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POLICIES > Strategic Plan


LOS MEDANOS COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE DISTRICT

STRATEGIC PLAN

Attachment 3


Community Grants Program

LOS MEDANOS COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE DISTRICT

GRANT APPLICATION GUIDELINES


2002 Request for Proposals

The Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (“LMCHD”) is inviting proposals for its second funding cycle which will be concluded by July, 2002. The Board of Directors will consider funding grants to local projects that are within the mission and priorities described in these guidelines.

The District’s Mission and Source of Funding

The mission of the LMCHD is to improve the health and well-being of the communities and people served by the LMCHD. The District formed in 1948 to promote the general healthcare needs of the residents of East Contra Costa County. The District’s operations are governed by The Local Healthcare District Act, at California Health & Safety Code Sections 32000, et.seq. The District receives property tax revenue annually and hopes to disburse $50,000 to $100,000 in grants this year. Eligible projects must be within the service area of LMCHD.

The District’s Funding Priorities

In carrying out its mission of improving the health and well-being of people and communities, the District will evaluate proposed projects applying a broad definition of personal and public health rather than a strict medical model. Therefore, it will consider projects within the full dimension of human physical, psychological, intellectual, and social development and well-being.

Projects may focus on prevention, education, direct services, supportive services, and any other forces or factors that affect the healthy well being of people and communities. The District is willing to consider requests from a wide range of organizations and entities provided that the projects being presented clearly relate in a significant way to improving the health of people and communities.

High priority will be given to projects that:

• have clear goals and outcomes relevant to community or public health needs;
• avoid or reduce duplication of effort;
• make the best use of limited resources;
• are capable of being sustained; and
• are supported by the targeted community.

The District is interested in innovative projects; e.g., projects that have the potential for helping underserved, disadvantaged and special populations to overcome barriers to accessing health care; respond to the correlation between poor health and economic status; focus on the healthy development of children and youth; or focus the community’s attention on an emerging health-related problem.

Grants Available From the District

The District’s grants can finance an organization’s start-up of a new project or the expansion of an existing project in response to populations not served. The District is interested in projects that can attract other funding in collaboration with its grants. Applicant organizations should possess experience, sound management, active and diverse boards of directors, qualified staff, and volunteer resources. The District will not fund on-going operational overhead for an applicant. The District does not provide long-term or permanent annual support for any organization or project. Therefore, agencies funded must have the financial and organizational potential to sustain a project after the District’s funding has ended. Grants awarded will be for one year of a project. After completing one year’s funding and following submission of a final report, an organization may apply for another year of funding.

The District will make available several types of grants to achieve the funding priorities described:

Project Grants which provide funding for an organization’s focused and realistic response to an urgent current or emerging problem or issue.
Collaborative Action Grants which provide funding for two or more organizations to collaboratively plan and work together on a current or emerging problem or issue.
In addition to considering proposals initiated by organizations, the District will also occasionally initiate its own request for a proposal from one or more appropriate organizations when the Board and staff have identified a problem or issue that needs to be addressed.

General Eligibility Guidelines

The District has two criteria that all funded organizations must meet:

• An organization must be a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), nonprofit corporation or an entity within the public sector, including school districts and departments of local government.
• An organization must not engage in discrimination inconsistent with its tax-exempt status and federal and state civil rights laws.

The District cannot fund any of the following types of requests:

• Grants to individuals.
• Grants for medical, scientific or non-applied research.
• Grants for religious activities. This does not exclude grants for community benefit projects open to   the public which are conducted or sponsored by religious institutions.
• Grants for lobbying or influencing elections.
• Grants that will add to or start an organization’s endowment.
• Grants to private or corporate grantmaking foundations.
• Grants for capital campaigns or building improvements.
• Grants for overhead or administrative costs not directly related to a proposed project.
• Grants to retire a previously incurred operating debt.

The District’s Annual Funding Cycles

In 2002 the District will utilize these guidelines for the District’s annual grant cycles. Proposal dates will be disseminated annually.

Proposals must be received at the District’s office by 3:00 PM on the date proposals are due. Faxed proposals will not be accepted. A format for what to include in a proposal and the required attachments is enclosed with these guidelines. Additional copies are available by calling or coming into the District’s office. Please note that the Board office is only open on Wednesday of each week from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM and the Secretary is only available on Wednesday.

