The Mayor’s Fund, along with partners CEO and MDRC, held open competitions to select sub-grantees to deliver programs in 8 cities. A separate competition was held for each program in each city in which the program is being replicated. For example, three competitions were held for the Young Adult Program – one in Kansas City, MO, one in Newark, NJ, and one in New York City.
The Mayor’s Fund used a Request for Proposals (RFP) model to solicit written submissions from interested providers in each city. The RFP and accompanying program materials described the selection process, timeline, selection criteria, the program model and scope of services. The RFPs solicited detailed background information to assess the organization’s overall capacity, and detailed plans for implementing the proposed SIF program.
Organizations were asked to submit information on the organization’s background, a description of successful, relevant experience (includes serving similar populations, providing similar services on a comparable scale, use of data/evaluation, etc.), fiscal practices, and references. In addition to this organizational information, the RFPs requested that applicants articulate preliminary program plans with specific information related to the following: recruitment messages and strategies, content and flow of services and strategies for engaging participants, staffing structure and qualifications, projected number of clients, performance outcome measures and tracking systems, and program budget.
Provider selection for all of the programs was made by Review Committees comprised of both national and local stakeholders. Review Committees were specific to each competition, and included representatives of partner cities. Review Committee members (“Reviewers”) were selected based on their expertise in the subject area and/or locality for each program. All Reviewers signed a statement affirming that they have no conflict of interest with any of the actual applicants to the competition. Reviewers scored proposals based on protocols and criteria established by the Mayor’s Fund.
Review Committees consisted of Core Selection Committee Members, Local Representatives, and a National or Subject Matter Expert for each project area. Core Members included representatives from CEO, MF and MDRC. Local Partners included representatives of local governing entities and/or local foundations, and/or another stakeholder organization. National and Subject Matter Experts included program officers, academic specialists, local and federal agency staff, and other leaders in the field.
CEO/MF also named a Technical Advisor to each Review Committee. This non-scoring individual joined selection discussions to offer technical expertise in areas such as budget and finance.
Each Reviewer independently scored each application according to pre-determined evaluation criteria emphasizing the experience of the applicant and partners, the quality of the service approach, model-specific capabilities, level of organizational capability, and the proposed budget. Following initial scoring, the Review Committee members met to discuss the proposals and revise and submit final scores. The Review Committees had the option to issue clarifying questions to individual applicants, and to conduct site visits, as needed. The Mayor’s Fund’s MDRC partners with expertise in fiscal management and federal compliance then conducted thorough due diligence reviews of the organization’s financial and management systems. This due diligence review may have included a site visit, interviews with key staff and a review of accounting systems and financial procedures, governance, legal issues, insurance, organizational policies, and adequacy of data systems. The Mayor’s Fund then entered into contract negotiations with the selected organizations. Announcement of selected providers was made only after contract negotiations were successfully completed.
This process resulted in the selection of a robust portfolio of 18 SIF sub-grantees. These organizations range from small but growing community-based organizations to innovative public colleges to organizations that developed out of the settlement house tradition. Also included in our roster of providers are a community development corporation, a public housing authority, and long established social service providers.