Q: Do you fund in [this community or zip code]?
Details about our service region can be found on our website or here.
Q: Do you have target zip codes? If so, should an organization apply if they aren’t representing one of those targeted zip codes?
HCF funds the 27 zip codes outlined in the map of our service region, regardless of whether they are within the designated Legacy and Equity zone. Please see the 2019 Grant Guidelines for more details.
Q: Our organization is not located within the HCF service region, and/or less than 20% of our total participants are from the HCF service region. Can we still apply?
Yes, you may still apply. We recognize that some organizations may cover a wider geographic area than our region and/or the headquarters may be located elsewhere. We consider 20% of the total number of individuals served by your organization living in HCF communities as a threshold for a competitive proposal. We ask that you demonstrate how your work has a focused health strategy in this region and how your work uniquely meets local health needs.
Q: Do you fund statewide health policy work that has a proportionately higher impact on the service area?
Please refer to the question above as well as under “Outcomes, Evaluation and Data Collection” that reference policy advocacy efforts.
Q: Our zip code is not in the Legacy and Equity Zones, yet over 80% of our clients are underinsured and uninsured. How do we show need despite not being in the zip codes mentioned above?
We understand that there are disparities not only between zip codes but also within zip codes. If your organization serves a particularly vulnerable population, please articulate the need as it relates to the population and in comparison to the zip code generally or across the region.
Q: Can we apply for multi-year funding?
Funding in the 2019 Grant Cycle is for one year. As part of our strategic plan, we will be phasing in multi-year grants in future funding cycles.
Q: How much funding can our organization apply for?
Organizations are invited to apply for up to 10% of their operating budget (using current fiscal year expenses as a guide). Please note that more compelling and more competitive proposals will request an amount that aligns with a regional health focus and with the programmatic rationale, rather than a straight 10% budget request. University and hospital systems should refer to the guidelines and additional Q&A under the section “General Operating vs. Project Support: Requests from Larger Institutions”.
Q: Can we apply for funding for two different but complementary programs?
Funds through the 2019 Grant Cycle are available for general operating support, up to 10% of your organizational budget. You may write about more than one program in your proposal so long as there is a health equity focus in our service region. We will not consider two applications from one organization (unless a fiscal sponsor or as a collaboration).
Q: Can we apply as a collaborative project or initiative?
Yes, we value the power of collaborations. For collaborative proposals, please choose one organization to lead the proposal and to serve as the fiscal agent. For organizations submitting an organizational proposal and a collaborative proposal, the proposed work must be distinct in each application (i.e. duplicate requests will not be considered).
Q: How do we show collaboration at the community level for citywide or regional organizations?
Please articulate how your organization participates in community-specific collaboratives or how residents from a specific community are engaged in your efforts. HCF seeks grantee partners that can demonstrate an explicit focus in our service region.
Q: Can collaborative work include faith-based work? Do you fund faith-based institutions that are 501(c)3?
We understand that faith-based institutions can play a key role within communities. A faith-based organization with 501(c)3 status may apply for a grant so long as the organization does not require the attendance of (or participation in) religious teaching or faith-specific services and does not discriminate based on religious or spiritual beliefs.
Q: Why are schools and school districts ineligible to apply?
We recognize the value and unique role of schools as trusted entities within communities and as sites for health programs and service delivery. We are currently engaged in a variety of community-led conversations to deepen our understanding of local schools and districts. At this time, however, school districts and individual schools (including charter networks and schools) are not eligible to apply for general operating support in part due to siloes and to work towards sustainability of strategic efforts that intersect health and education issues. Schools and districts may still benefit from HCF resources if a nonprofit organization identifies them as a community partner within their application. As with all applications, these organizations should demonstrate their commitment to and understanding of the school and the local community.
Q: If I am requesting project support (versus general operating) can I request more than the 10% threshold?
In order to make our process equitable, the same 10% threshold holds for both general operating and project support.
Q: The majority of our organization’s budget is from government grants. Does that count against us with regard to competitiveness?
We understand that many social service agencies are funded primarily through government grants. HCF does not have a threshold for government funding concentration, yet we do review the audit and financial budgets for budget deficits and/or large funding shifts.
Q: Do you fund capital campaigns?
We do not fund capital campaigns. Please refer to our grant guidelines for more details.
Q: Last year there was a difference in the application process for renewal vs new grant applications. Is there a difference this year?
The application process is the same regardless of whether an organization has received a prior year grant from HCF.
Q: Can an organization requesting general operating support request for a new pilot project or expand a project within the one request?
We believe that your organization best understands its programmatic strategy. If there is a particular pilot or program expansion that best aligns with the Foundation’s priorities, it is to your discretion what you request support for.
Q: When will the next funding cycle open?
The timeline for subsequent funding cycles will be announced in early 2020.
Q: Are there specific outcomes that HCF is looking for?
At this time, we are not seeking specific outcomes. We are continuing to research and learn about local efforts to develop our own impact evaluation framework, which will be phased in beginning in 2020. We recognize that organizations addressing health equity in our region can take many forms – issues are complex and require a deep understanding of the local community context. We value traditional medical expertise – i.e. data-driven and evidence-based – AND we value grassroots leadership and nuanced understanding of local communities – i.e. those who are experts in their own lives and experience. As we work towards more “upstream” approaches to address long-term, systems change (which can tip the scales towards greater health for all), we will simultaneously support “downstream” efforts that ensure residents have greater access to quality, comprehensive care today.
