Your Small Grants Fund Questions Answered by Levy Staff

Week of May 18th, 2020: Q&A 1–4

  • Question 1: We would like to have a way to talk with other applicants who are applying to the Small Grants Fund. We think that this would be useful and would facilitate communication between the disability-led organizations and the BIPOC-focused organizations. How can we do this? What’s the process?

    PCL Response: We have the contact information from participants in the Information Session who expressed interest in this. If anyone else is interested please send us your name, organization, appropriate email, and a couple of sentences about how you would like to interact with others who are applying to and we will compile the information into a list and send it out to everyone who wants to participate. In addition, we are researching the possibility of creating a Facebook group for this purpose, and will let everyone know if/when that is possible.

  • Question 2: Our organization applied for the full PCL process but unfortunately, we were declined.  We have a question regarding our eligibility for the small grants fund.  Our overall organizational budget is over $1M, but our budget for the Portland-area work that we would be applying for support is under $150,000.  (The rest of our funds go to support our work throughout the rest of Oregon and Washington).  Would we be eligible to apply for a PCL small grant?

    PCL Answer: Your organization would not be eligible because eligibility is based on your organization’s total budget, not just the budget for your Portland work. This has been done to ensure that we reach small organizations which have been shown to have multiple barriers to applying for PCL funds.

  • Question 3: Janus Youth Programs does receive PCL funding for 2 of our programs, Insights Teen Parent Services and Village Gardens.  Would other Janus programs that have never received PCL funding be eligible to apply for a small grant?

    PCL Answer: Under the current guidelines for the Small Grants Fund, Janus Youth would not be eligible since the organization has received PCL funds before.

  • Question 4: I hope this finds you well. A colleague forwarded this information to me.  I am hoping to ask a few initial questions. The company I work for, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, is quite large and complex.  We have a small child and family program which these funds could support.  My understanding is that organizations with annual budgets over $1M are ineligible.  Could you confirm this?

    PCL Answer: Correct, organizations with budgets over $1 million are ineligible.

Week of June 1st, 2020: Q&A 5–37

  • Question 5: If you have a mentoring program that is really focused on school success, does that program fall into the “afterschool program area” or the “mentoring program area?” We do our activities mostly during the school year and focus on career pathways.

    PCL Answer: We think that the afterschool program area is the best fit for programs that are primarily academically focused and take place during the school year.

  • Question 6: Do mentoring programs need to be around the school?

    PCL Answer: No. The “Afterschool” program area is around the school, but the “Mentoring” program area is not. The key piece for mentoring is about the relationship between the adults and the children or youth. 

  • Question 7: For youth in mentoring programs, is there a particular age or does it matter?

    PCL Answer: Youth can be up to age 18.

  • Question 8: How do you define administrative costs?

    PCL Answer: Administrative costs are what you can apportion to the cost of doing business. Administrative costs can include, but are not limited to, the following:  salaries and expense of the chief officer of the organization and that officer’s staff; general legal services; accounting; general liability insurance; office management; auditing; bookkeeping, accounting services, payroll, prorated administrative postage, janitorial services.

  • Questions 9: Is it safe to say we are applying for a three-year grant or no?

    PCL Answer: Yes, the grants in this round are three-year grants.

  • Question 10: In Step 2, if we are submitting a budget, would it be for 20-21 and beyond? Do you want to see an operating budget for what we are operating on now?

    PCL Answer: Step 2 is still under development.  We will want to see at least a budget for Year 1 of the grant and to understand how much total funding you want for Year 2 and Year 3 of the grant.  We will also need to see the organization’s total budget of committed revenue for 20-21.

  • Question 11: In regard to disabilities, are there extra points or the same amount of points if you have youth of color with disabilities and adult mentors with disabilities under the mentoring program area?

    PCL Answer: There are no points awarded for staffing in the program.  That information is requested on the application separately from the scored points.  You can find the scoring criteria for the application at the end of the Applicant Instructions document.

