Community Impact Grant Level Two: Accelerate

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Last updated: April 30, 2024
Now Open! Applicants may submit a Level Two: Accelerate Letter of Intent at any time. Subscribe to the WPP newsletter to receive funding alerts and other news.

Background

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) is home to the Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP), a grantmaking program within SMPH established as the result of a generous endowment gift from Blue Cross Blue Shield United of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Partnership Program is committed to improving health and advancing health equity through investments in community partnerships, education and research.

A true embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea, WPP awards grants to innovative projects and initiatives that propel medical research, enhance health education and workforce development, support community health partnerships, advance health equity and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The work of WPP and its grantees touches all corners of the state, across a wide range of health challenges, communities, populations and geographic areas.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program’s vision, mission and values as well as its goals and grantmaking strategies are described in the 2024–2029 Five-Year Plan.

Goal and Description

Social determinants of health — economic stability, social and community context, access to health services and healthcare, neighborhoods and the built environment and education — have a strong and scientifically proven impact on human health and well-being. The structures, policies, systems and environments that guide individual’s daily lives shape these determinants and thereby enhance or impede health. As such, many of the complex health issues are rooted in structural inequities that affect the health status of disproportionately affected populations.

Through the Community Impact Grant Program, the Wisconsin Partnership Program’s Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC) supports evidence-informed, community partnership initiatives that address the social determinants of health to advance health equity in Wisconsin’s urban, rural and tribal communities. These partnerships require substantial and authentic community leadership to make progress toward sustainability and must be supported by evaluation.

Proposals must address health inequities and their root causes and be informed and implemented by those who are most affected by these inequities. Community partnerships strengthen our ability to successfully address and influence health and advance health equity.

Funding Scope and Duration

The Community Impact Grant Level Two: Accelerate awards are designed for larger organizations with annual expenses of $500,000 or more, and an academic partner is required.

Awards are for up to $500,000 for up to three years. There are no renewals allowed at the end of the initial award; however, organizations may apply for a new award during the annual competitive application process of their final year.

The OAC anticipates allocating up to five Level Two: Accelerate awards during this grant cycle depending on the availability of funds.

In addition to the funding through this grant, the Partnership Program offers a Learning Collaborative that provides in-person and virtual learning and networking opportunities for grant recipients alongside their academic and community partners to maximize the impact of collective efforts to address health and health equity and to optimize sustained success. Participants learn from, engage and problem-solve with each other as each grantee team works toward systems and structural changes for health equity. We believe that experiencing this work together — and looking for mutually beneficial opportunities — will increase the ultimate success and sustainability of these grants.

Eligibility

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Community Lead Organization 

A Community Lead Organization is required and must be a Wisconsin-based organization within one or more of these categories:

  • Nonprofit, IRS tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organization
  • Nonprofit, IRS tax exempt, 501(c)(6) organization
  • Nonprofit or public 4K-12 school or district
  • Tribal, state or local government entity

Please note, the Wisconsin Partnership Program does not allow its funds to be used for lobbying activities and does not allow recipient organizations to regrant funds.

The Community Lead Organization is responsible and accountable for leading and advancing the project as specified in the Memorandum of Understanding. A named employee from the Community Lead Organization must serve in a project specific role and must commit at least 5 percent FTE directly to the project.

The Community Lead Organization must have the fiscal and administrative capacity to oversee and manage the project. The Community Lead Organization must have expenses exceeding $500,000 annually and is required to provide a copy of their audited financial statements issued less than 24 months prior to the Letter of Intent deadline. Wisconsin-based organizations within the eligible categories that have expenses exceeding $500,000 annually, but do not have audited financial statements, must contact the Wisconsin Partnership Program regarding alternative acceptable financial documentation to verify eligibility before applying.

A collaborative partnership or network may apply only if an active member of the collaborative is eligible and serves as the Community Lead Organization. WPP believes in working directly with organizations actively engaging in their community. Therefore, a Community Lead Organization must be the implementing organization for the project. Organizations serving as fiscal sponsors for an implementing organization will not be allowed. A fiscal agent/sponsor is defined as an organization which meets at least one of three criteria:

  1. Lends credibility of its 501(c)3 or nonprofit status and/or organization capacity to a smaller project partner or a for profit entity
  2. Performs administrative functions for a project, typically for a fee
  3. Provides little to no programmatic oversight of the project and acts primarily as a passthrough

Source: National Council of Nonprofits

Community Lead Organizations with a Community Impact Grant award that is active beyond June 30, 2025 are not eligible to apply. Community Lead Organizations are only eligible to apply once per Community Impact Grant cycle. A Community Lead Organization is ineligible to apply if they have had a grant terminated by WPP in the past 48 months or have received a formal notice of suspension from WPP in the past 48 months.

