Skip Navigation LinksCalifornia-Equitable-Recovery-Initiative-(CERI)QandA

California Equitable Recovery Initiative (CERI)

​​CERI Grant Q & A


This Q&A resource will be updated periodically.  LHJs may submit additional questions to EquityTeam@cdph.ca.gov

Grant Scope and Purpose

What is the purpose of this grant?

  • The purpose of this grant is to address COVID-19 related health disparities and advance health equity. More specifically, California is leveraging this funding opportunity to build equity infrastructure. This grant offers a unique opportunity to focus resources on efforts to address upstream drivers for health and equity efforts. LHJs are encouraged to identify ways to use this funding toward structural and systemic change.  

In terms of defining equity, will OHE's Vulnerable Communities definition serve as the framework for this effort?

  • According to the Notice of Funding Opportunity, this grant program relates specifically to populations that have been placed at higher risk and are underserved, which, depending on the needs and priorities of the applicant. This may include African American, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American people, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other people of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people; people with disabilities; people who live in rural communities; people over the age of 65, and people otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.

What is the term for this funding?

  • The current funding is for a two-year period, concluding on June 1, 2023.

Funding Questions

Will LHJs receive pre-allocation, or will this be a reimbursement grant?

  • This will be a reimbursement grant. CDPH will reimburse your Agency upon receipt of invoice.
  • To support the start-up stage of activities, CDPH will issue a warrant (check) to your Agency for 25% of your total allocation as an advance payment, upon receipt, review and approval of the Spend Plan and Work Plan.
  • All future payments will be based on reimbursement of expenditures. To receive reimbursements, please complete and submit your invoices to: EquityTeam@cdph.ca.gov.   

What is the methodology for funding allocations?

  • This is a description of the proposed funding model: Each jurisdiction (excluding the 11 jurisdictions who received direct allocations from the CDC) will receive a one-time base funding amount of $300,000 for the two-year period. In addition to the base funding, additional supplemental funding will be calculated and awarded based  on each jurisdiction's population size (40%) and share of demographic groups disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e., those in poverty (30%), communities of color (30%). A minimum threshold of $100,000 will be applied for allocation of supplemental funding. For city-based jurisdictions each circumstance is different: Long Beach will receive direct allocation from the CDC, Pasadena will receive partial funding from county of Los Angeles and partial funding from CDPH, Berkeley will receive funding through CDPH.

What is the process for Local Health Jurisdictions to receive allocations?

  • Each LHJ will receive an allocation letter outlining the award and requirements. LHJs are required to complete a Spend Plan and Work Plan by October 1, 2021 and submit it to the California Department of Public Health at EquityTeam@cdph.ca.gov

Is there a sample work plan that can be shared to LHJs?

  • Examples of proposed activities are included in the Work Plan template, sent out with the allocation letter.

What is the federal source of the funding?

  • The federal sources of funding for this grant are:  Section 317(k)(2) of the Public Health Service Act [42 USC 247b(k)(2), as amended]

  • Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L 116-260), which contained the Coronavirus Response
  • Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L 116-260, Section 2, Division M, Title III)

What happens when this funding ends? Will no-cost extensions or carry-over funding be allowed if funds are not expended during funding period?  Are there any plans to sustain these projects if funding is not extended?

  • Currently the CDC Health Disparities grant period is only for two-years. The CDC has stated that they will review requests for no-cost-extensions beyond this term in 2023. CDPH will request this option with the goal of allowing LHJs a full two years for implementation of the funding award and will notify LHJs as soon as the CDC provides a response.
  • CDPH will also collaborate with LHJs on exploring options for long term sustainable funding for equity infrastructure.

Allowable and Unallowable Activities Questions

Is the grant specific for COVID-19 related work or does it expand to overall public health?

  • This grant is broad in focus and allows for approaches that address the wider health equity and social determinants that contribute to COVID-19 disparities and development of infrastructure that can contribute to prevention.  

What are required and allowable activities for this grant funding opportunity?