  • Question 12: A) Does previous receipts of the PCL Event Grants of $500 disqualify an org from applying for the Small Grant, and  B) Our organization is focused on underserved low-income communities and is not specifically focused on children with disabilities, although we have served youth with disabilities in our small program. We are cautious about applying for the concern of not being able to address this portion of the application in the encouraged way. Does this lower our chances for moving along in the application process to the point we are not competitive to start with?   

    PCL Answer: For question A) Receiving the $500 sponsorship does not disqualify you from applying for a small grant. Receipt of a large grant through PCL does disqualify an organization.

    For question B) We discussed this in the Applicant Information Session so reviewing that session may help you. Here is the link in case you need it.

    We do not expect you to start a program for children with disabilities. The intention of the questions in the section for BIPOC-focused organizations is to see how you can make your existing programs accessible to children with disabilities so they can be included in what you already do well. This includes learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, emotional disabilities, and physical disabilities. For example, if in your program you do gardening with children, you may have thought about if the pathways in your garden are large enough for a wheelchair  to get through so a child in a wheelchair can garden with their friends. Many low-income children and youth as well as BIPOC have experienced a lot of trauma that impacts their learning or social/emotional  interactions, have you taken any action to make your program trauma-informed?  

  • Question 13: Is the West (West Women and Children’s Center of Salvation Army) eligible for funding?

    PCL Answer: The West is not eligible for funding because the Salvation Army has received PCL funds in the past, and because your total committed budget is greater than $1 million.

  • Question 14: Does transportation need to currently be in place for a program that is interested in applying or just a plan for how you are going to get that? Our program serves children for 12 years. Majority of students come from a school in our neighborhood, so we walk there and pick them up and they walk with program staff to our facility. Middle school and high school youth find their own transportation (e.g. carpool, bus, parent transports), program doesn’t pick them up.

    PCL Answer: The transportation arrangement you described will work for your application, and you don’t have to submit any description of transportation plans in Step 1.

  • Question 15: If an applicant is awarded funding and the funding award increases the organization’s annual revenues to over $1 million in year 3 of the grant, is the organization eligible to apply?

    PCL Answer: Yes, the organization is still eligible as long as its revenue are below $ 1 million at the time of application.  At the end of the 3-year period, you would not be eligible to apply again for a small grant but could apply for a large grant.

  • Question 16: Same question as the one above, but if the PCL award put us over $1 million in year 1 would we be eligible?

    PCL Answer: If an organization’s budget is under $1 million for the year in which it is applying then you are eligible. The funds that you are applying from PCL don’t count in that calculation.

  • Question 17: So, don’t include this grant as part of our 20/21 budget?

    PCL Answer: Correct; do not include the PCL funding you request in this application as part of your 20/21 budget.  Use only your committed revenues for your 20/21 budget, such as grants that have been awarded and funds that have already been raised.

  • Question 18: The application asks us to choose which type of organization we are and to only choose one. Which one do we choose if we feel like more than one (e.g. culturally specific and culturally responsive). What’s your advice on choosing one?

    PCL Answer: Use the definitions in the instructions on page 5 and select the type of organization that best describes your organization. “Culturally responsive” is broad, for organizations that serve many different cultural communities and may not have staff that reflects all communities served.

  • Question 19: What is the definition for “intersectional”?

    PCL Answer: Refer to the definition in the instructions, page 5. Intersectionality refers to the experience of navigating multiple identities at the same time.

  • Question 20: What is the difference between “culturally responsive” and “culturally specific”? If we are both, which do we choose? Which box is bigger?

    PCL Answer: To decide which organization fits you best, refer to the definitions in the Applicant Instructions on page 5. Generally speaking, “culturally responsive” is broader especially if you are serving multiple cultural communities.

  • Question 21: How will the type of organization influence decision-making in terms of who gets funded?

    PCL Answer: Don’t overthink this too much. This question is not scored. PCL has not set a specific goal for the number of organizations of each type. We want to make sure that we have a mix of different types of organizations and not fund only one type.

  • Question 22: Do you have any interest in knowing if Board members are parents of children with significant disabilities? Working with birth -5 this seems relevant. Disability community identifies as a culture.

