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2024 Summer Strong Grant Request for Applications (RFA) Questions and Answers

Questions regarding the 2024 Summer Strong DC RFA must be submitted via email to [email protected]. Questions and answers will be published beginning January 17, 2024. Once published, the questions and answers will be updated regularly as questions are received through January 31. Responses to questions will be provided through the document within 72 hours of receipt, except on weekends.

Updated as of Friday, February 2, 2024.

APPLICATION

Can potential applicants view the application questions before registering in Cityspan and opening the narrative section?
All components of the grant application are outlined on pages 7 through 12 of the RFA.

Do applicants need to include MOAs/Partner Agreements with contractors who may do programming in the application?
MOAs and Partner Agreements are not required for submission of the 2024 Summer Strong grant application.

Is there a recording of the RFA Info Session?
The RFA Info Session was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube here.

The way the portal is set up, we can't access that segment until the former segment is complete. Can you please share with me the character limits for the various questions so we can prepare the content accordingly?
Generally, all open-ended questions within the application allow for 3,500 characters (with spaces).

Should organizations submit one application for multiple program sites?
Organizations should submit one application for all sites that are proposed to be served with a Summer Strong grant.

BUDGET/FINANCIALS

Are there any costs/activities that are restricted? For example, can we incorporate field trips and issue incentives for participation?
Grant fund limitations and permissible program expenses are disclosed on page 7 of the RFA. Field trips can be included. There are limitations on incentives, such as gift cards, which should not exceed $25. Cash incentives are not permissible.

According to the RFA, "Applicants may request up to $100,000". Does this include small nonprofits with budgets of less than $250K? Are any request limits imposed on small non-profit organizations?
Organizations, including small nonprofits, can request up to $100,000 without limitation. However, any small nonprofit organization requesting over $50,000 must submit a financial statement from an independent CPA conducted within the last two years.

Who is required to provide a completed audit?
Organizations with a total revenue over $250,000 who are requesting over $50,000, must submit a completed audit to be eligible for a Summer Strong grant.

In the case that a single piece of equipment exceeds $5,000, who retains title to the equipment, OST or grantee?
If approved within the proposed grant budget, OST reserves the right to retain the title to any equipment purchased with grant funds at the end of the grant period.

Can the fee for security services paid to DCPS be considered an "allowable" expense?
Fees paid to DCPS for use of school facilities for Summer Strong program services will be considered an allowable expense for Summer Strong grant funds.

What is the cap for applying for a grant without a financial review or audit?
Organizations may apply for up to $50,000 in any fiscal year without providing a financial review or audit. Organizations requesting over $50,000 must provide either 1) a clean audit conducted within the last two years by an independent CPA if organization revenue is over $250,000; or 2) a financial review conducted within the last two years by an independent CPA if organization revenue is less than $250,000.

Is there a minimum requirement or maximum cap on the percent/dollar amount of in-kind contributions that can be used as part of overall program cost?
There is no minimum requirement or maximum cap on the percent/dollar amount of in-kind contributions that can be used as part overall program cost.

Can the nonprofit applicant subcontract to the for-profit parent organization for up to 40% of grant funds?
There are no restrictions on a nonprofit being able to subcontract with a for-profit parent organization.

On the Organizational Profile, what is the total budget amount referencing?
This request is for the organization’s total budget.

If we are requesting under $50,000.00, will we receive one full payment or will the amounts be disbursed into 2 payments? What is the time frame and would it be split into half payments?
Summer Strong invoices will be split into two payments with 70% of the grant award being paid upon grant execution and PO# generation. The second amount will be paid once grantee is able to demonstrate spend down of 50% of initial invoice (or 35% of total award).

What is the source of the 2024 Summer Strong grant funds?
Federal funds made available by the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) will fund all 2024 Summer Strong DC grants.

How do you create an account for access to the DIFS portal to invoice for reimbursement?
Information for creating a DIFS account will be provided to grantees after award announcement, including during the mandated grantee orientation.

If serving more than one site, is the $100K max award per physical site or per organization?
The $100,000 max award is per organization/applicant.

ELIGIBILITY

How much experience does an organization need to be eligible for a Summer Strong grant?
Organizations must have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a minimum of two (2) years at the time of submission to be eligible for the Summer Strong grant competition.

Are public charter schools eligible to apply for 2024 Summer Strong grant funds?
As nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)3 status, public charter schools are eligible to apply for 2024 Summer Strong grant funds.

