Solicitation for Grant Peer Reviewers to Evaluate Proposals for Organizations to Provide Financial Capability Counseling/Coaching That Will Help Clients Stabilize Their Finances, Rebuild Credit, and Establish Savings

Solicitation for Grant Peer Reviewers to Evaluate Proposals for Organizations to Provide Financial Capability Counseling/Coaching That Will Help Clients Stabilize Their Finances, Rebuild Credit, and Establish Savings

Econometrica, Inc., is a research and management firm contracted by NeighborWorks® America to support the award process of Project Reinvest, a series of three grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of Justice settlement with Bank of America to provide housing counseling, neighborhood stabilization, foreclosure prevention, or similar programs. Econometrica is seeking peer reviewers to read and evaluate the Project Reinvest: Financial Capability grant applications. We are seeking a diverse group of people with experience in a variety of financial capability services who have the ability to objectively assess the quality of competitive grant applications from financial capability intermediaries, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counseling intermediaries, and state housing finance agencies.

If you are interested in serving as a peer reviewer, please submit a resume and a skills questionnaire via email to ProjectReinvest@EconometricaInc.com no later than Friday, March 24, 2017, at 8 p.m. ET.

Grant Program Overview

Project Reinvest: Financial Capability will provide grant funding to eligible financial capability intermediaries, HUD-approved housing counseling intermediaries, state housing finance agencies, and NeighborWorks organizations. The Financial Capability grant funds are primarily intended to help individuals who are at risk of foreclosure, recovering from a foreclosure, or live in distressed communities rebuilding after the foreclosure crisis. At least $31.5 million is expected to be made available through a national competitive grant competition, with funds targeting Metropolitan Statistical Areas and rural areas identified as areas of high need. At least 75 percent of all Project Reinvest: Financial Capability grants will be awarded in distressed communities identified at the Metropolitan Statistical Area level (or state level for rural areas). The performance period for selected grantees will span approximately 18 months, from about June 2017 to about November 2018. All grant-funded activities must be completed within the performance period.

Qualifications and Experience Required

Econometrica and NeighborWorks America are searching for qualified individuals willing to serve as peer reviewers of Project Reinvest: Financial Capability grant applications. These individuals should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Five or more years of high-level experience in financial capability or financial education, which may include financial capability/education program design and launch, program administration, program evaluation, technical assistance, training, and other program-related financial capability/financial education expertise.
  • Although not a requirement, preference will be given to those with a minimum of 3 years of professional experience with matched savings or Individual Development Account programs, which may include matched savings program design and launch, administration, evaluation, and/or other program-related matched savings expertise.
  • Intermediary-level and/or community-based nonprofit financial capability programming experience.
  • Knowledge of foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation programs or support.
  • Prior experience reviewing competitive grant applications preferred.

Additionally, individuals should be prepared to commit to the following:

  • Maintenance of strict confidentiality.
  • Participation in all scheduled training sessions (1–2 hours in total).
  • Chairpersons will be required to attend an additional 15–30 minutes of training.
  • Adherence to reviewer guidelines outlined in the Reviewer Guide.
  • Certification of no conflict of interest and signing a nondisclosure agreement.
  • Thorough reading of approximately 7–10 assigned applications.
  • Accurate and complete documentation of scores and comments in online grants management system.
  • Adherence to the agreed-upon schedule for the review activities.
  • Provision of written evaluative statements and assignment of scores and written comments that are thorough and concise through the NeighborWorks America grants management portal.
  • Participation in a consensus review discussion of all applications that is about 2 hours long.
  • Collaboration with the other reviewers and chairpersons to finalize scores and comments.
  • Destruction of all printed materials, digital files, and confidential materials at the conclusion of the review.
  • Provision of feedback on the grant review process.

No person may serve as a panelist if a conflict of interest exists. A conflict exists when the prospective reviewer, any member of his or her immediate family, or organization has a financial or other interest in an applicant organization. In addition, reviewers who may have a current or recent (within the past 3 years) business connection with a particular applicant will be barred from reviewing that application or sitting on a panel that is evaluating that particular application. Reviewers will be asked to note any biases of any kind that may inhibit their ability to fairly and objectively rate an application by signing a nondisclosure agreement and the conflict of interest certification for each application reviewed.

Benefits of Being a Grant Reviewer

Participating in a review is an excellent professional development opportunity, as well as a chance to serve the affordable housing community at large. Econometrica and NeighborWorks America provide excellent training and the materials needed to support review. Reviewers will be exposed to new and innovative ideas in their field, and they will be engaged in the grant-making process of a major grant program for addressing the community impact of the foreclosure crisis. The review process provides for useful networking opportunities with other experts in one’s profession. The review experience also gives participants an in-depth look at the work and efforts of a grant evaluation process, thereby giving each participant greater perspective for any grant applications he or she may submit in the future. The experience also adds breadth and experience to one’s professional profile.

All reviewers will be paid an honorarium of $225 for the grant reviewer orientation and training, and $200 per application reviewed, payable upon satisfactory completion of the application scoring and consensus review discussion. For example, if a reviewer completes the review of seven applications, he or she will receive $1,625 for those reviews from initial review through the consensus review discussion.

Timing

Please consider this timeline when determining your availability to participate. The dates for the application review and consensus review phases are projected and may shift forward depending on the number of applications received, time needed to complete the initial eligibility or threshold review of these applications, and other factors.

Financial Capability Grant Review Activity Dates
Financial Capability application deadline March 13, 2017
Grant reviewer application deadline March 24, 2017
Notification to grant reviewers selected for participation Week of April 8, 2017 (projected)
Mandatory grant reviewer training Week of April 17, 2017 (projected)
Financial Capability application review period April 21–May 8, 2017 (projected)
Financial Capability consensus review discussions May 10–May 17, 2017 (projected)

The mandatory grant reviewer training will be offered via remote/webinar format using a system called Zoom. The training session will be offered twice total, on two consecutive dates. Instructions for participation, along with the exact training dates and times, will be communicated to grant reviewers selected for participation. The application reviews and the consensus panel discussions are conducted remotely. There are no location or travel requirements for grant reviewers; however, training sessions and consensus review discussions will be scheduled to occur in the afternoons, eastern time.

Application Requirements

Reminder: Applications for grant reviewers are due by March 24, 2017, at 8 p.m. ET.

 

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NeighborWorks Grant Review Services Announcement

NeighborWorks Grant Review Services Announcement

On October 31, 2016, NeighborWorks America awarded Econometrica a contract to provide grant review services, including application review and technical review support, for its Project Reinvest grant programs. Project Reinvest is funded by a $122.5 million settlement with Bank of America and the U.S. Department of Justice. The Project is designed to provide down-payment lending to low- and moderate-income individuals (Homeownership Grant); promote stabilization and revitalization in areas hit hard by foreclosure (Neighborhoods Grant); and assist individuals in stabilizing their finances, rebuilding credit, and establishing savings (Financial Capability Grant). Econometrica will coordinate and manage the review of a large volume of applications and participate in the design, coordination, and implementation of the grant review process for Project Reinvest and its three respective grant programs.

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