2022-2023 Iowa AmeriCorps State RFA- Formula
Final Application Review Criteria & Adjustments- PLANNING Applicants
AmeriCorps Planning Grant Applicants- Final Application Review Criteria
E.2. Final Application Review Criteria for Formula Program Grants
This application criteria is applicable for PLANNING grant applications for FORMULA funding. A planning grant is defined as: a proposal to plan for an AmeriCorps program from a new legal applicant or for a new project from an existing/recent legal applicant.
Rationale and Approach/Program Design
Program Model and AmeriCorps
Organizational Background and Staffing
Compliance and Accountability
Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy
a. Executive Summary (0 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Please fill in the blanks of these sentences to complete the Executive Summary. Do not deviate from the template below.
The [Name of the organization] proposes to develop an AmeriCorps program serving in [the location(s) the AmeriCorps program will serve] that will focus on the CNCS focus area(s) of [Focus Area(s)]. The CNCS investment of $[amount of request] will be matched with $[amount of projected match], $[amount of local, state, tribal, and federal funds] in public funding and $[amount of non-governmental funds] in private funding. No AmeriCorps members will be needed to execute this plan.
*Volunteer Iowa tip- Write this section last, after all sections are complete.
b. Rationale and Approach/Program Design (50 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
(i) Need (5 points)
• Describe the need you plan to address with your AmeriCorps program and provide evidence that the need exists.
• Briefly describe any current activities in which your organization engages to address the community need.
(ii) Program Model and AmeriCorps (45 points)
While the planning grant will help to determine specifics of the program, applicants should include as much information as possible about the potential AmeriCorps program.
• Explain why AmeriCorps members are a highly effective means to address the identified community need (as opposed to other human resources, such as paid employees, community volunteers, etc.). Include your organization’s commitment to utilizing national service as a strategy to further your mission.
• Describe the activities in which you propose to engage AmeriCorps members and how those activities will address the identified community need(s). Explain how AmeriCorps members will
2022-2023 Review Criteria- New Applicants
be addressing an unmet need and will not be duplicating or displacing any current staff, volunteers, or other services that your organization already provides related to this need. • Describe how you propose to provide AmeriCorps members with meaningful professional development and civic engagement opportunities as a part of their service terms.
(iii) Notice Priority (0 points)
• Note if the planning grant application or proposed future AmeriCorps program aligns with any AmeriCorps Funding Priorities (not Focus Areas) as outlined in the Funding Priorities section of the RFA and more fully described in the Mandatory Supplemental Information or with any Volunteer Iowa Program Development Priorities as outlined in the RFA or in more detail in the State Priority Certification worksheet. Simply list for consideration, the rest of the application will speak to this in depth.
c. Organizational Capability (25 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Describe your organization’s ability to successfully manage the planning grant and utilize the funds and time period to plan an AmeriCorps program, including but not limited to the following criteria. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value. Reviewers will consider the quality of the application’s response.
(i) Organizational Background and Staffing (15 points)
• The organization details the roles, responsibilities, and structure of the staff that will be undertaking the AmeriCorps planning activities and eventually implementing the AmeriCorps program, as well as providing oversight and monitoring for the program. If specific individuals have not been identified, describe the qualification criteria that will be applied to selecting the program leadership. Include how the organization is prepared to begin planning activities in a timely fashion in order to meet planning grant milestones.
• Share any past experience in operating a comparable program, or in facilitating similar volunteer/service or workforce development programs. Also share other major state or federal grants that your organization has managed.
• Identify any existing partners and plans to engage community members, prospective members and/or partner organizations in the planning process.
• Describe the organization’s commitment and plans to advance diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) through its work.
(ii) Compliance and Accountability (5 points)
• Describe how the applicant has the experience, staffing, and management structure to manage the planning grant funds and carry out the planning grant process. Include the systems and processes that the applicant has for sound programmatic and fiscal oversight of the proposed AmeriCorps program, or how it plans to develop this capacity.
• Describe what preparation has been done with agency leadership, board, staff, partners, and stakeholders to gain support for and prepare the organization to host the proposed program.
