Frequently Asked Questions

The MBK Community Challenge RFP is the main source of information about the eligibility requirements, application and proposal instructions for this grant competition. This FAQ is intended to provide further information, where needed, to clarify that content of the RFP.

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation will host technical assistance conference calls or webinars for potential applicants. The schedule of these calls and other applicant resources, including answers to frequently asked questions will be posted on the MBK Alliance Community Challenge Competition webpage. Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the website to access resources, webinars, and updates. Additional questions should be submitted via this form.

RFP Applications, Application Period, Decisions

Q1. What is the process for submitting questions about the RFP?
If you have any questions that are not covered by the RFP, or this FAQ, please submit it in writing via the Obama Foundation website. The RFP question submission form is located at https://www.obama.org/mbka/competition. Questions will be accepted via this link through Monday, May 14th at 12pm ET.

Q2. Will all questions posed be available for all to review? If yes, by when?
We will post frequently asked questions on this page and answer them as soon as we can as they come in. All frequently asked questions will be answered by Monday, May 17, 2018.

Q3. Is this RFP available annually? Does the application remain the same annually so we can plan to apply in the future if we do not meet the requirement or timeline for this year’s application?
At this time, the MBK Community Challenge Competition is a pilot competition.

Q4. How many applications can one community submit?
There is no limit to the number of applications from one community, however, all applications must meet eligibility requirements, including appropriate endorsements by local elected officials or lead partner organizations. Note: The most competitive applications will be those that demonstrate an ability to build cross-sector coalitions and develop proposals utilizing a collective impact framework. The more unified a community is in submitting an application, the better.

Q5. How is MBKA/the Obama Foundation defining MBK Communities?​
MBK Communities formally accepted the MBK Community Challenge, which was launched in 2014, and have begun to advance the My Brother’s Keeper work including: Engaging a cross-sector body to guide strategy; Appointing a designated director; Holding a Local Action Summit; Publishing a Local Action Plan, focusing on at least two milestones.

Q6. ​Are you hosting pre-application webinars?​
Yes, here is the link to pre-application webinars: Register for webinars.

Q7. Can I apply with multiple non-profits? Can various organizations split the funding? Can I subgrant dollars to other 501c3s in my community?
Yes, we encourage partnerships between organizations focused on scaling evidence based practices. All organizations should be listed, and partnerships should be described in the proposal narrative. However, one organization needs to submit the lead as the backbone and will receive the dollars if the grant is awarded. Dollars can then subsequently be subgranted to other organizations for their share of the collective work as approved by the Obama Foundation and governed by the grant agreement.

Eligibility and Experience

Q8. My community completed all the steps in the Community Challenge, but the Mayor, County Executive or Tribal Leader has yet to adopt the Local Action Plan. Can we still apply?
As long as your mayor, county executive, tribal leader or similar local chief elected official formally accepted the MBK Community Challenge, eligible nonprofit organizations in your community are able to apply. In evaluating applications, the MBK Alliance will prioritize organizations representing communities that have met the initial MBK Community Challenge requirements, including: Engaged a cross-sector body to guide strategy Appointed a designated director; Held a Local Action Summit; Published Local Action Plan, focusing on at least two milestones.

Q9. Our community has a new Mayor who has yet to adopt the MBK Challenge. Can we still apply?
Yes. As long as your Community accepted the MBK Community Challenge and the work is still underway, you may apply. However, all applications must meet eligibility requirements, including appropriate endorsements by current local elected officials or lead partner organizations.

Q10 Our community did not formally accept the MBK Community Challenge while President Obama was in office, or is not on the published list of MBK Communities, but we are still engaged in the work of expanding opportunity and reducing barriers for boys and young men of color. Can we apply?

In evaluating applications, the MBK Alliance will prioritize organizations representing communities that formally accepted and have met the initial MBK Community Challenge requirements, including: Engaged a cross-sector body to guide strategy Appointed a designated director; Held a Local Action Summit; Published Local Action Plan, focusing on at least two milestones. If your community believes it accepted the Challenge and is not on our published list, please contact us at the following link, providing proof of acceptance. If your community did not formally accept the Challenge but has been engaged in the work and undergone similar work to the MBK Community Challenge Competition, we will not disqualify your application. But, as stated, know that jurisdictions that formally accepted the Challenge and have completed the requirements will be prioritized in selection.

Learn more about the MBK Community Challenge here: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/community-challenge/

Programmatic Elements

Q11. Can you give me an example of a backbone organization? What if I am serving in an unofficial, yet recognized capacity as a backbone organization. Does that count?
“Backbone organizations” are those that ultimately seek to improve social outcomes by organizing cross-sector groups of partners to transform inefficient, fragmented systems. Backbone organizations are typically recognized as organizational leaders among peer organizations. For this reason, we are asking that applicant organizations submitting as backbones also submit endorsement letters from relevant local elected officials that are aligned with MBK work in local communities.

Q12. Why does Chicago have a supplemental application?
Chicago is the home of the Obama Foundation and the future home of the Obama Presidential Center. Chicago will be a permanent priority well beyond this Competition. A Chicago nonprofit will be competitively selected to be part of the inaugural cohort of Impact Communities, while other Chicago nonprofits will have the chance to compete for Seed Grants of up to $50,000.

Q13. If I am a direct service non-profit can I apply as a backbone?
Yes. Direct service organizations may apply as a backbone, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements of the competition.

Q14. Do my efforts have to be focused only on boys and men of color or can this be a subset of the population we work with?
MBK Alliance is interested in proposals focused on meeting the needs of boys and young men of color, ages 30 and under, in traditionally underserved populations, including African American, Hispanic American, Native American and some Asian American and Pacific Islander communities (those that share similar opportunity gaps).

While MBK Alliance’s mission, and this competition, is centrally focused on the challenges faced by boys and young men of color, we seek applicants that are part of the network of boys and young men of color serving organizations that work alongside or in partnership with similar programs for girls, provide education and support for parents and families, address immigrant rights, tackle homophobia, and advance solutions to gender inequities.

Data and Evaluation

Q15. Must my program be evidence-based? How are you defining evidence-based programs?
We are seeking organizations that have a track record of using evidence to identify, scale and improve interventions. This data and evidence can be collected by the organization itself using internal measurement and evaluation systems, or from a third party evaluator. There must be a clear indication of how the data shows an improved outcome for boys and young men of color and/or why this intervention should be scaled.

Budget and Funds

Q16. Will funds be disbursed at once or over the two years?
Funds will be disbursed over two years for all grants. The second year of funding is not guaranteed and conditional on meeting grant agreement benchmarks and making substantial progress towards the stated goals of the grant.

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