COVID-19 Community Engagement Request for Services - December 2020
Review Process Update:
This Request for Services closed on December 28, 2020. After a review of applications received, the deadline was extended to January 11, 2021 for proposals reaching American Indian and LGBTQ communities only. Altogether, MDH received more than 130 complete applications. The applications were reviewed by a committee of 23 reviewers, including representatives from Minnesota’s cultural councils, American Indian council and disability council, community leaders, and state 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 received. However, the $7 million requested by applicants greatly exceeded the $1.5 million available. MDH regretfully was unable to award funding to many worthy organizations serving Minnesota communities.
Applicants were notified via email of the review committee's decision about their application on January 27, 2021. A list of the 41 contractors selected for funding through this Request for Services is now publicly available: 2021 COVID-19 Community Engagement Contractors (PDF). For more information on COVID-19 funding opportunities, visit the COVID-19 Contracts for Diverse Media Messaging and Community Outreach page.
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 engaging communities around COVID-19 vaccines, testing, case interviews, contact tracing, and other topics.
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; work with the State and its partners to address those community needs; and connect communities to information and resources related to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, case interviews, contact tracing, and other topics. 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, and Minnesotans with disabilities. 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 communities in Minnesota listed above. The State will prioritize entities that are led by people of color, American Indians, people with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ individuals.
- Request for Services release: December 14, 2020
- Proposal deadline: December 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm
- Extended deadline for American Indian and LGBTQ proposals only: January 11, 2021 at 11:59 pm
- Anticipated contract start date: early February 2021
- Anticipated contract end date: July 31, 2021
The goal of this project is to increase community understanding and engagement around COVID-19 vaccines, testing, case interviews, contact tracing, and other COVID-19 topics among residents of Minnesota and the 11 Tribal Nations that share its geography – particularly residents from communities of color, American Indian residents, LGBTQ residents, residents with disabilities, 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, individuals with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ individuals. For this Request for Services, the State will consider an entity led by people of color, American Indians, individuals with disabilities, 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, individuals with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ individuals.Please note that lead organizations funded by MDH or DEED through the COVID Community Coordinators initiative for 2021 are not eligible to respond to this Request for Services. However, subcontractors of CCC lead organizations are eligible to apply.
This Request for Services is contingent on funding availability. The State expects to have $1,500,000 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.
- 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 and connect communities to information and resources related to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, case interviews, contact tracing, and other topics. 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 vaccines, testing, case interviews, contact tracing, and wraparound services.
- Work with the State and other partners to address community needs related to COVID-19.
- Participate in biweekly 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 Instructions
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, individuals with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ individuals;
- how Responder shares power and decision-making with communities of color, American Indians, disability communities, and/or LGBTQ communities;
- communities and geographic areas reached;
- descriptions of the Responder’s history and experience relevant to this work; and
- contract funding amount requested.
After submitting the form, Responders will receive an automated confirmation email. Responders should reply to that email and attach the following supplemental materials:
1. Detailed work plan (Word format preferred; please limit to no more than 5 pages). Responders are strongly encouraged to use the State’s work plan template (Word). If a responder uses a different format, the work plan must include the following:
- Description of each activity;
- Timeline for each activity;
- Key staff and partners involved for each activity; and
- Estimated number of people reached through each activity.
2. Project budget (Excel format preferred). Responders are strongly encouraged to use the State’s budget template (Excel). If a different format is used, the budget must break down costs by:
- Staff salary and fringe (lead organization);
- Contractual services (subcontracts to partner organizations);
- Mileage and other travel costs;
- Supplies; and
- Other costs, which may include project-specific administrative costs.*
- *Please note that indirect costs are not allowed; all administrative costs must be specific to this project, allocated according to project FTE or a similar method.
If you do not receive an automated confirmation email within one hour of submitting your Proposal Submission Form, please email your supplemental materials (Work Plan and Project Budget) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate in your email that you submitted the online form but did not receive a confirmation email.
The Proposal Submission Form for American Indian and LGBTQ proposals AND the email with attachments must BOTH be received by 11:59 pm on January 11, 2021.
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 vaccines, testing, case interviews, and contact tracing. Scoring will be based on the following factors:
- History, experience, and qualifications (20%);
- Work Plan (40%);
- Tribe or organization led by people of color, American Indians, individuals with disabilities and/or LGBTQ individuals (20%);
- Budget (10%); and
- Alignment with State priorities of meeting the needs of communities of color, American Indian communities, disability communities, and LGBTQ communities in Minnesota (10%).
New partners and past contractors in the COVID response are both encouraged to apply. If a responder has been a previous contractor, their past performance as a contractor will be considered.
Responders will be scored using the scoring criteria in the Community Engagement Score Sheet (PDF). The review committee that will review and score proposals will be made up of community members, partners, and State staff who reflect the communities served by this Request for Services.
The review committee will review all complete responses (which include both the Proposal Submission Form and the supplemental materials) submitted on or before the deadline. After the deadline, if the State concludes it lacks proposals reaching one of its priority communities, the submission process may 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 Tuesday, December 15, 2020 from 11-12 pm.
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.