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RFP for Grant Proposals English for Speakers of Other ...

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  • 1. RFP for Grant Proposals English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Adult Basic Education Programs I. Introduction The Hyams Foundation invites proposals from non-profit organizations requesting funding of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and adult basic education (ABE) programs. Goals of the Request for Proposals (RFP) are to improve the quality of ESOL and ABE programs, enhance the effectiveness of programs, so as to improve learners’ educational and economic outcomes and ultimately expand the number of learners reached. The Foundation will be directing its available funding to individual ESOL and ABE programs through this RFP. Grants made via this RFP will complement the Foundation’s involvement in English for New Bostonians. English for New Bostonians is a multi-year initiative that funds a number of ESOL programs in Boston and is supported by a number of public and private funders. II. Background The mission of the Hyams Foundation is “to increase economic and social justice and power within low-income communities in Boston and Chelsea, Massachusetts.” In 2003, the Foundation established the current grantmaking guidelines under which the Foundation focuses on four community priorities or outcomes: • increased civic engagement, with a special focus on immigrant communities; • more affordable housing, especially for very low-income families; • increased family economic self-sufficiency; and • expanded opportunities for low-income, older teens. Hyams’s funding in the third outcome area, increased family economic self-sufficiency, has included significant levels of support to ESOL and ABE programs. This support has focused on organizations that deliver ESOL and basic adult literacy with programs designed to enable adults to enter and remain in the workforce and/or advance to better paying jobs. Hyams’s experience has shown that many ESOL and ABE providers are interested and have made stride in strengthening their programs through the receipt of technical assistance and training. It is for this audience that this RFP is intended. Hyams will provide program funding to selected grantees over three years in combination with technical assistance to strengthen program quality and organizational effectiveness. The Foundation expects to arrange for a lead technical assistance provider, one with experience in the ESOL and ABE area, to work with grantees. Selected grantees will not be required to use the Hyams award to fund the costs of initial technical and organization development assistance. The Initiative is designed to foster the sharing of practices among grantees and facilitate program innovation. Therefore, in addition to specific technical assistance/program development activities, applicants need to plan for the staff time associated with participating in sharing with others in the initiative, anticipated to take place in the form of full or half-day events at least twice annually. H:ProgramFamily Self-SufficiencyRFP for ESOL and ABE grantsRFP for ESOL and ABE draft_2.doc 1
  • 2. III. Initiative Goals Goals of the initiative include: 1. Assisting organizations that have a track record in ESOL and ABE programming, are strongly rooted in the community, and are able to engage adult learners who might not otherwise participate in adult education opportunities; 2. Assisting organizations to strengthen their programs, improve the quality of the classroom educational experience for learners, and develop instructional programs that are learner-centered and actively engage and retain learners; 3. Strengthening programs so as to make them eligible for new sources of private-sector and public- sector financial support; 4. Improving learners’ educational outcomes and facilitating their progress along an educational or career pathway; and 5. Increasing programs’ capacity to connect learners to other career development, skill development and training opportunities in which they are now better prepared to succeed, so that they can move toward family sustaining jobs. During the first two years in the initiative, the Foundation expects to tie its support to the grantees’ specific goals, activities and outcomes that relate to their plans to improve program quality and learner outcomes. It is anticipated that grantees selected for inclusion in the initiative would have made significant progress toward their objectives for strengthening the program’s quality by the end of their second year. During the third year, grantees will have additional time to meet their goals for quality enhancement. At the same time, they will be in encouraged to expand the number of learners served by the program or to implement particular program strategies that are supported by quantitative evidence that such strategies enable their learners to make faster progress toward proficiency in language and adult basic skills. IV. Anticipated Funding Awards The Foundation expects to make approximately eight to ten grants. The minimum grant amount is $40,000 and the maximum is $50,000 per annum for three years (calendar years 2006 – 2008). The second and third year grants will be conditional on progress toward the stated goals, activities and outcomes as set forth in the applicant’s proposal. Issuance and selection of grantees pursuant to the RFP takes the place of the Foundation’s regular grantmaking cycle for the October 2005 meeting. No other applications for ESOL or ABE funding will be accepted from this point onwards. Eligible uses of grants include any costs of operating, or incurred as a result of the provider’s efforts to strengthen, its ESOL or ABE program. The following illustrate the types of expenses eligible for the purposes of this RFP. Examples include but are not limited to: 1. Paid staff time needed for developing the board, creating and implementing fundraising plans or similar organizational development efforts. 2. Staff time needed to make improvements to curriculum or institute a new assessment tool, for use as a pre- and post-test, to capture learners’ educational gains and so that students are placed in an appropriate level and have a better sense of their own learning goals. RFP for Hyams ESOL and ABE Initiative – May 23, 2005. Page 2