Questions about your organization’s eligibility should be directed to the Wisconsin Partnership Program. Go to Contact Information.

Community-Academic Partnership 

For Level Two: Accelerate grants, the initiative must include at least one Academic Partner with relevant expertise who has an established partnership with the Community Lead Organization. Evidence of prior productivity of this community-academic partnership will be considered as a particular strength.

Academic Partners must have a paid appointment of 0.5 FTE or higher in a faculty or staff position at the Universities of Wisconsin, UW–Madison Extension, Wisconsin Technical College System, or Wisconsin Tribal College.

Academic Partners must have the ability to submit the project to their institutional IRB should the project be deemed human subjects research.

Submission and Review Dates

Letter of Intent

Guidelines

Letter of Intent (LOI) Submission Deadline: June 3, 2024 at 5 p.m. CST.

The Letter of Intent is required and is available in Fluxx. All applicants are required to have a Fluxx account to access and submit the LOI.

Fluxx Portal 

Important Information for New Fluxx Users : New Fluxx users must register for a Fluxx account by completing the Community Organization Registration Form under Create your Profile. Once reviewed by our team, which typically takes one business day, new users will receive an email with their username and instructions to set their password. New Fluxx users should register by May 31, 2024 as there is no guarantee that new registrations past this date will be processed before the 5 p.m. CST June 3, 2024 LOI deadline. Applicants who fail to register by this deadline may not be able to submit an LOI.

Once logged in to Fluxx, click the green “Start Your Community Impact Grant Level Two: Accelerate LOI” button to start your Letter of Intent.

Email wpp@hslc.wisc.edu with questions regarding Fluxx.

In addition to providing general information about the project, the Letter of Intent includes many key components:

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Letter of Intent

Upload the Letter of Intent as a PDF with a maximum of two single-spaced pages with 11-point font and 1-inch margins providing concise bulleted responses to each section in this order and using these section headers.

  1. Goal Statement: State the overarching goal of the initiative and describe the potential impact on health and health equity, including the number of individuals to be reached by this project
  2. Primary Social Determinant of Health: Indicate the primary social determinant of health the proposed initiative will address and describe the health challenge motivating you to take action
  3. Impacted Communities: Identify the communities whose health and well-being will be most impacted by the proposed work and describe how the proposed work reflects the perspectives and experiences of those most impacted by health inequities
  4. Sustainability and Scalability: Describe your initiative’s goals for sharing information and building sustainability within your impacted population and/or community, as well as scalability to other communities throughout the state of Wisconsin (if applicable)
  5. Grant Activities and Timeline with Milestones: Describe the major activities you propose under this grant along with the time frame for each activity and the anticipated outcomes
  6. Community-Academic Partnership:
    1. Community Lead Organization: Describe the Community Lead Organization’s experience in addressing the social determinant of health and health inequities and what makes this organization ideal to lead the proposed initiative
    2. Academic Partner:
      1. Describe the role(s) of any academic partner(s) and any experiences the Community Lead Organization and its partners have had working with them in the past
      2. If this is a new partnership, describe why this work is important to both parties to move forward and what level of commitment the academic partner(s) will provide
    3. Partners: Provide a bulleted list of the partner organizations engaged in this work (examples include health systems, government, private sector, local philanthropy, nonprofits, faith-based organizations) and how they will contribute to this initiative, if applicable
  7. Other sources of funds (if applicable):
    1. If the Wisconsin Partnership Program is one of multiple sources of funds to support the proposed initiative, describe specific activities that will be supported directly by the Wisconsin Partnership Program
    2. Also, describe how WPP funds expand the project as our funds cannot be used to supplant other sources of funds for the project
IRS Determination Letter

Upload the IRS determination letter of tax-exempt status or other relevant documentation for the Community Lead Organization.

Financial Statements

Upload the Community Lead Organization’s audited financial statements issued less than 24 months prior to the Letter of Intent deadline. The annual expenditure threshold will be reviewed using the most recently reported fiscal year of the Organization. Wisconsin-based organizations within the eligible categories that have expenses exceeding $500,000 annually, but do not have audited financial statements, must contact the Wisconsin Partnership Program regarding alternative acceptable financial documentation to verify eligibility before applying.

