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substance and addiction prevention branch

Questions and Answers

Below are responses from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Substance and Addiction Prevention Branch (SAPB) to the inquiries that ​​were submitted following the process as described in the Fentanyl Overdose Prevention​ Grant Request for Applications (RFA)No. 23-10573​. CDPH-SAPB grouped similar inquiries and provided a single response. CDPH-SAPB removed all identifying information and made modifications to questions, if needed, for clarity. ​​​
Please note, an addendum to the RFA was posted on 9/20/2023. 

Eligibility

1. Question: What types of organizations are eligible to apply?
Answer: Eligible entities include local jurisdiction and agencies, and community-based organizations (CBO). Local jurisdictions and agencies are defined, for the purpose of this RFA, as local government agencies, departments, and programs; for example, but not limited to, local public health, local behavioral health, and local educational agencies (LEA). CBOs are defined, for the purpose of this RFA, as any organization with a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt status.

2. Question: Is a Local Education Agency (LEA) eligible to apply?
Answer: Yes. LEAs are eligible entities as they are considered a local governmental jurisdiction or agency (see definition above or on page 5 of the RFA with addendum).

3. Question: Are schools eligible to apply?
Answer: Schools are eligible to apply if they are a registered 501(c)(3) organization or are designated as an LEA.

4. Question: Is a county public health department eligible to apply? They are not defined as a 501(c)(3) organization.
Answer:  Yes. A county public health department is a local jurisdiction or agency, therefore eligible to apply for the RFA. Local jurisdictions or agencies are not required to be 501(c)(3) organizations.

5. Question: Are city-local health jurisdictions eligible to apply for this grant?
Answer: Yes, city-local health jurisdictions are eligible.

6. Question: Would an LEA be eligible to apply as the lead applicant or as a co-applicant with a CBO or LHJ?
Answer: Yes. An LEA can be the lead applicant or a subgrantee for a lead applicant.

7. Question: Can a county opioid safety coalition apply?
Answer: Yes, if they are an eligible entity. If the coalition is not an eligible entity, the coalition may partner with a local jurisdiction/agency or CBO as the lead applicant.
 
8. Question: How are you defining Northern California?
Answer: The Northern Region is defined by the following counties: Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Notre, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, Yuba. Please see page 6 of the RFA or Attachment O to identify which counties fall into which regions.
 
9. Question: Can intra-regional organizations partner to apply for this grant through one application?
Answer: Yes. Organizations may partner to apply under one application. Both the lead applicant and the region must be clearly identified.

10. Question: Is it encouraged that organizations that are not 501(c)(3) organizations partner with an organization that is eligible and apply?
Answer: Yes. Collaboration is a required component of this RFA. The lead applicant must be an eligible entity; partnerships are encouraged.
 
11. Question: Can a harm reduction organization, health department (LHJ), and university apply under one grant?
Answer: Yes. Collaboration is a required component of this RFA. The lead applicant must be an eligible entity; partnerships are encouraged.

12. Question: Can a county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services program apply for this funding as a government agency?
Answer: A county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services program is eligible to apply if they are an eligible entity.

13. Question: Can an organization partner with an Office of Education? Are they an allowable subgrantee?
Answer: Yes. Eligible entities can partner with an Office of Education. The September 19th addendum to the RFA removed the requirement that subgrantees be 501(c)(3) organizations. (See page 6 of the RFA with addendum.)

L​​etter of Intent

14. Question:  Can a coalition submit their letter of intent as the main applicant, or do they need to submit with their fiscal agent?
Answer: The lead applicant must also be the fiscal agent. The lead applicant also must be an eligible entity. A coalition can submit their letter of intent as the lead applicant if the coalition is an eligible entity. A fiscal agent may submit their letter of intent as the lead applicant if the fiscal agent is an eligible entity.

General

15. Question: Why are there so few awards envisioned? How does this RFA relate to other potential opioid grant funds that the State plans to release to support communities in CA?
Answer: Assembly Bill 2365 established the parameters of the Fentanyl Program Grants, “The California Health and Human Services Agency shall establish a grant program to reduce fentanyl overdoses and use throughout the state. Six one-time grants shall be made; two in northern California, two in the central valley, and two in southern California.”    
This RFA is not directly related to other potential opioid grant funds that the State plans to release to support communities in CA.

16. Question: Do the funds have to be used strictly for fentanyl?
Answer: Fentanyl is the primary driver of both fatal and non-fatal overdose in California and multiple scoring and evaluation criteria are tied specifically to fentanyl. However, there is no explicit requirement in the RFA that all funds be used strictly for fentanyl.

17. Question: Will there be standards for evaluation of program delivery and impact?
Answer: Each project will have its own unique evaluation standards to measure impact. Additionally, CDPH-SAPB will work with a contracted Program Evaluator to support Grantee success in the evaluation process. The Program Evaluator will 1) provide technical assistance to Grantees on evaluation data collection and reporting, 2) collect evaluation data from Grantees, and 3) develop Interim and Final Evaluation Reports to provide CDPH-SAPB with the data and information to evaluate program success. Grantees are required to work with the Program Evaluator in the evaluation of their work. CDPH-SAPB and/or the Program Evaluator will work with Grantees to refine and finalize their evaluation plan after funding has been awarded. Evaluation requirements and guidance can be found on pages 12, 18–19, 24–25 of the RFA with addendum.