  • 3. 3. Staff time needed to take advantage of instructor development offered by the intermediary to be selected or by other adult education professional development programs in the greater Boston area. 4. Efforts to develop new partnerships to assist program completers to access further education and pathways to family-sustaining jobs. One example would be creating an educational counseling component so that learners can start the next step on an education pathway and actively linking learners to subsequent learning opportunities. Other examples include forming a partnership with a workforce development provider to increase the number of program graduates enrolled in workforce development programs or forming a transition-to-college component focused on community college opportunities. 5. Costs of specific efforts to better integrate the ESOL/ABE program with the larger educational and workforce development system. Two examples include offering a new ESOL class for more proficient, higher-level learners to equip them with vocational English skills for a particular workplace, and developing new content or lessons to impart job-readiness/job-search skills that can be incorporated in the regular ESOL or ABE curriculum. 6. Operational costs of the ESOL or ABE program. The costs associated with technical and organizational assistance from an intermediary organization need not be paid from the award. V. Eligibility and Grantee Selection Criteria Because the Foundation is not able to support all ESOL and ABE programs, funding will be limited to providers that meet certain criteria. The grantees will be selected the extent to which they meet the following selection criteria: 1) Has a track record in ESOL/ABE delivery: Any non-profit organization with at least two years’ of documented experience in delivering ESOL or ABE classes to low-income adults is eligible to apply. Programs that have experience in delivering classes, recruiting and training volunteer or paid instructors, and adapting and using teaching materials and curricula will have greater capacity to take advantage of the types of technical assistance being offered through this Initiative. The program should document that it uses formal curricula or teaching materials. Programs must offer free or low- cost ESOL or ABE classes and be located in Boston or Chelsea. 2) Offers ESOL and ABE at beginner levels: The program should have a beginner-level ESOL or ABE among its class offerings. These need not be the only type of classes offered. 3) Is currently able to track learner retention and completion: Selected grantees will be able to document student outcomes produced by their educational programs to date. At a minimum, groups should be able to report student enrollment, attendance, and completions by year. Programs should strive to update their wait lists and refer people who leave the program because of changes to work hours or family situation to other options. RFP for Hyams ESOL and ABE Initiative – May 23, 2005. Page 3
  • 4. 4) Has strong community connections: Because of their special attributes, entering into a community- based ESOL or ABE program can make a difference in the life of an immigrant or low-income adult. Community-based organizations (CBOs) bring important strengths to the equation. The Foundation will select community-based organizations that: Look at individuals holistically, use personalized approaches to learning, and work with adults to identify and pursue both their short- and long-term goals; and Are physically located in the community or accessible to under-served and low-income learners. 5) Demonstrates recent efforts to develop the program: The applicant should be able to demonstrate that it has made efforts to improve and stabilize program finances, strengthen its board, train or develop the instructional staff/volunteers, update the curricula, or collaborate with other programs in the ESOL or ABE arena. The program should evidence a willingness to invest the time and attention necessary to becoming a more effective organization and an ESOL or ABE provider whose program displays improved quality of instruction. 6) Actively engages learners: The Foundation values instructional content and approaches that enhance critical thinking skills and organizations that involve students as both active learners and participants, inside of the classroom and outside of it. For example, learners can be engaged in activities outside the classroom in which they become active community members, exercise their rights, or access health care or other benefits and services. A willingness to work toward these values is important. 7) Offers instructional intensity: In addition, the Foundation has a strong interest in instructional intensity. Instructional intensity correlates with learner acquisition of skills. Programs that provide a minimum of three hours of classroom instruction per week and, additionally, those that meet at least two times per week will receive priority. If the program offers fewer than three hours of instruction or meets less than twice per week, the application must include a written discussion of how the goal of learner progress will be achieved. 8) Lacks access and financial capacity to obtain TA: The Foundation intends to direct its limited resources to organizations that have limited access to technical and organizational assistance or whose financial status makes it difficult for them to procure and benefit from such assistance. Applicants whose ABE or ESOL program is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education will need to make the case that they possess limited financial resources with which to enhance their program. RFP for Hyams ESOL and ABE Initiative – May 23, 2005. Page 4
