United Way of Buffalo & Erie County 2022-2024 Request for Proposal FAQ
(Last updated 10/22/21)
1. General questions
When is my application due?
Applications are due no later than Friday, October 29, 2021 at 4:00pm.
Who do I contact if I have questions about my application?
Please email Christy Panagakis at [email protected] with any questions. We can’t guarantee a response if you submit questions anywhere else.
Can you help me determine which focus areas, strategies, or outcome measures to apply for?
While we always aim to be helpful when we can, due to the competitive nature of this process we cannot provide individual advice or coaching.
It’s 3:58pm on the due date and I have a question! What do I do?
You can always send an email to [email protected], but UWBEC staff will not be available for assistance after 4pm on the day the application is due.
How long does my program need to have been in existence to apply?
We will accept applications from programs who have been in operation since at least September 1, 2019.
Does the program or the organization need to be operational since September 1, 2019?
The program needs to be operational since at least September 1, 2019.
Can I apply for a program that was operational before September 1, 2019 but is not currently operating?
Our goal with requiring programs to be operational before September 1, 2019 is because we are seeking to fund programs that have a history of operations and successes to date. While we will accept applications from programs that have existed in the recent past but are not currently operational, we would also advise you include background about why the program does not currently exist, if/how program clients were helped to transition out of the program, and also prior program successes.
My program has been operational since before September 1, 2019 but I would like to apply for an additional service within the program. Is that possible?
We will accept applications that include additional services or an expansion of existing services, but also we will still be looking for the application to make a strong case for the work of the program and its successes to date prior to the addition of services/program expansion.
To which focus areas can I apply?
All of our focus areas are open for applications. While in the past we had some focus areas that were not eligible for new applications, that is no longer the case in this cycle.
How do I know if my program is eligible to apply? And, how do I know if my program is a good fit for UWBEC funding?
Eligibility criteria can be found on page 3 of the RFP. Fit is a bit trickier to determine. Look closely at the goal, strategies, and outcome measures for each focus area - the strongest fit is if you know your program compellingly and comprehensively speaks to each of those criteria.
How many strategies should I choose in my application? Will I have a better chance of receiving funding if I include more than one?
Use the scoring rubric as a guide as you craft your application - it is exactly the same rubric as what the reviewers will use when scoring. In addition, focus on telling the most compelling and comprehensive story you can. More is not necessarily better.
Can an organization submit more than one application for funding?
Yes! We accept multiple applications per organization. However, we do not accept more than one application per program.
Will UWBEC fund more than one program per organization within the same focus area?
Yes! We are willing to fund multiple programs from one organization within a focus area.
My program addresses multiple focus areas. Should I combine them all into one application or submit separate applications?
Because we do not accept more than one application per program, you will want to apply in the one focus area where you feel your program is the strongest. While you need to choose strategies and outcome measures in that one focus area, you are welcome to reference your work in the other areas in your application.
Should I plan for my funding request to be used to meet my program’s current budget, or can it be used to grow/expand my program?
You will want to look to the scoring rubric to guide how you make this decision. In addition, the “how to apply” section on page 4 of the RFP lists the types of requests that we do not intend to fund.
How much money will be granted out during this cycle? How does this compare to the amount during the 2019-2021 cycle?
The amount that we grant out is based on the success of our fundraising campaign, which is currently ongoing. While we hope to grant out the same amount, or more, as our last cycle, at this point it is too early for us to be able to answer this question with certainty.
Will funding be distributed equally across all seven focus areas?
Currently UWBEC staff are developing a strategy for how to distribute funding across focus areas. Because that work is still in process, we’re unable to answer this question at this time.
Will you accept an application from a program that acts as a payee for clients to receive services from a third party vendor?
Yes, we will accept applications which propose acting as a payee for clients to receive special services or certifications from a third party vendor.
New! My program has partnered with UWBEC in the past, but I’m concerned our geographic area and/or population served means we may not score well on all of the application questions. Will this rule out our program for funding?
While we are making a shift as an organization with respect to populations we prioritize as part of our efforts to address systemic inequity, we built the geography and population questions in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion section in a way such that an applicant who is working outside of those priorities but scores well on many of the other questions can still be in contention for funding.
2. Online form questions
Where can I find the link to the online application?
