RFA Review Criteria - RETURNING applicants

Date: 
01/07/2022
Document Text Version

2022-2023 Iowa AmeriCorps State RFA- Formula
Final Application Review Criteria- Returning Applicants
This application criteria is applicable for RETURNING applications for FORMULA funding. A returning program is defined as: a program proposal from a current program sponsor seeking funding for the same AmeriCorps program. Current Iowa AmeriCorps State program sponsors who wish to develop a new project for 2022-2023 must submit a separate New Pre-Application for that proposal and if accepted to submit a final application for the new project will follow the criteria for new applicants.
Categories/Subcategories
Percentage
Executive Summary
0
Program Design
50
Theory of Change and Logic Model
24
Evidence Tier
12
Evidence Quality
8
Notice Priority
0
Member Experience
6
Organizational Capability
25
Organizational Background and Staffing
9
Compliance and Accountability
8
Culture That Values Learning
4
Member Supervision
4
Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy
25
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 have [Number of] AmeriCorps members who will [service activities the members will be doing] in [the locations the AmeriCorps members will serve]. At the end of the first program year, the AmeriCorps members will be responsible for [anticipated outcome of project]. In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage [number of leveraged volunteers, if applicable] who will be engaged in [what the leveraged volunteers will be doing.]
This program will focus on the AMERICORPS focus area(s) of [Focus Area(s)]. * The AMERICORPS investment of $[amount of request] will be matched with $[amount of projected match], $[amount of local, state, and Federal funds] in public funding and $[amount of non-governmental funds] in private funding.
*If the program is not operating in a AMERICORPS focus area, omit this sentence.
Fixed-Amount grant applicants (EAP, Full-cost Fixed, No Cost Slots) should list their Other Revenue (see Mandatory Supplemental Information) because they are not required to provide a specific amount of match, but still raise significant additional resources to operate the program.
b. Program Design (50 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Reviewers will consider the quality of the application’s response to the criteria below. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value. Please ensure the Theory of Change and Logic Model incorporates the funding priorities listed above, for example supporting communities historically excluded and/or underserved from government services, addressing structural and institutional inequities, or increasing opportunity in order to achieve sustainable change in communities.
2022-2023 Review Criteria- Returning Applicants
(i) Theory of Change and Logic Model (24 points)
The Theory of Change shall address:
• The problem is prevalent and severe in communities where the program plans to serve and has been documented with relevant data.
• The proposed intervention is responsive to the identified community problem.
• The applicant’s proposed intervention is clearly articulated including the design, dosage, target population, and roles of AmeriCorps members and (if applicable) leveraged volunteers.
• The applicant’s intervention is likely to lead to the outcomes identified in the applicant’s Theory of Change.
• The expected outcomes articulated in the application narrative and logic model represent meaningful progress in addressing the community problem identified by the applicant.
• The rationale for utilizing AmeriCorps members to deliver the intervention(s) is reasonable.
• The service role of AmeriCorps members will produce significant contributions to existing efforts to address the stated problem.
The Logic Model shall depict:
• A summary of the community problem, including the role current or historical inequities faced by underserved communities may play in contributing to the problem.
• The inputs or resources that are necessary to deliver the intervention, including but not limited to:
o Locations or sites in which members will provide services
o Number of AmeriCorps members who will deliver the intervention
• The core activities that define the intervention or program model that members will implement or deliver, including:
o The duration of the intervention (e.g., the total number of weeks, sessions, or months of the intervention)
o The dosage of the intervention (e.g., the number of hours per session or sessions per week)
o The target population for the intervention (e.g., disconnected youth, third graders at a certain reading proficiency level)
• The measurable outputs that result from delivering the intervention (i.e. number of beneficiaries served, types and number of activities conducted, equity gaps closed). If applicable, identify which National Performance Measures will be used as output indicators
• Outcomes that demonstrate changes in knowledge/skill, attitude, behavior, or condition that occur as a result of the intervention. If applicable, identify which National Performance Measures will be used as outcome indicators.
Note: The logic model is a visual representation of the applicant’s Theory of Change. Programs should include short, medium, or long-term outcomes in the logic model. Applicants are not required to measure all components of their Theory of Change. The applicant’s performance measures should be consistent with the program’s Theory of Change and should represent significant program activities.
In the application narrative, applicants should discuss the community need as it relates to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/placeandhealth/svi/index.html.
Also in the application narrative, applicants should discuss their rationale for setting output and outcome targets for their performance measures.
2022-2023 Review Criteria- Returning Applicants
Rationales and justifications should be informed by the organization’s performance data (e.g., program data observed over time that suggests targets are reasonable), relevant research (e.g. targets documented by organizations running similar programs with similar populations), or prior program evaluation findings.
Applicants with multiple interventions should complete one Logic Model chart which incorporates each intervention. Logic model content that exceeds three pages will not be reviewed.