    PCL Answer: In terms of “culturally specific”, we adapted the definition from the Coalition of Communities of Color which does not list disability as a culture.  We agree that this is an oversight. If a disability-led organization saw themselves that way, they could fit under the definition of “culturally specific”. However, there is a separate category for organizations led by people who have disabilities. We are looking for information about people in leadership who have disabilities and of those people, how many are people of color.

  • Question 23: We feel that just including the number of adults with disabilities in leadership does not cover the full spectrum of experiences. Parents of children with disabilities are impacted by disability too.

    PCL Answer: We based our questions about disability on the feedback that we heard from the community conversations, the Design Team and people with disabilities. If you don’t feel that the demographic questions allow you to fully explain the structure of your organization, please speak to that experience in your application. Our guiding principle is that we are interested in centering the experience of people most impacted by marginalization. We will consider full a range of diversity as we review the applications.

  • Question 24: How much space do we have to respond to questions?

    PCL Answer: There is a word limit range for each question listed at the end of the question. Please use the word count check in Microsoft Word to check your word count. The intention of the ranges is the keep the application shorter for both the applicant and the reviewers. We will remove words that go over the limit.

  • Question 25: Our programming has shifted in response to COVID-19. Should we answer question 2 by describing what our typical programming is and in how it has shifted? Or do we answer just in Pre-COVID context?

    PCL Answer: Think about what you are planning to do moving forward. COVID-19 may shape how you plan to do your activities over the next three years. We want to understand what you plan on doing in your proposal, and we know that may be very different from how you operated in the past.

  • Question 26: Do outcomes need to be achievable within a certain amount of time? One of our outcomes is that everyone graduates high school on time.

    PCL Answer: In Step 1 we are only asking you to list two outcomes. If you are awarded a PCL grant, we will work with you to determine which outcomes you will measure and report annually.  For now, we just want understand a little more about two outcomes for your program.

  • Question 27: Do learning disabilities, children with IEPs count as disability?

    PCL Answer: Yes, they do.

  • Question 28: Is the $10,000 - $60,000 amount a yearly or 3-year amount?

    PCL Answer: Per year amount, maximum is $60,000 and minimum is $10,000. The annual award amount cannot be more than 30% of the organization’s annual budget.

  • Question 29: How many organizations are you looking to fund?

    PCL Answer: Likely around 8, could be more or less, depending on the size of the award amounts.

  • Question 30: What feedback will be available to organizations that aren’t invited to Step 2 in the process? What can we improve? How can we learn what to do better in the future?

    PCL Answer: We want the whole process to serve as a learning opportunity for the organizations involved. With that in mind, we will provide the reviewer score sheets and may meet with applicants to discuss feedback.

  • Question 31: Can we reach out to you (Arika) with more questions regarding content?

    Question 31: Arika is pretty accessible. Preferred way to communicate is via email, as all questions will be answered in writing and shared with all who sign up to receive the weekly Q&A digest. You can also reach Arika at 503-865-6215.

  • Question 32: We are concerned we may be offering services virtually next year. We will write a grant application for virtual after school services. We are geared up to do in person and virtual. We could propose a hybrid. Is that a good strategy?

    PCL Answer: We have heard a lot of feedback from community members expressing concerns about the inequities of virtual activities. We know that this format has made services more accessible for some and much less accessible for others, but we will need to work with some version of virtual activities for a while. We support proposing a hybrid, and using equity as your guiding principle. Think about the way that you will be structuring your program. How will you make it accessible to BIPOC and disabled participants? In addition, virtual activities that involve live interaction are easier to track participation and more likely to have an impact than precreated curriculum that is uploaded to a website. We don’t want to have on-line lessons replace relationships.  It is much harder to track participation and impact for virtual activities that are not live, but you could take attendance in a Zoom or Google classroom meeting. You can track how many hours you spend in one on one discussions over video calls etc.

  • Question 33: Our organization (annual budget under $1 million) applied in the large grant fund but was not awarded funding. Is there any reason we can’t apply?

    PCL Answer: No. You can apply since you did not receive a large grant.

  • Question 34: Is the transportation to and from activities?