The District’s Board is available to meet with organizations to discuss a proposed project or to review a draft of a proposal before it is submitted. The review process may include site visits by the District’s Board members with applicant organizations to discuss a project in more detail and to meet the people involved. The District’s Board of Directors reviews all proposals and is solely responsible for the final decisions on all requests for funding.

In conducting the affairs of the LMCHD, the Board of Directors adheres to the Brown Act and Public Record Act when meeting and deliberating. Therefore, applicant organizations should be aware that their proposals or some aspect of their request might have to be made available to the public when the Board meets to decide on the grants to be awarded this year.

For more information or to schedule a meeting with the District’s Board, please call: (925) 432-2200. To submit a proposal, please address and send it to: Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, P. O. Box 8698, Pittsburg, CA 94565-8698.


FORMATS FOR PROPOSALS

General Information

Prior to submitting a proposal, organizational representatives are encouraged to discuss their ideas for funding with the District's Board members. The District limits its grantmaking to the purposes described in the Grant Application Guidelines. Other projects, however worthy but not appropriate to these guidelines, will not be considered.

General Requirements

You are required to submit only one copy of your proposal and its attachments. Please remember, faxed proposals will not be accepted. Proposals are due in the District’s office by 3:00 PM on the date due. Proposals may be hand delivered. All proposals must be organized and signed as follows:

The first page must be on the applicant organization’s printed letterhead with the current address and telephone number.
A proposal should be a maximum of four typewritten pages. The required attachments are extra pages.
A proposal should be prepared in the form of a letter addressed to the District’s Board of Directors and signed at the end by the President of the board and the Executive Director of the applicant organization, or other appropriate signers if applicant is an entity of government. These signatures attest to the fact that the governing body of the applying organization or entity is aware of the proposal and its contents and has approved its submission.

Suggested Format for a Project and Collaborative Action Grant Proposal

Introductory Summary

This is a paragraph summarizing the type of grant requested, the purpose of the project, who will benefit, the expected health-related outcomes, the organizations involved, the proposed length of the grant period, and the total cost for the project and the amount requested from the District. In one sentence please state clearly why this project relates to the District’s funding priorities. Also, please state the current total annual budget for the applying organization and the dollar amount and percentage of administrative expenses for this project and for the applying organization’s total budget including fundraising costs.

The Statement of Need and the Population Affected

Please describe the problem or issue to be addressed by the project and which communities and populations are affected by it. Describe how people are affected by the problem and how pervasive it is. Indicate how the applicant organization has an existing relationship with the population affected. Use statistics if they are current and relevant to make your case. Quotes from recognized and appropriate authorities may be used as well. The purpose of this section is to justify the proposed project and to lay the foundation for the approach or methods you will use to address the problem.

The Description of the Project to be Conducted

This is the core of the proposal and should include how this project will be conducted in relation to the problem identified. Details are important in this section including the kind of staff that will be needed, activities that are to be conducted, and a direct correlation between these activities and the desired outcomes from the project. The design of the project should be well-crafted, feasible and appropriate in scope to the problem.

This section should also include information that indicates the organization is qualified and capable to conduct this project. Describe how the organization’s current work exposed it to the problem, and how current staff are experienced enough to take on this new activity. Describe how the organization has had successful experience in implementing other projects similar in size and scope to the proposed project.

If this is going to be collaboration among two or more organizations, please describe all the players and what each will contribute to the process. Indicate who the lead organization will be and what the roles and responsibilities of each organization will be. Describe how you will divide up the funding for the project based on tasks performed.

The Financial Plan for the Project

Please describe the current and future plans for funding this project. Indicate all known funding sources as well as those that you plan to solicit over time. Describe in detail how you will sustain this project after the District’s funding has ended. Describe what public or private resources you anticipate will support the continuation of this work. Describe the current financial situation of the applying organization and how funding this project will affect its stability. Please state when you plan to need the District’s funding in relation to when you will start the project.

Evaluation of the Project

Please describe how the design and implementation of the project and the outcomes will be evaluated. Indicate how people in the community, who are affected by the problem and participated in the program, will be involved in the evaluation process. In evaluating, the District seeks to understand not only what was successful about the project but also what did not work and why. The District will seek to review measures by which the success of the project can be evaluated.

