RACE to Rebuilding Trust and Community

Overview

Realizing Arlington's Commitment to Equity (R.A.C.E.) Arlington County, in collaboration with United Way of the National Capital Area, launched a new equity-based funding program, RACE to Rebuilding Trust & Community, to support local organizations’ efforts to respond to community needs.

Through this Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)(PDF, 1MB) , Arlington County intends to eliminate, reduce, and prevent racial and social inequities and disparities to improve outcomes for those who have been historically marginalized and including Arlington nonprofits who may apply for grants.

Timeline for the RACE to Rebuilding Trust & Community Notice of Funding Availability.

This NOFA will provide grants to Arlington nonprofits to implement a program or project in direct response to a demonstrated community or human service need identified through their experiences. It also provides grants to support the day-to-day functions for organizations who demonstrate how their operations will be enhanced to meet the direct needs of residents in the communities they serve.

Applications are due December 21, 2023.

Submit an Application for Funding

Updated RACE to Rebuilding Trust & Community NOFA Application(PDF, 1MB)

Fillable Logic Model Template(XLSX, 22KB)

Fillable Budget Template(XLSX, 30KB)

Fillable Staff and Board Table(DOCX, 21KB)

Presentar una Solicitud

RACE para reconstruir la confianza y notificación comunitaria sobre disponibilidad de financiamiento(PDF, 677KB)

Submit a Community Reviewer Interest Form

 

 

Background

In an effort to align funding decisions with values of transparency and racial equity, the County Board convened leaders in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community in 2020 and 2021, facilitated by the United Way of the National Capital Area and supported by the national organization E Pluribus UNUM Fund.

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In October 2021, as a part of Realizing Arlington’s Commitment to Equity’s (R.A.C.E.) focus on racial equity, a working group of community leaders and Arlington County representatives came together to develop a process to evaluate community needs through the lens of racial equity.

A series of discussions led to recommendations for a co-designed process to reform the County Board-awarded and discretionary funding process (outside of Arlington’s normal competitive procurement processes) to be more inclusive of root causes and shift to a community-needs model to support historical marginalized communities.

To move the process forward, the County Board adopted a resolution supporting a transition to a racial equity-based competitive process for Board-awarded community and human services funding that addresses inequities in Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities and systemic impacts for all. As such, the County Board allocated up to $1.5 million for FY25 (with the potential for additional funding available through FY23 closeout funds) that is the subject of this Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).

Previous Meetings

  • Community Meeting - Transitioning to an Equity-Based Nonprofit Funding Process in Arlington. On Jan. 9, 2023, leaders of the Back, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community convened to share more information about this co-created process for making equitable nonprofit funding decisions, and County Board members and representatives from Realizing Arlington’s Commitment to Equity (R.A.C.E.) effort discussed next steps for implementation. View a copy of the presentation shared during the meeting.
  • February County Board Recessed Meeting. At its Feb. 21, 2023, Recessed Meeting, the County Board adopted a Resolution supporting this transition to a racial-equity based competitive process. Read the resolution.
  • June County Board Recessed Meeting. At its June 13, 2023, Recessed Meeting, the County Board received a presentation from staff sharing information on the NOFA process, including information on the application, technical assistance available to applicants, background on the criteria for proposal evaluation, and the post-evaluation and funding award process. View the presentation.
  • Community Information Session - Race to Rebuilding Trust and Community NOFAWatch the recorded presentation from July 31, 2023 for more details about the Equity-Based Notice of Funding Availability. View the PowerPoint.

Technical Assistance Sessions

Registration to attend a session is encouraged but not required.

Register here

  • Technical Assistance Session #1 - NOFA Overview
    Oct. 25, 2023 - 6:30 to 8 p.m.
    Arlington Mill Community Center

View the presentation here(PDF, 1MB)

View the recording here

  • Technical Assistance Session #2 - Logic Models 
    Nov. 15, 2023 - 6:30 to 8 p.m.
    Long Bridge Community Center

View the presentation here(PPTX, 17MB)

View the recording here 

     View the presentation here(PDF, 690KB)

     View the Section 3 Sample from the presentation here(PDF, 173KB)

      View the recording here   

    View the recording here

Arlington County Government provides reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act; and language interpretation upon request. To arrange for a reasonable accommodation or language translation, please email EquityNOFA@arlingtonva.us to provide as much advance notice as possible.

Requests for sign language and/or language interpreters must be made at least five (5) full business days in advance.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

RACE to Rebuilding Trust and Community Notice of Funding Availability Frequently Asked Questions

Funding

Is this NOFA for multi-year funding?

You can request funding for general operating or a single project or initiative whose completion timeframe could be up to three years. All awards are considered grants and the timeframe for grant completion will be documented in the final grant agreement.

Is this new fund replacing legacy funding?

