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Moving Forward Together Grant RFA, F-03029 (04/2022)

Request for Application (RFA): Moving Forward Together Grant Program

Timetable 

Application Open  

April 29, 2022  

Application Due   

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are dispersed.

Anticipated Award Notification  

30–45 days from receipt of application  

Application Questions 

Applicants should submit all questions about this RFA to: dhsmovingforwardtogethergrant@dhs.wisconsin.gov.   


Overview  

The State of Wisconsin recognizes that community-based organizations and other trusted messengers are experts in their communities’ needs. They are therefore best positioned to address concerns and barriers related to promoting acceptance of and access to COVID-19 vaccination, especially among historically sidelined and underserved communities. It comes as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated in real-time that traditionally neglected populations and communities suffer more at the hands of this disease than others. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), state and national data both show that throughout the pandemic, Hispanic, Black, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander communities have experienced higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death. Compared to white Wisconsin residents, Hispanic populations are 1.2 times more likely to acquire COVID-19. Black residents are 1.8 times more likely to be hospitalized, and American Indian residents are 1.3 times more likely to die.   

Vaccination rates continue to be low in communities of color, with Black residents 30% less likely to be vaccinated than white residents. Additionally, racial and ethnic minority groups* and people living in rural communities have disproportionate rates of chronic diseases, which increases the severity of COVID-19 infection. They are more likely to experience barriers to accessing vaccinations, testing, and treatment. The safe, efficient, and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine can only be successful through developing and nurturing meaningful relationships with partners. This includes investing resources in communities that reflect health inequities and barriers related to social determinants of health. 

To address inequities, the Moving Forward Together Grant Program will build on lessons learned from similar grant opportunities, and insights we have gathered from partners and residents across the state. This grant program will further explore and work to overcome structural inequities, lift communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and continue to engage existing trusted messengers. These trusted messengers will provide health education and COVID-19 vaccination efforts as the state transitions from an emergency pandemic response into a recovery and endemic phase.

*Disclaimer: The State of Wisconsin acknowledges that the racial and ethnic terminology being used may not be inclusive or representative of many community members. This language was used to align with data and information obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.   

Opportunity  

Supported by DHS, this funding award seeks to empower communities to remove barriers and promote acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, especially for communities that face challenges accessing medical care or people who have historical trauma and mistrust of government agencies, the medical community, and/or vaccines due to past breaches in relationships. The awarded organizations will build upon new and/or existing relationships in the community and will use new or adapt existing strategies to meet the unique identified needs. Grantees will use culturally, linguistically, and locally tailored strategies to:  

  • Build and maintain relationships of respect and cultivate trust.  

  • Strengthen data availability and quality for communities’ planning and analysis.  

  • Use asset-based community development strategies and build community capacity that promotes community leaders as public health decision-makers and policy advocates.  

  • Co-create culturally and linguistically diverse media and outreach and education.  

To identify communities that are ready and committed to engaging in this work, DHS puts forward the following shared principles for this grant award:  

  • Interest in building trust from shared values.  

  • Commitment to approaching problems with promising and community-based practices as well as evidence-based practices.  

  • Value for community partnerships and listening to the needs of the community to determine paths forward.  

  • Interest in authentic partnership building.  

  • Interest in mutual learning and operating from a place of curiosity and humility.  

  • Commitment to addressing barriers, root causes of inequities, and building community resilience for more equitable systems.  

By increasing knowledge of and access to COVID-19 vaccines, community outreach activities will facilitate improvements in COVID-19 vaccination rates and increase vaccination uptake for marginalized and other vaccine-hesitant individuals.  

Eligibility  

Eligible organizations must be based in and conduct their proposed community outreach work in Wisconsin, and be one of the following:  

  • Licensed residential, community-based care, or long-term care facility,  including independent living facility, assisted living center, nursing home, adult daycare center, etc. 

  • Early childhood education center or daycare facility   

  • College, university, K-12 school, or district 

  • Church or religious group

  • Local or tribal community-based organization 

  • Organization or business that employs a critical workforce  

  • Non-traditional provider or location that serves high-risk populations 

  • Non-profit entity certified as a 501(c)(3) by the federal Internal Revenue  Service  

  • Project sponsored by another 501(c)(3) organization  

  • Other partner that serves underserved populations 

Eligible organizations may not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, or national origin in their staffing policies, use of volunteers, or provision of services.  

Funding

Awards of up to $400,000 are available through this opportunity. Project expenses will be eligible for reimbursement with this funding from the notice of award through 11/30/2022. Extensions may be granted with prior approval. Applicants will be awarded based on available funding and application scores as determined by a review panel. Should additional funding become available at any point during the grant period, DHS reserves the right to use the results of this competitive application process to increase funding to selected agencies or to fund additional agencies that applied but were not funded originally. DHS also reserves the right to award grants for less than an applicant’s proposed amount. 

Mutual Commitments  

Grantee Commitments  

  • Submit two quarterly reports on 7/15/2022 and 10/15/2022.  

