/ Mellon Initiatives

Request for Proposals

The Hope College Community-Based Partnerships Presidential Initiative, through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks projects which use humanistic approaches to create, expand, or nurture college-community partnerships throughout Holland.

Projects must demonstrate a commitment to the complementary value of humanistic thinking in college-community partnerships and seek to counter the narrative that the liberal arts, especially in humanistic fields, are exclusive, disengaged from the public sphere, and are poor preparation for employment.

This program seeks solutions to Holland’s most “wicked problems,” such as inclusion, housing, healthcare, the environment, technology, infrastructure, education, incarceration, employment, social mobility, entrepreneurship, economic development, and civic culture. These issues directly relate to Holland’s and Hope College’s demographic data:

  • Hope College’s student population does not mirror that of our community, specifically for Hispanic/Latino and African American populations.
  • Holland’s median household income lags behind both Ottawa County and the United States.
  • With 13.2% of people in Holland living below the poverty line, it is greater than Ottawa County (8.2%) and the national average (11.8%).
  • For educational attainment, the number of Holland residents without high school diplomas (12.4%) is greater than Ottawa County and the State of Michigan (7.8% and 9.8%, respectively).

These are only a few characteristics which demonstrate the divisions between Hope College and our surrounding community. This program seeks to expand diversity and inclusion activities for our faculty, staff, and students by connecting them with community partners to demonstrate the power of the humanities to transform the lives of others.

Project and Principal Investigator Eligibility

This program will support projects at a variety of stages, including proof of concept projects, implementation grants, and collaboration grants. These projects are defined as:

  • Proof of concept grants are made to a team which has little to no history of collaboration. Grants may be used to convene organizations or individuals for exploration, strategize further project implementation, or run a small pilot project to acquire additional data.
  • Implementation grants will be provided to groups with a history of collaboration, have a well-developed project plan with demonstrated need and evaluation metrics, and need funding to support implementation, management, and evaluation. Projects are expected to be beyond the proof of concept or pilot phase and have sufficient data to demonstrate need and the proposed approach is appropriate.
  • Collaboration grants will be provided to groups with a long history of collaboration and successful project or program implementation. Grant funds may be used to implement new programs or projects or to expand existing programs. Again, collaborations are expected to demonstrate need and the proposed approach is appropriate.

For any category, proposers are expected to clearly articulate the “wicked” challenge their project seeks to address, with a corresponding need statement. Additional details on the required content of the application follow in the “Application Requirements” section.

Proposals must have a Hope College Principal Investigator (PI) and a community partner Co-Principal Investigator. The Hope College PI must be:

  • From an arts, humanities, or humanistic social-sciences discipline; and
  • Tenured, tenure-track, or a professor of instruction with a multi-year appointment.

Eligible community partners should be:

  • A 501(c)(3) non-profit;
  • A local or state government agency, including a local public school or school district;
  • A for-profit organization, although such a partner may not receive grant funds. Please see the “Eligible Expenses” section for additional details.

Ineligible community partners include:

  • Individual community members without an organizational affiliation;
  • Organizations which have been debarred or suspended from receiving federal or state funds.

Levels of Support

Three levels of support are offered under this program. A description of each of these levels follow below.

Level Type Duration and Amount
Track 1 Proof of Concept Grants Up to 1 year, $10K
Track 2 Implementation Grants Up to 2 years, $50K
Track 3 Collaboration Grants Up to 3 years, $100K

For multi-year projects, applicants will be expected to submit annual progress reports to outline their key milestones accomplished during the preceding 12 month period. Annual progress reports will be reviewed by the Mellon Community Partnership Leadership Team for approval for the next year’s funds—funding is not guaranteed without sufficient progress towards the original project’s milestones.

Eligible Expenses

Proposers may include a variety of costs in their submissions including:

  • Salaries and wages;
  • Fringe benefits;
  • Travel for purposes of project planning, implementation, or management;
  • Materials and supplies; or
  • Consultants.

Funds may NOT be used for:

  • Travel to conferences or meetings not directly related to project planning, implementation, or management;
  • Occupancy costs, such as utilities, space rental, and other associated costs; and
  • Indirect costs.

All project budgets must allocate 50% or more of the budget to the community partner. The Hope College Office of Sponsored Research and Programs will be responsible for issuing and managing subcontracts under this program; the decision to award a fixed-price or cost-reimbursable subcontract under this program resides with OSRP and under the requirements of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation contracting guidelines.

If a project proposes a for-profit community partner, the entity may NOT receive any grant program funds. The for-profit partner must contribute cost-share (either in-kind or cash) towards the project at a level commensurate with their role in the overall project. Cost-share from the community-partner may include:

  • Value of the for-profit partner’s own staff in the project;
  • Value of services or property contributed to the project; and/or
  • Providing space or other resources towards project execution.