The following attachments must be submitted with all types of proposals:

The Application Cover Sheet
A copy of the organization’s final 501(c)(3) determination letter from IRS.
A list of the organization’s current board members with their professional, business and community affiliations.
Letters of commitment from all other organizations collaborating on the project or technical assistance, including statements of their financial, organizational and staff commitments.
The budget for the proposed project or technical assistance which includes all known and projected sources of revenue and anticipated expenses. Please include footnotes to each line item with the budget. If possible, please present a project budget in a twelve month cash flow format.
The organization’s current total annual budget approved by the board of directors.
The organization’s most recent year-end audited financial statements. If the organization does not have audited statements, then please provide the last year-end unaudited statements, including a balance sheet and statement of income and expenses which were reviewed and accepted at a board meeting where a quorum was present.
Any other printed materials; e.g., an annual report, brochure, etc., which would describe your organization and its programs in relation to the community.

The District’s Board of Directors is available to discuss your project and proposal with you. The LMCHD is a local public agency and local nonprofit organizations are our partners in carrying out our mission of improving the health and well being of the people and communities we serve. We are interested in meeting representatives of local nonprofit organizations, so please invite us to visit your organization.

For more information or to schedule a meeting with the District, please call (925) 432-2200. To submit a proposal, please address and send or deliver it to: Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, P. O. Box 8698, Pittsburg, CA 94565-8698.

APPLICATION COVER SHEET
Please place this completed cover sheet over the first page of your proposal.


ORGANIZATION INFORMATION

Organization’s
Name: ________________________________________ 501(c)(3) Yes __ No __

Address:

Executive
Director: ________________________________________ Phone #
(Or designated contact person & title for governmental entity)

Organization’s
FAX # ____________ E-Mail Address _______________ Fiscal Year

SUMMARY OF PROPOSAL

On the line next to the type of grant requested please state the amount requested:

$____________ Project  $ ____________Collaborative Action

Total cost for the project or
technical assistance   $ ____________

Organization’s total annual budget $ ____________ Current year   $ ____________ Prior year

When will the project begin ____________ and end ____________

Title and summary of the proposed project or technical assistance:


Describe all the characteristics of the population(s) to be served by the project; e.g., ages, gender, ethnicity, economic status, medically uninsured or underinsured, etc.



What geographic area will the project cover:


Describe the problem to be addressed & the anticipated outcome from the project or technical assistance:


Describe the personnel to be involved:


Summarize how the project or technical assistance will be evaluated:


Describe the funding plans to continue this project after the grant period is completed:


GRANT EVALUATION AND SELECTION CRITERIA

1. Does the project meet the mission and goals of the District?


2. Is the proposal presented clearly and concisely? Has all the required information been submitted in the order and format requested?


3. Are the costs for material and services reasonable? What other funds and in-kind contributions are available to you?


4. Does the project respond to significant needs and conditions in the community?


5. Is the applicant qualified to undertake and carry out the project? Does the project duplicate existing programs in the community?


6. Are the objectives of the project realistic? How will you meet your project goals within the grant period?


7. How can the proposed project be considered a good investment for the District?


8. Can the project be segmented for partial funding?


9. What happens to the project when the grant funds are exhausted?


GRANT MAKING PROCESS

1. The Board will eliminate applications deemed unacceptable according to the basic criteria.

2. The Board will create a grid containing all the proposals along with a ranking sheet for each proposal.

3. Board members will read each proposal and complete a ranking for each of them.

4. All the rankings will be summarized and a summary will then be created with recommendations for all the proposals.

5. The amount of grants will be determined each year by the annual budget. A set of questions or issues to be discussed with each organization receiving a site visit will be prepared.

6. The Board will create a schedule for all site visits.

7. Site visits will take place. Board members will prepare their conclusions from the site visit information gained and make their funding recommendations.

8. All information from the site visits and final recommendations for the amount of grants will be submitted for approval at the monthly Board meeting following the conclusion of all site visits.

9. The Board will respond in writing to all proposals submitted, both those approved for funding and those not recommended for funding.

PROPOSAL RANKING FORM

Board Members Form to Rank Proposals

When Board members receive their copies of the proposals, they will also receive a form for ranking each proposal and giving any comments or information they think important. The proposals will be listed numerically within problem areas.

Tools for Evaluating Proposals

The Board will use three items or tools (which are included herein) for evaluating proposals:

1. A list of ten points which make up a Framework for Evaluating Proposals.
2. The Corporations Grant Application Guidelines and Format for Proposals.
3. A summary of the major issues or focus areas that were identified as a result of the needs assessment performed pursuant to SB 697.

Preparing for Site Visits

The Board will use the attached Site Visit Checklist as a guide in preparing for and conducting site visits.