Designation of Confidential and Proprietary Information

The Wisconsin Partnership Program is required to operate in accordance with Wisconsin’s public records and open meetings laws. Indicate whether the Letter of Intent includes proprietary and/or confidential information, and using the form provided, identify and request confidentiality for any trade secrets or proprietary information.

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Review Criteria

Letters of Intent will be reviewed based on:

  • Illustrates an alignment with the goals of this funding program and addresses one or more social determinants of health
  • Provides specific grant activities and realistic project milestones to accomplish goals
  • Provides strong evidence that the proposal is driven by the perspectives and experiences of those most impacted by the health inequities in the community
  • Provides specific goals to demonstrate effective information sharing and pursuit of sustainability
Review Process

Technical review: Wisconsin Partnership Program staff will review each Letter of Intent to ensure that all requirements are met. This includes review of eligibility of the Community Lead Organization and Academic Partner. Letters of Intent that do not comply with the submission or eligibility requirements will not be reviewed and the applicant organization will be notified.

Content review: Wisconsin Partnership Program staff will work with community and academic reviewers with relevant expertise to review the content of each Letter of Intent to determine if it warrants further development as a full application. This review is based on the Letter of Intent review criteria. De-identified reviewer comments will be shared with all Community Lead Organizations who have Letters of Intent reviewed during this process.

OAC review: The results of the content review will be presented to the Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC). The OAC will decide which applicants to invite for full applications. The Community Lead Organization will be notified per the submission and review dates whether the organization is being invited to submit a full application. OAC’s decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

Note: Applicants must maintain the integrity of the review process by not contacting reviewers or OAC board members directly or indirectly to influence the outcome of the review.

Full Application

Guidelines

Only applicants invited by the OAC may submit a full application. The Community Lead Organization and Academic Partner(s) will receive a link to the full application in the invitation. Full applications are due by 5 p.m. CST on August 26, 2024. In addition to providing general information about the project, the full application includes these components:

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Executive Summary

The executive summary, which is limited to one single-spaced page PDF with one-inch margins and a minimum 11-point font, is a succinct and accurate description of the initiative when separated from other application materials. The summary should include the goals of the initiative; significance of the health equity issue(s) and social determinant(s) of health being addressed; the involvement of the impacted communities and anticipated number of individuals to be reached by the initiative; the sustainability efforts to be undertaken; and the community-academic partnership to advance the proposed work.

Narrative

The narrative, which is limited to five single-spaced pages as a PDF with one-inch margins and a minimum 11-point font, must include these sections. Please list the section headers in bold so that each section is easily identified in the narrative.

  1. Goal Statement: Describe your initiative’s goals — clearly identify the significance of the health equity issue(s) and any existing evidence or experience you are using to support your proposed approach
  2. Primary Social Determinant of Health: Identify how your approach has the potential to impact social determinants of health and potentially transform approaches to address these issues in your community and beyond
  3. Community Voice: Describe the communities whose health and well-being will be most impacted by the proposed work and how these communities are represented in the initiative as leaders or shapers of the work
  4. Primary Activities and Timeline with Milestones: List the goals of the initiative — for each goal, describe the activities and specific measurable milestones for each project year and the anticipated outcomes by the end of the project (The annual milestones will be used to assess progress toward the specific goals if selected for funding)
  5. Evaluation and Learning: Wisconsin Partnership Program grantees funded through this grant program are expected to have an evaluation plan designed to aid in understanding the impact of the proposed project; in this section of the narrative, please address how you plan to evaluate this project
    1. Be sure to discuss:
      1. What types of questions do you hope to answer through evaluation?
      2. How and when will you collect data (i.e., surveys, interviews, etc.)?
      3. What kinds of data will you collect to answer these questions?
      4. How will you show an impact on human health?
      5. How will you incorporate your participants’ feedback or voice for project improvement?
  6. Sustainability and Scalability: Describe your initiative’s goals for sharing information and building sustainability within your impacted population and/or community, as well as scalability to other communities throughout the state of Wisconsin (if applicable)
  7. Organizational Capacity and Partnerships:
    1. Community Lead Organization: There are administrative and fiscal demands that oversight of a WPP grant imposes on an organization, such as compliance with non-supplanting, submission of financial and progress reports, collaboration with the WPP evaluator, submission of audited statements, etc. (For more information, please see WPP  Terms and Conditions) — describe the Community Lead Organization’s organizational capacity to manage administrative and fiscal responsibilities associated with this proposed initiative
    2. Academic Partner:
      1. Describe the role(s) of your academic partner(s) and any experiences the Community Lead Organization and its partners have had working with them in the past
      2. If this is a new partnership, describe why this work is important to both parties to move forward and what level of commitment the academic partner(s) will provide
    3. Partners: Provide a bulleted list of the partner organizations engaged in this work and how they will contribute to the initiative
  8. Other sources of funds (if applicable):
    1. If the Wisconsin Partnership Program is one of multiple sources of funds to support the proposed initiative, describe specific activities that will be supported directly by the Wisconsin Partnership Program
    2. Also, describe how WPP funds expand the project as our funds cannot be used to supplant other sources of funds for the project
Letters of Commitment

