Q: Do you fund in [this community or zip code]? 

Details about our service region can be found on our website or here.  


Q: My organization serves the HCF region but is not headquartered there. Can we still apply? 

Yes, we recognize that some organizations may cover a wide geographic area and may have headquarters outside of our region 


Q: My organization serves individuals across several cities and counties in Illinois. Although we serve the HCF region broadly, less than 20 percent of our participants live in the HCF region. Can I still apply? 

You may still apply if you believe the population you serve within our region is being underserved. However, we consider 20% of total individuals served by your organization living in HCF communities as a threshold for a competitive proposal that demonstrates a focus on our service area.  


Q: Are there specific outcomes that HCF is looking for? 

At this time, we are not seeking specific outcomes; we are continuing to research and analyze local efforts in support of developing our own impact evaluation framework, which will be phased in at the beginning of 2020We recognize that organizations addressing health equity in our region can take many forms – issues are complex and require a deep understanding of the local community context. We value traditional medical expertise in population health – i.e. data-driven and evidence-based – AND we value grassroots leadership and nuanced understanding of local communities – i.e. those who are experts in their own lives and experience. As we work towards more “upstream” approaches to address long-term, systems change that tip the scales towards greater health for all, we will simultaneously support “downstream” efforts that ensure residents have greater access to quality, comprehensive care today.  


Q: What is the best way to present data on population served for policy advocacy efforts? 

We would be interested in learning how residents are directly involved in your organization’s activities: How are residents directly participating in advocacy efforts on a local or statewide level? Are residents involved as trainers, peer educators, participatory action researchers, or in leadership roles? Or, are residents the target audience or recipient of your programs and initiatives? We would ask you to submit the number of residents directly involved and invite you to provide more context about the direct or indirect involvement in the space provided. 


Q: What’s the best way to present data on population served for programs/services that aim to benefit or reach all residents in a zip code? 

Please refer to the question above and indicate how residents are directly engaged in your efforts. 


Q: Our organization does not/cannot track data in the format requested. What should we do? 

We recognize that data collection looks different for everyone. We invite applicants to share more context about any specific circumstances or challenges that apply to your organization in the space provided on the application. Please reach out to use if you would like to speak further about your unique context. 


Q: If we are funded, what will be the reporting process? Are we required to submit mid-year or final reports?  

Yes, funded organizations are required to have a mid-year meeting with HCF staff to discuss progress and updates. There will be a final report due in December 2020 that will be posted to the application portal. We are currently in the process of developing our impact evaluation framework that will inform our future reporting processes, but we plan to phase-in reporting mechanisms and metrics in 2020.  


Q: How will applications be reviewed? 

In the first round, LOIs will be reviewed by HCF staff using a scoring rubric to identify alignment with our grantmaking framework and funding priorities. In the second round, HCF staff and peer reviewers, with relevant context expertise, will also use a scoring rubric to read, review and rank proposalsThis scoring tool will be complemented with both reviewer analysis and information gained during site visit conversations.   


Q: If we are not funded, can we receive feedback on our application? 

We understand the time and effort it takes to prepare a full proposal and the value of feedback to determine whether future applications align with organizational priorities. If your organization does not move forward from the LOI stage to the full application stage, feel free to reach out in July or August to schedule a brief feedback call. For organizations who submit full applications but do not receive grant funds, we will also offer more in-depth debrief conversations in January 2020. 


Q: Will you accept letters of support from community partners? 

We do not require any supplemental items to your application, other than what is already outlined on the application itself. If your organization is emerging and/or grassroots (including, but not limited to, if you apply with a fiscal sponsor) please reach out to us if a letter of support or other evidence might be appropriate. Generally, we cannot say whether such supplemental items will be formally considered in the review process.  


Q: Can we apply for multi-year funding? 

Funding in the 2019 grant cycle is for one year. As part of our strategic plan, we will be phasing in multi-year grants in future funding cycles. 


Q: How much funding can our organization apply for? 

Organizations are invited to apply for up to 10% of their operating budget (using current fiscal year expenses as a guide). Please note that more compelling and more competitive proposals will request an amount that aligns with a regional health focus and with the programmatic rationale, rather than a straight 10% budget request. For university and hospital systems requests, please refer to the guidelines and additional questions under “Large institutions.” 


Q: Can we apply for funding for two different but complementary programs? 

Funds through the 2019 grant cycle are available for general operating support, up to 10% of your organizational budget. You may write about more than one program in your proposal so long as there is a health equity focus in our service region. We will not consider two applications from one organization (unless as a fiscal sponsor).  


Q: Can we apply as a collaborative project or initiative?  

Yes, we value the power of collaborations. For collaborative proposals, please choose one organization to lead the proposal and to serve as the fiscal agent. For organizations submitting an organizational proposal and a collaborative proposal, the proposed work must be distinct in each application.  


Q: If I am requesting project support (versus general operating) can I request more than the 10% threshold? 

In order to make our process equitable, the same 10% threshold holds for both general operating and project support.  


Q: When will the next funding cycle open? 

The timeline for subsequent funding cycles will be announced in early 2020.  


Q: Would you consider funding a university or a school within a university (such as health sciences, social work or education) which has its own budget, program staff, and community impact? 

Please review our grant guidelines for specific details about university and hospital requests.  


Q: Can I apply using the audit and 990 of the operating foundation related to the university and hospital? 

Yes, you may apply using the operating foundation information, yet we require you to also submit the 990 and audit of the university and hospital system you are seeking request for.  


Q: I am interested in learning more about other organizations here, will you distribute a list of attendees?  

We prefer that organizations network with each other at our information session to exchange contact information. However, if there is a particular organization that you would like to be connected with post-event, please reach out to HCF to facilitate an introduction, if appropriate.