West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC) is the recipient of funds contributed, and to be contributed, by Columbia University under a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). Consistent with a provision of the CBA, WHDC has engaged the Tides Center/Foundation (Tides) to be its fiscal sponsor and to provide additional expertise, transparency, and diligence in grant-making. The WHDC staff presents WHDC’s Board with grant application summaries. The WHDC Board reviews, approves, and recommends applications to the Tides Board for funding.
WHDC’S Grant-Making Program
WHDC’s priority is to support West Harlem-based community projects by deploying funds contributed by Columbia University pursuant to the CBA through its Grant-Making Program and other activities. WHDC’s strategy is to address the needs of West Harlem through project specific collaborations and capacity enhancements of nonprofit community based organizations (CBOs) and institutions. WHDC may require CBOs to meet specified or negotiated measurable goals within the vision of WHDC.
Selected projects of organizations must be located in or provide services to the Community District 9 (CD 9) West Harlem community as defined by New York City, Manhattan CD9: south to north: from 110th Street to 155th Street; east to west: from St. Nicholas, Bradhurst, Edgecombe, Morningside and Manhattan Avenues to the Hudson River. The application must address one or more of the following need categories (Community-Need Categories) that are identified in the CBA. The WHDC reserves the right to set new priorities, and invite selected organizations to respond to specific requests for proposals (RFP) apart from the general cycles of grant-making.
Community-Need Categories (in alphabetical order only)
- Arts and Culture
- Community Facilities
- Employment and Economic Development
- Historic Preservation
To qualify for consideration under the WHDC Grant-Making Program, the applicant must be a not-for-profit entity in good standing as an Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. An IRS determination letter is required and a copy must be included with the pre-grant application. To qualify for funding consideration, the organization must meet the following criteria:
- The project must be directed toward fulfilling one of the WHDC Community-Need Categories or revised priorities.
- The organization must be charitable, educational, or scientific as defined by the Internal Revenue Service in Section 501(c)(3).
- The organization must identify measurable goals and agree to the monitoring of results.
Projects not funded
Projects not funded at this time include the following:
- Pilot or start-up projects that are not based on, or modeled after other existing projects with a history of results.
- Construction of buildings (Housing related construction may be addressed by the operation of a separate Affordable Housing Program. When this happens, separate procedures will be released by WHDC).
- Projects that are sponsored by religious organizations and schools with bias to a particular religion and are not open to the entire community.
- Non-project specific proposals (except that WHDC may fund capacity-building for nonprofits).
- Endowment funding requests.
- Private for-profit schools.
- Proposals to fund individuals, private foundations, and donor advised funds.
Grant Application Process
At the beginning of each grant cycle, WHDC will make a general announcement that will be posted on its website about the details of the upcoming grant cycle. WHDC will also endeavor to hold community meetings for the purpose of disseminating the information. The WHDC Board reviews grant applications and makes grant recommendations to TIDES. Not counting RFP activities, general grant decisions are made by the WHDC board no more than two times per year according to the following schedule:
2014 Grant Cycle
Pre-Grant Application Deadline*
Grant Applications deadline
*The actual dates in the months for deadlines will be part of the announcement that WHDC will make. Pre-grant applications will be reviewed and notifications to apply or not to apply for grants will be sent to applicants by WHDC. The WHDC Board reserves the right to make one grant cycle per year, as appropriate and permissible under its relevant agreements. The WDC board also reserves the right to add additional grant cycles within the year. When this is done, they will follow the same quarter calendar format as indicated above.
How to Apply for a WHDC Grant
STEP 1: Submit a Pre-Grant Application
Prior to consideration of a grant application for funding, WHDC requires applicants to submit a pre-grant application which will be available on West Harlem Development Corporation’s website (www.westharlemdc.org). Pre-grant applications should be completed and submitted on line, using WHDC’s grant management system.
Upon receipt, WHDC conducts an initial due diligence. If the pre-grant application is of interest to WHDC, applicants are notified and invited to submit a full grant application.
STEP 2: Submit a Grant Application
Applicants are notified by electronic mail that they have been invited to submit a grant application and a project budget. After the invitation, WHDC sends grant application and budget templates to the applicant via email.