  • The County is withdrawing funding that was made on a discretionary, non-competitive basis by the County Board from some legacy funding to support this new effort. Funding for some government-related services provided by nonprofits is not going away. Nonprofits who are having their discretionary funding withdrawn and put in this competitive process have or will be notified shortly.
  • All nonprofits who are an IRS designated 501c3 organization or a faith-based can compete for funding under this NOFA. Organizations must serve or wish to serve Arlington residents. Organizations may be based in other jurisdictions, provided that the proposed project benefits Arlington County residents. If projects/proposals are sponsored by faith-based organizations, outreach efforts and services must be provided to any Arlington resident, regardless of affiliation. Programs cannot be marketed exclusively to members of the sponsoring organization’s religious affiliation or denomination, and proselytizing while providing services related to this grant funding is prohibited.

Can organizations already receiving funding apply?

Yes. If you are already receiving funding, you may still apply. This process was designed to expand opportunities for funding to facilitate nonprofits efforts to address community needs that may not have been addressed by County processes. The County is prioritizing funding services in an equitable way to meet community needs.

Who determines the amount of the grants?

  • The review panel will make recommendations to the County Board for award notifications based on total amount available.
  • The review panel can recommend partial funding for proposals based on volume of applications, applicant’s willingness to accept partial funding, and identified community needs.
  • NEW: There is no floor or ceiling amount to request.

Are the grants for general operational support or project-specific?

Both will be considered for funding based on meeting the objectives of the NOFA.

Is the County prioritizing funding for a few big projects or many smaller ones?

The County is prioritizing awarding as many projects as possible. The exact number will be based on the total amount of funds available.

Is there any consideration to tiering the awards?

Tiering (such as by size of organization, budget, etc.) was considered. However, keeping in alignment with leadership recommendations to provide equitable access to opportunities, tiering is not a part of the NOFA at this time.

What is the total amount of funding allocated for this NOFA?

  • The total amount has not been determined. A possible estimate may be up to $1.5 million. It will be determined by the County Board as part of FY 2025 budget, which will be finalized by Spring 2024.
  • Any amounts for future award pools will be determined by the County Board and the budget process. 

 

NEW: Must a nonprofit be based in Arlington to be considered/apply for the Race to Rebuilding funding opportunity?

No. A nonprofit does not have to be based in Arlington to be either considered or apply for funding.  

Review Panels

How is the County evaluating the need? How will we be sure the real needs of the community are being addressed?

The County is not going into this process with a pre-determined set of needs or strategies. Applicants will define community need in their proposal, based on experience and understanding of the community. Applicants may use data and narratives in their proposals.

How will reviewers be trained and bias be eliminated? Will the content of the reviewer training be made available?

  • Reviewers will be trained by the County and United Way NCA NOFA development team in the following areas: bias, conducting objective application review, eliminating subjectivity, understanding narrative, conflict of interest forms, and mock application scoring. All reviewers will participate in racial equity training modules that have been administered by the County.
  • Reviewers will be brought together by a facilitator to discuss score reasoning and must come to a consensus, so outliers will be mitigated.
  • The operational training can be made available immediately and the racial equity training modules are planned to be made available to the public Fall/Winter 2023.

Who comprises the review panels? How will the panels be established?

 The reviewer panel will include 9 County staff across departments and 9 community members with professional and/or lived experience. The County will send out a call for reviewers so community members can express their interest. The County will also recruit reviewers in-person from places that have not historically been tapped for engagement, including community events and gathering places. All members of the review panel will complete an application and a conflict-of-interest form, and all community reviewers will be compensated.

What is the review and scoring process for applications?

Applications will be distributed among review panel members who will individually score their set of proposals based on a rubric. Panel members will then convene to discuss their respective scores, provide comments, and reach a recommended cumulative score. Funding amounts will be recommended based on cumulative scores and panel recommendations to use the fullest amount of available funding.

Can we get youth involved in the process?

At this time, we are only considering adult reviewers. Based on process feedback from applicants, reviewers, and internal staff, youth may be potentially considered in the future.

Will proposals be translated for non-English speaking reviewers?

Yes, proposals will be translated as needed.

Is there credit for experience for organizations that have been funded previously?

No, there is no credit for experience for previously funded organizations. All applications will be scored on their individual merit and not compared to each other.

NEW: Are review panel members compensated?

Yes, community reviewers will be compensated in stages based on how much of the process they complete.

NEW: Who decides if an applicant receives their full ask or an amount less?

The review panel will make that recommendation based on the level of available funding.

NEW: How will reviewers be coached to evaluate a budget that does not use the provided template?

Applicants should use the rubric to inform what needs to be included in a budget if they are not using the template provided. Feel free to take as much space as needed to provide the appropriate context so that the reviewer will understand your budget.

Resources

Can the County provide example project sizes to help nonprofits understand what kind of ask may be reasonable?

