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Request for Services for COVID-19 Community Engagement - May 2020
Review process summary:
This Request for Services closed on June 7, 2020. MDH received more than 120 complete applications. The applications were reviewed by a committee of 20 reviewers, including representatives from Minnesota’s cultural and ethnic councils, community leaders, and MDH staff. Proposals were scored based on the criteria listed in the Request for Services.
MDH and the review committee were sincerely impressed with the quality of proposals. However, the approximately $7 million requested by applicants greatly exceeded the $1.55 million available. MDH regretfully was unable to award funding to many worthy organizations serving Minnesota communities.
To view a list of the 39 organizations selected for funding through this Request for Services, visit Round 3 COVID-19 Contractors (PDF). For more information on COVID-19 funding opportunities, visit the COVID-19 Contracts for Diverse Media Messaging and Community Outreach page.
On this page:
Testing, Case Interviews, and Contact Tracing
Response Requirements and Submission
This request is issued under the State of Minnesota’s emergency procurement authority.
The Minnesota Department of Health (“State”) is issuing a request to community-based organizations and Tribes to aid the State in increasing community understanding of and participation in COVID-19 testing, case interviews, and contact tracing.
Organizations and Tribes will be asked to use culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, and timely community engagement activities to learn about community questions and needs related to COVID-19 testing, case interviews and contact tracing; work with the State and its partners to address those community needs; and connect communities to testing, case interviews and contact tracing. The State encourages applicants to use a trauma-informed lens to approach this work.
The primary audience(s) for community engagement must include one or more of the following populations: African American, African immigrant, American Indian, Asian American, Latinx, and LGBTQ Minnesotans. Organizations are encouraged to reach diverse communities within communities of color and American Indian communities (such as people of color and American Indians with disabilities and people of color and American Indians who are LGBTQ).
The State will make final selections of contractors based on a competitive review of proposals, while also ensuring that the final cohort of selected contractors covers a range of geographic areas and reaches the major racial, ethnic and cultural communities in Minnesota listed above. The State will prioritize entities that are led by people of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ individuals.
- Request for Services release: May 25, 2020
- Proposal deadline: Extended to June 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
- Anticipated contract start date: July 1, 2020
- Anticipated contract end date: December 31, 2020
The goal of this project is to increase understanding of and participation in COVID-19 testing, case interviews and contact tracing among residents of Minnesota and the 11 Tribal Nations that share its geography – particularly residents from communities of color, American Indian residents, LGBTQ residents, and residents with limited English proficiency.
This Request for Services is intended for community-based nonprofit organizations, other community-led organizations, and Tribes. Priority will be given to entities that are led by people of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ individuals. For this Request for Services, the State will consider an entity led by people of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ individuals if the entity is a Tribe or at least 51% of the organization’s board and leadership identify as people of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ.
The State has $1,550,000 available for multiple contracts through this process. The State seeks proposals between $10,000 and $75,000. Community-based organizations and Tribes may propose plans to engage one or more communities and geographic areas.
Testing, case interviews, and contact tracing
Previous rounds of MDH COVID-19 funding distributed to diverse media and community-based organizations focused on prevention and raising awareness of the Stay Home order and social distancing. The focus of this round of funding is on testing, case interviews and contact tracing. Testing outreach will include sharing information about why people should get tested, what testing entails, and how and where to get tested. Outreach regarding case interviews and contact tracing will include informing communities about what these processes are, why they are important, and the services available to people through these processes, as well as how individuals’ rights will be protected during these processes. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will receive follow-up calls and texts from a COVID-19 team member. The team member will collect demographic information, identify the individual’s needs and answer questions they may have. Testing, case interviews and contact tracing require coordination across multiple entities to help community members navigate the process and secure needed resources.
The State recognizes that many communities may experience barriers to receiving or answering calls or be hesitant to provide information. The State asks Responders to share their ideas for how to increase community understanding of testing, case interviews and contact tracing and encourage community members to get tested as appropriate and work with COVID-19 team members to share information and be connected to resources.
