Out-of-School Time Programs RFP Q&As

  • What is the allowable percent for indirect costs and what may those costs cover?
    • The cap for indirect costs is 15%, as stated on page 18. The number on page 15 (i.e., 10%) is incorrect. Applicants may include up to 15% for indirect costs in their applications. Indirect costs are those expenses of doing business that are not directly related to a project function or activity, but are necessary for the general operation of the organization and the conduct of activities it performs. Examples of indirect costs include the salary and related expenses of administrative personnel who support the agency such as the executive director, human resources, accounting, etc.
  • Do we need to be in the DCF Background Clearinghouse to receive funds from the Escambia Children’s Trust?
    • The Provider acknowledges that persons involved with ECT-funded programs may be in a position of trust or responsibility serving the needs of the children of Escambia County. ECT requires all Providers to perform Level 2 background screenings every two years for all staff funded by ECT who are in direct contact with children. If a staff member has been screened through the DCF Clearinghouse or another system that provides immediate arrest notifications, then staff may be screened every 5 years. All screenings are to be substantially consistent with the standards set forth in Florida Statute 435.04.

      ECT may withhold or terminate funding for any position, or for the program in part or in its entirety, in the event the Provider and/or subcontractor retains any person who fails a Level 2 background screening or obtains an exemption to such screening without approval of ECT.
  • Are programs that occur during school hours eligible for funding through the Out-of-School Time Programs RFP? 
    • No, the intent of this funding opportunity is to support programs that serve children and youth outside of traditional school hours. The hours of 2-6 p.m., when parents are less likely to be available to provide supervision, are the times when kids are more likely to commit or be victims of crime or to engage in risky behaviors. Last year, a report released by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids analyzed law enforcement agency and FBI crime data and was able to verify what law enforcement already knew: the time between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. during the school week is the peak time for juvenile crime. Providing supportive, engaging, and enriching environments with caring, trusted adults can not only keep kids safe but can also keep them out of trouble and improve their academic outcomes, as well as their social and emotional development. 
       
  • What age group of children is the target for this RFP? 
    • There are two age groups that are the target for this RFP: (1) preschool children and (2) school-age children. More broadly, beyond the scope of this RFP, our policies state that Escambia Children’s Trust funding at-large can be used for any child up to 18 or until they graduate high school, and children up to age 22 if they have a disability that requires them to depend on their parents.  
       
  • Are applicants applying for 3-year grants? 
    • Yes, this is a one-time grant application for up to three years of funding. Reapplying will not be necessary, but we will require program monitoring, performance assessments, budget monitoring, agency audits, and annual multi-year grant renewal agreements.  
  • What is your cost-reimbursement timeline? 
    • All funding released to providers who are awarded ECT contracts is through cost-reimbursement. Based on the budget you submit, contracts will begin with an estimated cost reimbursement for allowable costs incurred while executing the contract. Expenses cannot exceed budget and be eligible for reimbursement without approval from our Board of Directors, via a budget amendment. We aim to reimburse applicants within 30 days of receiving invoices, receipts and other supporting documentation as required.  
  • What is your definition of “most in need”? 
    • Improving the lives of at-risk, abused and neglected children is at the heart of the enabling legislation authorizing the creation of children’s services councils in Florida. Providing and maintaining such preventive, developmental, treatment, and rehabilitative services for children in Escambia County, for the general welfare of the county, is also in our enabling ordinance. 
       
      As such, the target population for the purposes of this RFP is limited to Escambia County children in (1) early childhood education or (2) Kindergarten through 12th grade. Preference will be given to respondents who serve children who are most in need or at risk and require access to high-quality OST opportunities. Considerations for need include family income, specific populations, neighborhood conditions, ages served, and accessibility of programs offered in the community.  

      In addition, “at-risk” means a student who is identified as one or more of the following: English learners, teen parents, special needs, foster youth, under-housed, LGBTQ, academic underperformance or disconnection from school, exposure to violence, exposure to trauma, exposure to child abuse or maltreatment, children of incarcerated parents, justice system involvement, and mild to severe behavioral health challenges. 
  • How in-depth will audits be? 
    • FL Ch. 496.407  requires audits for charitable organizations as follows: For those receiving annual contributions of $1 million or more an independent audit is required; for those with annual contributions of at least $500,000  but less than $1 million,  the financial statements may be reviewed or audited by an independent CPA, and for those with less than $500,000 in annual contributions, a compilation, audit, or review of the financial statement is optional.  
  • Will a cost analysis be required for applicants? 
    • No, but we will monitor your organization to ensure you are following the guidelines set forth in your fiscal and procurement policies.  
  • Can applicants use tables, charts, and/or graphics in their proposals? 
    • Yes, we encourage visualizations as long as they adhere to the 20-page limit.  
  • If my organization exists in other counties, what data are you wanting us to present to the Trust? 
    • We recognize your footprint and budget may be bigger than Escambia County. In response to this RFP, and to avoid confusion, please include only the data that reflects your service footprint in Escambia County.  
  • How is diversity, or lack thereof, amongst proposal applications handled? 
    • The enabling ordinance creating the Escambia Children’s Trust provides us with the power and authority to not just fund improvements in children’s services, but also to consult and coordinate with agencies so that overlapping and duplicative services are prevented. If we receive multiple proposals offering the same program to the same group of children, then we will encourage respondents to align their efforts. Likewise, if after receiving proposals we still see coverage gaps, we will explore ways to better meet the needs of children in the county.  
  • What is the anticipated turnover of dosage among seasonal camps? 
    • Program dosage is discussed on Page 7 of the RFP. In order to demonstrate impact and be accountable for out-of-school-time deliverables, organizations must offer consistent and on-going programming, designed to enroll the same group of youth at the proposed site(s), which operate as follows for each year of the project period: 
    • Year-round and continuously for a minimum of once a week for at least one-hour-per-week for a minimum of 25 weeks during the grant period, OR 
      • An intensive program across six continuous weeks, which meets at least four hours per week during the grant period, OR 
    • A minimum of six hours per day specifically when schools are closed for seasonal breaks, intersessions, holidays or single-day closures throughout the grant period. These must cover a minimum of three school breaks for a minimum of 15 days over the grant period.       
       
