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.

Q8. I was not able to attend one of the webinars. When/where will the recording be made available?
All webinar recordings and presentations can be access by clicking on this link: https://www.obama.org/mbka/competition/webinars/

Q9. What are the key deadlines for the Competition?
The key deadlines are as follows:

  • The last day to submit questions regarding this RFP is Thursday, May 3, 2018 by 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time.
  • The final application submission deadline for the MBK Community Challenge Competition is Thursday, May 24th at 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time.
  • Competition award winners will be announced in late summer 2018.
  • Lastly, funds will be disbursed in the fall of 2018.

Q10. What is the time period of grant activity that will be covered by the grant?
The duration of the grant period is two years, and the grant funds will be divided into two equal payments over the two year period. The second grant installment is not guaranteed and will be determined based on the satisfactory fulfillment of grant requirements during the first year. We expect grant projects to begin in Q3 2018.

Q11. Where can I access the MBK Community Challenge Competition RFP?
You may access the MBK Community Challenge Competition RFP at https://www.obama.org/mbka/competition/.

Eligibility and Experience

Q12. 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.

Q13. 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.

Q14. 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/

Q15. Are nonprofit organizations outside of Chicago eligible to apply?
Yes. While there will be a Chicago organization selected as part of the initial Impact Grant cohort, this is a national competition. In addition to Chicago, MBK Alliance will invest in up to eleven more communities as part of this RFP.

Q16. Are organizations outside of the US eligible to apply?
MBK Community Challenge Competition awards will only be made to organizations headquartered within the United States (that conduct the majority of their activity within the United States). International applications will not be considered.

Q17. Can an individual apply to this Competition?
Individuals are not eligible grant awardees.

Q18. Can you serve as a sub-grantee to a backbone organization if you did not sign up for the MBK Challenge?
The My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge is a call to action for cities, Tribal Nations, towns, and counties to build and execute robust plans to ensure that all young people—no matter who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born—can achieve their full potential. Jurisdictions, not individuals or organizations were asked to sign up. The MBK Community Challenge Competition website contains tons of information about the President’s initial call to action that may be helpful to you and your work. You can access that information by clicking here: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/community-challenge/.

That page also includes a list of initial MBK Communities with contact information. While it is outdated, it may still provide some useful information: https://www.obama.org/wp-content/uploads/mbk-community-action-resource-guide_trackers_2015_5_7.pdf

Q19. My organization focuses on issues outside of the scope of the Competition (e.g. water conservation, environmental preservation), can I apply? Are organizations outside of the US eligible to apply?
The MBK Community Challenge Competition is specifically focused on accelerating impact locally in the areas of youth violence reduction and mentoring for boys and young men of color. Proposals that are not aligned to these focus areas will not be considered for awards. In terms of geographic scope, awards will only be made to organizations headquartered within the United States (and that conduct the majority of their activity within the United States). International applications will not be considered.

Q20. My organization’s 501(c)(3) status is pending. Can my organization still apply?
No. Only organizations that have received 501(c)(3) status will be eligible for awards. Eligible organizations are U.S.-based nonprofit community organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Additionally, all applicants are required to upload their 501(c)(3) determination letter prior to submitting their applications.

Q21. Our organization is a Limited Liability Company (LLC), can we partner with a nonprofit organization and apply to the competition?
Only nonprofits that meet eligibility criteria are able to submit an application. The Obama Foundation will create a grant agreement and disburse funds only to the nonprofit organization submitting the application. Further decisions on sub-granting, partnerships and contracted services will be made by the nonprofit grantee and subject to applicable provisions of the grant agreement.

Q22. Our organization serves youth in various cities. Are we eligible to apply?
The MBK Community Challenge Competition is open to all organizations in the United States who meet the eligibility requirements. However, we are only accepting applications that are place-based. If an applicant is a national organization, it would need to demonstrate how impact was going to be replicated or scaled in one particular place, preferably in partnership with the existing MBK infrastructure in that market.

Programmatic Elements

Q23. 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.

Q24. 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.

Q25. 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.

Q26. 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.