Letters of commitment are required from the Academic Partner(s) and from each of the Partners listed under “Organizational Capacity and Partnerships” in the full application narrative. These letters should show evidence of the collaboration and describe how they or their organizations will be involved in the initiative. The letters must be combined and uploaded as a single PDF. There is no page limit for letters of commitment. Template-based letters are discouraged.

Letters of Support

Applicants must include letters from individuals or groups to demonstrate support for the project. Letters from community members and others who have received support from your work are also welcome and encouraged. The letters must be combined and uploaded as a single PDF. Do not submit more than 10 letters of support, however there is no page limit for letters of support. If letters of support are provided in a language other than English, please include the original letter of support as well as a translated version. Letters of support can be handwritten. Template-based letters are strongly discouraged.

Project Budget

Using the required budget template, the project budget should clearly indicate how the grant funds will be spent. Expenditures must:

  • Be fully justified, reasonable and clearly related to the project’s goals
  • Reflect the activities listed in the proposal
  • Explain the sources and amounts of any cash match or cost sharing funds
  • Be allowable, reasonable and allocable in accordance with WPP Cost Principles

Requests should be made by expense type (salary and fringe benefits, services, travel, supplies, etc.) and should provide sufficient detail for individuals unfamiliar with the project.

Allowable and Unallowable Expenses

Guidelines for allowable/unallowable expenses are available for review on the Wisconsin Partnership Program website. Funds must be used for project-related costs. These may include:

  • Personnel expenses (i.e., salaries and benefits)
  • Salary support for academic partners
  • Consultant and contract services (e.g., training)
  • Travel
  • Office supplies and participant incentives directly related to the scope of work
  • Services that are not otherwise available or reimbursable

Funds may not be used for:

  • Patient care with the sole purpose of providing clinical services related to treatment or follow-up for specific health conditions, such as funded or reimbursable clinical services
  • General overhead expenses (i.e., general administrative support, office space and cost-allocations for expenses not directly related to the project)
  • Grantmaking
  • Lobbying (see terms and conditions)
  • Pre-award or proposal costs
  • Capital expenditures costing $5,000 or more with a useful life of one year or more; exceptions may be made for capital expenditures if such equipment is crucial to the primary objectives of the project; Wisconsin Partnership Program pre-approval is required
  • Projects outside the state of Wisconsin
Budget Justification

A budget justification is required for purposes of describing in detail the major budget line items: salary and fringe benefits, travel, services, and supplies and other expenses. The justification should provide specific information about why an expense is necessary to achieve the project’s goals and objectives. It must also describe the roles and responsibilities of the project’s key personnel, even if uncompensated. The budget justification must be uploaded as a PDF with one-inch margins and a minimum 11-point font.

Non-Supplanting Questionnaire

Complete the non-supplanting questionnaire (form provided) by responding to the questions and providing explanations as necessary. Read about supplanting review under the full application review process for more information on supplanting.

Human Subjects Compliance

All approved projects involving human subjects in research must be reviewed and approved or deemed exempt by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of record for the academic partner before the research project begins. Respond to the related question in the application. Funded applicants are required to complete a questionnaire to determine whether an IRB review is required for the proposed initiative.

Designation of Confidential and Proprietary Information

The Wisconsin Partnership Program is required to operate in accordance with Wisconsin’s public records and open meetings laws. Indicate whether the full application includes proprietary and/or confidential information, and using the form provided, identify and request confidentiality for any trade secrets or proprietary information.

