Tag Archives: fatherhood

Generalized human and social services: ACF READY4Life and Fatherhood FIRE RFPs

Astute newsletter readers saw two useful Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Family Assistance (OFA) RFPs with lots of money available (albeit with overly long names) in our last edition: Fatherhood – Family-focused, Interconnected, Resilient, and Essential (Fatherhood FIRE) and Relationships, Education, Advancement, and Development for Youth for Life (READY4Life). Both have grants to $1.5 million for family formation and resilience services. A phrase like “family formation and resilience services” should make smart nonprofit Executive Directors sit up and take notice, because we’ve seen fewer overt generalized human services grants over the past few years—the kind of grants that we sometimes call “walkin’ around money.

Smart organizations figure out that these kinds of grants can be used to fill in the cracks of an organization’s budget, because the project concepts that can be funded are broad. Also, in most cases, only a process evaluation (e.g., number of outreach contacts made, number of referrals, etc.) is feasible, since there’s usually no way to tract outcomes. In the ’90s and ’00s we saw more broad, general-purpose RFPs, but we’ve seen fewer since the Great Recession. The feds seem to have lost interest in many kinds of general-purpose grants and have instead been targeting particular services, like primary health care and job training.

Many organizations are already doing things like fatherhood and family development, but without calling their activities “fatherhood and family development.” Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), for example, often serve low-income patients who are impoverished by single parenthood, usually in a female-headed household. Nimble FQHCs should apply for READY4Life, Fatherhood FIRE, and similarly nebulous grant programs, since they can re-brand their existing Case Managers and Patient Navigators as “Family Support Coordinators” and “Parenting Specialists.” Obviously, the FQHC wouldn’t say as much in the proposal—that would be supplantation—but, in the real world, a lot of organizations keep their lights on and their clients happy using these strategies.

Organizations apart from FQHCs should be doing this too. Job training and homeless services providers, for example, often work with populations that need family reunification training, and the organizations are already often providing wraparound supportive services. Funders love synergistic proposals that say things like, “We’re going to do job training services for ex-offenders, and those ex-offenders will also be eligible for Fatherhood FIRE services in order to ensure that they remain in their children’s lives.”

Increased funding for generalized human services typically follows some kind of seismic societal shock. Seliger + Associates began in 1993, soon after the Rodney King verdict civil unrest, which was soon followed by the onset of mass school shootings with Columbine. Then came the Great Recession: the feds respond to social turmoil with huge new grant programs (21st Century Community Learning Centers was an example) and big budget increases for existing programs (like the 2009 Stimulus Bill). With the COVID-19 crisis, the cycle is repeating. Since March, three giant stimulus bills have been passed, with at least one more likely. The enormous civil unrest and protests unfolding after the recent police killing of George Floyd will likely lead to grant programs too; the feds’s objective is to get grants on the streets quickly to nonprofits, which act as a kind of buffer to politicians.

With growing “defund the police” sentiment in big, left-leaning cities, politicians are engaging in a sort of bidding war with proposed police budget cuts; politicians say some version of, “We want to redirect huge amounts of police budgets to solving the underlying problems that generate crime.” Translated, this means, “We plan to fund local nonprofits to conduct some kind of human services.”

May links: Tesla Batteries, Family Structure and Grant Writing, Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry and Mobility, Is Sex Mostly About Pleasure?, and More!

* “Freedom, Tesla-Style: The company’s new home-based battery isn’t just nifty. It’s liberating.” This may be the most important link. YouthBuild grantees should think about including “Tesla Energy installer” to their curriculums. Affordable housing organizations should also be thinking about local energy issues.

* “Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat.” To call this system “insane” is an understatement. Even calling it a “system” might be overly kind.

* Considering the link immediately above and immediately below, check out the “Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry and Mobility and “Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants” programs. They’re both responses to the kinds of links you’ll see in this post, and they’re part of the contemporary grant wave around family structure. Pay close attention to the ramping up presidential campaign and you’ll also hear a lot of rhetoric about family and family structure. Regardless of who wins, new grant programs are likely to follow.

* “Walter Scott, child support defendant murdered by cop, earned about $800/month.”

* “If We Dig Out All Our Fossil Fuels, Here’s How Hot We Can Expect It to Get.”

* “Social Liberalism as Class Warfare“—or, points that are too infrequently made. This ties much more into questions about family than you may expect.

* Nutritional Science Isn’t Very Scientific: The research behind dietary recommendations is a lot less certain than you think. Just about the only obvious thing is “Don’t eat refined carbohydrates,” like sugar and white rice, and eat vegetables and nuts.

* “What If We Admitted to Children That Sex Is Primarily About Pleasure?” Not that it’ll happen in the U.S. in my lifetime.

* The Steady Rise of Bike Ridership in New York.

* “Is Capitalism Making Us Stupid?“, a brilliant article with a stupid title.

* Givewell.org’s advice for donating to disaster relief.

* Building streets for humans rather than cars could help solve the affordable housing crisis.

* Did anyone else notice how much of this post is about family and relationships structure? It wasn’t intentional. We’re just grabbing the links we notice and that people send us.