    PCL Answer: We are interested in knowing how children are getting from school to the after-school activity. If you are offering a virtual service, then transportation is not an issue.

  • Question 35: Normally, many of our youth take public transportation, but using public transportation is a risk right now. How should we address this?

    PCL Answer: Yes, we understand that right now public transportation is a risk. Don’t worry about the transportation plan for right now because we won’t ask any questions about it in Step 1, and we may all have more information about public transportation safety measures in the fall when Step 2 is open.

  • Question 36: We would like to establish networking with other small non-profit organizations. How can we do that?

    PCL Answer: Arika has a list of contact people from a variety of organizations who are interested in contacting and engaging with other organizations who are potential Small Grants Fund applicants. If you want to get the email list of names, contact Arika through email.

  • Question 37: When it comes to working with children and youth, is there any specific age range you target? I'm assuming no, but thought I'd ask just in case!

    PCL Answer: This is a good question. The age range depends on the program area. In early childhood, the age range is prenatal through five. Afterschool is focused on children K-12 since Pre-K can be covered in early childhood. Mentoring is youth-focused for programs K-12. Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention covers the full range of childhood from prenatal to 18 and typically work with whole families which can include parents, guardians, caregivers, and all children in the family. Foster Care programs can work with children and youth, and their birth and/or foster families, birth – 24. PCL does not fund programs serving youth older than 18, except in Foster Care.

Week of June 8th, 2020: Q&A 38–39

  • Question 38: In the application itself, the second set of questions states disability-focused, not disability-led as the instructions state. Can you clarify?

    PCL Answer: Both disability-led and disability-focused organizations should fill out the second set of questions.

  • Question 39: We are seeking funds specific to our garden education programming with SPED-designated students and classes at our partner schools, but the majority served are BIPOC so I was not 100% sure which set of 4-6 I should answer because both feel applicable.

    PCL Answer: An organization should fill out the section based on who their organization serves generally. If your organization serves BIPOC families and you are applying for a program that makes it possible for you to be inclusive of participants with disabilities, then you would fill out the first set of questions.

Week of June 15th, 2020: Q&A 40

  • Question 40: We are working on our proposal for the Small Grant’s Fund, and am wondering of you and your colleagues have had a chance to discuss whether online after school programs will be considered viable and valid for the coming 2020-2021 school year. It seems that things are in flux in terms of developing school protocol for COVID19, and that Portland Public Schools does not yet know what is going to happen in the fall.

    PCL Answer: We know that adjustments will need to be made for afterschool programs for part or all of the upcoming school year. As mentioned in our Applicant Workshops, our priority is to ensure that programs are planning for the first year of the grant using an equity-centered lens and in ways that maximize interaction among staff and children and youth and that maximize access for marginalized communities. We encourage programs to use technology for live groups and/or one-on-one interactions, but not prerecorded videos that would simply be viewed through clicks and of the student’s own volition. We would also expect to see that in the second and third years that there would be more in-person interaction, and costs associated with doing this safely. If you are awarded the grant, we can check in periodically as you adjust to ensure the safety of the staff and children in your program.

Week of June 22nd, 2020: Q&A 41–42

  • Question 41: We are deciding which program area to select: "Mentoring" or "Afterschool", understanding there can be some overlap. As you know, we offer programming for children, youth and young adults.  Mentorship looks like Camp Guides and seasonal staff who serve as educators both with Wayfinders and Community Responsive Programs, they are college age through emerging professional.

    We also build intentional partnerships with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) educators in higher ed. and professionals, in diverse science fields who also are role models and engage in mentorship with students. 

    Our Community Responsive Programs serve children and families year-round, occurring during the school-day, after-school, on weekends, which we are trying to understand, do we fit here, or does this put us just outside the perimeter? Also, if we may still be planning with school partners for the Fall, what do we do if the timing of program shifts? I.e. after school to during the school day? 

    Do you have a recommendation for which program area to select? Thank you so much. 