  • 5. VI. Submission Requirements Proposals must address the following questions. Organizations are welcome to use a different format as long as the requested information is included. Proposals should be no more than ten pages in length (exclusive of attachments). 1. APPLICATION COVER SHEET (PLEASE USE THE AGM /HYAMS FORMAT) 2. Application Narrative 1) Population served. Description of the population served including: geographic area(s) served; number of persons served; ages; income level(s); race and ethnicity; language group, and special needs, if any, of individuals served. Is the program designed to support newcomer groups that are more recently arrived to the Boston area or specific groups for whom ESOL or ABE is in short supply? If serving hard-to-reach individuals, please elaborate upon their characteristics and how goals and outcomes are established for such individuals. 2) Agency Experience. Describe your organization’s track record in providing ESOL and/or ABE to low-income with low-income immigrants and refugees and/or other low-income adults. What success has the organization had in increasing students’ proficiency in English, making educational progress or enabling adults to progress in their careers? Organizations must have delivered classroom based ESOL or ABE instruction for at least two years prior to applying. 3) Approach and structure of the ESOL or ABE program. The description should respond to the following questions: A. In what ways is the organization recruiting and engaging newcomer, under-served and low-income learners? How does the organization work with adult learners to identify and pursue both their short- and long-term goals? B. What levels of ESOL or ABE are offered and how are the levels defined? How many beginner level classes are offered, and what are their hours and days of instruction? C. What is the class schedule and the number of weekly instructional hours of the various classes offered? What is the length of each program cycle and what, if anything, is done to engage learners off-cycle? D. What are the qualifications and experience of the key staff responsible for organization’s management and for coordination and delivery of the ESOL or ABE program, and what is their capacity to operate an effective program? (Please do not include resumes.) E. Is there a written curriculum or are specific instructional materials used? If so, provide a brief description of the curriculum, instructional approaches and content used. F. What instructional or other approaches are used to involve students as both active learners while in class and to provide them opportunities to apply the language and literacy skills they are developing in class, outside of class? Are learners engaged in activities outside the classroom in which they become active community members, exercise their rights, or access health care or other benefits and services? If applicable, please append sample materials or lesson plans that show how this is done in the classroom. G. In what ways does the organization directly provide assistance or use its community connections to retain learners in the program? What responses or resources does the RFP for Hyams ESOL and ABE Initiative – May 23, 2005. Page 5
  • 6. program offer to learners who leave or are at risk of leaving classes due to changes to work hours or family responsibilities? H. Does the organization report student enrollments, attendance, and completions of a given ESOL or ABE class by year? If so, how? I. How does the program capture and report student educational and other outcomes? J. In what ways does the organization use its own resources or collaborate with others, beyond what happens in class, to help learners achieve their individual goals? In some cases, services might be offered to link learners to specific education- or job-related pursuits after completion. Please identify the primary agencies with which the organization collaborates to address the learners’ goals and give examples. K. Has the organization undertaken recent efforts to become more effective? If so, how? Some examples include but are not limited to: • Responding to learner needs by creating new types of classes or offering them at different times. • Board or staff development or training. • Carrying out new fundraising strategies or ways to diversify funding sources. • Making curriculum improvements or adding new content. L. How are the individuals served actively engaged in the development, planning for or operation of the ESOL or ABE program? 4) Plan for program quality/organizational development and learner outcomes. The applicant should respond to the question: What are the key goals and activities by which the program would strengthen its ESOL or ABE program, and meet the other goals as outlined in this RFP? What is the organization intending to accomplish by the end of three years? While the initial plan for technical assistance and the series of steps by which these goals could best be achieved would be discussed with the intermediary/technical assistance organization to be selected, the Foundation is interested in the applicant’s articulating a road map for how to achieve its key goals. Therefore, applicants should use the “Planned” section of the Program Outcome Chart attached as Appendix A to describe the goals, activities and outcomes to be carried out in year 1. These should align with the key goals the organization has outlined for the duration of the initiative (see above). Additionally, please indicate the anticipated number of learners reached and the outcomes of the students for the first year of participation in the initiative by completing the “Planned” section of the chart. Please refer to the Sample Program Chart attached as Appendix B for assistance in completing the chart. 5) Financial status. Briefly describe the organization’s short and long range fund-raising strategies and assessment of financial opportunities and challenges. If the organization is one that whose ABE or ESOL program is directly or indirectly funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education, please explain the program’s lack of access to technical and organizational development assistance. Explain how an award of support to the applicant would address the financial need criterion stated earlier in this Request for Proposals. NOTE: For purposes of this RFP, the Foundation is waiving its guideline under which only one proposal from an organization will be considered during a twelve-month period. If an applicant submitted an application in the ESOL or ABE area on or before March 1 of this year, it can and should still apply for ESOL or ABE funds at this time. Additionally, organizations whose RFP for Hyams ESOL and ABE Initiative – May 23, 2005. Page 6