The amount, type, and value of these contributions will vary by project and the list above is not intended to be exhaustive. Proposers will need to provide documentation of the commitment from for-profit partners in the proposal.

Expected Beneficiaries

As with all community partnership programs, community members are expected to benefit from projects emanating from this program. While Hope faculty, staff, and students may benefit from the program, the primary beneficiaries are expected to be the community at large. Projects without a substantial benefit to the community will not be competitive.

Applicants will need to identify their expected beneficiaries during the proposal process. Applicants should provide the context of their selected audience within the “wicked” challenges identified above.

For partnerships involving for-profit partners, the primary beneficiaries should be low-income individuals. For purposes of this program, “low-income” is defined as those whose annual income is 150% of the U.S. poverty rate for a family of four (two adults and two children). This amounts to an average income of $38,198.

Submission Deadline and Process

This program will solicit awards via a two stage process. Applicants must submit a brief online pre-proposal. Pre-proposals will be reviewed by the Director and Associate Director in consultation with the Mellon Community Partnerships Leadership Team to determine which projects will be invited for a full proposal.

Requested full proposals will be reviewed by the following criteria:

  Exemplary
(5 points)
Adequate
(3 points)
Needs Improvement
(1 point)
Missing
(0 points)
Project Overview and Need The project is clearly described and clearly addresses a “wicked” problem. The application describes a clear and compelling need for the project. The project is described and need is provided, although several details may be missing or inferred. However, compelling need still remains. The project is not adequately described and/or the need is not adequately provided. Several key details are missing or are unclear. The overall need, however, may still have merit. The project description and/or need is completely missing. There is no clear and compelling reason to provide support to the project.
Project Team Qualifications The project team is uniquely qualified to address the problem. Current or previous collaborations have produced significant outcomes, including plans for the proposed project. The project team is qualified to address the problem, although minor details may be missing. Details regarding current or previous collaborations, including on the proposed project, may be missing or be unclear as it relates to previous results. The project team is missing one or more areas of expertise. Past outcomes of collaborations, including on the proposed project, are missing or are unclear. The project team is missing one or more critical areas of expertise. The team has not sufficient demonstrated any results of past collaborations.
Project Goals The overall goals of the project are clearly stated. It is clear the goals will address the wicked problem and need. The overall goals of the project are stated, but connection to the wicked problem and need may be inferred. The overall goals are missing key details. Questions remain as to whether the project goals will address the wicked problem and need. Project goals will not address the wicked need and need.
Project Outcomes The outcomes of the project are clear and compelling.  Proposed outcomes will address the wicked problem and need and are community focused. The outcomes of the project are generally clear and compelling. Proposed outcomes will address the wicked problem and need and are community focused. The outcomes are not clear and may not address the wicked problem and need. The focus on the outcomes is not on the community. The outcomes stated will not result from the project. The outcomes are not community focused.
Beneficiaries Project beneficiaries are clear. Based on the proposed goals and outcomes, it is clear the population(s) will benefit from the project. Project beneficiaries are stated, although connections between the project and the beneficiaries may be inferred or minor details are missing. Individuals or groups may be missing or those listed may not benefit from the stated outcomes. Based on the stated goals and objectives, the stated beneficiaries will not benefit from the project.
Humanistic Concepts The humanistic concepts or approaches stated are appropriate to the project and have a prominent role in the project design. The humanistic concepts or approaches are stated, although their role in the overall project design and approach may be inferred or minor details may be missing. The humanistic concepts or approaches stated may not be appropriate to one or more key areas of the project. The humanistic concepts or approaches are not appropriate to the project or are entirely missing.
Project Evaluation Project evaluation is robust, appropriate, and is clearly linked to the project goals and outcomes. Some details regarding the project evaluation may be missing or inferred, based on the stated goals and objectives. It is likely the stated evaluation plan will not be able to measure the stated goals and outcomes. Project evaluation is missing or is not sufficient to evaluate the stated goals and outcomes.
Resources Sufficient resources are available to support the project. The project team has identified the additional resources need from the grant program to accomplish the stated goals and outcomes. Sufficient resources are available to support the project, although some details may be missing or inferred. Resources from the grant program to support the project are missing some details. Insufficient resources exist for the project, are missing from the description, or have not been identified from the grant program. Insufficient information is provided to determine whether the project can be conducted.

Contact

Questions about the program may be directed to William Pannapacker, Professor and Senior Director of Mellon Initiatives at Hope College (pannapacker@hope.edu) or to Annie Dandavati, Professor and Associate Director of the Initiative (dandavati@hope.edu).