Combined Q & A From LASA Technical Assistance Sessions on Feb. 2nd and 3rd + emailed Q & A

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We held two back-to-back TA Sessions this past week. The first was a unique approach that included a collaboration with Social Enterprise Greenhouse, and it was a combination of traditional information session with a “Flash Feedback” speed-pitch style session. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who made the evening a success – especially the advisors who volunteered their time and SEG for helping organize and run the event.

Our final TA session was held in Newport at Newport Public Library – a beautiful space. If you have not been there, it’s worth a trip!

Please read on to see the Q and A from these two TA Sessions:

  • Q – For good projects that don’t get funded, is there any type of follow up or engagement by other organizations such as Social Enterprise Greenhouse, or foundations, or anything to get strong applicants support they need in other ways?
    • A – We don’t do that as of now. We are supportive and try to find helpful things but are unfortunately not able to offer in depth feedback on a wide scale basis.
  • Q – Some projects are sure things but with limited upside and others are higher risk but have potential for higher profit. Which way does LASA lean?
    • A – I don’t think there is an answer for that. There are very few models for the state when you look at almost everything we have funded. It is pretty progressive work, we have funded innovative ways of season extension, marketing campaigns, and very few of these things have a pathway in terms of having been done before. We are not going to deliberately risk money, but we are fairly open to the realm of ideas presented in these applications.
  • Q – Have you funded strategic planning project development?
    • A – The closest thing to that was City of Providence that was funded to put together a guidance booklet on urban agriculture.
    • A – One of the goals of this type of grants program is trying to look at organizations that don’t have funding or have a difficult time accessing funding. When you start talking about strategic planning and organizational development, there are other grant programs that are geared toward that. So part of LASA’s creation was to try to fill a niche that does not have a lot of other funding, like small or beginning farmers for example who may not have the history to get a bank loan or would for any other reason have a difficult time getting funding from any other source.
  • Q – Does the Committee tweak anything in the final amount?
    • A – The Committee does have the right to do that. We are careful about it but if we have a lot of very good projects competing for limited funding, sometimes we will cut something off to account for the limited funding.
    • A – And it’s not that only $20,000 projects are funded or only small dollar amount projects. It’s a range and whether there is a need and fit based on priorities.
    • Further detail – After awards are announced on Ag Day in April, there is a period of time to get papers together, and we are trying to get the money out by August. We mail grant letters that are signed and 100% of funds are released up front. Hopefully by June or July that money would be out, but August at latest.
  • Q – Are there any grant administration reporting requirements once funds are disbursed?
    • A – It’s minimal: recipients do a midterm type of thing, and then a final report. 

Question and Answer Session from February 3, 2016, Newport Public Library

  • Q– Is there any federal money involved in LASA?
  • Q – Is it ok if I don’t meet all the priorities?
    • A – Yes, but applicants will need to be able to tie into at least one of the priorities in some way.

Emailed Q & A

  • Q– The budget table at item #16 says “Grant Funds Requested” in the header. But at the end, it wants “Total Project Costs.”  Our grant request is different from the total project cost. Which numbers should we be putting into the table: the LASA only breakout, or the total project costs, with the in-kind services and donations explained in the Budget Narrative?
    • A– The budget table should only break down the LASA funds, but please do note any other funds/volunteer time being contributed in the in-kind, matching resources section of the narrative. You won’t need to calculate a total LASA + non-LASA project cost, however, if you have this information, there is no harm including it in the narrative.
  • Q– We are putting in an application to LASA with several partners. How do we reflect the partner participation in the budget?
    Currently I have each partner listed as a sub-award under the “contractual” section, even though the partners will use those funds to support employees who are on their payroll. Is this correct, or should those partners be under “staff”? (They are not staff of the applicant, they are staff of the partner organizations.)
    • A– If each partner is getting a sub-award, then it seems appropriate to put them under the Contracted Labor section in the budget, and you can explain in the budget narrative for that piece what the individual sub-awards are, who they’re going to, and what they’re going toward (staffing, supplies, etc).  That seems like the most clear way to show this.

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