COVID-19 Engagement and Outreach Request for Proposals FAQ - October 2021 - Minnesota Dept. of Health

COVID-19 Community Engagement Request for Proposals FAQ - October 2021


Please note that the question and answer period has ended. Final questions and answers have been posted to ensure all applicants have access to the same information prior to the proposal submission deadline.

Last updated 10/27/21 at 11 am CST.


Question: Can companies from outside the USA apply for this RFP?

Answer: Applicants are not required to be based in the United States. However, please keep in mind that proposals should demonstrate strong reach within and trust with Minnesota communities, and applicants must have the ability to perform the expected outreach and engagement within the state of Minnesota.


Question: Will selected contractors need to come to the Minnesota Department of Health for meetings?

Answer: No. Meetings with contractors will be held virtually.


Question: Can we perform the tasks (related to RFP) outside the USA?

Answer: Selected contractors must be able to perform the expected outreach and engagement within the state of Minnesota.


Question: Can we submit the proposals via email?

Answer: All proposals must be submitted via the Online Proposal Submission Form, and required attachments must be submitted via email.


Question: Who are the "lead organizations currently funded by MDH through the COVID Community Coordinators (CCC) initiative" who are not eligible to respond to this Request for Proposals?

Answer: COVID Community Coordinators (CCCs) are community-based organizations contracted by MDH to connect Minnesota's diverse communities to COVID testing, vaccination, and other COVID-19 related resources. These 26 organizations are currently contracting with MDH through June 30, 2022 and therefore are not eligible to apply to this RFP. More information about the CCC contractors and a list of the 26 organizations can be found on the COVID-19 Community Coordinators webpage.


Question: Please can you clarify who is not eligible? I'm still not clear who is not eligible based on current work with MDH.

Answer: Only the current 26 COVID Community Coordinator (CCC) organizations are not eligible to apply to this RFP. Other contractors of MDH are eligible to apply.


Question: May we partner with COVID Community Coordinator (CCC) organizations?

Answer: Yes.


Question: Would you also consider homeless youth as a population to be reached? The youth we work with are diverse.

Answer: Yes, applicants may propose to work with the homeless population as long as the primary audience includes one or more of the following Minnesota communities: African American, African immigrant, American Indian, Asian American, Latinx, disability, or LGBTQ communities.


Question: Do you have any department guidelines on a Trauma Informed Lens approach?

Answer: A trauma-informed lens means taking into account a person's and community's history when providing services to make sure they don't get re-traumatized when receiving those services. For example, if the cultural community has experienced institutional racism through medical or experimental testing without their consent, the service provider should be sensitive to their reasons why they may not trust health professionals. More information about using a trauma-informed lens can be found on MDH's website: Trauma-Informed & Intersectional Approaches Toolkit – Centering healing and justice in maternal and child health needs assessment work.

The document cites the following: "Trauma-informed approaches recognize the pervasive consequences of oppression and traumatic stress for individuals, communities, and systems." Please note: This document refers to a specific field of work – the field of maternal child health. The entire document is not necessarily relevant to this RFP and is meant to illustrate an example of a trauma-informed lens or trauma-informed approach.

Question: Can we request more than $80,000?

Answer: The State seeks proposals between $20,000 to $80,000. To ensure that we can have statewide reach in a variety of communities, the upper limit for proposals is $80,000.


Question: My team is considering applying in both categories, will that be allowed?

Answer: A few Tribes or community-based organizations (CBOs) may be qualified for both RFPs (for example, if they run a radio station), but in most cases we strongly encourage CBOs to apply only for this RFP, and media vendors to apply only for the media RFP.


Question: Will this webinar be posted on the website after this?

Answer: Yes, this webinar will be captioned and posted on the website within a few business days.


Question: Will the video for this webinar be sent to us?

Answer: No, but it will be available on the RFP website.


Question: Do we (our company) need to be from MN to apply?

