Answers to Questions About Our Open Request for Proposal

April 14, 2014

Today’s post was written by Yolanda Caldera-Durant, senior program officer at the Connecticut Health Foundation.

The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) held two informational sessions in Bridgeport on March 18 and in Hartford on March 26, 2014 to discuss the Diverse Advocacy and Consumer Engagement Request for Proposals (RFP).

Here’s a summary of and answers to your important questions. I’m sharing this information to assist you as you develop a project concept for the funding opportunity.

I encourage you to contact me via email at or at 860-724-1580 ext. 20 to discuss your project concept and to answer questions about the RFP.

Will proposals encourage us to explore partnership?

Yes, this is an important piece of the strategy. Ideally applicants would have existing partnership(s), but the reason we released this RFP, is because there was not enough racial and ethnic diversity among advocates and consumers so some of these relationships would be new. In the proposal, applicants will have to make a case that they can be successful in making those relationships.

Is it your intent that if a navigator or assister organization was chosen that they would still be doing enrollment?

Since this grant does not start until July and ends in June 2015, next year’s enrollment period  will occur during the grant period. This funding opportunity isn’t solely focused on nonprofits enrolling people in health insurance. We’d like to see RFP applicants incorporate an advocacy component to the next enrollment cycle to refine and improve this process to be more effective at reaching people of color.

My organization works with the community and organizing the community. We are doing some of these things, but there is a critical trust issue in our community, so we would want to include the community as we plan. Would this be okay?

Yes, that will be an important part of the grant to organize and have support from your community. As the organization engages community members in the planning effort CT Health will need to have clarity on whether you project’s focus aligns with the RFP guidelines, goals and objectives.

Are there any restrictions as it relates to the budget…for example, can you include refreshments, etc.?

Please review this comprehensive resource that lists what you cannot do with the grant dollars.

Can we leverage a national partnership or does our partner have to be local?

Yes, while our preference is to fund a local organization, you can partner with national organizations. However, the value to Connecticut as it relates to this RFP needs to be explicit.

The first two objectives include examples of projects that would attempt to influence Access Health CT and the Department of Social Services. Ideally would the grantee already have existing relationships with these organizations? What is the foundation’s expectations of our abilities to create these relationships?

Ideally, grantees would have pre-existing relationships, but the reason we issued this funding opportunity is that there is not enough diversity at the table when it comes to these issues. With this funding opportunity, we are inviting organizations that might not have existing relationships to come forward and start developing those relationships. Part of our role and the technical assistance would provide help to foster the development of these relationships.

Are the uninsured the population you want organizations to focus on? There is also the issue of individuals having insurance, but they cannot actually access health care because there are not enough providers or they cannot navigate the system, etc.

Issues related to continuous coverage and navigating health care are something that the foundation is also very concerned about. More information can be found in the RFP application here.

We all see a need to help newly insured and people struggling to use their insurance to help navigate the system, but the question is how do we change the system to be more easily navigated by the people you work with?

Would you consider funding work that has already proven to impact the system change so that the organization can continue that work?

We will want to see that the work is aligned with the RFP goals and objectives. We are looking for organizations that want to start doing work in this area or organizations that already have a track record and are successful in doing your work.

In terms of organizational capacity, do you have specific staffing requirements to be considered for this grant?

We don’t have specific staffing requirements, but organizational capacity is an important consideration and includes the following:

  • Experience in advocacy/consumer engagement
  • If you are a small organization, you can increase capacity through strategic partnerships

If you aren’t an assister, will that disqualify you?

No you can address this issue through strategic partnerships.

Is there a knowledge or research base related to the problem we are trying to solve and for whom?

The foundation sees lack of representation of people of color in health reform and we want to engage more of these organizations to work on health reform in CT.

65% of over the 244,000 who were previously uninsured are people of color and much of this population will now be receiving health care, so we want to address issue of representation in health reform.

CT Health wants to see racial and ethnic diversity in those engaged in health reform related systems change work, but it’s never diversity for the sake of diversity. Community based organizations led by people of color and that serve have a deep understanding the existing problems, challenges and opportunities.

What will be your measurement of success?

When it comes to systems change work we understand this is a long process. It is important for us to understand what your project milestones. We want to understand what difference was made in health reform from the effort put forth by the funded organization.

Systems change work takes time, and we are dealing with implementation of huge health care reform that is changing/expanding as we speak. One of the challenges we face is we need to demonstrate some significant systems change in systems that take a lot of time to move, so how is that going to work?

We understand that systems change takes time and we have to be realistic about what incremental changes an organization can realistically make during a 12 month period.

While this is all a multi-year process, we are in a quickly changing health reform environment. There are systems issues getting resolved every week/month. The foundation wants to see more people of color to be involved in this process. CT Health wants to see applying organizations focus on the results that can be achieved in one year.

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