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HepConnect Grants

Request for Proposals

HepConnect Initiative – Harm Reduction & Community Education

HepConnect Overview

The United States is experiencing rising rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, fueled by the nation’s growing opioid crisis. This issue is particularly acute in greater Appalachia, where the increase in injection drug use has led to a more than three-fold rise in HCV infection rates. In response to the intersecting opioid and HCV epidemics, Gilead Sciences launched HepConnect, a new five-year, multi-million-dollar initiative to help address the increase in HCV infections and support community partnerships in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. HepConnect has three areas of focus:

  1. Expanding Screening & Linkage to Care,
  2. Support Harm Reduction & Community Education, and
  3. Activating Healthcare Infrastructure.

Under Expanding Screening & Linkage to Care, the focus is on expanding  screening and connecting patients to appropriate care. Under Activating Healthcare Infrastructure, the focus is on educating and expanding healthcare provider capacity and supporting the implementation of telemedicine and other innovative programs. This Request for Proposals is specific to Support Harm Reduction & Community Education, which focuses on building the capacity of new and existing syringe service programs and supporting initiatives that engage, educate, and mobilize community support for harm reduction. To learn more about HepConnect, click here.

HepConnect Initiative to Expand Harm Reduction & Community Education

Harm Reduction Coalition is the lead organization for the Support Harm Reduction & Community Education component of the HepConnect Initiative. The overarching goal of the project is to advance hepatitis C prevention for people who inject drugs by expanding harm reduction services and education through grant-making and technical assistance.

Harm Reduction Coalition will be funding up to $6 million in grants over an initial 18-month period that support the expansion of harm reduction approaches to reduce the impact of hepatitis C and drug-related harms in the greater Appalachia region. We are seeking proposals that will build upon local expertise, uplift the voices and priorities of people who use drugs, and center racial justice.

There are two categories of funding available for the “Expand Harm Reduction & Community Education” Initiative:

  1. Provide – Providing new or expanded harm reduction services for people who inject drugs
  2. Educate – Offering new strategies to engage, educate, and mobilize the community to build support for harm reduction

Grant Amount: Requests may range from $25,000 to $150,000 for each category

Grant Period: September 15, 2019 to March 15, 2021 (18 months)

Grant Application Deadline: July 31, 2019 by midnight Eastern Time

Announcement of Awards: Early September 2019

Organizations may apply for one or both funding categories. Organizations applying to both categories of funding will need to submit separate cover letters, narrative proposals, and budgets for each category. Organizations may not apply for more than one project per category.

We will add a third category of funding to support one-time events that will offer mini-grants to new or existing grantees at a later time during the grant period.

Please review the instructional webinar and our FAQ which is updated as questions come in.

Eligible organizations: organizations, coalitions, or groups with a 501(c)3 non-profit status or a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)3 status that offer services in the five HepConnect initiative states (IN, KY, TN, WV, NC); local and state health departments and other government entities are eligible to apply. We encourage partnerships between organizations to submit applications together where appropriate. Individuals or for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.

Selection Process: Harm Reduction Coalition will convene a review panel to assess proposals to assess quality, potential impact, priority, and role in the larger HepConnect initiative.

Examples of Activities Funded Under Each Category

May include funding for…

  • harm reduction supplies (syringes, injecting equipment, safer smoking equipment, overdose prevention materials including naloxone)
  • staff and consultant positions
  • expanding harm reduction service hours, locations, and communities reached
  • mobile vans for rural outreach
  • additional services such as counseling, case management, and patient navigation
  • targeted outreach to specific communities, including communities of color, LGBTQIA+, people who engage in sex work, etc.
  • peer program models to create paid positions for people with lived experience to provide services to new or expanded communities
  • training and professional development for team members to increase skills and leadership

NOTE: Funded activities may not include the direct provision of HCV treatment.

May include funding for…

  • public education campaigns on harm reduction strategies and anti-stigma
  • staff positions to support community education and engagement
  • starting regional coalitions or professional networks to support harm reduction strategies
  • community mobilization roles to organize people who use drugs
  • initiatives to build support for harm reduction among sectors of the community, including people in recovery, faith communities, parent groups, law enforcement, social service providers, public officials, businesses, etc.

Submission Instructions

Please address your proposal submission with “HepConnect Initiative Grant Application” in the subject line to hepconnectgrants@harmreduction.org by the deadline. Late submissions will not be considered.

  1. Submit Word, PDF, and/or Excel versions of the following documents:
    1. Cover Letter using the template provided labeled “[Your Group Name] –  Cover Letter”
    2. Proposal narrative labeled “[Your Group Name] – Provide Proposal Narrative” and/or “[Your Group Name] – Educate Proposal Narrative”
    3. Proposed budget labeled “[Your Group Name] – Provide Budget” and/or “[Your Group Name] – HepConnect Educate Budget”
    4. 501(c)3 determination letter or 501(c)3 determination of fiscal sponsor
    5. Most recent audited financial statements or 990 filing
    6. If you are proposing a collaborative project with between more than one organization, please submit Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) letters from each organization outlining commitment to working together
    7. Optional: You may submit up to three letters of support on behalf of partner organizations

Application Materials

(click on the links below to open up in a new tab to download)

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review this list of questions first to see if your question may be answered. If you have a specific question that is not answered here, please e-mail hepconnect@harmreduction.org and we will update this section on an ongoing basis at our earliest convenience.

