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COVID-19 Community Engagement Request for Proposals - October 2021
Review process update:
This Request for Proposals closed on October 28, 2021. Altogether, MDH received more than 100 complete applications. The applications were reviewed by a committee of 27 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 Proposals.
MDH and the review committee were sincerely impressed with the quality of proposals received. However, the $7.7 million requested by applicants greatly exceeded the $1.25 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 December 6, 2021. A list of the 26 contractors selected for funding through this Request for Proposals is now publicly available: Current 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.
On this page:
Response Requirements and Instructions
RFP Terms and Conditions
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. This may include, but is not limited to, addressing ongoing vaccine hesitancy, booster doses, and vaccines for youth including ages 12 and younger.
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 vaccines; work with the State and its partners to address those community needs; and connect communities to vaccines and to trusted information and resources related to vaccines. 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, 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: October 7, 2021
- Proposal deadline: October 28, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
- Anticipated contract start date: January 1, 2022
- Anticipated contract end date: December 31, 2022
The goal of this project is to increase community understanding and engagement around COVID-19 vaccines and ultimately increase vaccination rates 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 Proposals 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 Proposals, 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 currently funded by MDH through the COVID Community Coordinators initiative are not eligible to respond to this Request for Proposals. However, subcontractors of CCC lead organizations are eligible to apply.
The State expects to have $1,200,000 available for multiple contracts through this process. The State seeks proposals between $20,000 and $80,000. Community-based organizations and Tribes may propose plans to engage one or more communities and geographic areas. Organizations that reach multiple communities will not be given preference over those that reach a single community.
- 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, including addressing ongoing vaccine hesitancy, booster doses, and vaccines for youth including ages 12 and younger. 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 and other COVID-19 wraparound services.
- Work with the State and other partners to address community needs related to COVID-19 vaccines.
- Participate in biweekly calls with the State to receive updated COVID-19 vaccine 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 online 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.
Please note that in addition to your Proposal Submission Form, all of your supplemental materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. on October 28, 2021. Responses received after the deadline will not be considered, even if errors or delays were caused by issues outside of the Responder’s control.
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. Scoring will be based on the following factors:
- History, experience, and qualifications (20%);
- Work Plan (30%);
- Tribe or organization led by people of color, American Indians, individuals with disabilities and/or LGBTQ individuals (20%);
- Budget (20%); 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 RFP.
The review committee will review all complete responses (which include both the Proposal Submission Form and the supplemental materials) submitted on or before October 28, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. After this 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.
If you have a question about the form or the process, please email your question to email@example.com and State staff will get back to you within 2 business days.
The State will post the questions and answers received on the COVID-19 Community Engagement Request for Proposals FAQ page. Questions must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on October 25, 2021. The State will post final answers to questions no later than 5 p.m. on October 26, 2021.
The State offered an informational webinar for prospective Responders on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 from 1-2 p.m.
In this webinar, State staff provided an overview of the goals, requirements, and process of the Request for Proposals 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 Proposals FAQ page.
Attachments to this request for proposals
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.
RFP terms and conditions
The State desires open and fair competition. Questions from responders regarding any of the requirements of the Solicitation must be submitted in writing to the Solicitation Administrator listed in the Solicitation before the due date and time. If changes are made the State will issue an addendum.
Any evidence of collusion among responders in any form designed to defeat competitive responses will be reported to the Minnesota Attorney General for investigation and appropriate action.
Changes to the Solicitation will be made by addendum with notification and posted in the same manner as the original Solicitation. Any addenda issued will become part of the Solicitation.
All storage and processing of information shall be performed within the borders of the United States. This provision also applies to work performed by subcontractors at all levels.
The State allows joint ventures among groups of responders when responding to the solicitation. However, one responder must submit a response on behalf of all the others in the group. The responder that submits the response will be considered legally responsible for the response (and the contract, if awarded).
