Frequently Asked Questions

TBF Early Childhood Request for Proposals 2018

Frequently Asked Questions



Q: I’m a service provider outside of Boston proper. Is the Foundation’s giving area defined as “Boston” zip codes or is it all of Suffolk County (or another definition)? Is my organization eligible for these grants?

A: For the purposes of this RFP, we are focusing the work on neighborhoods within Boston proper, and not the entirety of Suffolk County. A list of neighborhoods is included on the online RFP form. We hope to be able to expand these grants to serve Greater Boston at a later date.

Q: Can my organization be a part of more than one grant application?

A: An organization may only be the lead applicant on one application, but may be listed as a partner on multiple applications.

Q: Can my organization be the lead applicant if we are not the direct service provider?

A: Yes.

Q: I am an independent contractor/consultant. Can I apply for a partnership grant?

A: No. The lead applicant must be a 501(c)(3) organization.


Grant Types

Q: My organization is working on different partnerships with different organizations that are at different stages of the planning and implementation process. Should I apply for the Seeding Innovative Partnerships grant or the Expanding Innovative Partnerships grant?

A: That is up to your organization and which partnership you would like to apply for funding. TBF cannot make a recommendation to apply for one or the other. Since an organization may only be lead applicant on one application, it is up to the organization’s discretion for which type of grant they wish to be the lead applicant.

Q: My organization may be eligible for both grant types. Are we able to express our interest under one of the two grant types, and then confirm at the Idea Lab that we have selected the right grant to complete the full application? 

A: Yes, you should fill out the Interest Form according to whichever grant you think is the best fit. The Idea Lab will be your opportunity to further hone the proposal before submitting.

Q: My nonprofit is considering applying for a Seeding or Expanding Innovative Partnerships grant. We had intended also to apply for an Open Door grant—will we be eligible for an Open Door grant if we receive an early childhood grant?

A: No. If your organization is eligible for an ‘impact area’ grant—which the early childhood grants are— then you are not eligible for an Open Door grant.

Q: Does the Expanding Innovative Partnerships grant require expansion by numbers (i.e. serving more families / additional collaborations with new medical clinics) or can it be strengthening the existing program / partnerships (i.e. enriching the current program, increasing quality assurance or program delivery)?

A: The RFP is asking all applicants to make the case, using data from their catchment area, about areas of greatest need.  Without understanding the context of the service area, TBF cannot make a direct recommendation. Expanding could mean enriching the current program, increasing quality assurance or program delivery if that is what is needed in the catchment area to ensure that families can access the services they need to help their babies and young children meet their developmental and behavioral milestones in a timely way.


Q: My organization has a long list of partners (e.g. over 20). Do I need to list the names of the leadership at each and describe each in detail?

A: We would like as much detailed information as possible in order to understand the nature of your partnership or intended partnership. However, please be mindful of what information would be pertinent to helping us reach a deep understanding.

Q: How many partners should be included in my partnership?

A: A partnership must contain a minimum of two partners. Determining the balance between the number of partners and the depth of the partnership between them is up to your organization. The goal is to establish cross-sector partnerships—which inherently involves a group of stakeholders—to provide access to high quality services to families and their children. We don’t have a magic number in mind of the optimum number of partners required to achieve this goal.

Q: The RFP says nonprofit and for-profit companies are eligible for this grant. Why?

A: The lead applicant must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in order for us to provide funding to them. Our goal with this RFP is to create new systems of services to improve access to high quality services for children and families, and believe that in order to achieve this we should not exclude any stakeholder with a vested interest in the community in this way. Therefore, if a for-profit company is interested in a partnership that will achieve this goal, we welcome their participation.

Q: My organization is in the process of solidifying who our partners will be, but we have not yet confirmed our intended partner organizations. Furthermore, it is not clear if we will be able to confirm our partners by the March 20 grant deadline. Can I still apply?

A: Yes. The Idea Lab will be a space for you to meet with partners prior to submitting a proposal. While confirmed partners would present a strong application for the grant application deadline, we understand the complex nature of establishing working partnerships, and therefore understand if plans are still tentative by March 20. That said, as funders, we don’t want to fund a planning grant for partnerships and find out a year after we have provided funding that an organization has still not secured any partners. Again, we leave it to applicant organizations to present a strong plan for balancing these competing needs.

Q: How do I know if my partnership fits the requirements of this RFP?

A: This RFP is seeking proposals from cross-sector partnerships, which can be new or existing, to align work that is being done to serve pregnant mothers, babies, young children, and their parents and primary caregivers. The RFP defines this kind of partnership as working across the different systems and sectors that serve families with babies and young children: examples of system/sectors include healthcare, childcare, education, family serving organizations, etc. Applicants should describe how their proposals include multiple sectors working together in collaboration. Please refer to the definitions outlined in the RFP for more details.

Q: My organization is interested in a partnership, but I’m not sure we are far enough along in the planning process to apply at this time. Should we still attend the Idea Lab?

A: The Seeding Innovative Partnerships grant may be a good fit if you are in the early stages of a planned partnership. The advice we have been giving organizations is to participate in the Idea Lab anyways. If at any time in the process prior to March 20 this opportunity does not seem like a good fit, then you are not obligated to submit a proposal. However, since participation in the Idea Lab is compulsory in order to submit a proposal, it may be advisable to make that decision after the Idea Lab than miss the opportunity by opting out before it, should you change your mind.

Of course, this is all in the context of your own organizational capacity and interest! We understand that submitting an Interest Form and participating in a nearly full-day Idea Lab is a big commitment, especially if you end up deciding not to submit a proposal, so that piece is up to you and your colleagues to decide if it would be a worthwhile use of your time.


Q: Why did the Interest Form ask about what neighborhoods my partnership plans to serve?

A: This is a tool for us to gauge where proposed partnerships will focus. It is also a way for us to organize the networking portion of the Idea Lab to connect organizations serving similar populations. We do not have an institutional position about the ‘value’ of serving one neighborhood over another, nor the number of neighborhoods the partnership proposes to serve.

Q: Are applicants required to work with pregnant mothers AND families with babies and young children?  For example, in our current model, we work with families with babies and young children but we do not work specifically with pregnant mothers unless the mother in the family happens to be pregnant.

A: No, applicant organizations do not need to be working with every population within the identified age groups.  Organizations may work with some combination of pregnant mothers, families with new babies, and families with children ages birth to three.

Q: I think my organization’s initial proposal that I submitted on the Interest Form is going to change. Should I notify TBF of any changes?

A: We are happy to hear about how your organization’s work evolves over time throughout this process. However, we intentionally included the Idea Lab in the process in order to provide an opportunity for organizations to develop the most competitive grant application possible. Therefore, we understand and expect that proposals will change between the Interest Form and the grant application due March 20. As such, communicating changes along the way while welcome are not required. Should you choose to notify us of any changes, please do so by contacting