CCFP - Setting Priorities
Setting Community-Based Funding Priorities
The Community Funding Implementation team (CFIT) consisted of members of human service citizen advisory boards and community and civic organizations, and was supported by a County staff team drawn from four human service departments. In order to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest, the CFIT did not include non-profit service providers. For the first two years of the Consolidated Community Funding Pool, the CFIT undertook a number of activities to ensure that the annual funding allocation reflected community needs and priorities.
These activities are summarized by the following:
Key Activities in the Priority-Setting Process
- Analyzed objective data from community needs assessments, demographic data, and trends in service utilization and demand
- Sponsored a series of community forums and questionnaires in different regions of the County to invite citizen participation in identifying priorities among services and populations in need
- Surveyed 45 citizen boards, authorities, and commissions that guide human services in the County
- Hosted a number of small regional focus groups to solicit input from low incom citizends and recipients of services
- solicited input on needs and emerging trends from agency directors on the Human Services Leadership Team.
Based on this work, the allocation priorities for the first and second years of the Consolidated Community Funding Pool were developed by the CFIT with assistance from County staff. The priorities reflected not only objective needs data and citizen input gathered by the CFIT, but also the three strategic principles of the County's Human Services system (i.e., Prevention, Self-Sufficiency, and Protection & Treatment). To ensure that a broad spectrum of services were supported by the Pool, the CFIT specified priorities among types of programs and populations to be served, with more funds targeted for proposals with higher priority programs or service populations.
The County released the first Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the Consolidated Community Funding Pool in the fall of 1997 and 1998. Approximately 100 proposals were received in each of the first two years of the program. Each year, the proposals were reviewed and ranked by a Selection Advisory Committee made up of citizens from the community-at-large (without connection to any eligible organization or to the priority-setting committee). The Selection Committee was assisted by a Technical Advisory Committee, comprised of staff from every County Human Services department. The Selection Committee's final funding recommendations were approved without changes by the Board of Supervisors during the County's budget process each year.
To receive funding through the Pool, organizations must write a successful proposal that includes budgets and program outcome measures. These requirements represented a major challenge for many newer or smaller organizations. To aid agencies in meeting this requirement, the County (in partnership with the Fairfax-Falls Church United Way and recently, with George Mason University) has provided workshops in performance measurement and grant-writing for staff and volunteers from any interested community-based agency - including successful, unsuccessful, and potential applicants to the Pool. These workshops have had a significant impact on the quality of the proposals and performance plans for many community-based agencies.
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