Q: For social determinants of health, can you talk about tracking health outcomes when our programs have traditionally tracked more housing, education, etc. outcomes?
Please refer to the question above. With regards to the application, please include the outcomes you currently track.
Q: What is the best way to present data on population served for policy advocacy efforts?
We would be interested in learning how residents are directly involved in your organization’s activities, i.e. How are residents directly participating in advocacy efforts on a local or statewide level? Are residents involved as trainers, peer educators, participatory action researchers, or in leadership roles? Or, are residents the target audience or recipient of your programs and initiatives? We would ask you to submit the number of residents directly involved and invite you to provide more context about the direct or indirect involvement in the space provided.
Q: What is the best way to present data on population served for programs/services that aim to benefit or reach all residents in a zip code?
Please refer to the question above and indicate how residents are directly engaged in your efforts.
Q: Our organization does not or cannot track data in the format requested. What should we do?
We recognize that data collection looks different for everyone. We invite applicants to share more context about any specific circumstances or challenges that apply to your organization in the space provided on the application. Please reach out to use if you would like to speak further about your unique context.
Q: If we are funded, what will be the reporting process? Are we required to submit mid-year or final reports?
Yes, funded organizations are required to have a mid-year meeting with HCF staff to discuss progress and updates. There will be a final report due in December 2020 that will be posted to the application portal. We are currently in the process of developing our impact evaluation framework that will inform our future reporting processes. We plan to phase-in reporting mechanisms and metrics in 2020.
Q: What is the requirement this year for reporting on board diversity/identity? We received some pushback from our board last year about reporting this information.
This year, we are not requesting board demographic information at the LOI stage, but it will be discussed and possibly requested during the second round (full application stage).
Q: Can a board legally refuse to provide diversity data? I thought this information was supposed to be public.
Generally, nonprofit organizations are not legally required to disclose demographic information at the board level. There is a shift, however, in the social impact sector to do so as a form of best practice and to help advance organizational equity goals.
Q: How will applications be reviewed?
In the first stage, LOIs will be reviewed by HCF staff using a scoring rubric to identify alignment with our grantmaking framework and funding priorities. In the second stage, HCF staff and peer reviewers, with relevant context expertise, will also use a scoring rubric to read, review and rank proposals. This scoring tool will be complemented with both reviewer analysis and information gained during site visits. Final funding decisions will be made by our Board of Directors in December 2019.
Q: If we are not funded, can we receive feedback on our application?
We understand the time and effort it takes to prepare a full proposal and the value of feedback to determine whether future applications align with organizational priorities. If your organization does not move forward from the LOI stage to the full application stage, feel free to reach out in July or August to schedule a brief feedback call. For organizations who submit full applications but do not receive grant funds, we will also offer more in-depth debrief conversations in January 2020.
Q: Will you accept letters of support from community partners?
We do not require any supplemental items to your application, other than what is already outlined on the application itself. If your organization is emerging and/or grassroots (including, but not limited to, if you apply with a fiscal sponsor) please reach out to us to confirm if a letter of support or other evidence might be appropriate. Generally, we cannot say whether such supplemental items will be formally considered in the review process.
Q: Is there an intended funding range for this year’s grant cycle?
HCF does not have a predetermined funding range for this cycle.
Q: How are grant dollars distributed across priority areas?
We currently do not have fixed total grant amounts per priority area. Given the intersectional approach of several requests, we determine total grant awards per area based on the volume of requests received and the total number of recommended awards.
Q: Our grant last year was substantially less than the prior year. Is there a possibility we could get even less or zero dollars for the next grant?
The 2018 Grant Cycle was the first grant cycle under the Foundation’s new strategic plan, and, thus, subject to a new grantmaking framework and review process that included shifting grant amounts to better align with our overall grantmaking budget and priorities. We will continue to finetune our grantmaking framework this year.
Q: If awarded, does the grant period begin after funding decisions are released or with the submission of the full application?
Grant awards will be announced in December 2019. The grant period is January 1 – December 31, 2020.
Q: Would you consider funding a university or school within a university (such as health sciences, social work or education) which has its own budget, program staff, and community impact?
Please review our grant guidelines for specific details about university and hospital requests.
Q: Would a hospital or university be eligible to propose its health equity work in a specific community under one proposal, with multiple projects? We have more than one project which meets the guidelines.
Yes. Please review our grant guidelines for specific details about university and hospital requests.
Q: We are a large agency and our work is citywide (or serves an area beyond the HCF service region). Should we still apply under general operating if we plan to request support for a program within your geographic area?
Regardless of budget size, organizations that are not universities or health and hospital systems should apply under general operating support. In some circumstances, HCF staff may reach out during the review process to request additional information, such as a program budget and secured funding sources, if applicable. As noted elsewhere in the FAQs, the most compelling and competitive proposals will request an amount that aligns with the programmatic health focus in the region.
Q: Can I apply using the audit and 990 of the operating foundation related to university and hospital?
Yes, you may apply using the operating foundation information, yet we require you to also submit the 990 and audit of the university and hospital system you are seeking request for.
Q: I am interested in learning more about other organizations here. Will you distribute a list of attendees?
We prefer that organizations network with each other at our information session to exchange contact information. However, if there is a particular organization that you would like to be connected with after the event, please reach out to HCF to facilitate an introduction, if appropriate.