FUND PROPOSAL MAJOR FOCUS AREAS

The current needs assessment has identified the following major focus areas from among a number of problems (keep these in mind when thinking about your project):

Youth and Teen Issues: Violence prevention, substance abuse, drop-out and truancy rates, and health-related educational programs.

Frail Elderly Issues: Independent living, avoidance of premature institutionalization, health care, and substance abuse.

Cancer-Related Issues: Support for efforts to explain or address Contra Costa County's high incident rates.

Family Health Issues: Health education, preventive care, perinatal health, and immunization programs for children.

Chronic Disease Management Issues: Arthritis, osteoporosis, tuberculosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.

FRAMEWORK FOR EVALUATING PROPOSALS
TEN POINTS


1. SCREENING FOR ELIGIBILITY: Has the organization provided basic documentation (IRS determination letter, IRS Form 990, and financial statements) as well as a clear and concise proposal summary to allow you to determine its eligibility for consideration? Does the request meet the legal requirements and the interests of your foundation?

2. ORGANIZATION STRENGTH: Is this a credible organization, especially in the program area in which funds are requested? What is its mission? What is its professional standing within its community? What is its track record? Who is served and are there similar programs in the same geographical area? Is there evidence of community support? What are the distinctive merits of this organization?

3. PEOPLE: Do key personnel have the necessary expertise to undertake the proposed program? Who provides leadership and vision for the organization. Is the management efficient and well organized? Does the board composition reflect an appropriate diversity of skills and backgrounds?

4. FINANCIAL CONDITION: How does the agency meet day-to-day operations? Is there a broad base of support? If it is a deficit operation, how does the agency intend to meet the deficit? Does the program budget make sense? Is it inflated or inadequate?

5. PROBLEM OR NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Has an important problem of workable dimensions been presented and data been given to substantiate the problem or have needs to be met been presented and documented?

6. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES: What will be accomplished with the proposed funding? Are the objectives realistic and measurable? Do they relate to the stated problem or need? If this is a new activity or approach, what has been learned from research or similar programs?

7. METHODS: Are the plans sufficiently detailed? Is there evidence given as to why the methods should bring about the desired results? Is the timetable for implementation realistic? Is staff adequate and capable enough to reach objectives?

8. EVALUATION: Is there a procedure designed to measure accomplishment of objectives? For pilot or model programs, what plans have been made to share the results with others and implement the findings?

9. FUTURE/OTHER FUNDING: What other funding sources have been identified? If the program is to be continued beyond the grant period, is a verifiable plan presented for future financial support.

10. LANGUAGE AND FORM: Is the proposal clear and logically presented? Has the writer avoided making unsupported assumptions? Is there extensive use of jargon and verbiage?

SITE VISIT CHECKLIST

As a wise grantmaker once said, "You can tell good grantmakers by how many pair of shoes they wear out in a year." It is true that grantmaking goes beyond reading the written proposal. Grantmaking involves getting out of your office, visiting prospective grantees and asking difficult questions. What follows are suggestions about questions you may want to ask when making site visits and delving beyond the written word.

Organization

Be certain to receive a copy of the IRS Determination/Ruling letter. Note whether the organization is a private foundation, public charity or operating foundation. Understand the expenditure responsibility which needs to be taken if a private or operating foundation. Due to the complicated nature of the law, receive all reporting instruments for organizations which undertake lobbying efforts. If there has been a provisional ruling by IRS, check when the advance ruling period ends. If there has been a name change, find out why and if the IRS and other appropriate agencies have been notified, and ascertain if the tax status remains unaltered. Does the organization being considered fall under an umbrella organization as is the case with many Catholic charities and university-related programs; if so, receive a copy of its ruling.

Personnel

Do not shy from subjective responses and have no hesitancy to meet and interview anyone associated with the organization. Be certain to meet with administrative, program support, and the governance personnel.

In meeting with Administrative/Management personnel, you want to get a sense of the leadership; how he/she relates to people and whether he/she is an effective communicator of ideas. Does the person reflect a proprietary interest or is the position viewed as a job? How long has the person been in the present position and what is the previous experience? Has there been a change in program emphasis with staff changes? What is staff relationship and involvement with the governing board and who is ultimately responsible for meeting the budget and for program expansion/curtailment? What is your sense of the person's ability to respond under pressure and to deal with critical problems as they may arise?

