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  • Writer's pictureVoces Unidas de las Montañas

Nonprofit Infrastructure Funding

We cannot overstate the pandemic’s impact on the Latino community across Colorado — and that carries over to local organizations that work with the Latino community. These organizations stepped in to partner with governments and fill the gaps in programs that often don’t serve (or underserve) non-English speakers, immigrants or those who live in rural areas.

In 2022, we supported what is now a law that extends a financial lifeline to community non-profits and help build resilience moving forward.

Here is a summary of the legislation:

What it is: Small Community-based Nonprofit Grant Program (HB22-1356)

What it does: The bill creates the small community-based nonprofit infrastructure grant program in the Division of Local Government in the Department of Local Affairs.

The Division of Local Government is responsible for administering the grant program including developing the timeframe, application, and rubric for the grant program with stakeholder input, and a process for selection of regional access partners to distribute the $35M of funding.

  • Stakeholder work to create the application and rubric is to include nonprofit organizations:

    • That have experience working with small community-based nonprofits as defined in the legislation and listed below;

    • Satisfy the criteria to serve as a Regional Access Partner (RAP) as defined in the legislation and listed below;

  • The Divison must ensure that an applicant provides evidence of impact or disproportionate impact by the COVID-19 pandemic which may include but not be limited to:

    • Percentage by which the eligible operating expenses over program expenses has decreased since the beginning of the pandemic;

    • Need to layoff staff;

    • Need to close operations temporarily; or

    • Need to access financial services to pay for operating costs.

  • The Division shall develop an outreach strategy to raise awareness about the grant that includes partnerships with and funding for nonprofit organizations withdirect community experience to work with the Division on the implementation of the outreach strategy.

    • Information and materials must be provided in at least English and Spanish by the Division.

  • The Division is required to have RAPs awarded funding no later than December 30, 2024.

  • The Division is required to comply with compliance, reporting, record-keeping, and program evaluation requirements established by the State Office of Planning and Budgeting and the State Controller.

Regional Access Partners (Rap) To Evaluate Applications And Administer Grant Funds.

  • An entity seeking to be a RAP must be a nonprofit organization:

    • With federal IRS tax designation;

    • Headquartered in Colorado;

    • With experience in grant management with the ability to distribute grants statewide or in regions of the state;

    • With a track record of providing technical assistance and grants to small community-based nonprofit organizations as defined in the legislation;

    • States a specific focus on historically marginalized and under-resourced communities or focuses at least 51% of its programming on engaging and supporting historically marginalized and under-resourced communities; and

    • Has a board of directors or staff consisting of at least 30% who are individuals from historically marginalized and under-resourced communities.

  • The program allows for up to 10 RAPs

    • Legislative intent by the sponsors was to not adopt a certain regional map and instead allow the RAPs to designate the areas of the state that could be served by the organization.

  • RAP administration of grant funds

    • Once a RAP and grant recipient have entered into a contract, the RAP may administer up to 50% of the awarded funds immediately.

    • A RAP may use up to 5% of the amount of funds awarded to grant recipients for costs associated with awarding and monitoring grants.

    • RAPs are required to comply with compliance, reporting, record-keeping, and program evaluation requirements established by the State Office of Planning and Budgeting and the State Controller.

Eligibility Criteria For Small Community-Based Nonprofit Grant Applicants.

  • Any entity applying to receive grant funding must be:

    • A small community-based nonprofit with the IRS tax exempt 501(c)(3) designation and state nonprofit designation;

    • A small community-based nonprofit with the state-only designation but not the federal tax ID with another nonprofit serving as a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor; or

    • A collaboration of small community-based groups or small community-based nonprofits with another nonprofit serving as a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor.

  • A small community-based nonprofit or group is defined as a community-based charitable or social welfare organization that has been impacted or disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency and that

    • Has an annual organizational budget or projected annual organizational budget of at least one hundred fifty thousand dollars and not more than two million dollars;

    • Has organizational leadership whose lived experiences in the communities they serve lead to the creation, mission, and work of the nonprofit organization;

    • Has a governing body and staff that consists of a majority of residents who live in the communities served by the nonprofit organization;

    • Has a mission or history of providing services in specific communities in the state and has its main offices in one of the communities that the nonprofit organization serves;

    • Has a track record of providing effective, culturally appropriate, and relevant programs and services to communities who have historically been underrepresented, underserved, or under resourced in Colorado;

    • Identifies and defines priority issue areas with input from residents of the community;

    • Solicits and implements community-led solutions from the community it serves;

    • Focuses the services it provides to specific areas of community-identified needs, including health equity, workforce development, community economic development, early childhood care, education support, housing, and food justice, and has the commitment to connect the communities that it serves with government agencies and programs, if available; and

    • For nonprofits only, is in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Fiscal agent/fiscal sponsor criteria: These roles are governed by federal IRS laws and regulations. Please refer to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended. A summary of that criteria includes:

  • Fiscal Agent:

    • Receive grants, contributions, and other money on behalf of the small community-based nonprofit organization;

    • Ensure that the money is spent on the intended charitable without retaining any control over how the money is spent;

    • Supervise the small community-based nonprofit organization's finances; and

    • Ensure that the small community-based nonprofit organization's money is used in a manner that furthers the fiscal agent's own charitable work.

  • Fiscal Sponsor:

    • All of the bullets listed for fiscal agent;

    • Determine how and when the money of each small community-based group is spent; and

    • Provide financial and project guidance to each community group or small community-based nonprofit organization.

  • Fiscal Agents/Sponsors Allowable Administrative Overhead

    • A nonprofit performing the functions of a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor may retain an administrative fee that does not exceed 10% of the grant received by the nonprofit or collaboration.

Use Of Grant Funds By Small Community Nonprofit Recipients.

  • A maximum award of up to $100,000 may be awarded to an applicant. If an applicant is a collaboration, then each individual organization or group may receive an award up to$100,000.

    • An award may not exceed 30% of the applicant’s or, if a collaboration, an individual group or organization’s budget.

  • Grant dollars are limited to the following infrastructure and capacity building purposes:

    • Data technology needs including data collection and technology infrastructure;

    • Professional development for staff and board members;

    • Strategic planning and organizational development for capacity building, fundraising and other services;

    • Communications; and

    • Existing Program expansion, development or evaluation.

  • Grant dollars may not be used for:

    • Capital improvement, excluding information technology infrastructure;

    • Real estate or land acquisition;

    • Payment of debt;

    • Advocacy/lobbying;

    • Organizing; or

    • Endowments or reserves.

When it takes effect: June 3, 2022, when it was signed into law.

Other information of note: The grants approved under this legislation are one-time funds to support small nonprofits. It will help organizations adopt new technologies and infrastructure, develop and implement strategic plans, provide professional development for staff and board members, and improve communications. This measure is critical for our underserved communities and the nonprofits who have been working around the clock for nearly two years to ensure Colorado families have the services they need.

Voces Unidas was part of the original organizations that met with the Governor's Office in 2021 to begin these strategic conversations. We also provided $5,000 in financial support to the coalition to fund the advocacy and lobbying support for this bill, in addition to our own independent lobbying efforts as one of our priority bills in 2022.



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