2021 Microgrants through Shared Gifting
Transformation | Collaboration | Community 2021 Food Council Microgrants
We’re inviting food councils engaged in the NC Network of Food Councils to apply to the 2021 Food Council Microgrant program. Approximately $60,000 will be distributed through a Shared Gifting process.
In this process, groups of four to five food councils will review and discuss each other’s proposals and be active decision makers in distributing a pool of funds amongst each other. We’re inviting food councils to be funders! With this process, we want food councils to better understand each other’s work and decide where the money goes.
Each participating food council in the Gifting Circle will receive funds for participating and for gifting to other food councils. You make the decisions on who and how much to gift to the other Circle participants in that region.
"It's not even about the money. It's about working together, helping each other, and doing the social equity work that we've been talking about for a long time," shared Debbie Roos, Chatham County Cooperative Extension.
2020 Participant Experiences
The following video shares participant experiences from the 2020 Shared Gifting microgrant program.
ARE WE A FOOD COUNCIL?
Food councils are not one-size-fits-all, and not all are called ‘councils.’ If you are a new council, are new to this network, or have questions about whether your cross-sector group qualifies to apply, please consider the definition of a food council click button below and then contact us at email@example.com.
- Applicants are active food councils, cross-sector groups of people working towards equitable food-related outcomes.
- At least one food council representative has participated in any of the NC network of food councils’ peer-to-peer engagement opportunities within the last year including:
CIRCLE SELECTION CRITERIA:
Community Food Strategies team members and the 2021 Shared Gifting Advisor team will select 15-20 food council applicants to participate.
Participation will be based on the above eligibility, completeness of the application, food council’s capacity, and alignment with racial equity principles.
The selected food councils will be invited to participate in one of four virtual Shared Gifting Circles in October 2021. Circle selection will be based on 1) the connectivity to proposal topics, 2) the date/timing preference of food councils, and 3) geographic proximity.
- Familiarize yourself with Shared Gifting.
- Submit a completed application with multiple members of your food council by 11:59pm on August 30th.
- Name where the funds will go (fiscal agent, community organization, 501(c)3, etc)
- Show up. Ensure the same two food council members (up to 3 for youth food councils) participate in both half-day virtual events. Dates depend on council availability.
- Prepare. Attend or view the recording of the 2021 Shared Gifting Launch webinar on Sep 24 at 11:00am.
- Bring your humility, wisdom, and support for others.
- Complete a simple evaluation report of the project and how the funds were used.
You can copy or download this BUDGET TEMPLATE if it is useful or create your own.
BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS: We suggest proposal budgets range from $1000 – $4000. Final award amounts will be decided by participants in each Shared Gifting Circle, and likely will not be exactly what you request. This process encourages us to be flexible. Each Shared Gifting participant council will receive:
- $500 guaranteed to use at your discretion (recommendation to consider providing a participant stipend)
- ~$2500 to gift to other food councils within their Circle
We expect funds to be distributed by Dec 15, 2021, and expect funds to be used by Nov 30, 2022. Expenses should contribute to the project described and can include, but not limited to expenses such as food, supplies, general operating expenses, and staff time.
You can copy or download this BUDGET TEMPLATE if it is useful or create your own.
Each Shared Gifting Circle will receive a collective of pool of funds to distribute depending on the number of food councils participating and an approximate $3000 per food council. For example, if a Circle has four food councils, collectively they will have ~$12,000 (4 councils x $3000) to distribute to each other.
TO APPLY: Submit a completed application as a word document or pdf to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59pm on Monday, August 30, 2021. Download application.
“You got to open up your own hand to receive. And what we just did today is a very good witness to that,” reflected Ms. Lavonia Lewis who participated in the 2020 Shared Gifting microgrant program for food councils this year.
Examples of Success Metrics
We are open to your ideas on how best to capture or reflect the success of your project. Some examples for capturing success might include:
- # of relationships created or strengthened;
- # of farmers who increased sales or market outlets;
- quotes/stories from partners or farmers and food distributors that reflect an increase in connections to markets;
- # of connections to consumers;
- # of people who received connections to resources;
- # of participants attending community event, and a measure/assessment of how well event participants reflected the makeup of the community;
- pre and post event comments from food council members about the connectivity/relationship development from before and after the project/actions took place;
- new dollars created for farmers;
- new policies developed to prioritize small farmers, especially BIPOC farmers and food businesses when purchasing for events
- Jul 12 – Application opens
- Aug 10 & Aug 18 – Virtual Office Hours to ask questions and get feedback on proposals.
- Aug 30 – Applications due to email@example.com by 11:59pm.
- Sep 15 – Applicants will be notified of acceptance and which Circle event dates you will participate in.
- Sep 30-Oct 26 – Shared Gifting Circles
- Circle 1: Sep 30 & Oct 5
- Circle 2: Oct 7 & Oct 12
- Circle 3: Oct 14 & Oct 19
- Circle 4: Oct 21 & Oct 26
- Oct 15 – All administrative paperwork, including W-9 forms, direct deposit information, and invoices are due.
