Connected Youth Initiative

Grant FAQs

Q. I really need clarification on the question about the match funds. Does it need to be promised “cash in the bank” donations? Or can it be funds that an agency spends that were not previously allocated or were allocated but the youth fit into that allocation category?(NEW)

A. Funds can be considered match as long as they are not federal funds and are not previously obligated. With this in mind, regardless of whether the funds are allocated to a particular project, if they are federal funds they are not available to be considered match. If the funds are private or state funds and are not currently allocated they are then available to be considered match dollars as long as they go to support a portion of the older youth model (unconnected youth in the ages of 14-24 (see the definition in the bidders conference presentation), youth leadership/voice, central access services, youth financial literacy/IDA or gap services post-secondary supports, housing, employment, health care, etc.).

If the funds are state and/or private and are currently committed to a project, these funds can be considered match dollars if their allocation ends within the period of the SIF fiscal year and are renewable or new funds. For example, if your community has private funds allocated to support financial education to youth in probation ages 16-19. It is an annual grant renewal and the FY renewal date is July 1, 2016. Since the funds are for the population of the youth covered by SIF and the funds end their contractual or grant obligation on June 30, 2016, starting July 1, 2016 these funds can be considered math IF there is a new contract or grant agreement signed with the funding agency. In other words, if the grant is a current multi-year grant the funds cannot be used as match without a completion or termination of the current grant and then a renewal or new application for the funds. If it is an annual renewal or reapplication for the funds, then these funds in this scenario could be used to match the financial IDA component in the SIF grant for the first FY of SIF. Also, for each additional year the grant is an annual renewal, these the funds can then be considered match for the SIF grant. So if it is an annual renewal process then each July 1, the funds can be considered a match to the SIF grant, and so on.

In addition, take the same scenario, you have the grant and it is state or private funds and it ends June 30, 2016 but is renewed for the next 3 years (covering the same population and the same purpose) you can then count that as a match since it starts new on July 1, 2016 as a match for the next 3 years of SIF grants but the annual total grant amount is all that can be counted as match to each FY of the SIF grant.

Q. With the FAQ comment as follows: “If the applicant is an eligible partnership that includes a state commission or a local government office, the state or local government involved must provide not less than 30% and not more than 50% of the matching funds.”

Our question is: If county officials are on the applicants board of directors, or the local juvenile justice coalitions, are they required to provide a minimum 30% match from their budgets? If so, and multiple officials are represented, is there a formula that must be used to prorate the match among the leos? Further, if the applicant has other private match, can the 30% requirement be waived?

A. If the local government has representation on the leadership boards there is no need to follow the mentioned policy. This policy actually is only applied if a local government is the SIF recipient. In short, their participation in the process doesn't require any funding commitment and their presence is essential for success.

Q: If we change territory from our first letter of intent, do we need to submit another letter of intent?

A: We encourage applicants to continue conversations with neighboring communities and counties regarding involvement in the Initiative during the application process. If you intend to change your territory you will not be required to submit another letter of intent. However, we would request that you inform us as to your change in territory as soon as possible so that we can intended territory expansion does not overlap another applicant’s proposed service territory.

Q: If a coalition has Juvenile Justice funding which is matched by County government funding, can both the county and state funds be considered as “match,” since they are both used for activities within the scope of the Social Innovation Fund project parameters? If not can either one be used as match?

A: The match must be in cash from non-federal sources; in-kind match is not allowable. Matching funds must be unrestricted new or existing dollars. They cannot be previously obligated funding that is redirected for purposes of meeting the Social Innovation Fund match requirement. Other State and County funds are eligible to be considered matching funds as long as those funds have not been obligated or encumbered for other uses and are used for activities within the scope of the Initiative.

Q: What level of information do you need on the job descriptions and resumes we are being asked to provide (EX: PE project coordinator, director of agency where the program is being housed)?

A: You will only need to provide resumes and/or position descriptions for the positions that will be funded whole or in part by the SIF grant. Nebraska Children has example job descriptions for Central Access and Youth Workers that will be posted on the website under Important Documents to be used as a general guide.

Q: Attachment 5 in RFP budget template – will a template be provided?

A: The Budget Template is provided on the website under Important Documents.

Q: Since these are federal funds, are you anticipating that we will need to create an RFP/RFQ for any position or service that’s hired or contracted?

A: Subgrantees/communities will be contracting for services, meaning you will not have to follow the strict RFP process. However, a collective decision making process will need to be documented in order to explain how the collaborative decided on how services were selected.

Q: Will you provide additional guidance on the wait list so we do not need a process in place for submission?

A: Yes, we will provide additional guidance. We will be looking at that model with our external evaluators and Nebraska Children so that we do not have to wait list any youth that may need assistance immediately. What is important for the RFP is for collaboratives to look at capacity. This would include budgeting the amount of staff time to do the evaluations, travel time, dollars to complete the evaluation, etc. As you are developing a budget, think of it in those terms to allow for that capacity. When it comes to the comparison groups – our concern is a comparison group within the community. EX: 200 youth on and 200 youth on a waiting list. We think a lot of those details will be resolved with a 3rd party evaluator.