Answer: No; however, reviewers will want to see strong ties to and trust with the community you are proposing to serve and the ability to perform the outreach and engagement within the state of Minnesota.


Question: Will the geographic coverage areas remain the same?  

Answer: The State aims to reach a broad range of geographic areas in Minnesota through the cohort of selected contractors. Responders are encouraged to focus on regions where they have strong ties to the community and where there are gaps or needs they have identified in their communities. The State is looking for organizations to reach all areas of the state.


Question: If someone submits a proposal that states they are going to partner with another organization, how is that verified, or is it verified?

Answer: Applicants are scored on the information submitted in their proposal, work plan and budget. If selected, budgets and work plans are reviewed by State staff before they are approved and may need to be revised if the work of the partner organization is not clearly outlined in the work plan and budget submitted. The State may request confirmation that partner organizations are willing partners in the proposed activities. However, the State does not review copies of memoranda of understanding or other contracts between organizations. Applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure all proposed partners are supportive of their proposal and to demonstrate that support in their proposal.


Question: What is the make-up of the review panel? Will they be both MDH employees and community members?

Answer: The review committee may include MDH staff, staff of other state agencies, and community partners. We are working to ensure that the review committee includes good representation from the priority communities served by these contracts. Information about the review committee will become public once the review process is complete.


Question: How will it be treated if an organization includes my organization's services [in their proposal] without contacting us first?

Answer: Budgets and work plans are reviewed before they are approved and may need to be revised if the work of the partner organization is not clearly outlined in the work plan and budget submitted. The State may request confirmation that partner organizations are willing partners in the proposed activities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure all proposed partners are supportive of their proposal and to demonstrate that support in their proposal.


Question: Can a COVID Community Coordinator (CCC) be a fiscal agent for a community engagement contractor?

Answer: We strongly encourage applicants to work with a fiscal agent who is not a CCC if at all possible. However, if there are no other organizations they can partner with to do this work, and that is the only way they will be able to apply, they can use a CCC as their fiscal agent as long as the CCC’s involvement is limited to that role.


Question: I was unable to join the webinar last Tuesday, but I still cannot seem to find the recording. Could you please help me locate this?

Answer: The information session webinar can be found on the COVID-19 Community Engagement Request for Proposals page. A PDF version of the PowerPoint slides can also be found on this page.


Question: How do we get feedback on prior proposals that were submitted but not accepted for funding?

Answer: Applicants are welcome to request information on reviewers’ scores and feedback on their previous application(s). Please email health.covidoutreach@state.mn.us if you would like to request this information. In your email, please indicate which Request for Services you applied for.


Question: We are already receiving funds from MDH for outreach. How is the newly announced funding for addressing vaccine hesitancy, booster doses, and vaccinations for youth different from the contract in which we are currently engaged? And if it is different, are we eligible to apply?

Answer: This Request for Proposals covers several of the same outreach topics that our current contractors are addressing. The new contracts will be similar in scope but focused specifically on vaccination. The new contracts will begin after current contracts end. Currently funded community engagement contractors are eligible to apply for this Request for Proposals.


Question: From your website we see a Request for Services to increase community understanding and participation in COVID-19 testing, case investigation, and contact tracing. As an organization who is currently working with MDH, are we eligible to provide this additional work for the state under this program?

Answer: The Request for Services for COVID-19 testing, case investigation, and contact tracing was for a previous contract period and is no longer accepting applications. However, current community engagement contractors are eligible to apply for the Community Engagement Request for Proposals that opened on October 7, 2021 and is for contracts starting in January of 2022.


Question: What is the maximum funding limit for these new community engagement programs, and how much of this can be spent on contractors to do the work?

Answer: The maximum request for funding for this Request for Proposals is $80,000. There is no limit on how much of the award can be used to subcontract the activities in your work plan.


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Updated Wednesday, 27-Oct-2021 10:18:09 CDT