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APPLICATION EVALUATION AND RISK ASSESSMENT

Federal grants can have many specifics but our team is here to support applicants and subrecipients each step of the way. It is our goal to do what we can (within federal guidelines) to make the application, grant management and reporting processes as smooth as possible. For these reasons, our staff makes it a priority to be accessible. We take feedback seriously and we actively seek out ways to make our software and forms as user friendly as possible. 

We are required to review every application from a risk assessment perspective. Below are the questions our staff and board use to complete application evaluations. 

It is our hope that the educational materials and step-by-step information provided on our website will help applicants develop strong project proposals that will receive a low risk assessment score. Our team is also available for consultations to answer your questions along the way. 

Below are example questions the NMHC staff and the Grant Committee will use to evaluate each application that is received. For this reason the language in the sample evaluation form below is written as if the application has already been submitted.

All grant final application submissions and subaward grant reports are managed through the Foundant Grants Management Portal. If you are ready to schedule a consultation meeting or have questions please reach out to NMHC’s grants management team. Check out our staff directory for contact information. Below are some self guided pre-screening questions to review before submitting a final application form.

APPLICATION - BASIC ELIGIBILITY EVALUATION
APPLICATION - BASIC ELIGIBILITY EVALUATION

Please visit our eligibility page to confirm your organization is eligible to receive a grant. 

REVIEW BASIC REQUIREMENTS
APPLICATION - RISK ASSESSMENT EVALUATION
APPLICATION - RISK ASSESSMENT EVALUATION

PROJECT SUPPORT AND THE BUDGET: COST-SHARING / MATCHING:

Based on reviewing the budget form, how well does the applicant organization demonstrate they are also financially supporting the project in critical areas? Does the information provided in the explanation box illustrate clear and tangible contributions or is the information too vague to make a conclusion?

NOTE: Indirect costs do not count as support for the project.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


PROJECT SUPPORT AND PROJECT PERSONNEL:

Please refer to the "project personnel" section. Beyond the identified Project Director and Fiscal Agent, how well is this project supported? Do the tasks being contributed by each individual demonstrate the project is well planned and organized?

Or does the team outlined seem to be missing some key players to successfully execute the project?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


PROJECT PLAN:

Please refer to the project objectives section and the evaluator section. How clearly are the project goals and objectives stated? How well does the evaluation criteria outline an accurate assessment of the project to determine its success?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


FEASIBILITY:

How appropriate, achievable and realistic are the project goals and objectives?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


MARKETING 1:

Please refer to the written marketing plan within the project narrative. How well does the marketing plan refrain from using any uncertain statements?

EXAMPLES:

  • "we hope to"
  • "it is our intention to"
  • "we plan to approach our partners to ask for free promotion"

Scoring options: -3 to +3


MARKETING 2:

Please reference the written marketing plan in the project narrative. Does the applicant's marketing plan show free advertisement that is dependent upon free promotion from partners, radio or tv stations, or newspapers?

Has the applicant uploaded a PDF with commitment letters from these groups?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


MARKETING 3:

Please cross reference the online "audience engagement page," the application's budget form, any letters of commitment and the written marketing plan in the application's project narrative section. How well does the applicant demonstrate a proactive approach to promoting grant funded events?

  • NOTE: Applicants must demonstrate at least one proactive marketing strategy to have their marketing plan be marked as proactive. However, applicants who have a dynamic proactive marketing plan are ideal. To have a dynamic plan means they are implementing several proactive marketing strategies.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


SCHOLARS:

Are at least 70% of the scholars committed?

  • NOTE: The evaluator is also considered a scholar and their commitment should also be factored into this assessment.
  • Did the applicant also upload letters of commitment from the scholars? NOTE: This is not required but these letters are encouraged to make the application more competitive.