A responder may withdraw its response prior to the due date and time of the Solicitation. For solicitations in the SWIFT Supplier Portal, a responder may withdraw its response from the SWIFT Supplier Portal. For solicitations done any other way, a responder may withdraw its response by notifying the Solicitation Administrator in writing of the desire to withdraw.
After the due date and time of this Solicitation, a responder may withdraw a response only upon showing that an obvious error exists in the response. The showing and request for withdrawal must be made in writing to Solicitation Administrator within a reasonable time and prior to the State’s detrimental reliance on the response.
The State reserves the right to:
Upon request, Responders are to provide samples to the State at no charge. Except for those destroyed or mutilated in testing, the State will return samples if requested and at the Responder’s expense. All costs to conduct and associated with a demonstration will be the sole responsibility of the Responder.
All materials submitted in response to this Solicitation will become property of the State. During the evaluation process, all information concerning the responses submitted will remain private or nonpublic and will not be disclosed to anyone whose official duties do not require such knowledge. Responses are private or nonpublic data until the completion of the evaluation process as defined by Minn. Stat. § 13.591. The completion of the evaluation process is defined as the State having completed negotiating a contract with the selected responder. The State will notify all responders in writing of the evaluation results.
Responders must not submit as part of their response trade secret material, as defined by Minn. Stat. § 13.37.
In the event trade secret data are submitted, Responder must defend any action seeking release of data it believes to be trade secret, and indemnify and hold harmless the State, its agents and employees, from any judgments awarded against the State in favor of the party requesting the data, and any and all costs connected with that defense.
The State does not consider cost or prices to be trade secret material, as defined by Minn. Stat. § 13.37.
A responder may present and discuss trade secret information during an interview or demonstration with the State, if applicable.
Unless otherwise approved in writing by the State, Responder’s cost proposal and all terms offered in its response that pertain to the completion of professional and technical services and general services will remain firm for 180 days, until they are accepted or rejected by the State, or they are changed by further negotiations with the State prior to contract execution.
Any award that may result from this solicitation will be based upon the total accumulated points as established in the solicitation. The State reserves the right to award this solicitation to a single Responder, or to multiple Responders, whichever is in the best interest of the State, providing each Responder is in compliance with all terms and conditions of the solicitation. The State reserves the right to accept all or part of an offer, to reject all offers, to cancel the solicitation, or to re-issue the solicitation, whichever is in the best interest of the State.
Prior to contract execution, a responder receiving a contract award must comply with any submittal requests. A submittal request may include, but is not limited to, a Certificate of Insurance.
Selected organizations who enter into a contract with the State will be subject to MMB Policy #1446 (PDF). This policy was adopted for the purpose of responding to the safety threat the COVID-19 virus poses when unvaccinated staff members interact in-person in the workplace with Minnesotans receiving State services.
- Competition in Responding
- Addenda to the Solicitation
- Data Security - Foreign Outsourcing of Work is Prohibited
- Joint Ventures
- Withdrawing Response
- Rights Reserved
- Reject any and all responses received;
- Waive or modify any informalities, irregularities, or inconsistencies in the responses received;
- Negotiate with the highest scoring Responder[s];
- Terminate negotiations and select the next response providing the best value for the State;
- Consider documented past performance resulting from a State contract may be considered in the evaluation process;
- Short list the highest scoring Responders;
- Require Responders to conduct presentations, demonstrations, or submit samples;
- Interview key personnel or references;
- Request a best and final offer from one or more Responders;
- The State reserves the right to request additional information; and
- The State reserves the right to use estimated usage or scenarios for the purpose of conducting pricing evaluations. The State reserves the right to modify scenarios, and to request or add additional scenarios for the evaluation.
- Samples and Demonstrations
- Responses are Nonpublic during Evaluation Process
- Trade Secret Information
- Conditions of Offer
- Requirements Prior to Contract Execution
- MMB Policy #1446: COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination and Testing to Vendors and Contractors