NEK Prosper Resources and Tools

NEK Community Health Equity, Community Project Grants

Health Equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy – especially those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other avoidable systemic inequalities that are often associated with social categories of race, gender, ethnicity, social position, sexual orientation and disability.

Telling Our Stories to Make a Difference: Giving our Voice to Systemic Inequalities

$27,700 to build capacity within our community to support health-equity advocates who are sharing their lived experiences to bring about positive change. We’ll do so by 1) providing five community leaders with coaching certification training from Living Proof Advocacy and 2) providing community health-equity advocates training on how to share stories from their lived experiences to bring about positive change.

Food Justice and Culture Building: A Partnership between the Center for an Agricultural Economy and the Civic Standard

$20,000 to provide materials and staff time necessary for a range of food-based community programs and offerings in the town of Hardwick and at Hazen Union high school. The programs would be implemented by the Center for an Agricultural Economy in partnership with a new cultural organization, the Civic Standard. Programs would take place through an elective class at the highschool, at the Civic’s community hub on Main Street in Hardwick, and at events and public venues around town.

Community Capacity Through Engagement & Leadership

$50,000 to improve our community’s overall sense of wellbeing and health. Through activities, relationship building, nourishing the mind and body, we will directly impact mental, physical and emotional health throughout Caledonia and Southern Essex counties. The St. Johnsbury Community Hub will use activity based opportunities to intentionally build positive self-esteem, life skills, address financial stability and use various forms of movement through the use of local spaces, places and resources.

Project Phoenix

$9,500 to fund the work of an Equity Ambassador to provide more adequate compensation and appropriate work environment to be part of community efforts and coalitions while facing systemic adversity. It will also fund a Cooperative Economic Consultant and Community Organizer to organize and discuss, design, and implement cooperative solutions and pathways to address systemic barriers to thriving communities. This project aims to organize and work with existing institutions and local efforts, improve and transition existing systems, and research and establish the missing pieces.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) mental, physical, and social health benefits of engaging in outdoor activities

$50,000 to address the COVID-revealed disparities in healthcare in BIPOC communities that are no longer possible to ignore. In response, Powered Magazine was founded in October of 2020 to be part of a solution to promote the health of BIPOC, and launched our pilot program to provide opportunities for BIPOC to actively engage in the outdoors as Vermont was entering its first winter of shelter in place (isolation) due to the pandemic. Because BIPOC continues to be under-represented, under-resourced, and under-acknowledged in the outdoors due to a long history of racism, exclusion, and oppression in the white-dominated outdoors, Powered is partnering with established organizations and businesses to remove barriers to education, economic, and social structure for BIPOC so that BIPOC can actively engage in outdoor activities, learn and feel the health benefits and the joy in reconnecting with the outdoors.

Not “Invisible”! NEK Accepting Neurodivergence

$8,400 to Vermont Learning Support Initiative to pilot community- and school-based efforts to engage with and support local neurodivergent learners and their families, through afterschool programming for middle-school students and regular family-inclusive meetings featuring discussions, presentations, and affirming activities. We will also expand our efforts to the same population in the St. Johnsbury area. By sharing experiences and finding common ground, our goal is to promote self-esteem and resilience in parents and their youth, who know the painful reality of being marginalized and stigmatized because they learn differently.

NEK Domestic Violence Prevention Warm Line

$19,700 to create and provide a prevention-oriented, confidential warm line service specifically designed to be as accessible as possible to any member of the NEK impacted by domestic violence (DV), no matter their physical location (rurality), criminal location (where they are at in a criminal proceeding), or social location (marginalization or stigmatization). Typically, interrupting domestic violence means involving the criminal justice system and oftentimes takes place after acts of violence have already happened. For marginalized and stigmatized individuals in our community, such as those who misuse substances or People of Color, involving the criminal justice system is not a safe or realistic option and so instances of violence go uninterrupted and cycles of violence remain unbroken. This project is supported by a 3 month NEK accountability needs assessment in which we gathered feedback that speaks to the desire and demand for this kind of service, and it centers the participation and feedback of POC and those with lived experience of DV, and accountability via their participation on the project’s Advisory Committee.

