2019 Lead Poisoning Prevention Grants: Equipping Communities for Action through the National Lead Poisoning Prevention Network

Eligibility Requirements and Frequently Asked Questions

THIS FUNDING OPPORTUNITY HAS CLOSED. NCHH ANNOUNCED THE GRANTEES ON JUNE 6, 2019.

Eligibility Requirements

To help communities in building local capacity and advancing evidence-based lead poisoning prevention efforts, the National Center for Healthy Housing invites communities to apply for a bundled award of coaching and support over 18 months that includes access to a network of national experts, opportunities to engage in a peer learning network with other communities tackling childhood lead exposure, a customized cost-benefit analysis, and a $25,000 grant.

There is great potential for improving population health and upending health inequities by addressing lead exposure, especially among low-income communities and communities of color. Many communities have developed and implemented best practices, while a growing group of communities are actively seeking solutions. Still others have started on the path toward creating lead-safe environments but need assistance in transforming sporadic action into a sustained strategy. Under the proposed work, NCHH and a network of partners will support communities who are at various levels of readiness, in achieving their lead poisoning prevention goals.

The underpinning for this effort is to advance health equity, defined here as when “everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier,” which requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences.

Who is eligible?

  • Local or regional nonprofit and community-based organizations (includes public health institutes).
  • County, local, and tribal government agencies.

Organizations must be based in the United States and serve small to mid-sized cities. For the purpose of this RFP, small-to-mid-size cities are defined as those with populations between 50,000-400,000. Applicants applying at the county level are eligible to apply as long as the county or region they serve includes at least one small to mid-sized city that will be the focus or a primary beneficiary of the proposed work. Applicants serving communities with a population smaller than 50,000 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Organizations or agencies that operate at the state level are not eligible to apply for this award. For-profit organizations are not eligible to apply even if they work at the local level.

Communities may apply in one of two tracks:

  • Emerging/Exploring Track: Communities should consider applying in this track if they need assistance in identifying or prioritizing promising strategies and/or they are in the early stages of the proposed work (e.g., corresponding to a bronze level on the ladder of engagement [see detail below in Table 1]).
  • Implementation Track: Communities should apply in this track if they have defined priorities and objectives and/or they have some infrastructure in place to build on to achieve the proposed work (e.g., corresponding to a silver or higher level on the ladder of engagement [see detail below in Table 1]).

How many communities will be selected?
We anticipate that a minimum of eight communities will be selected. This competitive solicitation is being led by the National Center for Healthy Housing with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and additional support from the New York Community Trust.

What is the project period and what are some of the key dates?

March 22, 2019 Applications due.
May 2019 Applicants will be notified of their status by early May.
May 2019 New grantees assigned to core coaching team and complete intake coaching calls.
Late May/early June 2019 Kickoff webinar for new grantees.
September 13, 2019 In-person convening in Washington, DC.*
May 2019 – October 2020 Monthly coaching calls with core team and other coaching activities as needed.
August – October 2020 Final in-person convening in Washington, DC.*
October 2020 Final reports due to NCHH.

*Applicants should plan for at least two staff members to attend the in-person convenings. The $25,000 grant may be used to support this travel. No additional or supplemental funding will be available. Dates for the 2019 convening may be finalized during the application period. This RFP and the FAQ page for the funding opportunity will be updated to reflect the final set of dates.

What are the benefits of being selected?
Communities that are selected will receive support to advance their local lead poisoning prevention efforts. These benefits include but may not be limited to:

What is the coaching and support, and are there related grantee expectations to note?
Coaching and support will be provided to grantees both remotely and in-person over the duration of the project period (May 2019 – October 2020) to enable grantees to on-demand and structured feedback, mentoring, and advice from national experts. Grantees will also have the opportunity to learn from peer communities, and to share their own successes and challenges. Opportunities may include but are not limited to grantee participation in: a project “kick-off” webinar; monthly coaching calls with applicable national partners; an on-site visit by applicable national partners; two in-person, peer convenings in Washington, DC; submission of a final report; and other activities as needed (e.g., additional topic-specific, capacity-building webinars [e.g., focused on drinking water, legal levers, financing, data integration, health equity, or cross-sector partnerships] or coaching calls with peer mentors).

The coaching and support will be customized to community needs, interests, and capacity, building on the recommendations of the 10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Exposures (10 Policies) report. For example, coaches can help communities identify priority areas for action (e.g., important populations, settings, or exposure sources) as well as the types of strategies they are interested in pursuing (e.g., data initiatives, policy or financing solutions, coalition building). NCHH will work with communities to assess opportunities and develop a path to action, building on the recommendations and case studies of the 10 Policies report.

