Frequently Asked Questions

Safety Net Resiliency Initiative - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the foundation launching a new initiative?

What will happen to the foundation’s existing grant programs?

How can I learn more about this new initiative and funding opportunity?

What will my organization get from participating in this initiative?

What is the difference between the Design Teams and the Community of Practice?

How often do the Design Teams and the Community of Practice meet?

When do the Design Teams meet?

Tell me more about the stipends.

What are the participation requirements my organization must agree to?

Who from my organization should participate?

How will the voice of consumers be included?

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for a stipend?

How can my organization apply to participate?

Are faith-based organizations eligible to participate?

How many organizations does the foundation anticipate will be selected? How will the foundation make decisions?

I’ve never received a grant from HealthSpark Foundation. Will past grantees be given priority?

Can I participate in more than one Design Team?

What additional funding will be available from the foundation later in 2018?

What is the overall timeline for the first phase of this initiative?

How else can I participate in this initiative and build my organization’s resiliency?

 

Why is the foundation launching a new initiative?

We envision a resilient and financially sustainable safety net system that allows anyone in Montgomery County to access high quality, coordinated, equitable and culturally appropriate services no matter who they are, what they need or where they live. But today, the financial underpinnings of the current system are fragile, and the people it serves frequently struggle to get the right help, at the right time, in the right place and in a way that empowers them.

The foundation anticipates that recent shifts in public funding for safety net services will continue and squeeze the budgets of health and human service providers. The foundation believes that a resilient countywide safety net system can best weather funding and other challenges, and that the best way to strengthen the safety net system is to draw on the expertise of the agencies and organizations who do this important work every day.

What will happen to the foundation’s existing grant programs?

The foundation will continue its commitment to investing in systems change. The Safety Net Resiliency Initiative represents the primary focus of its work over the next decade.

How can I learn more about this new initiative and funding opportunity?

The foundation is hosting information sessions for interested organizations. Each session will include instructions on how to apply to participate and an opportunity to ask questions. All sessions will be held in the Walton Room at the Community Partners Center at 2506 North Broad Street in Colmar:

  • Thursday, January 4; 9:00 – 11:00am
  • Tuesday, January 9; 9:30 – 11:30am
  • Tuesday, January 16; 9:30 – 11:30am

Organizations interested in participating in the Design Teams or the Community of Practice are strongly encouraged but not required to attend one of these sessions. 

Although the information sessions have passed, you may contact the foundation staff with any questions.

What will my organization get from participating in this initiative?

The foundation believes that a resilient countywide safety net system can best weather funding and other challenges, and that the best way to strengthen the safety net system is to draw on the expertise of the agencies and organizations who do this important work every day. Participating organizations will be part of shaping a better future for Montgomery County, and building practical, real-world plans to make that future a reality. 

Organizations participating in the Design Teams will have the opportunity to learn from other safety net providers, advocacy organizations, government leaders and, hopefully, consumers. Participants will build relationships and collaborate with others interested in redesigning the county’s safety net system. Community of Practice participants will be able to offer feedback on the progress of the Design Teams. And there will be an opportunity for targeted trainings on cultural competency, financial sustainability and executive/board leadership.

What is the difference between the Design Teams and the Community of Practice?

There will be four initial Design Teams, each focused on one of the following areas community stakeholders identified as opportunities to improve the resiliency of the county’s safety net:

  • Improving public-private collaboration and coordination;
  • Ensuring there is “no wrong door” to the safety net system;
  • Encouraging data sharing and systems integration; and
  • Building advocacy and communications capacity within the system.

Design Teams will be comprised of a variety of safety net providers, advocacy organizations, county leaders and, hopefully, consumers from across the county. The goal of each of the Design Teams is to create one or more projects or areas of research they believe will spur significant, lasting improvements in the county’s safety net.

The Community of Practice is a larger group comprised of both Design Team participants and other health and human service providers, as well as philanthropic leaders and governmental leaders and consumers, who will meet to discuss the Design Teams’ ideas and offer feedback to further inform their work. Attendees of Community of Practice meetings will also receive peer-to-peer coaching and support focused on building organizational resilience and improving the safety net system.

Both the Design Teams and the Community of Practice will be professionally facilitated by Meghan McVety of Capacity for Change.

How often do the Design Teams and the Community of Practice meet?

The Design Teams will meet monthly from March through August 2018. Each Design Team meeting will last approximately 3 hours.

The Community of Practice will meet on March 12, June 4 and September 6, 2018. Each meeting will last approximately 3 hours. A fourth Community of Practice meeting may be scheduled later in November or December. The second meeting of the Community of Practice is scheduled for Monday, June 4, 2018 from 9:30am - 12:30pm in the Grand Ballroom, 1st Floor at the Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center (1401 Morris Road, Blue Bell). Click here for details. This event is free, but you must register in advance.

Both the Design Teams and the Community of Practice will be professionally facilitated by Meghan McVety of Capacity for Change.

When do the Design Teams meet?

The Design Teams will meet on the following schedule from March through August. All Design Team meetings will be held in the Walton Room at the Community Partners Center, 2506 N. Broad Street in Colmar, unless otherwise noted.

*Will be held in the HealthSpark Board Room, 2nd Floor at the Community Partners Center.