  • 7. history has been to apply for funding in the ESOL or ABE area for review by the Hyams Foundation trustees at the October, 2005, meeting must submit their funding application as called for under this RFP. If an organization applies for the RFP and is not selected for the initiative, the organization would be eligible to apply for funds in another outcome area in another 12 months. 6) Board of Directors. Complete a Hyams Foundation Board of Directors Form (see website for form.) Please provide a brief description of the organization’s board including the following 1) the board structure (e.g. leadership, committees, etc.); and, 2) its major functions. How does the board, or individual board members, participate in the governance of and acquiring resources for the ESOL or ABE program or help to increase its effectiveness? 7) Organizational Diversity. All applicants must respond to the following two questions: A.) What has your agency done in recent years to promote a more diverse board and staff? B.) How has increased organizational diversity impacted the effectiveness of your agency’s operations and programs? 3. Appendices to be included in application. (Please review checklist sheet.) Note: Applications will not be reviewed until all appendices have been submitted. A. If the organization is a new applicant, enclose current Internal Revenue Service determination letter which states that the organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) and is “not a private foundation” under section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code B. If the organization is a new applicant, enclose proof of incorporation as a charity C. Board approved operating budget for year for which funding is requested D. Organization’s year-to-date financial statement showing expenditures and sources of revenue E. Board approved program budget, for the ESOL or ABE program, including projected income and expenses for the first year of participation in the initiative. It is very important to include in the budget any line item costs that would be needed to support the grantee’s specific goals, activities and outcomes. Applicants should ensure that budget and the planned goals, activities and outcomes as outlined in the response to this RFP align with one another F. Total amount and sources of funds received or committed to date for the program G. List of proposals pending with other funding sources for ABE or ESOL program expenses H. Financial audit for previous fiscal year for applicant and for fiscal sponsor, if applicable (Massachusetts nonprofits with revenues equal to or more than $500,000 must conduct an annual independent audit. Those with revenues between $100,000 and $249,999 must conduct a financial review in lieu of an independent audit. Any nonprofit with revenues of $99,999 or less is not required to conduct an independent audit or an accounts review and should submit a board-approved, unaudited year-end financial statement for the previous fiscal year including revenues, expenses and balance sheet.) An audit is due within six months of the close of the applicant’s fiscal year. I. Hyams Foundation Diversity Form (download Excel form on website). J. Hyams Foundation Board of Directors Form. (download form on website). K. If applicable, report of the expenditure of previous grant submitted on the Foundation’s Grant Report Form and a financial statement or audit for the previous grant period. Past recipients of ESOL or ABE funding should be sure to include information its enrollment, attendance, and completions and students’ educational outcomes in the Program Outcome Chart. Please refer to the Sample Outcome Chart. RFP for Hyams ESOL and ABE Initiative – May 23, 2005. Page 7
  • 8. VII. Proposal Submission Please submit one copy of the application by not later than 5:00 PM, Monday, July 11, 2005, to Elizabeth B. Smith, Executive Director, The Hyams Foundation, Inc., 175 Federal Street, 14th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110. The Foundation will send written confirmation of the receipt of each application. An organization that is unsure about whether it meets the priorities and criteria outlined in this Request For Proposals is encouraged to attend the information session for applicants (see below) and/or contact Hyams Program Officer Angela Brown at 617-426-5600, extension 310, to discuss its case and its fit with the goals of this RFP. VIII. Reporting and Evaluation The Foundation will require a report 11 months after the grant award is made, detailing the impact of the activities with regard to increasing the capacity of the organization to provide high quality ESOL or ABE programming and to function more effectively. The release of subsequent grants will be contingent upon progress made during the preceding year and a review of the planned activities for the next year. IX. Process and Timeline May 23, 2005. Request for Proposals posted at the Hyams Foundation web site, www.hyamsfoundation.org, and notification of its posting is issued to past grantees. June 9, 2005 (9:30AM) Information session for applicants (to be held at Associated Grantmakers, 55 Court Street, Suite 520, Boston, MA 02108. Pre- registration is required. To sign up, please contact Shani Pankam at Rpankam@Hyamsfoundation.org or call 617-426-5600, ex. 300 Monday, July 11, 2005. Proposals due to Hyams Foundation. 5:00PM Friday, July 29, 2005. Hyams’s staff reviews applications for completeness and requests any missing items. August - October 2005. Proposal review process. October 29, 2005. Selection of grantees. Early November. Phone calls made and notification letters mailed out. X. RFP Appendices Appendix A -Blank Outcomes Chart Appendix B -Sample ESOL and ABE Program Outcomes Chart RFP for Hyams ESOL and ABE Initiative – May 23, 2005. Page 8

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