    PCL Response: Thank you for your question. I wanted to follow-up with a couple of questions to make sure I’m clear. You mentioned a couple different programs that Camp Elso does, which one are you applying for? Second, I know about Camp Elso’s camps, but less about the school year programming. Are these ongoing cohorts of kids working with the same adult mentors throughout the school year, or are they more like multiple one-time events and workshops or site-based programs at schools or community gardens? 

    The key differences between Afterschool and Mentoring are 1) Afterschool is usually more site-based, happens after school hours during the school year but can include before school and camps, and are enrichment classes or academically-focused programming 2) the purpose of mentoring is more relationship-based than curriculum-based and the focus is on the relationship between the children/youth and the adult(s), the well-being of the child is the end goal more than the academic success of the child and that includes mental wellness, racial and cultural wellness, physical wellness etc. The ages of these two program areas are the same so that is not a defining characteristic. 

  • Question 42: We were planning on mentioning 2 program areas in our grant application: 1. Wayfinders which has the mentorship pieces I mentioned and 2. Our Community Responsive Programs. 

    The school year programming happens as part of the Community Responsive Programs. For the upcoming year it would be the same cohorts of youth working with the same educator at a garden site, so yes it would be a consistent adult mentor. 

    Similarly, with the Wayfinders program, the element that happens during the year is the Tappin Roots internship and our Camp Guides training and all of the adult mentors for both of those would also be consistent for the program.   

    Before COVID-19 we were running one time events and workshops but this upcoming year we are focusing on the garden program 

    A key piece of how we work is that we are intentional about combining both mentorship relationship based and the academic piece of having our programs/curriculum aligned with school.  

    Please let me know if this answers your questions.

    PCL Response: Based on all of your answers, I think that Mentoring is the best fit for you.

Week of July 6th, 2020: Q&A 43–55

  • Question 43: We have been working hard on our Step 1 application, and have a quick question before we submit it. We are not sure if we should answer both of the 4-6 questions, as we work with students who identify as BIPOC, and we also work with students with disabilities, and plan to continue to take steps to continue to be inclusive of students with disabilities.

    PCL Response: Thank you for this question, and I’m happy to hear that you are already serving both populations. The idea behind the question is that presently in Portland, most child and youth-serving organizations focus more on one or the other especially in terms of curriculum, and most either have staff that is more representative of BIPOC communities or disability communities.  

    If your organization serves a majority BIPOC children and you have been focused on inclusion of children with disabilities then you should fill out the first set of 4-6 questions. We understand that you have already taken steps to be inclusive of children with disabilities and that’s fine and in fact, the questions will allow you to tell us about that. Other organizations whose mission is more around disability specifically will be filling out the second set of questions.

  • Question 44: Under each section, there are multiple questions. Should we number our answers to be more clear with which question we are answering? I am curious about the formatting of our answers: numbered or free flowing? 

    PCL Response: When filling out the questions in the application, you will be responding to the questions in the box assigned which makes it clear which questions you are answering. The Reviewers will have copies of the questions as they appear in the application as well, so you don’t need to number the sub-questions, you just need to answer them.

  • Question 45: Also, for question #3 where it asks: "Please write two outcomes or changes that you hope your program participants will achieve through participating in your program..."--are these examples of things we have done or what we hope to do? Or both?

    PCL Response: In this case outcomes refer to what you hope your program participants will achieve as a result of participating in your program. It’s not what you have done in the past, but what you hope your participants (children, youth, or families) will have to show for their participation. These could in a variety of different areas depending on the program area in which you apply, including academic outcomes, social emotional outcomes, nutrition-related etc. 

  • Question 46: Small Grant app, pg. 2 – we have no staff. We are all volunteers and I have the demographics on them, but the chart would not accurately capture who we are because it focusses primarily on staff…How would I get that data to you/on this app?

    PCL Response: There are questions that pertain to volunteers on the application. Please fill out the questions pertaining to volunteers since you don’t have staff. This won’t change the scoring at all since this section is not scored.

  • Question 47: I am working on filling out the application for the Small Grant. In the box on page 2 of the application where you ask about volunteers, you break out a separate category for BIPOC volunteers, but not disabled volunteers. We have a significant number of volunteers with disabilities within our organization. Too often people with disabilities are seen as recipients of good will, and not given the chance to contribute. I am wondering if we can add a line to note these volunteers on the application? I was curious why they were left out.