Ask similar types of questions of Program Staff. Check for nuances as goals may differ from the organization's plan. What is the size and make-up of support staff? Is the organization overloaded with professionals or is it understaffed for program efficiency? Look at the growth pattern of the staff checking for signs of instability such as a high turnover rate or sudden changes. What use is made of part-time and volunteer support? If there is a dependence on volunteers, is there any difficulty meeting program needs at certain times of the year? Who is responsible for the coordination of volunteer activities?

The Governance of an organization is critical: the trustees/directors/members of the governing board. Try to get a sense of commitment; are rubber stamp approvals given or are needs thoroughly examined? Why are the members serving? To lend professional expertise, as a civic duty, due to personal experience in the field, or at a friend's or colleague's request? Is there a strong or reluctant willingness to fundraise? How often does the board meet and what is attendance? Who are the pivotal members? If the board is set up by committee, what is the meeting/reporting/action procedure for each? What staff representation is present at board/committee meetings and does staff have a formal vote? Check for imbalances on board; e.g., too many with professional expertise and no accounting or legal background. Note the possible discrepancy between a working board and an advisory one; too often the latter lends prestige without input. What is the board's relationship with staff? Is there awareness or problems or an unwillingness to get involved? What controls are placed on the administrator in regard to expenditure responsibility or extraordinary expense approval. Is the board being well-used?

Facility

As you enter and walk through the facility, be conscious of its location and its physical space. Is the location easily accessible to the organization's constituency and is it able to attract and accommodate clients? What factors determined this specific location: availability, outreach or drop-in services? Does the physical space appear to be up to code? Are there any signs of visible needed repairs/improvements/deferred maintenance? Is the space conducive to productivity; e.g., adequate lighting and sufficient room? Are there limitations or observable deficiencies to meet program/service requirements? Is too much hardware visible; e.g., is the Xerox machine used exclusively or is it unnecessary equipment? Do proper office systems/procedures appear to be in place; e.g., if healthcare agency, medical records confidentiality--is filing system accessible by too many or too few?

Program

What are stated goals and purposes of organization and does it appear they are being met? What constitutes "community"--local neighborhood, community-at-large, or regional or national direction? Has the organization bitten off more than it can chew? Has a lesser scale been tried and proven? Are there inconsistencies in goals? What are the basic program components/services which will always be provided and what projects are dependent on funding? What internal monitoring system has been established to assess programmatic and administrative problems and successes? How does organization judge its program performance and by what standards? What is the frequency of the review process? Note that program accountability is often superficial while hours can be spent on fiscal control/reporting or vice versa. What means does organization have to avoid duplication of services/programs with other community agencies? Is it unaware of similar work or is there a willingness to coordinate efforts? What documents are available to look at; e.g., staff reports, board documents, or administrative memoranda?

Financial

Look carefully at the Current Operating Budget and assume the following built-in biases: underestimate expenses and overestimate income (particularly true of cultural organizations). Scrutinize the basics (hard dollar items): rent/mortgage and salary--are they reasonable, too high or too low? Check for disproportionate costs and hidden costs; e.g., deferred maintenance. Look at program needs, the flexible/soft dollars: duplication with hard-core items; use of consultants and why; are travel expenses necessities--for whom and why? Where can budget cuts be made if necessary? Who is ultimately responsible for balancing the budget? Get answers from both the staff and board. How is the proper use of funds assured? In checking income, weigh percentages of government grants/private funding and other sources, such as fees-for-service of admission fees. Is there a dependence on a few major donors to sustain the organization? Is it desirable to alter such a skewed position and methods of correcting same? Is public charity status jeopardized by a major long-term commitment? Ask for the audit of the previous year; if not available, look at previous budgets and have someone you rely on give an outside opinion.

All organizations should have a Master Plan, a three-to-five-year forecast. If not available in written form, it should be succinctly verbalized and the organization encouraged to develop a written statement. Does the plan simply include a built-in inflationary spiral or does it reflect a realistic growth pattern? What increases are legitimate? Does the plan get reviewed periodically? How often and by whom? What changes have been made in the plan during the past year? Why? It's all right to dream, but working plans should be obtainable. If the claim toward self-support is made, is it achievable? Is growth in revenue-producing services consistent with programs goals? If self-support is not attainable, what alternatives have been considered? What willingness is there to curtail services?

There are certain pitfalls to be reckoned. Does dependence on government grants cause cash-flow problems? Has the government or private funding caused the organization to reorder its priorities to meet the donor's criteria; e.g., has the opportunity for funding influenced the organization's direction? Are reporting requirements burdensomely time-consuming?

TT - GRANTS (Rev. 4/10/02)