Scoring options:
-3 to +3

REVIEW INFO PREVIOUSLY PROVIDED TO THE APPLICANT
APPLICATION - GRANT GUIDELINE EVALUATION
APPLICATION - GRANT GUIDELINE EVALUATION

HUMANITIES CONTENT AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

How consistent is the proposal with the mission and goals of the NMHC?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


HUMANITIES CONTENT 1:

How well does the project focus substantially on one or more humanities disciplines?

EXAMPLES: The humanities explore human interaction and reflect on the experiences and meanings of life through the study of languages, literature's relationship to society, history, archaeology, anthropology, philosophy, comparative religion, and interpret the arts and jurisprudence.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


HUMANITIES CONTENT 2:

How well does the proposed program aim at a balanced presentation and broad public understanding? How well does the proposal topic(s) consider multiple viewpoints / voices?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


HUMANITIES CONTENT 3:

How well does the proposal refrain from presenting content in a way that:

• promotes influencing a political election
• promotes a direct call to action
• promotes a specific point of view
• promotes lobbying
• promotes a bias
• promotes providing funding to create content with a political agenda (this can be either a direct or indirect solicitation)

Scoring options: -3 to +3


EVALUATORS:

Is the evaluator from outside of the organization and is he/she/they able to provide a non-biased assessment? Does the evaluator have a background that makes him/her/them an appropriate fit to evaluate the project?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT / PARTICIPATION:

Will all events either be free or low cost to enable them to be accessible to the general public?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT / PARTICIPATION:

How well does the proposal confirm that each humanities scholar will be informing attendees through educational talks and engaging them through provoked Q&A sessions?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


BUDGET CATEGORIES:

Based on reviewing the budget form, how well did the applicant adhere to providing information in a way that aligns with the budget form? Did the applicant make a sincere effort to separate expenses and apply them to the most relevant budget category?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


BUDGET CAPS:

Based on reviewing the budget form, how well did the applicant demonstrate that they read, reviewed and adhered to the monetary caps put on specific types of expenses when using grant funds?

BUGET CATEGORY III TRAVEL EXAMPLES:

• TRAVEL BY CAR —> see caps listed on the "budget planning" page.

•  PER DIEM —> see caps listed on the "budget planning" page.

BUGET CATEGORY IV HONORARIA EXAMPLES:

•  SCHOLARS —> see caps listed on the "budget planning" page.

• EVALUATOR —> see caps listed on the "budget planning" page.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


BUDGET AND PAYING PEOPLE:
Based on reviewing the budget form, (and the additional info box provided near the budget for adding a list of duties) how well did the applicant adhere to the Uniform Guidance when requesting funds for people?

1) Specifically provide the person's name and job title.

2) Provide a concise list of duties they will be completing specifically related to executing
the grant funded project.

3) Specify the total number of hours they will contribute paired with their rate of pay (in an hourly rate format even if they are salaried.)

NOTE: The person may not be performing tasks that are part of a funding exclusions or are unallowable in the Uniform Guidance (examples: lobbying, preparing food, managing tasks related to food, hosting fundraising events, etc.)

Scoring options: -3 to +3


BUDGET ALLOWABLE AND UNALLOWABLE EXPENSES:

Based on reviewing the budget form, how well did the applicant seem to understand NMHC grant funds cannot be requested to pay for:

• food (minus per diem),
• the creation of art and/or related expenses,
• the creation of live art through performance,
• staff who are not directly executing the project,
• indirect costs (unless the applicant has a federally negotiated NICRA rate with current documentation uploaded to Foundant's documents tab),
• and/or other items listed on the funding exclusions page of our website.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


BUDGET COST-SHARING:

Based on reviewing the budget form, has the applicant met the one-to-one minimum matching requirement?
Please deduct points for applicants that fall out of alignment.

Scoring options: -3 to +3

REVIEW INFO PREVIOUSLY PROVIDED TO THE APPLICANT
APPLICATION - COMMUNITY IMPACT EVALUATION
APPLICATION - COMMUNITY IMPACT EVALUATION

UNDERSERVED 1:

Based on location, how well does this proposal demonstrate the project will engage underserved communities?

