Grant Selection and Performance Task Force

PRESENT: Ed Barrett, Becky Hayes-Boober, Michael Moran, Jacinda Goodwin, Rob Meinders, Maryalice Crofton

The members convened at 8:30 pm using the virtual meeting technology.

Discussion items:
1. The next step in implementing the minimum living allowance policy. Several points were discussed. Staff proposed using the minimum wage in existence when AmeriCorps competitive RFAs are issued. The same minimum living allowance would be used in any Formula competition during the annual cycle so that there weren’t “classes” of members with different minimums. It was clarified that programs can offer higher living allowances – this discussion is only about the minimum level. No one was opposed to this approach to consistency.
Another point of discussion was about enforcing the policy during AmeriCorps Competitive selections and whether slightly reduced living allowances made sense in programs that assist with housing costs. Enforcement across all grants would be uniform if the Commission did not recommend or fund any proposal that was lower than the minimum. The discussion was longer with regard to a two-tiered system and, ultimately, staff were asked to research some issues. The discussion and decision was moved to the February meeting so the findings could be considered.

2. National Direct Planning Grants and National Direct operating AmeriCorps Grants. Commission input on the planning grants was minimal since no Maine organizations applied for a planning grant and the applicants identified as potentially operating in Maine had checked “all states” as potential and noted they would identify states during planning.

National Direct input on operating grants will come later this winter. Review of proposals in federal agency has not started.

3. Types of competitions to open in March. The AmeriCorps Formula competitions and continuation reviews will be next. Maryalice reviewed the predicted funds available and what is already committed for continuations. Because several programs were seriously under-enrolled, there are more options. The decision is to operate continuations, planning grants, rural and regular operating grants. The latter will be both cost reimbursement and fixed amount although applicants will be urged to do fixed.

4. Diversifying and growing task force membership. This TF has a significant workload that would benefit from both other viewpoints and more people. During discussion members pointed out that inviting people to join before the grant reviews was not realistic. It needs to be a longer-term effort. Even though some new public members would only be representing themselves and not officially representing certain communities, relationships need to be cultivated and coordinated. 

5. Review major tasks for 2023 from Commission workplan. The meeting was over the designated time limit so this item was moved to the February agenda.

Members ended the work session at 9:43 am.