18. Question: Can mandatory letters of recommendation be from coalition members, or should they be from funders of contracts?
Answer: Letters of support can be from coalition member organizations. The letters must be on the partner organization’s letterhead and include the signature, name, and title of the organization representative.

19. Question: Can you share where the RFP can be located?
Answer: To request a copy of the RFA with addendum and attachments, please send an email to opi@cdph.ca.gov​

20. Question: Will public health departments working with community organizations get additional points for their collaborative effort?
Answer: Collaboration is a required component of this RFA. Scoring criteria related to collaboration can be found in the RFA with addendum on page 24.

21. Question: Would middle school substance use curriculum development be acceptable as one strategy, if our organization focus upon something such as MAT initiation for Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) non-fatal overdose survivors under another strategy? Would our organization be disqualified based on youth not being at greatest risk for overdose in our County?
Answer: CDPH cannot provide guidance on specific proposals through the question-and-answer process. Please refer to required program strategies on pages 8-10 of the RFA with addendum, and page 24 of the RFA for scoring criteria.

22. Question: Is there a list of approved and unapproved expenses available for this RFA?
 Answer: Please see 20–22 of the RFA with addendum for guidelines on allowable expenditures.
 
23. Question: What is the distinction between a subgrantee and a contract for services?
Answer: There is no distinction. The September 19th addendum to the RFA removed the requirement that subgrantees be 501(c)(3) organizations. See page 7 of the RFA with addendum.

24. Question: Can grant funds be used to purchase reduction supplies/medications such as Narcan (naloxone), fentanyl strips, xylazine strips, etc.?
Answer: Yes. Please see pages 20–22 of the RFA with addendum for more information on allowable expenditures.

25. Question: Can funds be used to purchase gift cards for community education workshops/engagements?
Answer: Yes. Please see pages 20–22 of the RFA with addendum for more information on allowable expenditures. Gift cards may be subject to additional administrative oversight.

26. Question: Can funds be used for media campaigns?
Answer: Yes. Please see pages 20–22 of the RFA with addendum for more information on allowable expenditures.

27. Question: What if two or more agencies tie for top scores?
Answer: Six (6), one-time grants will be awarded funding per grant year March 1–February 28 as part of this pilot, allocated by region: two in Northern California, two in Central California, and two in Southern California. A tie of three or more agencies in one region will be discussed and reviewed in an internal consensus review process.
 

Budget​

28. Question What is the maximum budgeted amount for evaluation services? Can this be subcontracted?
Answer: Evaluation services can be contracted. There is no maximum budgeted amount for evaluation services. Additionally, CDPH-SAPB will work with a contracted Program Evaluator to support Grantee success in the evaluation process. The Program Evaluator will 1) provide technical assistance to Grantees on evaluation data collection and reporting, 2) collect evaluation data from Grantees, and 3) develop Interim and Final Evaluation Reports to provide CDPH-SAPB with the data and information to evaluate program success. Grantees are required to work with the Program Evaluator in the evaluation of their work. CDPH-SAPB and/or the Program Evaluator will work with Grantees to refine and finalize their evaluation plan after funding has been awarded. Evaluation requirements and guidance can be found on pages 12–13, 19–20,  25 of the RFA with addendum.
 
29. Question: Can there be more than one fiscal agent in the overall grant application?
Answer: No. Only one fiscal agent per application is permitted. Subcontractors are permitted.

30. Question: What are the limitations, if any, on indirect rate or admin rate?
Answer: The indirect cost rate (ICR) should not surpass the amount approved by CDPH on Attachment N.
Counties must adhere to the indirect cost listed on attachment N. For counties other than Alpine and Solano the Indirect Cost Rate (ICR) is calculated based exclusively on personnel services. For Alpine and Solano counties, the indirect cost rate is calculated using total allowable budget.
CBOs must use the indirect cost rate for the county that corresponds with their business address.

31. Question: Does the 26% listed on the budget template for indirect show what we are allowed to budget for personnel OR is the allowable amount for personnel on the attachment N, ICR posting, by County?
Answer: The template has “mock” data provided as an example; this should be updated to align with the appropriate ICR listed in Attachment N.
The ICR percent does not limit the amount budgeted for the personnel line item.

32. Question: Since indirect percentage is only for a percentage of personnel costs, how will the grant be able to pay our fiscal agent for their work since our project is designed around using contracts, consultants and subgrantees?
Answer: CDPH cannot provide guidance on specific proposals through the question-and-answer process. However, the lead applicant must also serve as the fiscal agent.
Indirect costs are those organizational costs that are not readily assignable to a particular project, but are necessary to the operation of the organization and the performance of the project. Examples of costs usually treated as indirect include those incurred for facility operation and maintenance, depreciation, and administrative salaries.
For the purpose of this RFA, the lead applicant/fiscal agent should identify actual costs of the project.

33. Question: What does the “actual costs” on the attachment N ICR posting mean?
Answer:  There are multiple methods for determining an ICR. “Actual costs” typically indicate that there is a federally approved rate calculated on “actual costs” that the entity negotiated directly with a federal agency. This federally approved rate supersedes rates set by CDPH. 

34. Question: How much funding is available per year?
Answer: Grantees will be awarded a maximum of $427,000 per year over three years, meaning a total of up to $1,281,000 per grantee over the three-year period. 

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