunity in order to achieve sustainable change in communities
  • Economic Opportunity – a program model that increases economic opportunities for communities by preparing people for the workforce
  • Education – 
  • Healthy Futures – a program model that reduces and/or prevents prescription drug and opioid abuse
  • Evidence-based interventions on the CNCS Evidence Exchange (https://nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/evidence-exchange) that are assessed as having Moderate or Strong evidence
  • Veterans and Military Families – a program model that positively impacts the quality of life of veterans and improves military family strength
  • Rural intermediaries - organizations that demonstrate measurable impact and primarily serve rural communities with limited resources and organizational infrastructure
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Programs that reduce child
  • Environmental stewardship 
  • Economic Mobility Corps – a joint initiative with the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to place national service members at Certified Community Development Financial Institutions to enhance their capacity to provide financial literacy, financial planning, budgeting, saving, and other financial counseling activities in distressed and underserved areas