Q27. How are you defining mentoring?
For the purposes of this RFP, mentoring is defined as having the following components or activities:

  • Sustained contact between youth and caring adult for at least five hours per month.
  • A group or cohort component that encourages participants to become an important support system for each other.
  • Focus on developing skills or training through program activities.
  • Component that addresses social-emotional needs of mentees.
  • A setting that incorporates positive values, principles and practices.

Q28. How can my organization get involved in MBK?
We encourage you to connect with your local MBK community by contacting your Mayor and supporting the work locally. Please visit the FAQ page of the RFP as we update that page to include additional information. To access the most recent list of MBK Communities click here: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/

Q29. How can small Community Based Organizations benefit from this opportunity?
MBK alliance is seeking to partner with high-performing nonprofit organizations, affiliated with an MBK Community, with demonstrated experience serving as a “backbone” organization in a “Collective Impact” model. We understand that this opportunity may not be for everyone, and that organizations doing tremendous work, with limited resources, may not be able to act as the lead. However, we encourage smaller organizations to work with their local MBK Community leaders to partner and combine resources to extend reach and impact. Please reach out to your local Mayor’s office to determine how best to engage in this work locally.

Q30. Is the MBK Community Challenge Competition for African American boys only?
The purpose of this RFP is to identify, and invest in, up to 12 communities that accepted the MBK Community Challenge, are making steady progress, and have the potential to be proof points for what it takes to substantially improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color, especially as it relates to reducing youth violence and growing the pipeline of mentors having a measurable impact on BYMOC. We are seeking to work in partnership with communities that can identify and implement evidence-based programs and a specific goal over two years to reduce youth violence or leverage mentors to address milestone-specific challenges. Please note that boys and young men of color is inclusive of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Q31. What are the MBK Milestones?
The My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge encourages communities to convene leaders, identify effective strategies, and work together toward achieving these goals:

1.) Ensuring all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready;
2.) Ensuring all children read at grade level by third grade;
3.) Ensuring all youth graduate from high school;
4.) Ensuring all youth complete post-secondary education or training;
5.) Ensuring all youth out of school are employed; and
6.) Ensuring all youth remain safe from violent crime.

Q32. What are the requirements for the MBK Challenge?
There were four key steps associated with the original MBK Community Challenge: (1) Accept the Challenge via formal letter or email, (2) within 45 days convene a Local Action Summit, (3) Conduct a Policy Review and form Recommendations for Action, (4) Launch a Plan of Action, Next Steps, and a Timetable for Review.

MBK Alliance will only accept proposals from organizations aligned with the local MBK Task Force (Committee, Cabinet, etc.) that leads the MBK work in jurisdictions that have formally accepted the MBK Community Challenge. Further, MBK Alliance will prioritize organizations representing communities that have met the initial MBK Community Challenge requirements described above. To learn more about the original MBK Community Challenge, please visit: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/community-challenge/

Q33. My organization works with youth at juvenile justice facilities. Is this work eligible for the Competition? Can I collaborate with other organizations?
Yes. There are many ways to align programming and support of justice involved youth to the MBK Community Challenge Competition’s focus on youth violence reduction and mentoring.

Additionally, collaboration is not only allowed but strongly encouraged among applicants. The most competitive applications will be those that approach this work utilizing the framework of collective impact. Please check out our webinar on Collective Impact, which originally aired on Friday, April 13th. The session can be viewed via this link: http://bit.ly/2Jnbbhu

Data and Evaluation

Q34. 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

Q35. 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.

Q36. Can we apply for both the seed grand and the impact grant?
General Applications are to be submitted by nonprofit organizations applying for an Impact Grant. Chicago nonprofits applying for Impact Grants should submit an application through the Chicago Impact Grant link. Chicago nonprofits applying for Seed Grants should submit an application through the Chicago Seed Grant link. Chicago nonprofits should choose whether to submit an application for either a Chicago Impact OR a Chicago Seed grant, not both.

Q37. If your organization’s annual budget is below the $750,000 income may you still apply for seed funding?
Unless your organization is based in Chicago, you cannot apply directly for a Seed Grant. All general applications will evaluated as a Impact Grant proposals. Similarly, unless they are applicants from the City of Chicago, MBK Alliance will select Seed Grant award winners from the Impact Grant pool.

