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Notice of Funding Availability and RFA - Grants for Environmental Education Programs

The District of Columbia District Department of the Environment (“DDOE”) is seeking a nonprofit organization, educational institution or government agency to implement DDOE’s schoolyard conservation site program and, further, to assist DDOE in providing two types of “meaningful stream or Chesapeake Bay experiences.”  The grantees will provide District fifth-grade students with overnight environmental education experiences and third-through-eighth-grade students with trash-focused experiences.

Beginning Friday, March 22, 2013, the full text of the Request for Applications (“RFA”) will be available online at DDOE’s web site.  It will also be available for pick-up. A person may obtain a copy of this RFA by any of the following:

- Download, by visiting the DDOE’s website, www.ddoe.dc.gov.  Look for the following title/section, “Resources”, click on it, choose “Grants and Funding”, in the pull down menu choose  “RFA” for the document to download in PDF format;

- Email a request to 2013EnvEdRFA.grants@dc.gov with "Request copy of Enviro Ed RFA 05" in the subject line;

- In person by making an appointment to pick up a copy from DDOE's offices and ask for a copy at the 5th floor reception desk at the following street address (mention this RFA by name); or

- Write DDOE at “Enviro Ed RFA 05 Grants,” 1200 First Street, N.E., 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20002, “Attention: RFA - Requesting a copy" on the outside of the letter.

The deadline for application submissions is Friday, April 19, 2013, at 4:30 p.m.  Five hard copies must be submitted to the above address and a complete electronic copy must be e-mailed to 2013EnvEdRFA.grants@dc.gov.  

Eligibility: A nonprofit organization, educational institution, or government agency may apply for these grants.     

Period of Awards: A grant award will be made for one to two years, depending on the project and assuming continuing funding availability.

Available Funding: The amount available for this RFA is approximately $500,000. The amount is subject to continuing  availability of funding and approval by the appropriate federal agency.

Questions and Answers (updated regularly):

Q: May the electronic copy of the proposal be sent via email and if so is there a size limitation?
A: Yes, the electronic copy can be sent by email.  On rare cases, the emailed proposal will bounce back due to size limits.  If a document is saved as a pdf (as opposed to scanned as a pdf), that will bring the file size down.  Another alternative is sending the proposal in multiple emails (with the subject line being email 1 of 3, etc.).  These concerns can be avoided by submitting electronic files on a flash drive with the hard copies.

Q: Are the budget and budget narrative included in the 15 double-spaced page limit for the project description, or do they count separately?
A: The budget narrative is included in the 15 double-spaced page limit, but the budget table can be an appendix.  Ideally, the budget table and budget narrative are placed together in the proposal.  For example, if your project description is 14 pages, it can be followed by the budget table and a one page budget narrative.

Q: Could you please elaborate on the process that DDOE anticipates for how the schools would be selected?  Would it be grantee-initiated, DDOE-managed, and/or a school self-selection or application process?
A: For Projects 2 and 3 of this RFA, school selection is initiated by the grantee.  The grantee may choose to have schools self-select or apply to participate in the program.  Outreach, recruitment, and engagement of participating schools is the grantee’s responsibility, but DDOE can provide some assistance if needed.

Q: If my organization doesn’t yet know which school(s) with which we would be working, how do we handle the requirement that we have a letter from the principal and teachers from the schools at which we would be working?
A: Applicants should make an effort to indicate as specifically as possible the schools with which their organization will work.  If you cannot procure a letter of support, the proposal narrative can include a description of your organization’s relationship with potential partnering schools, how your organization is taking (or will take) steps to identify schools, etc.  Applications without letters of support will not be deemed incomplete.  For Project 2, letters of support are included in the scoring criteria. 

Q: For Project 3, the project introduction states that that preference will be given for projects that focus on multiple classes within one school.  Is there also a preference for reaching multiple grade levels, between 3-8, within one school?
A: Yes, as described in the project description on page 29, “Experiences should be provided for third-eighth grade classes in the same school to help build and strengthen an environmental education presence in schools.”

Q: My organization teaches over 10 lessons that we plan to incorporate into one of the projects described in the RFA.  However, the application’s project description is limited to 15 pages.  Does the inclusion of these lesson plans count toward the 15-page limit?  Would it be acceptable to include the lesson plans in the appendices?
A: For Projects 2 and 3 of this RFA, there is a lesson plan template (Appendix 4, which can be downloaded from the DDOE webpage for this RFA) that must be included with your application.  This appendix does not count toward the 15-page limit for the project description.

Q:  If the project will be working with District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), are letters from each specific school principal needed, or will an overall Letter of Support from DCPS be sufficient?
A:  An overall Letter of Support from DCPS is not required.  For Project 2, the scoring criteria allots points for letters of support from individual schools. 

Q:  My organization is going to be the lead applicant and other organizations will be collaborative partners on the project.  Do these partner organizations need to submit supplemental information (i.e., Certificate of Assurances, Insurance, etc.)?
A: Partner organizations do not need to submit supplemental information.  As the lead applicant, your organization is responsible for the conduct of any partners or contractors.  It is acceptable for the lead applicant to submit the necessary paperwork and ensure that partners conduct themselves properly. 

Q: My organization plans to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between project partners that describe the details of our collaboration.  Will attaching the MOU be sufficient or do we need to submit letters of commitment from the collaboration partners?
A: For Project 2, the scoring criteria allots points for confirmed collaboration partners and a description of how they will work with the lead applicant to complete the project.  It is recommended that you submit whatever documentation best describes your collaboration and clearly demonstrates the strength of your partnership.

Q: My organization has received a grant for the Trash-Focused Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (Project 3) before.  Do we need to submit a new application to continue our work?
A: Yes, all applications for Project 3 will be for a new grant.  It can be a continuation of a previous project, or something new. 


For additional information regarding this RFA, please contact DDOE as instructed in the RFA document, or after reviewing the document, at 2013EnvEdRFA.grants@dc.gov.