COO Black-led Systems and Policy Change Program
Communities of Opportunity (COO) is announcing a new investment to support Black communities by releasing a one-year investment in Black-led (including African descent and diaspora) organizations working on systems and policy change in the Black community.
Thank you for your interest in the Communities of Opportunity Systems and Policy Change Grants. This Request For Proposals (RFP) invites proposals from community-led and community-engaged efforts to transform systems and policies for stronger community connections, economic opportunity, better health, and/or housing that will decrease and/or prevent continued inequity in communities that have been most harmed by racist and oppressive policies and systems, particularly low-income communities and communities of color in King County.
In June, 2020 King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Public Health released a declaration that Racism is a Public Health Crisis. That declaration states:
- King County has been complicit in maintaining and perpetuating structural racism, and that as an institution we must be a vital player in dismantling oppressive systems that are grounded in white supremacy
- Community leaders and organizations will be provided resources to develop solutions.
- King County will drive resources toward where they are needed most as indicated by those in that community.
While racism is a public health crisis that impacts all people of color, it is also true that Black people in the United States have been uniquely impacted by racism. A review of public health data across King County shows:
- In King County, infants born to Black mothers are more than two times likely to die before reaching their first birthday than infants born to White mothers.
- In King County, Black adults are more than 1.7 times as likely to run out of food without money to purchase more than White adults.
- In King County, Black adults are more than 1.5 times as likely not to have a bachelor’s degree compared to White adults.
- In King County, the median income for Black households is $48,075 which is about half the median income of White households ($94,533).
At the same time, philanthropic funding for Black-led organizations and communities is both insufficient and contributes to resource gaps. Despite this, joy, creativity, resilience and innovation persist in Black communities across King County. And, every day, advancements for justice, inclusion, greater equity and opportunity come from Black-led movements for change. It is grounded in these realities that Communities of Opportunity offers this Black-led systems and policy change funding opportunity.
WHAT WE SEEK TO SUPPORT
- Community-based efforts focused on changing policies, rules, systems or regulations in order to reduce and eliminate inequity and advance antiracism.
- Efforts to reduce inequity through systems and policy change. Efforts can be targeted at a wide variety of institutions including but not limited to; government, regulatory agencies, schools and post-secondary institutions, hospitals and health care delivery systems, and places of employment.
- Efforts that demonstrate deep community leadership in the identification of issues and development of solutions.
- Efforts that demonstrate knowledge of the practices, policies, rules, systems or regulations they seek to change.
WHO SHOULD APPLY
- Partnerships or coalitions in which leadership and organization staff represent the Black (including African immigrant and diaspora) community
- Partnerships or coalitions working specifically in the Black community to further Black liberation
- Partnerships or coalitions that are led by and for the community in which the proposed grant work takes place.
- Partnerships or coalitions that center racial equity in their work and approach.
- Partnerships or coalitions with strong relationships and trust in the community.
- Partnerships or coalitions seeking to make policy change at the neighborhood, city, county or state level.
- Partnerships or coalitions must demonstrate the impact of their work in King County
- Partnerships or coalitions that are currently receiving funding or participating through other COO strategy areas, including Cultural and Place-based community partnerships, are eligible to apply, providing their proposal meets the criteria in this RFP.
- All applicants must have 501(c)3, nonprofit status or have a fiscal sponsor that qualifies as a nonprofit 510(c)3 organization.
- All applicants must be based within the state of Washington.
HOW WE MAKE DECISIONS
- Applications will be reviewed by a review committee made up of COO (Seattle Foundation and King County) staff and community reviewers. The review committee will make recommendations to the COO Governance Group for final approval on funding decisions.
- We will prioritize funding organizations who uplift the leadership of community members.
FUNDING AMOUNT AND LENGTH
- COO has $725,000 to award, supporting work taking place in 2021.
- Grants will be awarded as $145,000 partnership grants.
- Organizations may not apply as individual organizations, this funding is only available to support organizations of two or more working together towards a common outcome.
- All grant resources must be spent down by December 31, 2021.
Funding Requirements: Detailed terms of grant reporting will be finalized with selected grantees and reflected in final grant contracts, but will include at a minimum twice yearly grant updates.
FUNDING & ALLOWABLE ACTIVITIES
We recognize provision of stipends and direct services can serve as a point of contact and an initial exposure to organizing and systems change work. We also recognize the challenges inherent in working on long-term systems change while foregoing immediate needs that can be met through immediate support. Simultaneously, philanthropy historically has underinvested in critical organizing and systems change work. The core purpose of the COO Systems and Policy work is to support the organizing, advocacy, research and policy work needed to make a more just society. Organizations are encouraged to develop proposals that respect the intellectual property, time value and other resource costs of doing community-based work as appropriate for the individual organization or coalition. This includes stipends for participant time, travel or childcare as well as staff time to help community members navigate systems and receive social supports.