    PCL Response: It looks like you found another oversight in the application. We will have to make a couple changes to the application for future funding rounds. The point that you raise is excellent, and we may have missed because organizations utilize volunteers in such a wide variety of ways from short-term projects to running the organization that we weren’t sure to what extent organizations would have this information about their volunteers. If this point is important to you, and it’s not included in this section, you can mention it in your application.

  • Question 48: The organization I work for, Steps for Youth, offers after school dance programming. We have a teaching artist roster of about 20 teachers. They are all independent contractors and some work more consistently than others. For section 1 of the application where it asked "Number of BIPOC Staff" should we include our entire roster of teachers plus our administrative staff who have worked with us throughout the years? Or are you looking for the number of BIPOC staff that we know will be working with us while the programming takes place? (This is also a bit up in the air because of changes caused by the current pandemic). 

    We are looking for as current a count as possible of staff who are working for the program. This includes part-time who serve on an on-going basis, but I wouldn’t include people who only offer workshops one day or one weekend a year, and you don’t have to count up for previous years.

  • Question 49: We are a collective and aren’t sure how to list our leadership team in the first section of the application. We do have a group that we consider our Board, and a couple paid staff and some volunteers. 

    PCL Response: In this case list your board as your leadership team and your staff demographics in the staff section.

  • Question 50: There is no box to indicate how many of our leadership team are BIPOC, where should we put that?

    PCL Response: Good catch! We’re sorry that we missed that when we put out the application, we were doing our best to keep to our timeline even with everything being suddenly changed due to the coronavirus.  We should have added that, but since we didn’t and we can’t change the application at this point, you can mention that in your application if you want to.

  • Question 51: I apologize if this has already been addressed, but are you hoping to receive the applications in word document or as a pdf?  And are we allowed to sign it as a pdf and submit in that format?

    PCL Response: It’s fine to send us the application as a PDF if that is easiest for you. Either Microsoft Word or PDF work for us.

  • Question 52: I reread the section and see very clearly how the questions are broken down.  I have another question, however.  Our organization serves foster youth.  Obviously, some of these youth are part of the BIPOC Community.  Would it be necessary/ helpful for us to answer the questions in relation to serving BIPOC specific youth?

    PCL Response: The Small Grants Fund seeks to expand our funding to communities we have underserved in our funding in the past in the past, that includes BIPOC communities so it would be helpful to focus on the BIPOC participants in your programs.

  • Question 53: I am engaged in several small organizations in the community that I believe can benefit from this program. However, I'm wondering if churches are eligible to apply and/or serve as a fiscal sponsor.

    PCL Response: Churches are eligible to apply for non-religious activities.

  • Question 54: Can an applicant organization include in its committed budget funds from a contract an employee has with another organization for the same types of services that the employee provides at the organization that’s applying?

    PCL Response: The grant size needs to be based on the organization’s committed funds. If the employee is contracting on work time and the funds from that contract are going directly to the organization that’s applying, then the funds can be counted. If the employee is consulting outside of work and the funds are paid directly to them as an individual, then the funds don’t count. Also, committed funds means funds that are pledged to the organizations such as letter stating that you have been awarded a grant even though you haven’t received payment from the grant yet, or pledges for sustaining members, as well as funds that are already in the bank or have already been awarded.

  • Question 55: If there are no children with disabilities in our program, does it mean that we won’t qualify for the fund?

    PCL Response: First, I would encourage you to look at the definition for disability that is in the Applicant Instructions. To be clear, we have said that we do accept learning disabilities, mental health disabilities, emotional, as well as all physical disability. Cultures view disability in a variety of ways, but it’s likely you have worked with children with some of these kinds of disability in the past. However, if you don’t think that you have had any experience with children, parents,  and/or families with disabilities, please spend more time in the application telling us how you could include children from your cultural group who also have disabilities in your program moving forward. In other words, how could you make sure that children from the culture you serve who also have a disability can still access your program.