No. This is the first year funding this opportunity and we do not have any examples at this time.

How will the procurement process be accessible for nonprofits, such as the insurance requirements?

Once awards are made, all grantees will be connected to the County staff to provide technical assistance on these processes.

Process

Is there an appeals process? What discretion does the County Board have in evaluating applications and offering awards?

There is no formal appeals process because this NOFA process has been rigorously designed to maximize access, transparency, and accountability. The County Board will not be evaluating or scoring applications. Applications that are evaluated, scored and identified for award by the review panel, will be presented to the County Board for its final approval. The County Board has the discretion to expand funding to make additional awards beyond those presented, in the order in which they were rank scored by the review panel. 

How will small organizations compete with those who can afford professional grant writers?

Technical assistance sessions will be offered to help mitigate the inequitable benefit or deficit that some organizations may have. The application process has been designed to maximize the various ways grant proposals can be submitted without the use of a professional grant writer. This includes audio submissions.

If the applications are looked at as need statements, what about the needs that aren’t funded? Is the County going to be tracking those at all?

This NOFA is not designed to be a needs assessment. The basis of this NOFA is that nonprofit organizations closest to and in the community, are best situated to understand needs to be filled. As the NOFA is evaluated over time, trends in programs, projects and organizations funded will be reported to the County Board.

Is there an ability to provide feedback on the application process?

Yes. The County will be looking for feedback from those who are engaged with the process more broadly, including but not limited to applicants, reviewers, the BIPOC leadership Group, and the internal NOFA development team.

How long should the application take?

This NOFA was designed to be streamlined and accessible for all applicants, regardless of their prior grant submission experience. While the amount of time for any individual organization may vary, the NOFA application has been designed to be completed within up to 15 hours to minimize the burden on applicants.

Are we parsing out different services to spread the funding across the service areas?

No. There are no categories or groupings of service areas being considered under this NOFA. All applications will be considered together based on their responses to the NOFA in demonstrating community and human service needs, for either general operations or a program or project to meet that need, up to the amount of funding available for grant awards.

What will be the structure of the technical assistance sessions (where will community/TA sessions be hosted)? In person, virtual, central location, etc.?

The sessions will be a combination of in-person at multiple locations in Arlington, hybrid, and virtual. The sessions will be recorded so they will be available afterwards. Details available here.

How long will data/applications be maintained?

Information received will be stored and maintained consistent with the County’s retention policies.

Will this be offered in future years?

Future funding is dependent on allocation of funds.

NEW: What will the reporting frequency (e.g., monthly, quarterly, etc.) be for organizations who receive funding?

We have not yet finalized the frequency of reporting, although quarterly reporting is under consideration.

NEW: Will those with more evaluation experience receive more points?

No, the NOFA was designed with equity so that applicants can use the scoring rubric to score the maximum number of points whether they are evaluation experts or evaluation novices.

Application Content

GENERAL CONTENT

Can proposals focus on other forms of equity beyond racial equity, such as gender or disability?

Yes. While the primary area is racial equity, the County considers all forms of inequities.

NEW: What is the allowable font size/spacing for the written format?

We recommend, but do not require, using 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins and single-spaced.

NEW: Is the page limit reasonable?

The logic model (question 10), budget template (question 18), staffing table (question 22), and other required attachments (question 23) are not included in the 10-page limit. This should help keep the remaining responses within the page limit.

NEW: If your organization serves Arlington as well as outside of Arlington, can you still apply for General Support?

Yes. Please highlight the specific work your organization does that is done in Arlington County or with Arlington residents. Distinguish the percentage of staff time, for example, that is focused on Arlington County work in your budget template.

Do we need to re-state the questions or use bulleted numbers to indicate the question number? Can we combine any of the question numbers? For instance, Questions 8 and 9 about partnerships have a natural fit together.

You do not need to re-state the questions; simply using the number is sufficient. You should not combine question responses. While some questions fit naturally together and may have some overlap, respond to each question individually. Refer to the rubric to understand how to best answer each question individually, enabling you to earn the most points.

NEW: Can you refer to a previous question in a response?

No. All of the required elements for the response, per the rubric, must be included in that response. Reviewers will not flip back to previous responses to score your response.

NEW: There are three questions that ask about staff experience?

Each is nuanced in the information it is seeking. Use the rubric to understand what should be described. The staffing table does not count toward the page count, and there is an example on the NOFA that shows the level of detail expected. Additionally, you do not need to provide detail around staff that are irrelevant to the proposal or question.

NEW: For Section 3 Question 9, the rubric asks for how the organization will deliver on proposed programming, but that does not appear to be a part of the question.

The idea is that you should describe how the organization will use the partnerships to deliver the proposed programming. The NOFA document has been updated to reflect this, and reviewers will receive an updated rubric to reflect this.