As part of a public awareness campaign around testing, case interviews and contact tracing, the State will seek community feedback related to the terms used for these processes, so that communities receive information in plain language that they can trust.
- Work with the State to finalize a plan for culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, and timely community engagement activities to learn about community questions and needs related to COVID-19 testing, case interviews, and contact tracing and connect communities to testing, case interviews, and contact tracing. Use a trauma-informed lens to approach this work.
- Use existing networks, community or tribal leaders, faith leaders, community health professionals, and others to engage communities.
- Coordinate with local public health, tribal health, community health clinics, or other entities that are providing testing, case interviews, contact tracing, and wraparound services.
- Work with the State and other partners to address community needs related to COVID-19 testing, case interviews, and contact tracing.
- Participate in weekly calls with the State to receive updated COVID-19 information, relay community needs and questions to the State, and strategize about community engagement work.
- Prepare brief progress reports for the State that summarize the work performed, the number of people reached, and the impact the work is having in the target community.
Response requirements and submission
Interested Responders should complete the Proposal Submission Form with the following information:
- Responder name and contact information;
- whether Responder is a Tribe or an organization led by people of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ individuals;
- how Responder shares power and decision-making with communities of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ communities;
- whether Responder has received a COVID-19 contract from MDH for a period that overlaps with this funding opportunity;
- communities and geographic areas reached;
- descriptions of the Responder’s history and experience relevant to this work;
- ideas for increasing community understanding of and participating in COVID-19 testing, case interviews, and contact tracing; and
- contract funding amount requested.
You should receive an automated confirmation email shortly after submitting your Proposal Submission Form. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 1 hour (please check your junk/spam folder), you may email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to confirm receipt of your submission.
Your Proposal Submission Form must be received by 11:59 p.m. on June 7, 2020.
Complete responses will be reviewed using a 100-point scale to assess the Responder’s ability to engage communities with culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, and timely activities to increase community understanding of and participation in COVID-19 testing, case interviews, and contact tracing. Scoring will be based on the following factors:
- Alignment with State needs to reach all communities of color, American Indian communities, and LGBTQ communities in Minnesota (20%);
- History, experience, and qualifications (40%);
- Community engagement ideas (20%);
- Tribe or organization led by people of color, American Indian, and/or LGBTQ individuals (10%); and
- Cost (10%).
Responders will be scored using the scoring criteria in the Community Engagement RFS Score Sheet (PDF). The review committee that will review and score proposals and make final funding decisions will be made up of community members, partners, and State staff who reflect the communities served by this RFS.
The review committee will review all complete responses submitted on or before June 7, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. After this deadline, if the State concludes it lacks proposals reaching one of its priority communities, the submission process will be reopened and submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until funds are used.
Please do not contact the State to inquire about status of Response.
Please note that the question and answer period has ended. Final questions and answers have been posted on the COVID-19 Community Engagement Request for Services FAQ page to ensure all applicants have access to the same information prior to the proposal submission deadline.
The State hosted an informational webinar for prospective Responders on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 from 10-11 am.
In this webinar, State staff provided an overview of the goals, requirements, and process of the Request for Services and answered many questions. Please note that staff are not able to help with the drafting of proposals or provide feedback on proposals.
A recording of the webinar is posted above. Questions asked during the webinar have been posted on the COVID-19 Community Engagement Request for Services FAQ page.
Attachments to this request for services
Responders should review the standard State P/T Contract template. This document sets forth the State’s standard terms, insurance requirements, and procurement laws or requirements which may apply in the event a Response results in a contract with the State.
This Request for Services does not obligate the State to enter into any contract with any Responder.
Submission of a response by a Responder does not obligate the State to evaluate the response.
The State is not obligated to engage in follow-up conversations with a Responder.