NOTE: Underserved communities include any cities, towns, or villages beyond Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Underserved communities can also include Title 1 schools.

However, if programming is located in Albuquerque, the South Valley and the International District can be considered underserved communities.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


UNDERSERVED 2:

Based on addressing accessibility needs, how well does this proposal demonstrate the project will engage underserved communities?

  • EXAMPLES: The project will provide sign language interpreters, educational materials in braille, content and/or presentations in languages beyond English, content to reach an audience with specific needs.
  • EXAMPLES: Incorporate ways to serve at-risk youth or other at-risk groups.
  • NOTE: This can include the development of educational materials created specifically designed for engaging youth (EXAMPLES: fun and relatable educational illustrations, educational games, hands-on educational activities.)


Scoring options:
-3 to +3


UNDERSERVED 3:

Based on historically marginalized groups, how well does this proposal demonstrate the project will engage underserved communities? Please determine if the applicant has a tangible plan for the project to directly involve marginalized communities based on the project's activities and implementation plan.

  • NOTE: It's not enough for the applicant to assume they will engage specific groups as audience members.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


REPRESENTATION:

Please review the scholars' info, within the key project personnel section. How well does this project take into consideration the meaning of representation? Based on the content and the narrative of the program, does the project have a notable amount of scholars that have a direct relationship to this content? Do a majority of the scholars participating in the project represent voices from the communities or cultures being discussed?

Scoring options: -3 to +3


NEEDS 1:

Based on the deliverables mentioned, how well does this proposal demonstrate the project has taken into account the special needs of the community?

  • EXAMPLE 1: The need to preserve culture. Executed through oral history projects, language preservation activities, or the development of recorded content to retain information for the next generation.
  • EXAMPLE 2: The need to provide more effective transportation to increase public attendance / participation. Therefore the applicant will use a shuttle to make public programs more accessible.
  • EXAMPLE 3: Conduct specific outreach efforts to also include youth and go beyond NMHC's traditional multi-generational target audience.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


NEEDS 2:

Based on the humanities content presented, how well does this proposal demonstrate that the project will help members of the general public (attendees) to: think critically, learn from another perspective, develop a deeper understanding of a specific culture, create a safe place to discuss issues we face as a society, reflect on history and traditions, etc.?

NOTE: Federally funded projects are not supposed to advocate for a single point of view.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


REACH 1:

How well does the applicant's marketing plan demonstrate an effort to reach new public audiences?

NOTE: Marketing efforts should not be isolated to a pre-established audience with promotions limited to: announcements on their individual website, their social media, and in their newsletter, etc.

NOTE: Marketing efforts should demonstrate 1) a written plan, and 2) a budget directly tied to pre-event promotion, and/or 3) commitment letters from partners who will promote events to their contacts.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


REACH 2:

How well does the project leverage partnerships? (This might be illustrated in letters of commitment attached as PDFs.)

Scoring options: -3 to +3


ENGAGEMENT / POSSIBLE INCREASE OF ATTENDANCE:

Does the project include additional elements (beyond a scholar presentation w/ Q&A) to draw in and engage a larger audience?

  • EXAMPLES: A creative activity, an element of fun, a hands on experience?

SIDE NOTE: While educational talks are important and the primary activity we are allowed to fund, it's acknowledged that projects that have separate funding to also support performance, art activities, etc. tend to bring in a more diverse audience. Bringing in larger groups of people will also expose more people to the educational humanities content that we fund.

Scoring options: -3 to +3


OVERALL IMPACT OF THE PROJECT:

How likely is this project to make a positive difference in society and/or for future generations?

NOTE: If the project appears to primarily be a special interest project with less impact, consider ranking it lower.

Scoring options: -3 to +3

REVIEW INFO PREVIOUSLY PROVIDED TO THE APPLICANT