(ii) Evidence Base (20 points)
The assessment of an applicant’s evidence base has two parts. First, the applicant will be assigned to an evidence tier (see the Mandatory Supplemental Information.) Second, the quality of the applicant’s evidence and the degree to which it supports the proposed program design, including program aligned with the priority areas identified above, will be assessed and scored.
Evidence Tier (12 points)
An evidence tier will be assessed for each applicant for the purpose of understanding the relative strength of each applicant’s evidence base and the likelihood that the proposed intervention will lead to outcomes identified in the logic model.1
Applicants who have outcome or impact evaluation reports of the same intervention described in the application (see Mandatory Supplemental Intervention for a definition of “same intervention”) may submit up to 2 of those reports, plus (if applicable) the evaluation report from their last three-year grant cycle, to qualify for the Preliminary, Moderate, or Strong evidence tier. In order to qualify for consideration, the intervention evaluated in the submitted report(s) must match the intervention proposed by the applicant in the following areas, all of which must be clearly described in the Program Design and Logic Model sections of the application:
• Characteristics of the beneficiary population, including evidence of current or historic inequities facing the population;
• Characteristics of the population delivering the intervention;
• Dosage (frequency and duration) and design of the intervention, including all key components and activities;
• The context in which the intervention is delivered; and
• Outcome of the intervention.
Submitted reports that do not sufficiently match the intervention proposed by the applicant in all of these areas will not be considered applicable and will not be reviewed or receive any points. Submission of additional documents that are not consistent with the guidance and requirements described in the Notice (e.g., advocacy pieces, policy briefs, other narratives that are not research studies or program evaluations) will not be reviewed.
1 In 2021, the evidence tiers of successful AmeriCorps State and National applicants that were competing were as follows: Strong 38%, Moderate 19%, Preliminary 16%, and Pre-Preliminary 26%. As these figures indicate, AmeriCorps values and funds programs at all points along the evidence continuum and expects programs to progress along the evidence continuum over time. Thus, do not be deterred from applying for funding due to your current evidence level.
2022-2023 Review Criteria- Returning Applicants
In the Evidence Tier section of the application narrative, applicants must (1) summarize the study design and key findings of any outcome or impact evaluation report(s) submitted and (2) describe any other evidence that supports their program, including past performance measure data and/or other research studies that inform their program design. Applicants who submit evaluation reports for consideration must also describe in the Evidence Base section of the application narrative how the intervention described in the submitted reports is the same as the intervention described in the application (see Mandatory Supplemental Information).
Applicants should provide citations for the studies they describe, if applicable; however, reviewers will not review any documents external to the application other than evaluation report(s) submitted in accordance with the Notice instructions.
Applicants must meet all requirements of an evidence tier in order to be considered for that tier.
If the evaluation reports submitted by the applicant do not meet the definitions in the Mandatory Supplemental Information, the applicant may be considered for a lower evidence tier.
Evidence Quality (8 points)
After the applicant’s evidence tier has been assessed, the quality of the applicant’s evidence and the extent to which it supports the proposed program design will be assessed and scored.
Applicants who are assessed as being in the Preliminary, Moderate, or Strong evidence tiers, reviewers will score the submitted evaluation reports using the following standards:
• The submitted reports are of satisfactory methodological quality and rigor for the type of evaluation conducted (e.g., adequate sample size and statistical power, internal and/or external validity, appropriate use of control or comparison groups, etc.);
• The submitted reports describe evaluations that were conducted relatively recently, preferably within the last six years;
• The submitted reports show a meaningful and significant positive effect on program beneficiaries in at least one key outcome of interest.
Applicants that are assessed as being in the Pre-Preliminary evidence tier, reviewers will score the narrative provided in the Evidence Base section of the application using the following standards:
• The applicant uses relevant evidence, including past performance measure data and/or cited research studies, to inform their proposed program design;
• The described evidence is relatively recent, preferably from the last six years;
• The evidence described by the applicant indicates a meaningful positive effect on program beneficiaries in at least one key outcome of interest.2
(iii) Notice Priority (0 points)
• The applicant proposed program fits within one or more of the AmeriCorps funding priorities as outlined in the Funding Priorities section and more fully described in the Mandatory Supplemental Information and the proposed program meets all of the requirements detailed in the Funding Priorities section and in the Mandatory Supplemental Information.
2 Applicants assessed in the Pre-Preliminary evidence tier that do not provide adequate responses to the Evidence Quality standards will not meet the threshold requirements for this Notice and will not be considered for funding.
2022-2023 Review Criteria- Returning Applicants
(iv) Member Experience (6 points)
• AmeriCorps members as a result of their service will have opportunities to develop as leaders.
• AmeriCorps members will gain skills as a result of their training and service that can be utilized and will be valued by future employers after their service term is completed.
• The program has a well-defined plan to recruit AmeriCorps members from the geographic or demographic communities in which the programs operate.