(iii) Resource Development (5 points)
• Detail the organization’s experience in securing outside cash and in-kind contributions. Additionally, describe the resources that could potentially be utilized/secured to assist the organization in supporting an operational AmeriCorps program.
d. Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy (25 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
2022-2023 Review Criteria- New Applicants
Do not include narrative in the narrative box except for “See budget”. Reviewers will assess the quality of the submitted budget to the following criteria. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value.
(i) Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy (25 points)
• Budget is submitted without mathematical errors.
• Proposed costs are allowable, reasonable, and allocable to the award.
• Budget is submitted with adequate information to assess how each line item is calculated.
• Budget complies with the budget instructions.
• Match is submitted with adequate information to support the amount written in the budget. Indicate the amount of non-AmeriCorps resource commitments, type of commitments (in-kind and/or cash), the sources of these commitments, and if the commitments are proposed or secured.
• The budgeted match is equal to or more than the required match for the given program year. Proposed budgets that contain less than required match will be considered unresponsive to the application criteria.
• Applicants ensure the current indirect rate cost rate information is in organization’s eGrants account screens if used to claim indirect/administrative costs.
e. Evaluation Plan (0 percent)
Enter “N/A.” Evaluations and evaluation plans are not required for planning grants.
f. Other Narrative Sections (0 percent)
Enter “N/A” into the following sections: Amendment Justification, Clarification Summary, Continuation Changes.
AmeriCorps Planning Grant Applicants- Additional Details/Adjustments to the Request for Applications (RFA)
Anticipated Key Dates
Planning Grant Application Materials release date
July 19, 2022
Pre-Applications due to Volunteer Iowa
August 16, 2022
Notification to Applicants of Competitive or Formula Final Application Status
Application Technical Assistance Period
Final Applications & Supporting Documents due to Volunteer Iowa
September 13, 2022
Volunteer Iowa Clarification Period
Mid-Late September 2022
AmeriCorps Agency Clarification Period
Applicants Appear Before Volunteer Iowa Grant Review Committee Meeting
Funding Decisions Shared with Applicants
Following September 15, 2022 commission meeting
Applicant Resolution Period
After notification of funding decisions
Estimated Grant Start Date
November 1, 2022
2022-2023 Review Criteria- New Applicants
A.4. Performance Goals or Expected Outcomes- Performance Measures
Planning grants do not have a performance measure requirement as the goal of all planning grants is to plan for an AmeriCorps program. See the application instructions for guidance as to how to complete the performance measure module in eGrants.
B.2. Estimated Award Amount
Planning grants, which have no MSY, are limited to $75,000 in federal funding.
B.3. Period of Performance
Typically, planning grants are awarded for an initial six-month period and then an assessment is made to determine whether the planning period will be extended for an additional six months. Planning grants may not exceed one year in length and may have a project period of less than one year, depending on progress made and the start date of any subsequent operational grant that is awarded.
C.2. Threshold Issues
The minimum MSY threshold does not apply to planning grants, as they do not engage any members and therefore have no MSY.
D.2. Content and Form of Application Submission
For planning grants, the logic model is not required as part of the final application in eGrants and that section may be left blank.
D.4. Submission Dates and Times
For the planning competition, applicants may have a later due date for certain additional documents, as specified in the application instructions.
D.6. Funding Restrictions- Award Funding Requirements
Cost per MSY limits do not apply to planning grants, since they do not engage members; instead planning grants may request no more than $75,000 in federal funding. For the planning competition, the deadlines and format for electronic submission of the application and additional documents have been adjusted as noted in the funding announcement and application instructions.
D.7. Other Submission Requirements
Submission of Additional Documents: The following documents are not applicable to planning grants: (2). List of Proposed Project Sites, (3). Contact Information for Applicant Representative before the Grant Review Committee, (4). Evaluation Briefs, Reports, Studies, (5). State Priority Certification, (6). Waiver Forms, (9). Rural Intermediary Letters of Support, (11). Labor Union Concurrence.
E.4. Review and Selection Process
For the planning grant competition, staff are expected to be the primary reviewers, in order to provide feedback to the Programs Committee and full Commission while still meeting formula application deadlines from CNCS. Review and approval of final awards to planning applicants may differ from the process described in the full RFA and will be determined by the Commission based on the requests received.