  • All activities should aim to build infrastructure to address disparities in the current COVID-19 pandemic and set the foundation to address future responses.  This grant offers a unique opportunity to focus resources on efforts to address upstream drivers for health and equity efforts. LHJs are encouraged to identify ways to use this funding toward structural and systemic change.  
  • Required core activities for LHJs include
    • Establish a dedicated Equity Lead staff position and/or other equity-focused organizational capacity building activities.
    • Conduct an equity-focused organizational assessment
    • Contribute to the Statewide Health Equity Plan
    • Participate in engagement activities with other LHJs
    • Implement targeted local equity activities.
  • Examples include:
    • Expand core equity staffing, embed equity into internal policies and practices, such as workforce equity; budgeting and contracting equity; data policy; communications and engagement practices, etc.
    • Examples include establishing multisector teams to address community needs, establishing equity action plans, engagement and relationship building with disproportionately impacted communities).
    • Leverage strategies and practices aligned with the COVID-19 Health Equity Playbook for Communities.
    • Support prevention and mitigation of disparities in COVID-19 and other health outcomes (direct and secondary impacts of the pandemic)
    • Address structural and/or social determinants of health (housing and homelessness, wraparound services, economic security, schools and childcare, transportation, climate change, isolation support, community safety, etc.)
  • For LHJs receiving base funding only, the priority of this funding is to "Establish a dedicated Equity Lead and/or other equity-focused organizational capacity building activities." If your organization already has existing staff and organizational capacity funding may be used to expand existing or to initiate new equity activities.  
  • The intent is for these resources to be used flexibly in ways that are appropriate for each local context – rural and urban, large and small populations, newly developing equity programs or expanding on current efforts – while building collective capacity and alignment for advancing equity statewide.   

What activities are unallowable for this grant funding opportunity?

  • Recipients may not use funds for research.
  • Recipients may not use funds for clinical care except as allowed by law.
  • Recipients may use funds only for reasonable program purposes, including personnel, travel, supplies, and services.
  • Generally, recipients may not use funds to purchase furniture or equipment. Any such proposed spending must be clearly identified in the budget.
  • Reimbursement of pre-award costs not allowed.
  • Other than for normal and recognized executive-legislative relationships, no funds may be used for:
    • publicity or propaganda purposes, for the preparation, distribution, or use of any material designed to support or defeat the enactment of legislation before any legislative body
    • the salary or expenses of any grant or contract recipient, or agent acting for such recipient, related to any activity designed to influence the enactment of legislation, appropriations, regulation, administrative action, or Executive order proposed or pending before any legislative body
  • The direct and primary recipient in a cooperative agreement program must perform a substantial role in carrying out project outcomes and not merely serve as a conduit for an award to another party or provider who is ineligible.

Will this grant allow incentives in order for LHDs to engage community partners and county staff in health equity work or training?

  • Yes, incentives are allowed, with restrictions. Under this funding opportunity, incentives are an allowable cost as long as they are reasonable and meet the goals and objectives of the project and the strategies outlined in the notice of funding opportunity, and must be consistent with regulations, policies and procedures of the recipient agency.
  • Bonuses/ incentive payments for employees as part of a total compensation package are allowable, provided such payments are reasonable and are made according to a formal policy of the recipient that is consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.
  • Incentive payments to volunteers or patients participating in a grant-supported project or program are allowable, provided payments to individuals are used to motivate them to take advantage of grant-supported services, if within the scope of an approved project. Please note clinical care services may not be supported by this grant.
  • Examples of allowable incentives: generic gift cards; store vouchers; fare cards for transportation; and gas cards.
  • Examples of unallowable incentives: cash; lottery tickets or games of chance; alcohol; drugs; entertainment expenses; food; commemorative or promotional items; and gift cards that may appear to endorse a vendor.

Can this funding be used for a position that works within an entire Health and Human Services Department, not just in Public Health?

  • Yes. It is possible for the funds to be used support a Health Equity position within a Health and Human Services department for jurisdiction where public health is part of an integrated Health and Human Services agency. We encourage that the scope of work for the position be written so that it is widely building public health capacity.

Community-Based COVID-19 Equity Projects Questions

 What is the focus of state-funded CBO pilots?

  • In addition to Local Assistance to Local Health Jurisdictions, CDPH will also be allocating $3 million from the CDC Health Disparities Grant through grants/contacts for pilot projects with community-based organizations (CBOs) to further support advancing equity as part of recovery, with an emphasis on efforts focused on addressing social determinants of health. 
  • Additional information on the parameters for this CDPH-administered grant activity will be shared later in 2021. Information about the process and awards will be shared with LHJs.
  • An earlier wave of CDC funding was used to fund CBOs through an RFA with a similar scope, see this link for the COVID-19 Health Equity Pilot Projects.