What are the ranges of awards that can be applied for? Both categories of awards range from $25,000 to $150,000 for each category. Organizations may apply for one project per category. The maximum an organization can receive through these grants is $300,000 for the 18-month grant period.

What is the expected total number of awards through this initiative? We anticipate funding approximately 40 organizations total, with the average award amount being approximately $105,000 per award.  

Do all projects need to be for an 18-month period? While your project may require some ramp up time and wind down time for reporting, we expect that all applicants will request funding for the full award period and participate in grantee meetings over the course of the grant period.

How many in-person meetings are required for our organization to attend? We will have two main grantee events. First, a one-time full grantee meeting in early 2020 within the region that will be required. Travel expenses and lodging will be covered by Harm Reduction Coalition. Second, we will host a pre-conference in advance of the National Harm Reduction Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is scheduled for October 18-20, 2020. The pre-conference will be on October 17, 2020. Support for travel, lodging, and registration will be covered by Harm Reduction Coalition for at least one person per grantee organization.

Are there other meetings we may be part of as grantees? Yes! We will have a regional team of at least four team members who will offer support and technical assistance to all grantees. Site visits, ongoing remote check in conversations, and regional meetings will be a part of the grantee support system but a schedule and exact number of events is to be determined.

What is the reporting structure like for these grants? We will be developing a reporting structure over the course of the next several months. We will not require that grantees use a specific data collection system. When you write your application, please consider how you will measure impact and report on project activities. There will be site visit(s), ongoing grantee check in meetings, and some form of narrative reporting. We are aiming to keep this piece supportive and the least burdensome as possible on programs.

I don’t have a 501(c)3 status or a fiscal sponsor but I’m doing harm reduction work… what do I do? We strongly encourage groups that fit into this category to partner with local organizations and articulate the value and work that they could contribute. Proposals may include subcontractors and consultants to support this kind of situation.

I’m not really sure what the narrative proposal questions all mean… what should I do? Be sure to watch the webinar as we go over several examples per question and what we’re looking for. If you still don’t have clarity, please e-mail hepconnect@harmreduction.org with your specific question.

What about one-time convenings or a finite series (2-3 events) of convenings? We will be releasing a third category of funding during the grant period to support one-time convenings or a finite series of convenings. These include regional summits, provider specific convenings and training, statewide conferences, convenings for people who use drugs. We expect these awards will be approximately $10,000 each and a total of 15 awards available. If the intention of the convening is to do ongoing skills building or professional development training or meetings that exceed 3 events, please consider applying for one of the Educate categories in this request for proposal.

If I am not selected for this round of funding under Provide or Educate, can I still apply for the Convene funding when it comes out? Yes!  

If I wanted funding to support drug user organizing, would I apply under Educate or Convene? It depends on how you structure your project! If you are looking to develop a series of trainings, meetings, or events for people who use drugs over the course of the 18-month grant period, you may apply under Educate. If you are planning to do a one-time conference for people who use drugs, you may apply under Convene. If you plan to do both, you may apply for both categories.

What about one-time purchases (e.g. mobile unit) or a proposal that’s only for SSP supplies? Funding under the Provide category will support one-time purchases and proposals for supplies. We strongly encourage applicants to consider sustainability and staffing capacity as part of the application process.

What are the priorities for scoring/selecting proposals? We will be developing a guide to score all applications based on the strength of the proposal, clarity of the project, potential impact, confidence in the organization based on capacity and background work to complete the scope of work, unmet need in the area/community where the project is proposed to work, and articulated values about addressing health equity, racial justice, and inclusion of people who use drugs.

Can multiple organizations collaborate on a project proposal? Yes! We encourage organizations to work on collective projects to meet the needs of the community. It will be important to articulate roles and what each group is contributing to the project, and why the partnership is valuable versus separate organization conducting separate pieces. We support health department and community-based organization collaborative proposals.

Can applicants submit more than one proposal per category for different projects? For example, two different kinds of convenings (different goals/audiences), or two different kinds of educational campaigns? No, organizations who are the lead organization may submit one project per category, for a total of two projects per organization.

Should we include citations/references for background (e.g. for statistics)? Yes, if you are using specific statistics or resources, please cite them at the end of the proposal as a list. These will not count toward the total page limit. Any citation style is accepted.

If people want to include attachments, can they incorporate them in the narrative as hyperlinks? (e.g. annual report, letter of support/MOU, sample educational material) Yes, you may include hyperlinks but do not include them as separate attachments.

I’m a national organization that does work in one or more HepConnect states, but is headquartered elsewhere. Am I eligible to apply? Yes, if you are currently conducting work in one or more of the HepConnect states, you are eligible to apply. Please note that we are prioritizing organizations based in the five states so the need and gap that you’re addressing as a national organization that no other group is able to address should be clearly articulated. You may also consider partnering with another organization.

My organization’s operational budget is less than $750,000 and is not required to have audited financials. Am I still able to apply? Yes, Organizations of all sizes are encouraged to apply. If you are not required to have audited financials please submit your most recent Form 990.

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