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Review Criteria

Full applications will be reviewed based on:

  • Goals and Potential Impact (60 points):
    • The proposal provides a clear and convincing summary of the work and gives reviewers confidence that the organization and proposed approach can have a positive impact on health and health equity in Wisconsin (20 points)
    • The proposal provides a specific list of goals, activities and measurable annual milestones that are well defined and appear achievable (20 points)
    • The proposal considers sustainability of the work and future opportunities for scalability and reach (20 points)
  • Community-Academic Partnership and Community Voice (30 points):
    • The proposal illustrates a strong and qualified lead applicant and team, including meaningful leadership and participation of impacted community
    • The role of the Community-Lead Organization and partnering individuals or organizations are clear with each contributing appropriately to the overall goal(s) and project activities
    • The proposal provides evidence of a strong existing community-academic partnership
    • Letters of Commitment are specific to the work, commitment, and involvement of the individual or group submitting the letter — a significant level of engagement can be discerned (Template letters will not be considered positively)
  • Evaluation Plan (10 points):
    • The proposal includes a strong plan for project evaluation, participant feedback, and continuous improvement
Review Process and Funding Decisions

Technical review: Wisconsin Partnership Program staff will review each full application to ensure that all requirements are met. Applications that do not comply with the submission requirements will not be reviewed and the applicant organization and academic partner will be notified.

Content review: A panel of academic and community reviewers with relevant expertise will review assigned applications based on the full application review criteria. Each full application will be reviewed by three reviewers. The review panel will share their scores, comments and feedback amongst each other, allowing for diverse opinions. This information will be shared with the OAC, along with the de-identified reviewer comments.

OAC review: The results of the content review will be presented to the Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC). The OAC will decide on invitations for the finalist live Zoom presentation stage.

Note: Applicants must maintain the integrity of the review process by not contacting reviewers or OAC board members directly or indirectly to influence the outcome of the review.

Applicants will be informed by October 25, 2024 on whether they have advanced to the finalist stage. Applicants will receive the de-identified reviewer comments. The finalist Level Two applicants selected by OAC will make presentations to the committee per the submission and review dates. The presentations will take place on November 20, 2024 between noon and 4 p.m. via Zoom. No exceptions to this date will be made.

Typically, two OAC members will be assigned to review each finalist application, along with the content reviewer scores and comments. There will be a discussion in which these two OAC members will share their thoughts with the full OAC. OAC members will independently rank the proposals based on the presentation, the full application, the reviewer comments, and committee discussion. OAC will make a decision on awards based on a final rank by the OAC, goals of the Community Impact Grant Program, OAC discussion and available funding. Decisions made by the OAC are final and not subject to appeal.

Supplanting review: Supplanting means to replace, to take the place of, or to supersede. The Wisconsin Partnership Program prohibits any funds from being awarded that will supplant funds or resources otherwise available to applicants from other sources for the proposed project. OAC’s award decisions are conditional on a final review of non-supplanting by the Wisconsin Partnership Program Administrative Leadership Team. If a determination is made that supplanting has occurred or likely will occur, the SMPH Chief Financial Officer will be consulted and the Administrative Leadership Team will take action in compliance with WPP’s non-supplanting policy. The Administrative Leadership Team’s decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

Terms and Conditions

Community Lead Organizations that are selected for a grant award are subject to the Partnership Program’s terms and conditions outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding (See example OAC Memorandum of Understanding). The Wisconsin Partnership Program has authority to establish additional terms and conditions unique to a funded project and will notify the Community Lead Organization.

Technical Assistance

Office Hours: Please sign up for a 15-minute consultation with WPP staff prior to LOI submission.

Evaluation: Grantees funded through this grant program will be required to have at least one meeting at the start of the award with the Partnership Program’s evaluator. Grantees will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Wisconsin Partnership Program’s evaluator to document and evaluate outcomes and lessons learned as the project progresses.

Overview of Community Impact Grant Program Level Two: Accelerate:

 

Fluxx registration process:

 

Note: WPP staff will not pre-review or opine on LOI or full application drafts.

Contact Information

General Inquiries

Aimee Haese
Program Officer
alhaese@wisc.edu

Evaluation Inquiries

Lindsay Barone, PhD
Evaluator
lmbarone@wisc.edu

Budget or Supplanting Inquiries

Jon Thomas
Finance Associate Director
thomas38@wisc.edu