In Spring 2009 the Portland Children's Levy Allocation Committee set aside $3 million for a new phase of Leverage Fund partnerships for Challenge Grants and Collaboration Grants.
In June 2010, $2.5 million in CHALLENGE GRANT Leverage Fund partnerships were approved. These require organizations to obtain a matching funding source. Organizations receiving Leverage Fund Challenge Grants can be found here.
Discussions for the $500,000 in Collaboration Grants is ongoing. The fist COLLABORATION GRANT was awarded in Fall 2010 to Portland State University. Details can be found here. Background and funding guidelines/framework can be found here.
Past organizations receiving Leverage Funds can be found here. All documents relating to the funding process for the Leverage Fund can be found in the Levy online Document Archive on the website by clicking here.
The History of the Leverage Fund Investment Process since 2002
The 2002 ballot language authorizing the Portland Children’s Levy required that investments be made in programs supporting early childhood, after-school and mentoring and child abuse prevention/intervention. (Foster care was included in second phase of the Leverage Fund, which will begin funding partnerships in Spring 2010.)
Under the first round of Leverage Fund partnerships running from 2003-2010, the Children’s Levy sought investments of a minimum of $250,000 in which its public funds were matched at least dollar for dollar with private funds.
The Levy also used the Leverage Fund to provide local matching funds to organizations applying for federal or national foundation grants for programs in the three mission areas. The matching funds provided by the Levy to a local organization were a minimum of $100,000.
Partnerships with Private Funders: The Levy retained the Metropolitan Group to reach out to local and regional funders, identify projects of mutual interest in the three program areas described above and negotiate partnerships with funders to invest in specific projects. When an interested funder and a qualifying project was identified, the organization proposing the project was required to submit a program summary including the following:
- A description that includes program components and activities, the number of children to be served, the duration and intensity of the service, and the population served.
- Research that supports the efficacy of the program model, program elements or the specific program proposed.
- Proposed outcomes of the program selected from a list of common outcomes tracked by all Levy grantees.
- A budget and budget narrative that specifies how all Levy dollars will be used.
- If the organization has not been funded by the Levy in the past, information documenting cultural competency of the organization.
- If the organization has not been funded by the Levy in the past, an audit for the organization's last closed fiscal year.
Levy staff reviewed the program summary and made a recommendation to the Allocation Committee regarding whether the proposal met the Levy's standards and whether the Committee should enter into the partnership. The Allocation Committee made decisions on whether to pursue the partnership and on what terms.
Local Matching Funds: Organizations which sought to use the Leverage Fund as matching funds in proposals for federal or national foundation grants submitted a copy of the grant proposal to the Levy staff at least two weeks before the grant submission deadline. The grant proposal contained the Program Summary information described above, or this information submitted in an accompanying document. The grant proposal and/or accompanying document specifically described how Portland Children’s Levy monies would be used, and provided the date or month that grant awards would be announced by the federal government or national foundation.
Portland Children’s Levy staff reviewed the proposal, determined whether it mes criteria for investment, and decided whether or not to employ the Leverage Fund in the amount of the request.
If staff approved the request for matching funds, staff provided a letter of commitment to the organization requesting matching funds for submission with the grant proposal, while applicants provided a final copy of the grant proposal to the Levy. If staff did not approve the request for matching funds, staff promptly notifid the organization requesting funds and provided a reason for the denial.