Can a community submit more than one application?
A community may submit more than one application. However, a maximum of one application per community will be selected.

What types of activities can be supported?
Funding should be used to build capacity within a community and help communities achieve policy, practice, or systems change. NCHH coaches will use a ladder of engagement framework to transform initial interest and sporadic action into sustained engagement and increased impact. The examples in Table 1 illustrate this concept. Communities that start lower on the ladder of engagement may not achieve systems change during the project period but should still articulate a plan and commitment to laying the groundwork for systems change and/or putting new policies, services, or programs in place. Coaches will assess each community’s baseline level of engagement and track activities and movement up the ladder of engagement.Table 1. Ladder of Engagement

Priority will be given to applicants who articulate plans to advance policy and system changes, such as those outlined in 10 Policies. Implementation track applicants will likely be in the silver, gold, and platinum levels of the above ladder of engagement, whereas emerging/exploring grants will likely be at the bronze level.

Communities may apply to use funding for an initiative that is already underway if they can demonstrate how the additional funding will substantially enhance the impact or reach of the work.

Funding may NOT be used to support attempts to influence legislation through direct or grassroots lobbying. For example, funds cannot be used for signage that endorses pending legislation or an elected official.

Funding should also not be used to support the direct costs of remediation. Also, funding is not intended to support standalone awareness or outreach and education activities. However, outreach/education activities that are linked to policy, practice, or systems change may be included as part of a proposal.

What outcomes will successful applicants be expected to demonstrate?
Given the relatively short project period (roughly 18 months), communities will be expected to articulate a long-term goal and measure progress towards that goal, even if the end goal is not expected to be reached during the project period. Examples of outcomes might include:

  • Stronger partnerships (e.g., as measured by new agreements, collaborative initiatives).
  • New or more accessible data that can help target remediation, increase community engagement, or drive policy and systems change.
  • Increased involvement or leadership by affected residents.
  • Increase in policymaker, practitioner, and/or advocates who have evidence-based information for decision making or mindset shifts among these groups.
  • New or additional funding or financing in place with a particular focus on under-resourced communities.
  • New or improved policies, services, or programs in place or in progress with a particular focus on under-resourced communities.
  • Increase in equitable access to services or programs.

How will communities be selected?
This is a competitive grant award. Applicants will be evaluated based on need, clarity of plan, readiness, potential impact, community partnerships, and potential for sustained change. Applications must demonstrate the following:

  • Demonstrated need as evidenced by available data, including lived experience.
  • Clear outcomes for the work and a thoughtful plan for achieving them.
  • Potential for policy and systems change.
  • A demonstrated commitment to advancing health equity.
  • A strong, effective plan for meaningfully involving multisector stakeholders, including community members and community-based organizations, private-sector interests, policymakers, and other relevant agencies and groups.

While not a requirement, applicants are encouraged to collaborate with philanthropic organizations to increase the impact of this work and/or sustain the work at the end of this project period. The application will allow you to describe the status of such partnerships and submit letters of support if desired/applicable.

We will seek to produce a geographically balanced cohort. Proposals will be reviewed primarily using the criteria listed above.

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of staff from the National Center for Healthy Housing, Environmental Defense Fund, ChangeLab Solutions, National League of Cities, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation using the criteria articulated above.

What information do I need to apply?
NCHH accepts grant applications ONLY through online submission; it does NOT accept the application in PDF format. Applicants can preview all of the application questions here.

NCHH recommends preparation of the application responses in advance, as the online application must be completed and submitted entirely in one session. We recommend using the PDF copy of the full application (available here) to work offline with your team to predetermine answer selections and/or draft responses for questions as appropriate. Developing full-text responses in a Word document for the open response sections of the application will allow you to draft, edit, and save your responses as needed, as well as check character counts, before copying/pasting your final responses into the application on the SurveyMonkey platform. NCHH also recommends printing a copy of the completed application before submitting it.

When are applications due?
Applications may be submitted at any time but are due no later than 5 p.m. ET on March 22, 2019.

When will the grants be announced?
We anticipate that successful applicants will be notified by early May.

Where can I get more information?
Contact Laura Fudala (lfudala@nchh.org) or Sarah Goodwin (sgoodwin@nchh.org) for more information. Answers to other submitted questions will also be posted at below. All questions must be received by March 13, 2019.

Join the funding announcement listserv to be notified of new developments (e.g., newly posted FAQs) for this grant opportunity.