STEP 3: Grant Review by WHDC
Grant applications are initially evaluated by WHDC in part on the following basis:
- Does the proposal align with stated WHDC Community-Need Categories, or WHDC revised priorities?
- If implemented, will the project have measurable impact on addressing the needs of the West Harlem community?
WHDC will only review grant applications from organizations that have been invited to apply.
Please note that an invitation to submit a grant application does not imply that an invited charitable organization will receive a grant. It means only that the organization and its project meet the minimum criteria of WHDC’s grant making requirements, and the inquiry will be given further consideration. After WHDC staff and /or WHDC-board committee reviews grant applications, it will submit applications meeting the stated criteria to the WHDC Board for review, and the WHDC Board, will make its recommendations to the Tides Board for funding.
STEP 4: Grant Review by Tides.
Grant applications approved by the WHDC Board are submitted to Tides as recommendations for funding. Each recommendation for funding will be subjected to an independent review and due-diligence by Tides to determine the grant applicant’s organizational health and nonprofit status. Additional information may be requested during this review process. All applicants will be notified of final decisions in a timely fashion. Funding decisions by the Tides Board, at the recommendation of the WHDC Board, for the grant cycle are final and there is no appeal process.
Amount of Grant Awards
The maximum size of grants considered by WHDC for approval by Tides shall be determined for each grant cycle and announced ahead of time. Applicants can ascertain the maximum, minimum, and average sizes of WHDC grant awards from the listing of awards for each past grant cycle posted on the WHDC website under Grants. WHDC makes one-year grants and not multi-year grants. Organizations can apply in subsequent years after the submission and approval of their final reports. WHDC’s Board reserves the right to put a limit on the maximum number of years that one organization can be funded.
All grants are paid in two installments: the first with the grant award letter from Tides; and the second after satisfactory attainment of milestones as agreed and noted in the interim report. WHDC strongly encourages organizations to seek funding from additional sources to supplement requested support from WHDC. WHDC reserves the right to add additional requirements for the payments of the first and second installments.
Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest
It is critical that all funding decisions be made objectively, based on the grant applications submitted and not for the benefit of any WHDC Board Member, Tides’ s staff, WHDC’s staff, or member of Tides Board of Directors. Funding is made exclusively to maximize benefits for the West Harlem CD9 community under the CBA. WHDC follows a conflict of interest policy for its staff, directors, and those principals who may appoint directors. www.westharlemdc.org
Grant Selection Process
Phase 1: Review of Pre-Grant Application.
WHDC staff is responsible for evaluating pre-grant applications. The staff may seek the input of WHDC’s board members, individually or formally through a WHDC board committee, and experts. The projects of applicants are evaluated based upon the following principal criteria:
A. Goals and Objectives: Is the proposed project consistent with the CBA and WHDC’s Community-Need Categories, or announced priorities?
B. Is the project based in West Harlem or will the project significantly benefit the CD9 area of West Harlem?
C. Is the applicant an IRS recognized 501(c) (3) public charitable, education, or scientific organization and in good standing?
D. Is the budget sufficient for undertaking the project and achieving the anticipated outcomes?
E. Does the organization demonstrate the capacity to continue the project for a period beyond WHDC’s support?
Phase 2: Evaluation Criteria.
The criteria for evaluating pre-grant and grant applications will normally follow the questions that are asked for each cycle. Generally, the questions cover:
1. How long has the organization been in operation, what is the size of its board, and its budget?
2. How long has the organization provided services to benefit West Harlem CD9 residents?
3. What are the organization’s mission and accomplishments?
1. Does the grant application sufficiently describe why this project is important?
2. If applying for capacity-building assistance, does the organization demonstrate its need and how and when WHDC’s grant would assist the organization to provide improved services for West Harlem CD9 residents?
3. Is there a clear statement of the need in CD9 that the project will address and are they measurable?
4. Is a target population identified?
B. Goals and Objectives:
1. Are the goals of the project consistent with the CBA and WHDC’s Community-Need Categories or WHDC’s stated priorities?