• The applicant will foster an inclusive service culture where different backgrounds, talents, and capabilities are welcomed and leveraged for learning and effective service delivery.
• The applicant’s organization and/or program has a diversity, equity, and inclusion council that seeks to diversity its staff and board and create a supportive and safe environment as well ensure that its programming is culturally and community appropriate.
c. Organizational Capability (25 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Reviewers will consider the quality of the application’s response to the following criteria below. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value.
(i) Organizational Background and Staffing (9 points)
• The organization details the roles, responsibilities, and structure of the staff that will be implementing the AmeriCorps program as well as providing oversight and monitoring for the program.
• The organization has facilitated, partnered, or participated in educational or workforce development programs (i.e., pre-apprenticeship/registered apprenticeship, work experience and job training programs, etc.).
• The organization has a stated commitment and plan to advance diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) throughout its mission, for example by using a DEI council or strategic plan.
(ii) Compliance and Accountability (8 points)
• The organization has a monitoring and oversight plan to prevent and detect non-compliance and enforce compliance with AmeriCorps rules and regulations including those related to prohibited and unallowable activities and criminal history checks at the grantee, subgrantee (if applicable), and service site locations.
• The organization has sufficient policies, procedures, and controls in place to prevent, detect, and mitigate the risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, such as appropriate segregation of duties, internal oversight activities, measures to prevent timekeeping fraud, etc.
• The organization has an effective mechanism in place to report, without delay, any suspected criminal activity, waste, fraud, and/or abuse to both the AmeriCorps Office of Inspector General and AmeriCorps and a plan for training staff and participants on these reporting protocols.
• The AmeriCorps-required evaluation report meets AmeriCorps requirements (if applicable).
• The AmeriCorps-required evaluation report is of satisfactory quality (if applicable).
(iii) Culture that Values Learning (4 points)
• The applicant's board, management, and staff collect and use information, including performance data, for learning and decision making.
• The applicant’s board, management, and staff collect and use information to determine its programmatic effectiveness in serving in a community with members that are diverse.
2022-2023 Review Criteria- Returning Applicants
(iv) Member Supervision (4 points)
• AmeriCorps members will receive sufficient guidance and support from their supervisor to provide effective service.
• AmeriCorps supervisors will be adequately trained/prepared to follow AmeriCorps and program regulations, priorities, and expectations.
d. Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy (25 percent of AMERICORPS scoring)
Reviewers will assess the quality of the application’s budget to the following criteria below. Do not assume all sub-criteria are of equal value. These criteria will be assessed based on the budget submitted. Do not include narrative in the narrative box except for “See budget”.
(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.
• The budgeted match is equal to or more than the required match for the given program year.
• The cost per MSY is equal to or less than the maximum cost per MSY.
Proposed budgets that contain MSY costs that exceed the maximum cost per MSY and/or less than required match will be considered unresponsive to the application criteria.
Applicants must complete the budget and ensure the following information is in the budget
screens:
• Current indirect rate cost rate information if used to claim indirect/administrative costs.
• Identify the non-AmeriCorps funding and resources necessary to support the project, including Fixed Amount applicants.
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.
e. Evaluation Plan (0 percent for AMERICORPS scoring)
If the applicant has previously received three or more years of competitive funding for the same project being proposed (see the Mandatory Supplemental Information for the AmeriCorps definition of “same project”), the applicant must submit an evaluation plan as an attachment (see the Submission of Additional Documents section for more information). If the applicant has previously received six or more years of competitive funding for the same project being proposed, the applicant must submit both an evaluation plan and an evaluation report as attachments.
Applicants should use the evaluation plan template available on the AmeriCorps State Grants page of the Volunteer Iowa website to craft their evaluation plans. The template document provides detailed information about the AmeriCorps evaluation requirements (45 CFR 2522.700-710) and specifies the information that must be provided for the evaluation plan to be approved by AmeriCorps. The evaluation plan will not be scored and will not be reviewed until after funding decisions have been made.
All applicants should enter “N/A” in the “Evaluation Summary or Plan” field of the Narrative. Any other text entered in this field will not be reviewed.
2022-2023 Review Criteria- Returning Applicants
f. Amendment Justification (0 percent)
Enter N/A. This field will be used if the applicant is awarded a grant and needs to amend it.
g. Clarification Information (0 percent)
Please make a heading entitled “FY 2022 Match replacement” and enter the dollar amount of match replacement your program would like to request. The amount cannot result in your program being above the maximum cost per MSY. Should your application go to clarification, this field will also be used to enter information that requires clarification in the post-review period.
h. Continuation Changes (0 percent)
New and recompeting applicants enter N/A. This field will be used to enter changes in the application narratives in continuation requests.
Continuation applicants should consult the Final Application Instructions to find the required criteria to respond to as part of the continuation request. Most continuation responses will be entered directly into this field, without making changes to the other narrative sections.

Printed from the website on October 01, 2022 at 8:01pm.