Can Local Health Jurisdiction allocations be used to fund activities with CBOs?

  • Yes, investing resources to conduct local equity activities with CBOs, expand engagement with disproportionately impacted communities, and to inform public health planning is an allowable use of funds.

What options are available for regions with very few CBOs?

  • It is not a requirement that LHJs fund CBOs, especially in regions where there may not be many active organizations.  Collaboration with other local partners; other government agencies, businesses, faith communities, schools, etc. can be another approach for addressing community engagement. This will also be a theme for continued focus. We are interested in learning more from LHJs about approaches that work best in different regions/conditions and will work to identify and share these through the Technical Assistance / Learning Collaborative process.

State-level Alignment Questions

What are CDPH's plans for coordinating with Local Health Jurisdictions who were funded directly from CDC?

  • CDPH is planning on conducting a follow up meeting with the 11 jurisdictions who received direct allocations from CDC in the coming months.  All LHJs will also be engaged in the process to develop and advance the Statewide Health Equity Plan.

How will this health equity funding align with the ELC Equity Investment Plan?

  • This funding will help build on the ELC Equity Investment Plan, especially around the most upstream work (e.g., cross cutting and longer-term strategies). It also has a wider flexibility beyond immediate COVID-19 response to focus on secondary health effects and underlying drivers. Activities that were initiated through the ELC Equity Investment Plan could be continued or expanded upon if they are consistent with the use of the CDC Health Disparities Funding. These activities should be complementary and non-duplicative.

How does this funding align and avoid duplication with the required Health Equity Coordinator position through ELC funding?

  • The CDC Health Disparities funding is intended to compliment and expand the great equity work started using the ELC funding. Much of the ELC Funding focused on immediate COVID-19 response efforts whereas the hope is that the CDC Health Disparities funding can be used to focus more on equity in recovery. The proposed CDPH Office of Health Equity Advancing Community Equity (ACE) Branch will provide ongoing technical assistance and will be continuing the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) grant-funded work. With the ELC funding, we asked for an Equity Contact. If you have been able to hire dedicated equity staff, then this health disparities grant funding would build on that infrastructure. If you have not been able to hire dedicated equity staff, this funding will be to develop that infrastructure within your county/jurisdiction.

Will there be more information provided on the Statewide Health Equity Plan?

  • Yes, CDPH will provide more information. Key milestones related to the State Equity Plan are identified in the Work Plan template.  A more detailed overview of each state of the Statewide Equity Plan process will be provided for LHJs in relation to these milestones.

Where does Public Health Accreditation fit into this work? Can accreditation be used as a means to an end (i.e. focus on weaving equity into everything while working towards accreditation/re-accreditation at the same time and provide a model for the rest of the nation focused on equity)?

  • According to the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO), "Applicant entities may use funds for activities as they relate to the intent of this NOFO to meet national standards or seek health department accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (see: http://www.phaboard.org). Activities include those that enable a public health organization to deliver public health services such as activities that ensure a capable and qualified workforce, up-to-date information systems, and the capability to assess and respond to public health needs. Use of these funds must focus on achieving a minimum of one national standard that supports the intent of the NOFO. Proposed activities must be included in the budget narrative and must indicate which standards will be addressed."
  • We encourage LHJs to consider integrating equity into all aspects of their work including, but not limited to, the accreditation/reaccreditation process.

Technical Assistance Questions

What Technical Assistance and Training will be provided to support LHJs?

  • An intro webinar for initial questions regarding grant work plan, framework, allocations and performance metrics, as well as ongoing support for project implementation will be held in early September.
  • Sample duty statements for Equity Officer and other levels of equity staff roles will be shared to support staff planning and recruitment.
  • Ongoing TA support will be available through the Equity TA Team
  • Learning collaboratives including training, peer support, sessions on proposed topics will also be organized.  
  • Send questions at any time to EquityTeam@cdph.ca.gov

CDC COVID-19 Health Disparities Grant Updates and Feedback Session Questions

Will the slides from the informational webinar be available?

  • Yes, the slide deck was emailed to participants following the meeting on 7/1/21. If you did not receive it, please contact Katey.Rosenquist@cdph.ca.gov.

Will a recording from the informational webinar be available?

  • The informational webinar was not recorded, but we can provide a copy of the meeting slides that contain all of the information that was covered.

Additional Information:

Where can I find additional information?


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