Lobbying limitations: The funding supporting Communities of Opportunity is a blend of philanthropic and public funds. COO systems and policy change grants can support limited lobbying through the use of philanthropic dollars. Local government funds have specific lobbying restrictions. In addition, political activity is a prohibited use of public funds: None of the funds, materials, property, or services provided directly or indirectly with public funds shall be used for any partisan political activity or to further the election or defeat of any candidate for public office. Please clearly identify any actions that include lobbying activities when submitting your proposal
SYSTEMS CHANGE PROCESS
|Primary Purpose||Understanding community priorities|
Building and deepening relationships with community
|Creation of the community-led solutions|
Deepening community awareness
|Preparing key partners and community members to act|
Expanding the relationship base
|Change the existing policy, practice, or system|
|Example Activities||Community forums, community interviews, community meetings, door knocking, community-based research||Exploration and identification of root causes product development and material development targeted at policymakers||Coalition building, developing and seeding new relationships, community forums||Advocacy campaigns, submitting public comment, media campaigns, working to pass legislation, seeing through the implementation of a recently passed policy or systems change|
Table 1. Policy Process
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SPECTRUM
|Community Participation Goal||To provide the community with balanced factual and culturally appropriate information to assist them in understanding the problems, alternatives and solutions||To obtain community feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions||To work directly with communities throughout the process to ensure that community issues and concerns are consistently understood and considered||To partner with communities in each aspect of the decision including the initial development of solutions and alternatives||To place final decision-making in the hands of the community|
|Message to the Community||We will keep you informed, we will hear directly from people most impacted by the challenge.||We will keep you informed, listen to and acknowledge concerns and provide feedback on how community input influenced decisions.||We will work collectively to ensure community concerns are directly reflected in the work and keep the community informed.||We will look to the community for advice and innovation on creating solutions. Community advice and innovations will be included to the maximum extent possible.||We will move forward with what the community decides.|
Table 2. Community Engagement Spectrum. Adopted from King County Continuum of Engagement
We recognize that systems and policy change work is not linear and that many times each of the phases may happen concurrently. COO is interested in meeting applicant organizations where they are in the process and will not give preference to organizations who are ‘further’ on the spectrum. Please self-identify where you are in the development of your systems and policy change project.
Your self-selection using the tool below will help COO reviewers understand where your work is in the policy and systems change process.
You will be asked to choose the Systems Change Process that most closely matches your activities:
(1) LISTEN (2) DEVELOP (3) ORGANIZE (4) ACT
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SPECTRUM
COO seeks to support community leadership and deep community engagement in systems and policy change efforts. The community engagement spectrum (above) provides a framework for different depths of community participation in decision making, along with examples of each type.
As you respond to the questions below regarding community involvement, please use the spectrum language of Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, and Community Directed -- to describe the type of community engagement your effort is engaged in. Note that the examples are not exhaustive and you should not feel it necessary restrict your tools to those examples listed above.
Taking your proposed project as a whole, you will be asked where you would place your work on the Community Engagement Spectrum?
(1) INFORM (2) CONSULT (3) INVOLVE (4) COLLABORATE (5) COMMUNITY DIRECTS
PROPOSAL NARRATIVE QUESTIONS
1. Please describe the problem your partnership seeks to address – be specific to how this is related to racial equity for Black folks and how this challenge connects with at least one of the following four COO focus areas: Health, Housing, Community Connection, Economic Opportunity
2. Who is the community supporting your proposed work? How has your base been involved in the work to date and what will their participation look like moving forward?
3. How will your coalition or partnership work to change the challenge identified in the previous section? Please be specific about how this work is related to Black liberation or addressing anti-Black racism through policy and systems change.
4. What tactics will you deploy to be successful? Note if any of your tactics include lobbying.
5. Why is this work critical and time sensitive at this moment?
6. What outcomes do you aim to achieve at the end of the 1-year grant period?
- Changes to policy and systems:
- Changes to the community or power structure:
PARTNERSHIP AND COALITION
7. Please list all members of your coalition and the strength each partner brings to the work.
SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL
PROPOSAL & ATTACHMENTS
●Board and Staff Diversity (please use this template)
●Proposed budget for project activities (please use this template)
COO will hold one information session over Zoom:
9/22: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Register to attend here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coo-black-led-systems-and-policy-change-webinar-tickets-120095776701
The informational session recording will be posted here following the webinar.
Question and Answer Sessions:
Seattle Foundation will host question and answer sessions for potential grantees at the grant mid-point and right before the close of the RFP. These sessions are an opportunity for folks who have questions about the grant program to drop in and ask questions to Communities of Opportunity staff about the grant opportunity and grant process. The Question and Answer sessions will not be recorded and will not be posted on the website. Please register using the Eventbrite link, registrants will receive the zoom login information the day prior to the Q&A.
10/7: 11-12 p.m.
Register to attend here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/121271021891
10/23: 11-12 p.m.
Register to attend here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/121271954681
Virtual Site Visits:
Applications will be reviewed by a review committee of Communities of Opportunity Staff and community volunteers, following the review process finalists will be invited to grant follow up meetings during the week of December 1. These meetings are an opportunity for review committee members to ask any follow up questions to applicants and learn any additional information prior to making a final funding decision. Organizations will be informed of their invitation to participate in these virtual follow up meetings by November 13th. The virtual follow up meetings will be informal in nature, and will require minimal preparation by the participating organization.
Seattle Foundation is committed to creating an inclusive community where everyone has equitable access to opportunity and the benefits of a healthy community. Please complete the Organization Profile form to provide us information about the type of work your organization performs, and the communities you work with and represent. If this is your organization's first time completing If your organization has not previously completed the Org Profile: complete this form to provide SeaFdn with information about your organization. If you have completed it before, please review your previous submission to make sure your information is up-to-date. It will take you approximately 30 minutes to complete. If you need assistance, please email email@example.com.
Your responses to the Organization Profile form have no impact on the results of your application to the Black-led Systems and Policy Change application.