Are current recipients of FY24 OST or Bridge grant funds eligible to apply for 2024 Summer Strong grant funds?
Recipients of FY24 OST or Bridge grants are not eligible for a 2024 Summer Strong grant as all FY24 OST and Bridge grantees were provided the opportunity to serve youth year-round (school year and summer).

Are recipients of My Afterschool DC (MADC) grant funds eligible to apply for 2024 Summer Strong grant funds?
Recipients of FY24 MADC grants are eligible to apply for 2024 Summer Strong since MADC grants were a school year only competition. MADC grantees may apply to extend their school year program and offer a continuation of services to youth across the summer months.

Can an organization provide their Charitable Solicitation License (CSL) in lieu of a District Basic Business License? If so, since organizations who apply for the CSL do not have to obtain the Clean Hands certification, is the Certificate of Clean Hands still needed?
Organizations must demonstrate good standing with the District through the provision of a DCRA Basic Business License or a Charitable Solicitation License. However, organizations providing a Charitable Solicitation License would also need to provide the Clean Hands Certificate to meet the eligibility requirements of the grant.

NEED & JUSTIFICATION

Are summer programs required to be implemented only in priority schools, or are they exclusive of general eligibility? For example: Can a summer program serve a non-priority school in an eligible ward?
Summer Strong programs do not need to take place in a priority school. Summer programs can take place in any Programming may occur at any accessible and safe location in the District or outside the District but must serve District youth.

Question 4 indicates if other OST options are available within the community. Does this mean available OST options that duplicate our proposed summer program or general OST offerings available in a specific school/ward?
Please indicate general programs that offer OST programming within the proposed community to be served.

PROGRAMMING

If an applicant is serving middle school students, can they serve at sites with summer school as well or just K-5?
Please contact Devin Smith at [email protected] to discuss use of DCPS summer school sites.

Do grantees have to serve youth in all at-risk or underserved populations?
There is no requirement for serving youth in any of the identified at-risk or vulnerable population groups. Priority points, however, will be awarded based on the percentage of youth to be served across each category.

For organizations hosting a summer program in a church, are parents required to sign consent forms compliant with FERPA and SAYO-O?
All grant-funded programs, regardless of location, are expected to include SAYO-Y and FERPA Consent as part of the program’s required enrollment forms completed by parents/guardians. Grantees will be provided templates to support this effort during the mandated orientation.

Can you explain the process for contacting parents to ensure youth access to technology?
OST Office does not provide any parameters on how organizations contact parents/guardians. Requirements of programming may be shared with families, for example, during enrollment, a parent orientation, via email, or at pick-up/drop-off time.

STAFFING

Do Summer Strong staff need to be certified teachers?
OST Office does not require program staff be certified teachers.

Page 15 of the RFA states that all staff, volunteers, and contractors need to have background checks from the FBI, MPD, and NSO. It also requests a signed affidavit one year after the initial check. Does this mean that each person needs to have completed the checks last year, and they are sending affidavits confirming that they have had these checks for over a year?
The affidavit is required for Summer Strong staff or volunteers only if they already have an FBI, MPD and/or NSO that was complete within the last two years. These clearances are valid for two years, but upon one year following screening verification, staff must sign an affidavit ensuring that there have been no changes to their criminal history.

YOUTH TO BE SERVED

Can organizations recruit participants based on the metrics?
Grantees are encouraged to recruit youth to reflect the population they propose to serve.

Does OST identify the proposed number and types of youth to be served in grant applications? If so, when is the proposed number and type verified?
Grantees are required to enter all participating youth in Cityspan, OST’s grant management system, upon enrollment. This allows the OST Office to verify the total number of youths served upon the launch of summer programming and throughout the program period. The demographics of students served will be verified by the OST Office through a data sharing agreement in place with OSSE during the programming period, ensuring grantees serve the types of youth proposed (within =/-10% margin).

What grade levels may be served with the 2024 Summer Strong DC grant funds?
The OST Office only awards programs that serve school-age youth in grades K-12th grade.

MISCELLANEOUS

Are all types of insurance coverages mandatory?
Insurance requirements are determined by the Office of Risk Management after the grant is awarded. Determination is made for each individual program based on services provided.

For any additional insurance requirement, can we add the amount to our budget and can we postdate it to start at the time of the grant just in case we do not get awarded we can cancel?
Grant funds can be used to cover additional insurance costs. You may include it as an expense in your proposed budget. Insurance requirements are determined by the Office of Risk Management based on services to be provided after the grant award and so it is not necessary to obtain insurance in advance.

Can youth who are DOES employees participate as non-paid volunteers?
DOES youth employees can support programming as non-paid volunteers.