Please note the meeting dates and locations are subject to change.

 

Tell me more about the stipends.

The foundation will grant a $6,000 stipend to each participating organization as recognition for the time needed to attend meetings and develop projects. Although organizations may apply to participate in more than one Design Team (via one application), only one stipend will be granted to each participating organization.

What are the participation requirements my organization must agree to?

Applicant organization must agree to the following participation requirements (March – September 2018):

  • Agree to send 1-2 organizational representatives, with decision making authority for the organization, to participate in at least one Design Team and the Community of Practice. As consistency is important for this initiative, no substitutions will be allowed for any meeting.
  • Attend approximately 20-30 hours of meetings from March through September. Please note, these hours do not include any additional tasks between meetings that may be required.
    • Attend at least 4 of the 6 monthly meetings of each Design Team. Each Design Team meeting will last approximately 3 hours. (If an organization participates in more than one Design Team, it will be required to attend at least 4 of the 6 meetings for each Design Team.) See the above chart for the schedule of Design Team meetings.
    • Attend at least 2 of the 3 Community of Practice meetings. Each Community of Practice meeting will last approximately 3 hours.
  • Contribute to the initiative evaluation, as requested.
  • Willingness to participate in an annual in-person meeting with the foundation board.
  • Willingness to meet with the foundation staff.

Who from my organization should participate?

Design Team participants should:

  • Understand your organization’s programs/services and how they address consumer needs;
  • Have a working knowledge of how your organization manages unmet consumer needs;
  • Know how your organization’s programs/services are funded;
  • Have a working knowledge of your organization advocacy work (if any);
  • Have the authority to commit your organization’s resources (money, staff, facilities, volunteers, etc.), if needed;
  • Be open to exploring new ideas and approaches to service delivery; and
  • Be committed to engaging in honest, constructive and collegial discussions.

How will the voice of consumers be included?

Consumer input is essential to building a more resilient safety net system. Participating organizations will be encouraged to identify consumers (current or previous clients) willing to offer insights and guidance and share their experiences in receiving services. Each Design Team will be encouraged to identify opportunities for consumer engagement, and consumers will be invited to participate in the Community of Practice sessions and possibly also the Design Teams.

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for a stipend?

The foundation seeks a broad base of safety net stakeholders representing all types of safety net programs/services and all parts of the county. As such, it is keeping the eligibility criteria to a minimum. (Note:  Participating organizations are not required to provide all safety net services or serve the entire county.)

To be eligible, organizations:

  • Must be a health and human service nonprofit provider or a health and human service focused advocacy organization serving/supporting one or more communities in Montgomery County;
  • Must be operational for at least 2 years;
  • Must demonstrate it is providing one or more safety net services; and
  • Must be technically solvent, meaning assets must exceed liabilities as reported in the organization’s Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet).

If you have questions about the eligibility criteria, please contact the foundation at 215-716-5400 or info@healthspark.org.

How can my organization apply to participate?

Applications must be submitted through the foundation’s online grant system. If interested, a PDF of the application can be downloaded at the bottom of the Apply page for a preview of the questions being asked.

Applications are due Monday, January 22, 2018. The foundation will notify all applicants no later than mid-February.

Are faith-based organizations eligible to participate?

Yes, if they meet all the eligibility criteria and if they commit to all the participation requirements.

How many organizations does the foundation anticipate will be selected? How will the foundation make decisions?

Although all organizations that meet the eligibility criteria may apply, the foundation anticipates approximately 50 organizations will participate in this initiative. Staff will review each application to ensure that organizations are fiscally solvent and meet all necessary requirements. The foundation’s goal is to create a diverse group of local thought leaders willing to commit and engage in a rigorous effort to create a more resilient safety net system in Montgomery County.

I’ve never received a grant from HealthSpark Foundation. Will past grantees be given priority?

No. This is an open process and all safety net providers are welcome and encouraged to apply if they can commit to the participation requirements and meet the eligibility requirements. The foundation welcomes the opportunity to work with new partners.

Can I participate in more than one Design Team?

Yes. Organizations may participate in more than one Design Team, however only one stipend will be offered to each organization regardless of how many Design Teams an organization attends. Applicant organizations will submit one application which ranks which Design Team(s) they wish to participate in.

What additional funding will be available from the foundation later in 2018?

The foundation will consider requests to support projects or areas of research created by the Design Teams. It is anticipated the deadline to apply will be in September. Details will be published when available.

What is the overall timeline for the first phase of this initiative?

  • January 4, 9 &16 – Information sessions
  • January 22 – Applications due to participate in one or more Design Teams
  • Mid-February – Foundation notifies applicants
  • March-August – Design Teams meet monthly
  • March, June & September – Community of Practice meets
  • September – Applications due for projects created within Design Teams
  • Fall 2018 – Foundation notifies applicants

How else can I participate in this initiative and build my organization’s resiliency?

Crowdsourcing event attendees identified three core areas of organizational capacity required to sustain a viable and strong safety net:

  • Cultural competency
  • Financial sustainability
  • Executive/board leadership

These areas for development cut across all four areas of work for the Design Teams. Recognizing that time is precious, the foundation is working with several community-based capacity building colleagues to explore if and how curriculum design and trainings can be efficiently offered to all providers in the county. Details will be published when available.