The Community INNOVATION Grant program closed on April 14, 2023 at 5 pm.
Community INNOVATION Grant Overview
Child care is an economic driver for communities across Alaska, but many communities are facing a shortage of child care opportunities. The Community INNOVATION Grant supports current and new community projects responding to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to increase and sustain the availability of high quality, affordable licensed child care across Alaska.
thread, in partnership with the State of Alaska Department of Health, Child Care Program Office (CCPO), is calling for proposals from communities that are interested in focusing on strengthening child care through capacity building and workforce strategic development.
Project proposed budgets should be within the range of $100,000-$2,000,000.
The grant is possible through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), with the State of Alaska’s Child Care Program Office as the lead agency and thread as the intermediary for grant distribution.
This grant was also made possible by funds from Preschool Development Grant – Birth through Five (PDG B-5) grant number 90TP0103. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
- March 21: Call for Proposals opens
- March 28: Deadline for submitting questions for Question & Answer Session
- March 30: Virtual Question & Answer Session
- April 14: Call for Proposals closes at 5 pm
- April 24: Proposal review begins
- June 30: Notification to awarded projects
This grant opportunity is open to any Alaska community* interested in furthering its efforts in sustainable child care solutions and increasing access to high quality, affordable licensed child care.
Eligible applicants include:
- government entities
- federally recognized tribes
- private businesses with a State of Alaska business license in good standing
If more than one entity in a community is interested in applying, collaborative partnerships are encouraged.
*For the purpose of this grant, a community is defined as a regional area or group of individuals or a group that represents a combined need in the child care sector or child care adjacent services.
Why should communities participate?
Child care shortages in local communities impact both the economy and quality of life. Participation in this grant program provides opportunities to:
- Pilot innovation in child care solutions and/or collaborate with partners
- Meet the unique child care needs of a community
- Encourage community planning around the child care workforce, improved child care quality, capacity building, and family engagement
Information & Requirements for Proposal Submission
Alaska communities are invited to submit proposals that support projects focused on increasing access to affordable, high-quality licensed child care. The goal of this funding opportunity is to provide grants to projects that advance current and existing community efforts, as well as provide opportunities for the development of new community projects in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
Recognizing that Alaska’s communities are at various stages of identifying, planning and advancing their child care needs, a successful project proposal will potentially be designed with support from multiple local partners and demonstrate commitment from each applicant community to leverage and support this opportunity.
There are minimal funding restrictions as to types of projects allowed. Creativity is encouraged.
Due to the federal source of grant funds, project costs are allowable for any activities that are outlined under the CCDBG Act and CCDF regulations, as long as the activities are responding to impacts of COVID-19.
- New building/capital projects (minor renovations are allowable such as updates to existing structures)
- Projects that do not support and/or address child care
Project Design & Documentation
The Community INNOVATION Grant project proposals support identified communities in efforts to expand and strengthen child care across Alaska. Project proposals should address, support, and advance child care needs in a broadly defined ‘community,’ rather than just within an individual business or program.
Proposed projects can be of the community’s choice/design and may range in focus on activities in early planning stages, to projects ready for full implementation of child care initiative efforts. For example, new or exploratory projects might assess the needs in a community by conducting research to identify specific individuals or sub-communities to develop partnerships with. Existing community projects might collaborate with partners to build upon existing structures related to strengthening already identified child care needs and goals.
Applicants will be required to describe project goals, innovation aim, community need, and/or activities required to accomplish goals. When describing the proposed project, consider what makes the community project/need attainable. Describe the families and children or community who will benefit from the project and how they have been impacted by COVID-19. Consider the project’s deliverables – quantifiable goods or services, activities, or goals – and how the project will be measured for success.
Deliverables (goals) must be presented using the SMART Goal method. A SMART Goal is:
- Specific – Being specific increases your chances of being able to accomplish your goal. Determine the who, what, where, when, and why?
- Measurable – How will you measure your progress toward your goals? What are indicators that will decide if you reach your goal?
- Achievable – Ensure that you and/or team have the skills and resources to reach your goals.
- Relevant – Align goals with overall objectives of your community needs.
- Time-Based – Give yourself a deadline for reaching your goal along with steps to achieve.
Project proposals will be submitted via the project form linked at the bottom of this page. The proposal asks for the following information:
- Fiscal Sponsor/Lead Business Entity Name
- Primary Point of Contact
- Community Partners (if relevant)
- Completed IRS Form W-9
- Eligibility Documentation
- Project Proposal Details
- A. Project Design
- B. Community Impact
- Keys to Project Success
- C. Partnerships
- D. Amount Requested and Detailed Budget
- E. Detailed Timeline and Outcomes
- F. Project Management and Planning
- G. Sustainability Plan
- H. Any Other Supporting Documents (Optional)
- Acknowledgement and Typed Signature
Project Budget & Narrative
Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative with the proposal. The budget narrative should explain the categories the funds will be allocated to and how it will support the project. Detailed budgets should include all revenue for the project, including this request and other sources. For other revenue sources, please indicate which have been realized versus pending, in-kind, etc. Budgets should also include expenses broken out into defined areas that relate/match to your project proposal.
Sub-contracting is an allowable project expense. The process for soliciting sub-contractors and the process for hiring/monitoring outsourced work must be described in the proposal/budget narrative.
If applicant’s project cannot be funded entirely, what is the minimum amount that the project would need to be successful?
Proposed project budgets should be within the range of $100,000-$2,000,000.
Applicants are required to submit a project timeline with the proposal.
The project timeline/plan should include:
- main deliverables (goals) of the project
- key activities associated with the main deliverables and when they will take place
- dependencies such as key dates for resources, supports, and/or expert consultations that are needed to reach project goals
All awarded projects are expected to be completed by June 30, 2025.
If this project requires an extended timeline, please include the proposed completion date in your submitted project timeline, as well as an explanation for the proposed change.
Grant Period & Reporting
The last day that applications will be accepted is April 14, 2023. All awarded projects are expected to be completed by June 30, 2025.
During the two-year grant period, regular reporting on the status of the project will be required. For each (deliverable) activity of the project, awardees will consider and report on how goals are monitored and tracked, and how funds are accounted for during the progress of the project. Reporting dates and requirements will be noted in award letters for those projects that have been awarded funds.
Proposal Evaluation Criteria
Project proposals will be reviewed, evaluated and awarded based on the following criteria:
- Project Design: Key activities are clearly described; methodology is very effective
- Community Impact & Partnerships: Need is extremely significant; has clearly identified system change; data is compelling and valid; planning includes clearly identified or existing community partnerships
- Project Timeline & Outcomes: Method of measurement(s) is clearly described; degree of change is particularly significant; number served is very high; project timeline is extremely logical and appropriate for project scope
- Sustainability: Has excellent plan for sustainability after funding ends
- Project Budget: Has very clearly described and appropriate cost for its scope
This is a competitive grant, and proposals will be measured against all received applications within the funds available. During the scoring process, emphasis will be placed on the Project Design criteria and Community Impact & Partnership criteria.
thread reserves the right to grant partial awards or to not grant any awards.