Social Detox and Crisis Bed Pilot at Journey to Recovery Community Center

$50,000 to reduce the frequency of fatal and non-fatal overdoses in the Orleans/Northern Essex region. Behavioral health patients are discharged from North Country Hospital’s emergency department when they no longer meet medical criteria to stay, whether or not the patient has a safety plan or is at risk for a fatal overdose. The social detox bed at JTRCC will give patients the opportunity to create a solid safety plan and/or a safe place to rest while awaiting admission to residential care.

Building Social Capital and Engagement Throughout the NEK

$42,000 for a variety of initiatives to complement the existing work of the Working Communities Challenge, which is based on reducing generational poverty through increases in social capital, community engagement, and access to health and other resources. Our project is driven by relationships and our goal is to build leadership in these communities that will then build a movement of other engaged community members working towards equitable, community-driven solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where did these funds come from?

A:  These funds are part of a large COVID-related grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH).  This specific part of the funding is provided through the VT Community Health Equity Partnership which includes technical support and guidance from the VT Public Health Institute.  “The VT Community Health Equity Partnership exists to assist the Vermont Department of Health to meet the goals of the CDC Grant to Address Health Disparities – specifically to ‘mobilize partners and collaborators to advance health equity and address social determinants of health as they relate to COVID-19 health disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved.’”

Q: If we miss the initial September 9, 2022 deadline, can we submit an application after that date?

A: Yes as long as there is funding still available after Round 1.  If an organization is unable to meet the initial September 9, 2022 deadline, applications will be accepted up until October 31, by 11:59 pm.  The amount of grant funding in Round 2 is subject to awards made in Round 1.  Update:  There is no additional funding for a second round.

Q: What about NEK towns not specifically mentioned in the Guidance documents?

A:  Projects proposed in the Caledonia towns of Hardwick and Stannard should follow the guidelines in the NEK Prosper! /St. Johnsbury District RFP.  Projects proposed in the Orleans towns of Craftsbury and Greensboro should follow the guidelines in the Vibrant ONE/Newport District RFP. 

Q:  Are churches or religious groups eligible to apply?

A:  Yes, so are groups and associations, art and cultural institutions, schools, charitable organizations, cooperatives, social and recreational clubs and other non-profits.  If non-profit status is not applicable for your situation, and you do not have a larger umbrella non-profit or the fiscal sponsorship of a non-profit, please choose “Other” on the application and do your best to describe the type of entity you are.  Provide the Tax ID number of the primary individual who would be responsible for the entity.

Q:  Can I apply for a grant and be part of the review and evaluation committee?

A:  Yes, though you will need to recuse yourself from evaluation and discussion of the application.

Q:  How do become part of the review and evaluation committee?

A:  E-mail Kari White at kariw@nchcvt.org by September 2nd to express interest and find out more about the expectations and stipend (if applicable).

Q:  Will this be an equitable grant-making process (for example, will smaller organizations and entities be prioritized for funding)? 

A:  Yes. Consistent with the Guidance, one of the goals of the funding is to engage with and prioritize funding for organization(s) or entities that in the past may have been excluded from public health-oriented funding.

Q:  Is there a rubric which will be used for evaluation? 

A:  Yes, please see the process document and evaluation tool for NEK Prosper! and the process document and evaluation tool for Vibrant ONE.

Q:  Can I submit an application in another way?

A:  Yes.  We will consider video submissions which gather the same information.  Please contact Kari White at kariw@nchcvt.org to discuss options prior to noon on September 9th. 

Q:  Can an organization put multiple projects in one application?

A: Yes. We ask that if an organization or entity has several distinct ideas or projects, they clearly state that in one application.

Q:  Can we submit more than one application from our organization?

A:  No.  One application per organization/entity, please.

Q:  Can we be partners for more than one project application?

A:  Yes so long as there is a different lead organization for each project.

Q:  If our project includes towns in both the St. Johnsbury/NEK Prosper! District and Newport/Vibrant ONE District, should we submit an application to each?

A:  You can, but please note that total of both applications cannot exceed $50,000.  The other way to do this would be for the applicant to clearly state this intention in the application, apply in the one district where the primary applicant is based and the project will be evaluated by both the NEK Prosper! and Vibrant ONE reviewers.  It is possible that one District could decide to fund the project in that area and the other would decide not to.