The link to the online application, along with all other relevant information, can be found at uwbec.org/funding.
Can I start my application and come back later to finish it?
Yes! At the top of the application is a box that reads “Save my progress and resume later.” When you check that box, you will be able to enter your email and create a password to come back later. Make sure you write down your login info in a safe place.
I forgot to write down my login info in a safe place - what do I do?
You can email [email protected] to be reminded of your login email and password. Please allow us 48 hours to get back to you with your login info. If we have not responded after 48 hours, feel free to email us again.
How can I be sure that my application was submitted successfully?
After you submit your application, you should see a message that reads “Thank you for completing the 2022-2024 United Way of Buffalo & Erie County application for program funding. This message means your application has been successfully submitted. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].” If you don’t see that message, your application hasn’t been submitted.
What do I do if I’m planning to save and submit multiple applications?
Use the “Save my progress and resume later” each time, but make sure you use the same email address and password for every application. When you come back to the form, log in using the “resume a previously saved form” function and you will see a list of every application you have started.
My list of saved forms doesn’t include my agency or program names, only reference numbers. Is that a mistake?
No, the form is functioning correctly. This particular form just doesn’t have the ability to pull agency or program names into the list.
When I look at the online application, where are questions 24 and 25?
The answer choices to questions 24 and 25 depend on how you answer question 23. After you input your answer to question 23, questions 24 and 25 will show up on the screen.
New! The budget questions aren’t totalling up correctly. What should I do?
Try removing any characters other than the numbers themselves, such as commas or dollar signs.
3. Application specific questions
Every narrative question says 5,000 characters. Am I expected to use all of them?
No, we don’t expect you to use the whole space for every question. We standardized the amount of space available to make it easier for you as you’re building your answers. Please only use as much space as your answer needs; longer answers are not always better answers.
Does the 5,000 character limit include spaces?
Yes, the character limit does include spaces.
Do you have a maximum funding request?
No, there is no upper limit for the amount of funding you can request. However, there is a minimum application request of $30,000. Most applicants request between 15 and 25% of their total program budget.
Can my application request the total amount of our program budget?
Because there is no upper limit to the request, the request certainly could be for the total amount of a program’s budget. However, UWBEC’s preference is to fund programs who have a diverse series of funding.
Does the $30,000 minimum request apply to one year of funding or the entire two-year funding cycle?
The minimum funding request is with respect to one year of funding. When you answer Q18 (total amount requested) please tell us the amount you are requesting for one year.
Because my funding request is for one year of funding, should my proposed outcomes also be for one year?
Yes, when you’re thinking about your program outcomes please also answer with respect to what you expect to achieve in one year.
Can you reference multiple programs in one application?
While it’s okay to mention other programs within your organization, you will want to focus your application largely on the single program for which you’re applying.
Can our program extend beyond Erie County? And if it does span multiple counties should our narrative only focus on the Erie County impact?
We welcome applications from programs who work in other counties in addition to Erie County. While you can reference the work your program does in other counties, we would ask that you largely focus the narrative on the work you do in Erie County.
How does UWBEC define a capital item/expense?
A capital item is defined as an item with a useful life of two years or more and a cost of $1,000 or more.
Question 16 asks for my organization’s most recent audited financial statements or independent accountant’s report according to the requirements of the New York State Attorney General Charities Bureau. My organization does not do an audit every year, but we work with an accountant to review our books. Will the report that comes from that review be enough?
Yes, we just ask that you share with us the most rigorous review of your organization’s financials you have available. You are also welcome to add a cover page to your report that explains the process your organization uses to review its financials with an independent accountant.
New! In question 22, should I describe all of the programs at my organization or just the program for which we are applying?
While you are welcome to make reference to other programs at your organization, this question is focused on learning more about the program for which you are applying.
I know my program can report on one outcome measure in question 24, but I’m not sure if we can meet two more. What should I do?
We are open to and encourage programs to think innovatively about if there are ways they can meet at least three of the outcome measures for their chosen focus area. However, it is critically important to us that we fund programs who are able to share strong data with respect to the outcome measures. In addition, we don’t want programs to sacrifice quality just to meet our funding requirements. If it feels like too much of a stretch for your program to meet three outcome measures, UWBEC may just not be the right fit for your program at this time.