Questions about the Lead Poisoning Prevention Grants

When will the grant awards be announced?
The award announcements are scheduled for early May 2019.

Can I just send you my application as a PDF?
No, the grant submission is online only. We cannot accept your application in PDF format. You can fill out the application here: http://bit.ly/LPPECsm19. There’s a button at the bottom of that SurveyMonkey page to begin your application.

I’m having trouble filling in the survey boxes. What should I do?
For issues with SurveyMonkey, review the help page for taking surveys. Most issues seem to be related to a network or firewall that may be blocking some SurveyMonkey domains. You can add SurveyMonkey domains and subdomains to your whitelist so that they aren’t blocked.

Question 17 asks to describe how we would use the $25,000. We have reviewed the types of activities the funding can support. In our response, are you asking us to summarize the cost of the proposed activities and not to submit a detailed line-item budget?
Yes. Please summarize the cost of the activity(ies) and how you will use the grant. Please touch on budget categories such as labor, indirect costs, and other direct costs for materials, space rental, trainings/trainers, software, or other items as appropriate to your proposed activities. The budget does not need to be itemized but should be detailed enough to demonstrate that the costs are reasonable and justified.

Will funding for the required trips to DC come out of the grantee budget?
Yes! Grantee travel to and participation in the September 13, 2019, convening as well as the 2020 project wrap-up convening in Washington, DC, mentioned in the “What is the coaching and support and are there related grantee expectations to note?” and the “What is the project period and what are some of the key dates?” sections of the RFP, should be included in the general description of how the grant funding will be used (Question 17).

Can an applicant propose to pay the costs for staff attendance of the in-person convenings in Washington, DC, instead of this cost coming from the grant budget?
Yes. Per the FAQ above, grantee travel to and participation in the project wrap-up convening in Washington, DC, is expected and should be included in the general description of how the grant funding will be used (Question 17). However, as long as these funding source for these costs is clearly acknowledged and explained in Question 17, applicants can propose leveraging other funding sources to supplement grant funding to cover costs for required elements of the project.

Can any of the grant funds be used toward staff salaries for an event or activity?
Yes, funding can be allocated for staff salaries to support eligible grant activities.

How will the applications be reviewed and scored? Will the reviewers read and score the entire application, or will the reviewers only score certain questions and not look at other questions? Furthermore, should we refer to information in an answer to another question or repeat information when needed for each question?
Applications will be reviewed and scored in their entirety. This means that each individual reviewer will read and score the full submission of every application that they evaluate. Further, each application will be reviewed by multiple individuals. Feel free to refer to another question in one of your answers if you wish to avoid redundancy.

Is there an advantage to applying for one of the specific “tracks” over the other? How does an applicant know which of the two application “tracks” they should select?
There is no advantage to applying for one track over the other. This opportunity was designed to (1) encourage applicants from all levels of engagement in their community’s lead poisoning prevention work and (2) provide a level basis by which to evaluate what may be widely different levels of existing and/or potential capacity. NCHH anticipates funding successful applicants from both tracks.

Applicants should consider applying in the “Emerging/Exploring Track” if they need assistance in identifying or prioritizing promising strategies and/or they are in the early stages of the proposed work (e.g., corresponding to a bronze level on the ladder of engagement). Alternately, applicants who have defined priorities and objectives and/or they have some infrastructure in place to build on to achieve the proposed work (e.g., corresponding to a silver or higher level on the ladder of engagement) would likely consider applying in the “Implementation Track.”

Are organizations or entities that operate at the state level eligible to apply?
No. Applicants for this opportunity must be local or regional nonprofit and community-based organizations or county, local, and tribal government agencies who are based in the United States and serve small to mid-sized cities (population between 50,000-400,000). However, please note that partnerships with state-level entities are acceptable and encouraged. They will be considered in the evaluation criteria related to “A strong effective plan for meaningfully involving multisector stakeholders…”

Are applicants expected to commit to progress through the entire “Ladder of Engagement Framework” during the grant period?
No, applicants are not expected to demonstrate progress to the platinum level of sustained systems change during the grant period, but they are expected to demonstrate that funding will be used to build capacity within a community and help communities move up on the ladder of engagement in their lead poisoning prevention work with a strong emphasis on policy/systems change. Communities that start lower on the ladder of engagement may not achieve systems change during the project period, but should still articulate a plan and commitment to laying the groundwork for systems change and/or putting new policies, services or programs in place.