However, if your organization’s annual budget is below $750,000 (and thereby does not meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the RFP), working with or joining another backbone organization’s application as a partner or potential sub-grantee is also a possibility.

Q38. Our organization has a budget below the minimum grant threshold. Can we partner with a larger organization to be able to apply for the grant?
Only nonprofits that meet eligibility criteria are able to submit an application. The Obama Foundation will create a grant agreement and disburse funds only to the nonprofit organization submitting the application. Further decisions on subgranting, partnerships and contracted services will be made by the nonprofit grantee and subject to applicable provisions of the grant agreement.

Webinars & Technical Assistance

Q39. Will we receive a copy (or have access to) of the PowerPoint of the Technical Assistance webinar?
All webinar recordings and presentations can be access by clicking on this link: https://www.obama.org/mbka/competition/webinars/

Q40. Will we be able to connect with participants from technical assistance webinars?
That list of webinar participants is not available as we did not request permission from individuals to share their participation they registered for the webinar. If you’d like, please visit the FAQ section of the RFP for the most recent list of MBK Challenge Communities. Please visit this link to access the most recent list of MBK Challenge Communities, https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/

Q41. Where can I find Mentoring resources?
My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, in partnership with MENTOR, has created Guide to Mentoring
Boys and Young Men of Color. Please click on this link to access: http://www.mentoring.org/new-site/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Guide-to-Mentoring-BYMOC.pdf You may also want to review the presentation and webinar recording held on April 17th about best practices in mentoring. Click here to access: https://www.obama.org/mbka/competition/webinars/

MBK Communities

Q42. Does my organization need to be an MBK Community to be eligible to participate in the MBK Community Challenge Competition?
MBK Alliance will only accept proposals from organizations aligned with the local MBK Task Force (Committee, Cabinet, etc.) that leads the MBK work in jurisdictions that have formally accepted the MBK Community Challenge. Further, 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

Q43. Is my nonprofit organization individually registered as having taken the MBK Community Challenge?
When the MBK Community Challenge was launched in 2014, the challenge was formally accepted by the mayor, county executive, tribal leader or similar local chief elected official.

Q44. How do I find out if my city/county/Tribal Nation signed up for the MBK Challenge?
As long as your mayor, county executive, tribal leader or similar local chief elected official has 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. To find out if your community is an MBK Challenge Community, please review our most recent list at: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/

Q45. My city/county/Tribal Nation signed up for the MBK Challenge but is not listed. Can we apply?
We have updated the list of MBK Communities and have posted that information here: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/

Q46. Where can I find out if my city submitted a local action plan.
Please contact your Mayor’s office to confirm that your city/county/tribal community has completed the steps needed to become an MBK Community. The MBK Community Challenge Competition website contains tons of information about the President’s initial call to action that may be helpful to you and your work. You can access that information by clicking here: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/community-challenge/ .

That page also includes a list of initial MBK Communities with contact information. While it is outdated, it is still useful: https://www.obama.org/wp-content/uploads/mbk-community-action-resource-guide_trackers_2015_5_7.pdf

Q47. Where can I locate the list of MBK Communities?
The MBK Community Challenge Competition website contains tons of information about the President’s initial call to action that may be helpful to you and your work. You can access that information by clicking here: https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/community-challenge/.

That page also includes a list of initial MBK Communities with contact information. While it is outdated, it is still useful: https://www.obama.org/wp-content/uploads/mbk-community-action-resource-guide_trackers_2015_5_7.pdf

Other

Q48. How do I get in touch with the MBK leaders in my city?
Please connect with your Mayor’s office to learn more about ways for you and your organization to support the MBK work locally. They are best sources to identify the leaders of the work in the community. Please visit this link to access the most recent list of MBK Challenge Communities, https://www.obama.org/mbka/mbk-communities/.

Q49. Which communities in Chicago will you be focused on?
As home to the Obama Foundation, Chicago has been pre-selected as an Impact Community, and is a focus and demonstration site for our work. We will be awarding both Impact Grants and Seed Grants in Chicago. While we broadly encourage applications from across the city, we especially invite applications from Kenwood, Washington Park, Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Greater Grand Crossing, and/or South Shore.

Top