Q: The descriptions provided for letters of commitment and letter support were confusing. We don’t know that we’ll have anyone that says they’ll be giving us $10,000 right off the bat. We may have letters that say they’ll continue to house Project Everlast.

A: We understand that the match commitment letters will be more difficult to obtain. Plan to try to at least get a letter of support from those institutions/partners. It is important to show through the letters of support that local funding options have been approached and that there is initial interest from local funding sources to support the Connected Youth Initiative work. Subgrantees have until the end of the grant year to have match dollars in place.

Q. Do you have a list of the Juvenile Justice dollars available by county?

A: A listing of 2015 Juvenile Justice dollars by County is available below. 2016 Applications for these funds are due in December 2015.

Juvenile Justice Dollars Available by County

Q. Where can I find numbers on youth in our community?

A: The link below has some rather rough and quick calculations with county-level data for 15- to 24-year-olds from the Census with estimates made to expand that to 14- to 24-year-olds per county. Presumably, you could use a 13.5% calculation to estimate the number of unconnected youth per county, but it is recommend that applicants be really careful how/when they use those estimates. These estimates again are really rough. If you have program level related data it is advised you rely on those numbers instead.

County Level Youth Data

Q: Grantee communities have to match their grant funds with unobligated non-federal public and/or private funds. What exactly are unobligated non-federal public and/or private funds?

A: The Social Innovation Fund recipients are required to raise match funds equal to the grant they receive. The match must be in cash from non-federal sources; in-kind match is not allowable. Matching funds must be unrestricted new or existing dollars. They cannot be previously obligated funding that is redirected for purposes of meeting the Social Innovation Fund match requirement.

Matching Funds
The non-federal share of the budget represents the dollar-for-dollar cash matching funds requirement. Any organization that receives a SIF award is responsible for securing the necessary matching funds. Matching funds may come from state, local, or private sources, which may include state or local government agencies, businesses, private philanthropic organizations, or individuals. Federal funds may not be used toward the match requirement. The non-federal share of the budget must equal or exceed the federal share of the budget (this implements the dollar-for-dollar cash match requirement). There is no requirement that the non-federal share of the budget “mirror” or be allocated on the same basis as the federal share of the budget. For example, it is not required that 80 percent of the recipient’s share of funds be allocated to subrecipients, as is required for the federal share.

Additionally:
If the applicant is an eligible partnership that includes a State Commission or a local government office, the state or local government involved must provide not less than 30 percent and not more than 50 percent of the matching funds.

Q: Are Tribal Governments eligible applicants? Can a Lincoln or Omaha-based organization apply if they have a satellite office in rural Nebraska?.

A: Yes. Any group that uses a collaborative and broad based stakeholders group to make decisions and prioritizes older youth needs is eligible to apply.

Q: Do all youth served need to have been in the foster care system, juvenile justice system or homeless? Can a youth who is high-risk be served if they haven't experienced any of the above?

A: Unconnected youth are defined as young adults ages 14 -24 in rural Nebraska who find themselves disconnected from a positive life course due to child welfare, juvenile justice system involvement (including diversion or young adults transitioning out of Probation), who have experienced homelessness, and are lacking the services and supports they need to make successful transitions to adulthood. Eligible youth who do not qualify due to one of the definition categories for unconnected youth have to be socially isolated due to a lack of a community response system, and have no social or biological networks to receive support. The community will need to show the purpose for prevention efforts to connect the youth with supports in order to prevent the youth or their children from entering into the child welfare system, re-offending, or becoming homeless.

Q: How much time will communities have to raise the required match dollars?.

A: A match dollar plan will need to be created as part of your response to the RFP. This should outline how the match will be raised in full by the end of the first fiscal year and account for how the match will also be raised for the second fiscal year.

Q: We have several divisions and subprograms that will be part of this application. Can we use some of their budgets as a cash match for the grant--or does all the cash match have be new hard cash match money?

A: If the dollars are already allocated or designated, they can’t be accounted to the match. If they are not yet budgeted towards one of these programs, they can be considered new dollars. It will depend on whether they have already been applied to the budgets of these programs.

Q: If a youth coming out of Probation wants to become involved with the Collected Youth Initiative project, but lives in a different county than the one identified in the grant, would they be able to participate?

A: The SIF grant focuses on unconnected youth in our communities. The community will need to decide how youth will benefit by being connected to supports outside of their chosen geographical area. If the resources and services within the defined geographical area benefit the youth by connecting them to supports within the community or in their residential community these services would be available through the SIF grant.

Q: Could we start with the County in which the collaborative is located and then expand our project area in Year 2 if there were youth in the surrounding counties that we were not able to serve?

A: Communities should look at a broad geographical area for initial planning and during implementation this can be reduced once population numbers are discovered.

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