  • How can we incorporate economic changes, such as inflation, into our 3-year budgets? 
    • We recommend you include a 10% annual increase to account for inflation and other fluctuations in the economy. 
  • Can you submit multiple proposals if you have multiple programs? 
    • Yes, you can submit multiple proposals for different programs. For example, if you have three different programs serving different age groups, different geographies, or using different methodologies, you may consider submitting one proposal for each program. There are no penalties for doing so. Each proposal submitted will stand on its own. 
  • Will the members of the Grants Committee be made public before the meeting takes place? 
    • Yes, everything we do is pursuant to the Government-in-the-Sunshine Law. Details on the Grants Committee and its members will be posted on the website as soon as they are approved by our Board of Directors.  
  • Can organizations collaborate on proposals? 
    • Yes, we strongly encourage collaboration! Please keep in mind that one of the members of the collaborative would have to be the lead agency responsible for fiscal oversight.  
  • Could potential applicants also be subcontractors for other applicants? 
    • Yes, Respondents may be the lead agency of an out-of-school-time program they run and also serve as a subcontractor to another Respondent’s out-of-school-time program. Reciprocal agreements, memorandums of understanding, and strong fiscal policies on awarding subcontracts must all be in place for such an arrangement to receive Escambia Children’s Trust reimbursements.  
  • How much funding is available for this RFP? 
    • $5,845,534 is available for the Out-of-School-Time RFP for the 2022-2023 fiscal year ending on September 30, 2023. 
  • Where does the funding come from? 
    • The Escambia Children’s Trust is an independent special district established by Escambia County voters in 2020. As an independent special district authorized by section 125.901, Florida Statutes, ECT provides funding for children’s services throughout Escambia County by annually levying ad valorem taxes, not exceeding the maximum millage rate of one-half (1/2) mill. 
       
  • Is there a ceiling amount for individuals to receive funding? 
    • No, ask for what you need. Keep in mind that everything in your budget must relate to the purpose of your proposal, it must be reasonable, and you have to explain why you need it.  
       
  • Is it up to the board to determine how the funds are awarded? 
    • Yes, the Board of Directors will approve all funding awards based on recommendations made by the Grants Committee. 
  • Do the programs have to specifically be designed to help children? Can I help parents? 
    • This particular RFP is designed to support improvements in services that directly benefit children. 
  • If my proposal is not funded through this RFP this year, could I apply next year? 
    • This RFP is for a three-year period. ECT does not anticipate releasing another Out-of-School-Time RFP while this current program is in effect. However, we will be releasing other funding opportunities to continue meeting the greatest needs of children. Those decisions will be made as part of our current approved strategic plan, and a multiyear strategic plan our Board of Directors will likely be developed in the next year. All funding opportunities are posted on our website when they become available. We also share them via social media and through email updates via our monthly ECT newsletter. 
       
  • How frequently would proposers submit invoices/receipts for reimbursement? 
    • Monthly, but as we develop more sophisticated software systems this protocol may change.  
  • When will the “Working with the Trust” videos be posted? 
    • We are aiming to record and post them on our ECT YouTube channel in October before the OST RFP submission deadline.  
  • What are things that you do not fund?  
    • Grant funds may not be used for any of the following activities: serving youth from other counties beyond Escambia County, Florida 
    • Any service that merely benefits children and youth incidentally and not directly 
    • Acquisition of any capital item not for primary and direct use by children and youth 
    • Acquisition of real property (excluding leases for a term of 12 months or less) 
    • Maintenance, utilities, or similar operating costs of a facility not used primarily and directly by the funded program 
    • Out-of-country travel 
    • Depreciation on buildings or equipment 
    • Religious worship, instruction, or proselytization 
  • If a prospective applicant needs to speak to an ECT Board member about the logistics of a proposed project, will that violate the cone of silence communication prohibitions ?  
    • The Cone of Silence prohibits communication regarding a particular competitive solicitation. If the applicant and Board member are not discussing the provisions of the RFP, there is no violation.  
  • Will the Trust reimburse mortgage payments or ‘rent-to-own’ payments?  
    • The RFP states that these grant funds may not be used for the purchase of real property. Therefore, the funds may not be used to reimburse mortgage payments or rent-to-own payments.