- Dec 15 – Applicants can expect to receive funds by this date. Funds should be received within 3-5 weeks of finalizing administrative paperwork.
- Apr 2022 – Shared Gifting Reconnection Call, a chance to follow up with participants to check in on progress.
- Dec 2022 – A summary including a brief evaluation of the project, a description of how the funds were used, and a photo or video of the project should be shared with Community Food Strategies by this date. Our team will follow up with recipients with a reminder.
If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
The logistics and process for the 2021 Food Council Microgrants using the Shared Gifting model.
What sort of projects would you suggest a brand new food council should consider?
- This funding is flexible and intended to support food councils accomplish their equity-based food work. These are small grants and we do not want you to spend too much time on these applications.
- Potential ideas include funding for:
- coordinators or interns,
- networking support,
- field trips,
- hosting community conversations,
- training & professional development,
- local foods promotion & marketing materials
Will mentoring or assistance with applications be available?
- Yes, we are hosting two Virtual Office Hours for anyone to join the team for questions or consultation. Contact us and we’ll add you to the calendar invite. Also, anyone at anytime is encouraged to contact your region leads directly or Gini Knight at email@example.com.
- Aug 10, 10:00-11:00am (add to calendar)
- Aug 18, 3:00 – 4:00pm (add to calendar)
Can we have several smaller projects instead of one large project?
- Sure, this is flexible funding. You are welcome to have multiple projects within your budget. Food councils are open to crafting any type of proposal that will advance your council’s equity-based food work.
Are there differences in expectations for newly emerging food councils versus food councils that have been in existence for awhile?
- The expectations for all participants will be the same. All participants in these Shared Gifting Circles meet the same criteria and have been engaged with this network through workshops, gatherings, quarterly calls, or other opportunities. Newer councils will likely have different strategies for their work than food councils that have been doing this for many years. Both groups can benefit from fresh and seasoned experience.
We will submit an application by August 30th, but can we refine the proposals and possibly change them during our collaboration time in October?
- Yes. We will encourage dialogue and feedback to each other’s proposals during the two half days together. We would be surprised if all the projects stay exactly the same after these two days of conversation. We are hoping this process will invite new connections and improvements to proposals.
Since an understanding of implicit bias is critical to equity-based work, how will an implicit bias lens be integrated into these projects?
- As an entry point, we held lecturettes on implicit bias in the Shared Gifting Overview webinar and are encouraging all applicants to review the webinar and complete the Harvard Implicit Bias test. We ask about community engagement and alignment with Racial Equity principles in the application. By holding these facilitated Shared Gifting Circles we will encourage conversation and count on each other to highlight each other’s biases and blind spots.
When should the projects be completed?
- By the end of 2022
When will we receive the funding?
- Grants should be distributed by December 15, 2021. We’ll begin working with each food council right away to finalize paperwork in September.
How many food council members can attend?
- Councils should decide on two council members to attend both days and represent their food councils. Youth-led food councils may have three council members attend.
Can council members just attend one day?
- Food council applicants must attend both days to receive funding. Participating council members are expected to attend both days, and must attend Day 1 to participate in Day 2.
What will the actual decision making process look like?
- Great question. Our team has been coached by other experts across the nation in this process and will be using our best facilitation skills to help regions come to an agreement on how these funds will be distributed. We will be working with an open Google Spreadsheet with each food council and their requested budget amounts. Councils will enter the amounts they are willing to gift in two separate rounds. Councils will share why they chose those amounts and what their reactions are to the amounts they received.
Given that our region has significant differences across our counties and food councils, how will this process work given that context?
- It’s true that every city, town, county, and region is different with varying resources, assets, and opportunities. Applicants in each Shared Gifting Circle will have a common passion for and goal of working towards food systems change. The specific issues each food council is working on may be different, and their understanding and analysis of the issues may be different. We are confident that all participants will have relevant and sufficient experience to be curious and ask helpful questions. As facilitators of the process, our team is also planning time to make sure participants have a good understanding of each other’s work before the funding process begins. We also encourage all participants to read the proposals in advance to best understand the projects.
Are there incentives for collaborative projects?
- There are no specific funding incentives for collaborative proposals. Although there are certainly benefits to collaborative projects such as leveraging more resources and staff, adding more brains to creative ideas, building working relationships with other councils, and others. We do encourage collaboration and are open to groups working with other councils on projects. Given this process, it is up to the participants in each Shared Gifting region to decide where the funding goes.
Are you envisioning that we may end up collaborating and building a bigger/collaborative project among two or more councils through this process?
- Yes and no. We don’t have an expectation that collaboration will happen on these specific projects or immediately, and that is a possibility. We are interested in seeing new collaborations and connections come out of these discussions and funding circles, particularly as you better understand each others’ work.
Any other questions?
Give us a shout! firstname.lastname@example.org