Are there a minimum number of required strategies in question 25?
No, you are not required to choose a minimum number of strategies in your response.
Is Question 27 asking about past successes of my program or what successes we expect to achieve if we receive funding?
This question is aimed at learning more about the successes of your program to date.
Question 29 asks about partnering with UWBEC grants or initiatives. What does that mean?
We mean specific programmatic initiatives that are spearheaded by UWBEC, such as Breastfeeding Friendly Continuum, CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), Doula Task Force, Emergency Food and Shelter Program, Full Service Community Schools, Girls in Sports, GO Buffalo Mom, IMPLICIT Interconception Care, Siemer Family Stability Program, United Way Works, and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) sites. This does not include work with our funded partner agencies or partnering on UWBEC volunteer engagement opportunities such as Day of Caring or Business Meets Community.
Looking at questions 38 through 42, should we answer about our program or our organization?
Questions 38, 39, and 40 should be answered about the program for which you’re applying. In contrast, questions 41 and 42 are about your organization itself.
What if my program doesn’t collect data about questions 38, 39, and 40? Is there space for me to explain more?
As we grow and evolve as an organization, it is increasingly important for us that we fund programs who are already collecting this information. However, there is space in question 33 to explain more about the data collection processes your program currently has in place.
How do you define senior leadership in question 41?
Senior leadership is defined as C-level/C-suite leadership.
4. Focus Area specific questions
What type of Early Learning and Development and School-Age Learning outcome measures can be used?
There isn’t one right answer to this question. We are looking for programs to use internally-developed, research-based diagnostic tools. These tools should include ways to assess student and program growth and/or improvement multiple times in a year. For example, a program may develop or use a tool to measure student socioemotional development and collect that measurement in October, January, and June as a way to show evidence of program growth within that year.
In the Early Learning and Development and School-Age Learning focus areas, what does 50% growth mean?
50% of growth is equivalent to one year of learning growth. To put that another way, if a student’s growth increases by 50% from the beginning to the end of the school year, that student has shown average growth.
In the School-Age Learning focus area, can cultural responsiveness include children with disabilities and their families?
While we are putting a lot of emphasis on cultural responsiveness with respect to race and ethnicity, it can absolutely also include children with disabilities and their families. However, you will want to make sure your application is able to make a strong case for how you'll also be able to meet your chosen outcome measures in the way they're articulated in the RFP.
In the Early Learning and Development and School-Age Learning focus areas, what are the criteria for determining whether a child is at risk for social and emotional learning issues?
Most social and emotional learning programs use the CASEL model to identify the skills needed for all children. Social and emotional learning assessment tools would identify children at risk based on inputs from teachers or provider surveys.
Can you explain more how to interpret the “Adopting trauma-informed practices that improve family engagement and actively avoid re-traumatization” strategy under the Trauma-Informed Care section?
What we mean with this strategy is that we want to ensure individuals and families are not re-traumatized as a result of their experiences with the agencies serving them.
My school-based program only runs during the summer. How would I report student growth scores?
We would ask that you only report scores for students who are in the summer program. To put it another way, we wouldn't want to see an average growth scored for all students. Instead we would only want to see the scores of students from the end of the year to beginning of the year that participated in the summer school program.
What ages fall into Early Learning and Development?
We define Early Learning and Development as being age 8 and younger.
What ages fall into School-Age Learning?
We define school-age learning as being pre-k through 12th grade.
What ages fall into Childhood Obesity?
We define childhood obesity as being age 18 and younger.
New! One of the School-Age Learning outcome measures reads “Program professionals who work with students in any capacity to receive training to ensure they are offering services that meet student needs.” Who counts as a program professional?
We think of an organization’s leadership and staff as the program professionals mentioned in this outcome measure.
New! What is the difference between these two outcome measures in the Early Learning and Development area? “Teachers and other providers attending training that improve outcomes for children” and “Administrators and childcare providers attending professional development about how to develop high quality childcare programs”
"Administrators and childcare providers attending professional development about how to develop high quality childcare programs" is specific to professional development that leads to high quality childcare standards as identified by qualified agencies such as QUALITYStarsNY. “Teachers and other providers attending training that improve outcomes for children” is about general professional development that are research-based best practices in schools, with a higher priority given to practices that support BIPOC students (like Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education).