How do we submit letters of support from other funders, as outlined in Question 15?
If applicable, letters of support from other funders willing to contribute funding for the proposed work per Question 15 should be emailed to Laura Fudala, NCHH at lfudala@nchh.org at the time of application submission and be named using the following naming convention:
ApplicantOrganizationName_ApplicationSubmissionDate_funder LOS.pdf

Can we submit letters of support from other partners?
We do not encourage applicants to include additional letters of support other than those which apply to Question 15; however, you may indicate that they’re available upon request in your application if you would like the review committee to know that they exist.

The RFP indicates that eligible applicants must serve small or mid-size cities and provides parameters for mid-size cities (50,000-400,000) but does not outline what the population parameters are for small cities; can you clarify? What if we serve a county or regional population that does not contain a single city larger than 50,000 but does serve a total population within these parameters?
We have updated the language in the overview materials as well as the application itself to reflect that the provided population parameters of 50,000-400,000 reflect the range of both small and mid-size cities. Applications coming from organizations that contain at least one small to mid-size city (50,000 – 400,000) in their jurisdiction will be the most competitive. However, applicants serving cities smaller than 50,000 or total populations within the small to mid-size city parameters will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Question 6 provides applicants with the opportunity to capture their potential impact as related to the population size they serve. The intention of this opportunity is focused on groups operating at the county or city level who show involvement in policy and systems change and are grounded in the communities they serve.

Our organization operates at the large city and/or state level and is not eligible for this specific opportunity, but we are very interested in this type of support. Do you know of any other opportunities that we should know about?
At this time, NCHH does not have any other open grant opportunities, however, many of our partners periodically offer grant and/or technical assistance awards that could be of interest to you. We would strongly suggest that you check out the websites of some of our key partners like the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to learn more about possible initiatives. We also suggest that you visit https://nchh.org/build-the-movement/listservs/ to join two listservs (Leadnet and Healthyhomesnet) sponsored by NCHH that frequently have postings related to potential funding and support opportunities offered by both NCHH and many of our partners.

Must we have 501(c)(3) status to apply for a mini-grant?
No. Government, education, public housing, nonprofit, and tribal organizations may apply as long as they are based in the United States. If it’s not possible to have a fiscal agent with 501(c)(3) status (e.g., an organization with 501[c][3] status that can pass through the funds to the organization without 501[c][3] status), other organizations that aren’t for-profit are also welcome to apply, but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We will not grant funds to individuals or for-profit organizations.

How many days will the two in-person gatherings be and do you have any guidance on budgeting for these events?
Applicants should plan for at least two staff members to attend each of the in-person convenings to be held in Washington, DC, during the project period (September 13, 2019, and October 2020). Each convening will likely involve 1 to 1.5 days of meeting time for awarded grantees and likely require a one- to two-night stay (maximum), based on your specific location/travel time. We’ll make every effort to minimize the number of overnights required (e.g., that a 1.5-day meeting might start mid-afternoon on the first day and end by mid- to late afternoon the following day to allow participants to book same-day travel). The $25,000 grant may be used to support this travel. As event logistics are finalized, selected grantees will be allowed the opportunity to modify proposed budgets as applicable. No additional or supplemental funding will be available. If you need additional guidelines for estimating costs of travel to DC the following resources may be helpful:

Is the $25,000 grant structured as an award or will disbursement involve a cost reimbursement process?
The $25,000 grant will be structured as an award and will not involve a cost reimbursement process. We are working to finalize the schedule for funding disbursement to the selected grantees and will post that information to the opportunity’s web page when available; at least half of the total funds will be available upon award acceptance and contract execution.

While a detailed line item budget is not necessary per Question 17, we are asked to present a general description/estimate of how the $25,000 grant funding will be used. Will it be possible to submit budget amendments or modification requests for approval during the project period as the work progresses?
Yes. Although we expect that applicants will submit a budget that reflects as accurately as possible the support needed to advance the activities presented in their application, we also recognize that situations may arise where a reasonable modification to the proposed budget may be necessary at some time during the project period. Discussions of such modifications with awarded grantees will be held on a case-by-case basis as applicable.

Could these grant funds be used to cover the cost of testing water for lead?
While not a specifically prohibited activity, as outlined in the application, priority will be given to applicants who articulate plans to advance policy and system change; justification should be included on how proposed activities meet those ends.

Have you finalized the date for the August/September 2019 in-person convening yet?
Yes. The first in-person convening for grantees of this opportunity will be held on Friday, September 13, 2019, in Washington, DC. As noted above, at least two staff members should plan to attend this convening, and the $25,000 grant may be used to support travel; no additional or supplemental funding will be available. Additional details will be shared with grantees upon award.