  1. Prepare and submit expense reports monthly (you must submit monthly even if you have no expenses for that month). Please download the example template here.

  • Submit a final report on activities, success stories, and lessons learned
  • Provide a document of ideas for potential action to further advance health equity in the community(ies) served by 2/15/2022.  
  • Use resources shared on the Grantee SharePoint.  

  • Use (or adapt, as needed) science-based information provided by DHS.  

  • Uphold public health practices and trauma-informed approaches in carrying forth this work.  

  • Use culturally competent messaging and services.  

  • Respond to requests for information/activity from DHS.  

  • Inform DHS about the progress, impacts, and outcomes of the effort.  

  • Solicit technical assistance and support from DHS to ensure accurate information.  

  • Outreach materials, including existing materials translated into additional languages, created with this award, are to be made available publicly for use with other communities and other areas of the state, as applicable.  

DHS Commitments  

  • Provide funding for efforts to enhance awareness, accessibility, and access to COVID-19 vaccination.  

  • Provide technical assistance on credible public health practices and the COVID-19 vaccination program.  

  • Respond to requests for information/activity from grantees.

Use of Funds  

As inequitable vaccination rates persist across the state, it is critical to continue supporting community-level efforts that will disseminate accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccines, address individual concerns, and eliminate barriers to vaccine access.  

This program will fund activities in Wisconsin focused on increasing knowledge and awareness of the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, addressing misinformation, decreasing vaccine hesitancy, and decreasing barriers to accessing the COVID-19 vaccine.   

Funds will not be distributed in advance for project expenses, but on a reimbursement basis through this grant program. The following is a list of allowable and unallowable project expenses. 

Please click here for allowable/unallowable expenses.

Debarment and Suspension Guidance 

Please complete the Debarment and Suspension form to attest that your organization is not disbarred or suspended. If you do not yet have a DUNS number, we encourage you to apply for one. However, in the interim, you can fill in any 9-digit number under the “DUNS Number” spot, for example “000000000.” This will allow you to complete the form. Under the section “DHS Program or Project Point of Contact,” please enter the following inbox: dhsMovingForwardTogetherGrant@dhs.wisconsin.gov 

Audit Requirements  

Organizations that receive an award in the amount of $100,000 or more, are required to submit an audit no later than nine months from the end of your organization’s fiscal year or 30 days following the completion of the contract period, whichever is sooner. 

All audits should be sent to the following inbox: DHSAuditors@Wisconsin.gov

DHS may waive the audit requirement for agencies on a case-by-case basis.  An audit waiver may be granted based on several factors, including:  

  • the contract or grant amount is relatively small 

  • the audit cost is burdensome to the agency 

  • an alternative form of monitoring is available 

  • the agency’s level of risk is low as assessed by the purchasing agency.  

All case-by-case waiver requests require approval from DHS. Generally, DHS will not grant an agency’s audit waiver request if it occurs after the start of the contract period unless extenuating circumstances exist.  

Risk Assessments  

In accordance with 2 CFR 200.208-Specific Conditions, your organization will be subject to a risk assessment prior to any award made on behalf of DHS involving federal funding. The purpose of this assessment, which is an internal document used to monitor awards, is to ensure that your organization has the appropriate financial accounting and management systems in place. This assessment will be rated based on the following: low, medium, or high risk.  

The review of this assessment will cover details of your organization including but not limited to the following: financial stability, management and system standards, history of performance, audit reports and findings, and the ability to effectively implement requirements.   

Applicants with ratings of medium and high risk will be required to comply with additional terms and conditions outlined in the 2 CFR 200.208-Specific Conditions.  

Results of this assessment will be included in the official award package with further guidance. Please do not request the results of this assessment prior to your organization receiving an official award package.  

Application  

Submission   

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are dispersed.

Applicants should complete this online form in order to be considered. Applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of submission.   

Feel free to utilize the RFA form found here to draft your responses prior to final submission. Once started, the entire form must be completed. The online form will not save applicant answers prior to submission.   

Review   

All applications will be subject to an initial technical review for completeness and adherence to RFA specifications and requirements. Applications that fail the initial review will receive no further consideration. Applications that pass the initial technical review will be evaluated and scored by a panel of reviewers with knowledge of health equity, community outreach, public health, health care, and/or immunizations. Reviewers will independently evaluate and score applications. DHS will make awards to applicants who demonstrate the ability to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of this RFA.   

Favorable applications will reflect the following guidelines:   

  • Are culturally competent   

  • Can be started within one month of the award  

  • Comply with public health guidance about COVID-19   

  • Are capable of increasing knowledge and awareness of COVID-19 vaccines   

  • Serve and/or can reach many marginalized people or those belonging to marginalized communities  

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the target population, barriers faced, and ways to advance racial/economic/geographic equity   

  • Demonstrate experience working within the identified population(s)/community(ies)

  • Use a collaborative approach   

  • Organizational staff will reflect the communities they serve  

DHS reserves the right to reject all submissions. DHS also reserves the option to hold discussions with agencies about their applications for clarification purposes. If discussions are conducted, applicants may be invited to modify their applications as needed.