NEW: If you have formal MOUs, do you need to describe or attach them?

No. You can simply state that you have MOUs in place.

NEW: If I am describing a project that has many different activities and many different partners, how will I narrow down which partners to include?

Utilize the green boxes in the rubric for the question and narrow it down to the partners most relevant to the program delivery.

 

BUDGETS AND LOGIC MODELS

My first experience with the application is that you cannot move forward to different sections until you have completed the information on the previous section. How can you access the logic model and budget templates if you are unable to access different sections?

There is a PDF version(PDF, 2MB)  of the application available for download, allowing you to view and complete the application prior to submitting it in the official portal. Templates are available for download as well:

Are the links to those templates in the NOFA PDF? I have looked and did not see them.

We updated the PDF with links to the templates. Additionally, links to the templates are provided above and on the main NOFA website.

Are you restricted to using the templates on the application portal?

No. If you have an existing format that addresses the questions asked, you may use that and are not required to use the provided template.

NEW: The instructions on page 4 indicate that "Sections 3-7 should be kept to a maximum of 10 pages total, not including the logic model, budget form, budget narrative, and staff and Board contributions chart." What is the budget form?

We apologize for the confusion on this - we missed editing this sentence. There is no budget form separate from the budget narrative (the budget template provided).

NEW: Do we need to call out the logic model, budget template, staffing table, and other required attachments within the 10 pages?

No. You will submit them as an attachment. If you would like to reference them, something along the lines of "See logic model" is acceptable.

Is the project scope what is included in the logic model?

Yes, the project scope is a great way to show the contours of the logic model, and the logic model is a visual representation of the project scope.

NEW: Are "Program Goals" in the logic model template SMART goals?

Yes.

Could you discuss the components of logic models for general operations?

Think about and describe the environment your work requires and the stakeholders who impact the work. Refer to the last line of the sample provided.

Can unrestricted funding go toward the general operations of all of our programs?

Yes. Build the logic models based on what you are requesting to be funded, which can spread across multiple programs.

Is there just one logic model or a series of models to cover all components of larger change?

You can have multiple programs, and each may have a logic model. For the purpose of this NOFA, it is ideal that applicants focus on one clear objective.

Do you need to include quantitative change in your logic model?

No, it is not required. If your program permits quantitative change, you can include those numbers in your logic model.

Does it make sense to list the same stakeholder group multiple times in your logic model if you are serving them in different capacities?

Yes. Be clear about the differences, and distinguish if it is the same core population across each activity. For example, if 20 youth are receiving homework help and 20 youth are receiving workforce development, please be clear about whether or not it is the same 20 youth receiving both services and not 40 youth receiving separate services.

From the definition of outcomes - are these long-term results versus the short-term results of outputs?

Yes, outcomes are more long-term impacts that caused a measurable change, and outputs are more short-term or near term results that are more directly related to the activities.

From the TA Session #2 presentation, it sounds as if the logic model will be used, at least in part, to assess budget reasonableness. Is that the case? If so, what is the process?

No, the logic model does not directly assess the budget reasonableness. The budget is assessed based on the criteria detailed in Section 6 of the rubric. The logic model may help you identify the staff and materials needed in your budget.

Are there guidelines on how the budget narrative should be formatted? Since it is not a part of the 10-page limit, should we put that on a separate document?

You can refer to the budget template provided for general formatting. The sample provided indicates the level of detail and format that we would expect on the budget. It is submitted as an individual document.

NEW: Should the FTE count on the budget template be equivalent to the number of positions that are working on the project (so if a full-time staff member is working on the proposal, count 1.0 FTE), or the percentage of their time for which we're applying for funding (so if a full-time staff member is spending 10% of their time working on the proposal, count 0.10 FTE)?

Count the percentage that is being covered by the budget requested. A fulltime staff member who is spending 10% of their time on the proposal would count as 0.10 FTE. Be sure the narrative column supports what the FTE count means.

NEW: The budget template does not allow users to insert additional lines. As such, it is not possible to create detailed lines for each budget category of spending. For example, the salary section will have all positions lumped in one line. Is this okay?

Yes. The narrative column should be used to describe the breakdown of your total for each category of spending. Use the narrative column to highlight each position included in the budget.

 

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

How hard and fast is the audit requirement, especially for smaller nonprofits? Do you have recommendations for where to get an audit?

A financial review is required if a full audit is not available. A nonprofit's Board members may be a good resource for contacts with experience or a background in accounting who may be able to provide a basic financial review pro bono or at low cost.

NEW: Section 7 asks for an FY 2023 Budget. As this is an FY 2025 NOFA, do you need an FY 2024 Budget? I know different organizations have different fiscal years, but by the time this NOFA application is due in December, most organizations should have an FY 2024 budget.

You may provide your most recent fiscal year's budget, whether that is FY 2023 or FY 2024, to meet this requirement.