Guidance on CDBG Scoring Criteria

Monday, July 9, 2018

A number of questions have been raised recently concerning the scoring criteria and how community foundations may be involved. This criteria was established a few years ago and has not been updated. A community foundation can help communities leverage a resource that has considerable fundraising and fund management skills, which is why their involvement is encouraged. Once the project is built, community foundations can help maintain and operate the public facility long-term.  

The criteria is specific for each grant program, and project sustainability only appears under the Public Facilities Program (PFP) and 25 points are possible for a Community Foundation fund involvement. Main Street Revitalization Program (MSRP) has a similar scoring criteria item, but the funds are not required to be at a community foundation.

If a community establishes its own fund as part of the budget, it will not count toward this criteria. If a fund cannot be established at a community foundation, the community needs to address the project's sustainability as part of the Project Design. If you look at the scoring questions, there are a series of questions related to sustaining the project for at least a five-year period.

Below is the specific language for MSRP and PFP sustainability points:

PFP Community Foundation Fund

A maximum of 50 points for the establishment of a (or documentation of existing) permanent Community Facility Fund at a Community Foundation, to be used for ongoing operation and maintenance activities. A letter committing to the establishment of a fund if the project is awarded is sufficient to earn points in this category.

  • 0 points – under $3,000 fund
  • 25 points - $3,000-$5,000 fund
  • 50 points - $5,000 or higher fund

MSRP Project Sustainability

A maximum of 50 points for the establishment of (or documentation of existing) a permanent Main Street Fund to be used for ongoing downtown revitalization activities such as a revolving loan program, grant program, events, etc.

  • 0 points – under $3,000
  • 25 points - $3,000-$5,000
  • 50 points - $5,000 or higher

The fund does not have to be established prior to application; however, please submit a letter committing that the fund will be created if the grant is awarded. For MSRP, we do not require a community foundation fund.

Finally, regarding the section on Leveraging Philanthropic Capital points, leveraging a community foundation is another resource to consider, since they have the fundraising skills to help the community support the project. This applies to both MSRP and PFP.

Below is the specific language:

Leveraging Philanthropic Capital

Points are assigned based on Philanthropic contribution as a percentage of total project costs. Philanthropic capital must come from a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to be considered for this scoring category.

  • 0 points -  Between 0 and 0.5 percent
  • 10 points - Between 0.5 and 1 percent
  • 15 points - Between 1 and 1.5 percent
  • 20 points - Between 1.5 and 2 percent
  • 25 points - 2 percent or more

Regional Planning Bonus Points

OCRA has also received some questions on how the bonus points for regional planning efforts will be awarded. First, it is important to note that the bonus points do not impact this current round. The bonus points are for any type of regional plan that includes the project. As evidence in our revamped Stellar Communities Program, OCRA encourages and incentivizes communities that are engaged in regional planning. Evidence of planning between two or more counties/communities/local units of government, to support their economic and community development efforts, needs to be submitted. This could even consist of a plan from a sub-recipient, such as a Regional Sewer District. Evidence of a coordinated effort is required. For reference, below is the specific language:

Bonus Points Policy

It is OCRA’s policy to encourage and support regional coordination among rural communities. As such, a grant application that is included in a regional plan will be awarded 25 bonus points. To receive these points requires verification of a regional plan from the CDBG Program Director approximately one week prior to application submission. The deadline will be announced each round.

Please note: The 2018 Action Plan does not apply to CDBG grants until Round 2 of 2018.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the CDBG Program Director, Eric Ogle.

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