Q:  We are a BIPOC-led and directed organization serving the entire State of Vermont as we consider this our community; are we still eligible to apply?

A:  Yes.  It would be helpful if part of the project(s) proposed in the application spoke to NEK-specific outreach or programming.

Q:  Can an organization both apply for a grant and serve and a fiscal sponsor for another organization?

A:  Yes.

Q:  What if I have a great idea but can’t find a fiscal sponsor?

A:  Please contact Kari White at kariw@nchcvt.org to discuss options.

Q: Can you please clarify what you mean by “recipients may not use funds for clinical care”?

A: Treatment of a diagnosed disease, illness, or injury (the type that could be billed and would likely be paid for through most insurances) are clinical care and not the intent of this grant.  Health education, wellness and disease prevention efforts, including peer support models are allowed activities.

Q:  Can we use these grant funds as a required match for other grant opportunities?

A:  Yes, so long as the project meets all the other eligibility requirements and the work funded for this portion is complete by May 31, 2023.

Q:  Can we budget the entire funding request to staffing costs?

A:  Yes, so long as the staffing costs are project related.  Keep in mind that the grant ends on May 31, 2023, so this is not a long-term staffing cost solution.  If awarded,  please ensure you keep your own internal records of dates and times worked and a rough description of what project-related work was done to back-up your invoices.  You do not have to submit “timesheets” but you may choose to report in this way as part of the required Monthly Project Activity Summary Report.

Q:  How would I estimate and budget for staffing costs?

A:  You can use your past employment experience as a guide, ask around and/or do a Google search.  For a point of reference, Zip Recruiter reports the average hourly wage in the State of Vermont at $22 per hour.

Q:  Can we budget the funding to support our normal business?

A: The intent of this grant is to fund projects which specifically address health inequities as described in each District’s Vision, Data-Driven Problem Statement and Aspiration.  In general, the funding is not intended to support capital campaigns, normal operating expenses, or deficit funding.

Q:  Can we budget funding to capital-type and equipment purchases?

A:  Yes, so long as the single-item price does not exceed $5,000 and is not spent on a vehicle.

Q:  Would training expenses be eligible for funding?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Can we propose a continuation of an already-existing project?

A:  Yes.  The application should include information about how continuation of a project will include additional outreach to and/or support for marginalized or otherwise overlooked populations (see guidance for priority populations).  Additionally, the requested budget should not include project-related expenses incurred prior to October 1, 2022.

Q:  We have lots of information about needs and priorities like a needs assessment and lots of data.  With the application character limits, what information should we prioritize?

A:  You can include links to additional information if it is helpful and/or include information in the final, optional question on the application.   Please prioritize information related to how the project was identified/designed by the intended beneficiaries (question 15).

Q:  What if the project idea is about building community leadership or restorative approaches to community healing and building – is that allowable?  Would a community storytelling project be allowable?

A:  Yes.  Please make sure you describe the link between your project and the District’s Vision, Data-Driven Problem/Opportunity Statement, Aspiration and/or Root Cause Analysis as applicable (there is a lot of room for creative and inventive solutions amongst these elements (for example, projects designed to address financial stress/burden might well help improve mental health)).

Q:  Can  I use my own budget template for the application?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Can I include prior project-related expenses?

A:  No.  Expenses must be incurred no earlier than October 1, 2022.

Q:  Can time spent on reporting be included in the project budget?

A:  Yes.

Q:  What happens once an applicant is selected as a grant recipient?

A:  NCHC will notify applicants of the decision by e-mail on September 23rd.  Attached to that e-mail will be a partially executed and project specific Terms of Award agreement and invoice template.  There will also be a reimbursement/invoicing and reporting schedule.  Grantees will be expected to sign and return a completed Terms of Award agreement and W-9 to Kari White by September 30, 2022.  Then work begins!

Q: Can you explain the reimbursement model?

A: All grant payments will be reimbursement only. We are not able to provide upfront funding or make prospective payments.  Grantee organizations can only receive funds from NCHC after submitting an invoice (and supporting documentation including receipts and a Monthly Project Activity Summary Report) for activities or service performed.

Q: Will reimbursements be via check or do you offer direct deposit?