1. What is the duration of the project?
2. How will the results achieved be sustained beyond the end of WHDC’s support?
1. Is the budget realistic and sufficient to achieve the desired goals and objectives?
2. Will there be other funds to support this project?
WHDC’s Board reviews proposals presented by WHDC’s staff and determines the grants to recommend for final approval by the Tides Board of Directors. Grant recommendations require a majority of the entire WHDC Board to vote in the affirmative. The Grant Application provides that by signing the application, the prospective grantee agrees to a series of conditions including monitoring and filing reports.
Phase 3: Fiscal Sponsor Review and Approval
For grant applications recommended for funding by the WHDC Board, Tides conducts its own, independent due diligence. Tides reviews the reports and analysis submitted by WHDC. WHDC works closely with Tides, enabling reasons for rejections to be promptly conveyed to applicants. Applicants can correct identified demerits and reapply in subsequent grant cycles. Because of the constant loop of communication between Tides and WHDC grant staffs, potential obstacles to final approval are identified and communicated to the applicant before the application reaches the Tides Board for review. Disapprovals by the Tides Board of funding recommendations made by the WHDC Board therefore are anticipated to be exceptions. The Tides Board nevertheless has final decision-making authority and there is no appeal from its determinations. However, barring severe deficiencies in the application or with the applying organization, organizations whose applications have been denied may reapply in subsequent cycles.
Phase 4: Grant Administration and Payments
Grant applicants recommended by WHDC Board receive letters via e-mail of the actions by WHDC Board that will indicate what to expect next. Upon approval by the Tides Board, successful applicants receive letters notifying them of the grant awards upon WHDC’s Board’s recommendation. The first installment of the grant award accompanies Tides’ award letter. The conditions of the grant set forth in the grant application, to which the applicant agreed when submitting the application, are also summarized in the award letter for reference. WHDC sends its own congratulatory letter to the successful organizations.
The grant conditions require grantees to submit two reports – an interim and a final report.
(a) Prior to receiving the first progress report, and approximately five months after the grant has been made, WHDC and Tides personnel, accompanied at certain times by representatives of WHDC’s Board, make site visits to assess progress and, where appropriate, make recommendations to maximize the impact of projects. The purpose of the site visits is to monitor and assess programmatic progress and review financial accountability.
(b) After the site visit, the grantee submits a six-month interim report, which is a self-assessment by the grantee. The report should identify the project’s achievements; problems encountered, and planned solutions to the problems. The interim report is due fifteen (15) days after the end of the first six months of receiving the award letter. Failure to meet this deadline will delay the receipt of the second installment. The final report is due thirty (30) days after the end of the grant period. Until a final report has been received, a grantee will not be invited to submit another grant application.
WHDC’s staff reviews the interim reports and presents written evaluations of each grant to Tides and to the WHDC Board. If there are no problems with the project, funding continues unimpeded. If there is a problem, WHDC’s Board would recommend a termination or a deferral of the grant to Tides. The ultimate decision to terminate/defer a grant is made by the Tides Board of Directors.
Termination of Grants
If at any time the grantee is not in compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant award, WHDC notifies the grantee and provides a reasonable period for the grantee to cure the deficiency. If an acceptable corrective action is not taken by the grantee, WHDC reserves the right to recommend a termination of the grant before the second installment is paid. Grantees will be notified in writing if their grants have been terminated. In some cases, WHDC would require a return of the funds paid to the organization. Such cases would be caused by incidence of fraud, theft, and financial malfeasance that may subsequently come to the attention of WHDC and/or Tides.
WHDC will publicize grant-funded activities on its website, printed materials, and videos which may include the names and other identifying information of grantee organizations. Grantees are required to agree to such publications and waive privacy rights, or rights of publicity.
Consistent with its commitment to transparency and accountability, WHDC compiles financial data and posts summaries on its website on a quarterly basis. The financial information includes a cumulative listing of the names of grantees, contact information, a brief description of the funded project, and the grant amount awarded for that project. Grantees are required to agree to such disclosures and waive privacy rights, or rights of publicity.