Executive Committee: Special Meeting

PRESENT: Jenni Tilton-Flood, Ed Barrett

In the absence of a quorum, the members recessed until 2:30pm on May 31, 2023.

May 31, 2023

PRESENT: Jenni Tilton-Flood (in-person), Celeste Branham (virtual), Pam Proulx-Curry (virtual), Ed Barrett (virtual).

Members convened at 2:30 pm.

The sole item of business was action on the AmeriCorps standard fixed amount grant from Downeast Community Partners. Executive Committee members had received a summary of events requiring this action, the staff assessment of tech materials related to the application, and a summary of the proposed program (executive summary, need, intervention, logic model, and fixed amount budget).

Background from staff email to Exec members. Two big programs pulled out after awards were made in summer 2022 for the 2022-2023 grant year. All those fixed amount grants were on a Commission allocation/grant that expires 12/31/2023.  They left $242,807 unallocated. After the Commission approved year 3 funding for Trekkers and Maine Street Skowhegan on May 12, staff requested a No Cost Extension (NCE) to  12/31/2024 and put the funds and slots onto NCEs for those 2 grantees. They will enroll and complete their 3rd year thus using up all but $12,000 and AC positions on that grant. This uses up funds that cannot be rolled forward.

At the same time, the 2023 allocation of funds for Maine AmeriCorps formula grants turned out to be $921,619 – a nice increase of $300K. The Commission plan for formula grants entailed funding new planning grants (3 approved on 5/12), funding continuations (Maine Youth Alliance), and new grantees. Of the 4 expected new submissions, only 1 came in and it was for a rural-sized program – not a standard 10-member. Polls of the other folks told us the competition came in a time they didn’t have personnel to pay attention – they want to try later. The grants in hand totaled $256,320 and left $486,985 for a later competition. Or so staff thought. Turns out there is a cap on how much funding can be left unallocated for future use, and after subtracting the maximum amount, the Commission would forfeit $256,580, a little more than half of the money unless funds were used in the initial submission.

Staff proposed soliciting a sole source proposal. In talks with SOM Procurement, two things were confirmed: because there was not a submission under the competition for standard grants, the Commission could solicit a proposal and it will be accepted as a sole source. 

The proposed sole source program is from Downeast Community Partners. They competed and won the climate corps grant competition but the funds only covered 7 months. The Gov budget for the next 2 years has enough funding for the project director ($81K) but no corps members. An AmeriCorps proposal would extend the climate corps program into a second full year. The size is just 10 over members and uses $292,608. It is fixed amount – reimbursed according to how many hours members serve in any particular month.

Staff asked for a submission extension on the new fixed amount grant which was originally due May 17. The hard stop is May 31.

A brief discussion among Exec Committee members preceded action on the proposal. Questions were asked about agency capacity, the applicant’s relationship with community organizations and Maine Seacoast Mission (a project partner), and that the project proposed meets three of the five funding priorities listed in the AmeriCorps request for applications under the standard sized program. Discussion satisfied members present at the time.

MOVED by Barrett to approve Downeast Community Partner’s AmeriCorps fixed amount proposal in the amount of $292,608 covering 10.16 MSY with the option to add another position and $14,400. SECOND by Branham. VOTE: In favor – Branham, Proulx-Curry, Tilton-Flood, Barrett.

There being no further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 2:47 pm.