A: Reimbursements will be by check.

Q: How long can I expect to wait between submitting an invoice and getting reimbursed?

A: Complete invoices (along with documentation like receipts and the Monthly Project Activity Summary Report) submitted to Kari White by the first Wednesday of each month for the prior month will be processed within the week, with checks cut and mailed the following Thursday.  The turnaround time should be between two to three weeks (depending on mail delivery).

Q:  Are there any additional clauses which may be added to the Terms of Award, like expectation of data sharing or the release of intellectual property rights?

A:  No. As described in the Guidance, the Terms of Award (and W-9), invoicing (and supporting documentation of expense), and reporting are all that will be required of grantees.  Please note the Audit provision in the Terms of Award (Northern Counties Health Care or the VtPHI reserves the right to visit the Recipient (and can invite the District Director) to review and discuss the program or project funded with this funding contract, and to review any records related to expenditures made by the Recipient under these Terms of Award).

Q:  Will grantees need to submit certificates of insurance or provide a UEI number?

A:  No, Community Project Funding Recipients do not need to provide certificates of insurance nor provide a UEI number.

Q:  Are grantees required to submit a monthly project activity report if we are not invoicing NCHC for that period?

A:  Yes.  Grant recipients are required to submit a Monthly Project Activity Summary Report even if there are no reimbursable expenditures for the previous month.

Q: What is the end of the Grant period?

A: Currently the end of the grant period remains May 31, 2023, with all final reporting and invoices due June 2, 2023. CDC verbally indicated that they would like to extend this grant period. It is not known when, or if the grant period will be extended or for how long. Organizations should plan to complete all activities by May 31, 2023, or before, and prepare to submit all final deliverables and invoices by the first week of June 2, 2023. We will inform grantees of any changes as soon as we can.

Q:  Is there going to be support for grantees?

A:  Yes!  This is an important part of this whole experience which is designed to build skills, confidence and connections amongst grantees as well as those applicants which were not yet funded.  Kari White will be holding scheduled networking and learning calls for grantees and other applicants to get to know one another, ask questions and find support and confidence in mutual challenges and success.

Q:  Will there be an extension of these funds?

A:  This is one-time funding, so projects which extend past May 31, 2023 will need to find other sources of funds past that date.

NEK Prosper! Project Funding Information

NEK Prosper! Caledonia + Southern Essex Accountable Health Community is excited to invite project proposals from local entities intended to help us reduce health inequities and move toward our Vision of prosperity (financially secure, mentally healthy, physically healthy, well-housed and well-nourished) for all as described below:

Data Driven Problem/Opportunity Statement: Due to stigma, marginalization and systemic inequalities, not everyone in Caledonia and Southern Essex Counties has fair and just opportunity to prosper (be financially secure, mentally healthy, physically healthy, well-housed and well-nourished), nor safe, accessible and inclusive opportunities to participate in planning and decision-making about the health and well-being of themselves, their families and their communities. This is true particularly for those experiencing stigma, marginalization and avoidable systemic inequalities associated with socioeconomic status; race, ethnicity and culture; sexual orientation and gender identity; visible and invisible disabilities; trauma, mental health and substance misuse disorders, and justice-involvement.

We Aspire to build our collective and community capacity to dismantle systemic inequality and marginalization, foster community leadership and community-driven solutions and ensure fair and just opportunity to health and prosperity.

NEK Prosper!/St. Johnsbury District Funding Documents

Vibrant ONE Project Funding Information
Vibrant ONE (Orleans & Northern Essex) Accountable Health Community is excited to invite project proposals from local entities intended to help us reduce health inequities and move toward our Vision of a vibrant, thriving, safe and inclusive Orleans and Northern Essex as described below:

Data Driven Problem/Opportunity Statement: We are not providing the right mental health/substance misuse care, at the right place, at the right time, every time; and too many in our community are getting stuck at the wrong level of care/ wrong care location.  This is frustrating, costly, and ineffective.

Our Aspiration is that everyone living in Orleans/No. Essex will have easy access to person-centered and coordinated mental health and substance misuse services that are timely, close to home, at the appropriate level and with the appropriate transition supports for continued success in a person’s home community.

Focus areas from the Root Cause Analysis: