Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing to Apply

Who is eligible to submit an idea?

Massachusetts-based non-profit 501(c)3 organizations and municipalities are eligible to submit ideas for funding to the Massachusetts Community Health & Healthy Aging Funds. See table below for additional information on funding preference and priority for the two funds.

Community Health FundHealthy Aging Fund
For this round of funding, priority will be given to activities that benefit communities outside of Boston that:
  • Have not historically and routinely benefited from previous local Determination of Need (DoN) community health funding; and
  • Have high rates of health inequities.
For this round of funding, preference will be given to activities that benefit communities that:

What is an IOI? Where can I access the Inquiries of Ideas for the Funds?
An IOI stands for Inquiry of Ideas. All the Inquiries of Ideas are posted on the website, www.MAHealthFunds.org/apply. On this page, you’re also able to download other related resources, including slides, transcripts, and recordings of a funding announcement webinar series. You can also download a template to complete the narrative component of the Inquiry of Ideas (IOI).

Will you be developing a guide to this fund that is more accessible to people who don’t speak English as a first language, have low literacy levels, or low education levels?
At this time, there are not plans to develop materials for the Funds besides what is posted on the website. Staff are available to answer any questions that applicants may have throughout the process. Webinar recordings, transcripts, and slides are available on the website. We hope to learn from this first round of grant-making and questions like these that describe barriers to full participation are helpful and we encourage people to let us know any negative impacts associated with the current process.

What is the total amount of funding available?
Funding depends on the contributions of hospitals and long-term care facilities as part of their Determination of Need activities. The total amount of funding available to the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds will be different for each funding cycle. The total amount of funding currently available for both funds is approximately $13 million.  Find more information about the Massachusetts DoN program. If you have an idea that meets these criteria but are not a 501(c)(3) or municipality (or seeking a fiscal agent), please Contact Us

For how many years can an organization apply for funding?
For all funding opportunities, applicants can submit ideas or proposals for up to five years of funding, with the exception of Tier I of the Healthy Aging Fund (up to 12 months of funding).

Can one organization apply for funding or does the application need to come from a collaboration of several organizations?
Yes, single organizations can apply for funding. However, collaboration is encouraged.

Will you be seeking to connect potential partners to collaborate?
Applicants are encouraged to list current and potential partners in their idea. For the PSE and Healthy Aging Funding opportunities, the Funds team may look for ways for potential partners to collaborate on shared and common ideas.

Can an organization submit multiple applications for one funding opportunity? Is it possible that you would fund more than one proposal from an agency?
Applicants can apply to more than one funding opportunity. Within a funding opportunity, applicants are encouraged to submit their best idea. If submitting multiple ideas within a funding opportunity, applicants should explain their rationale in the Approach section.

Are these funding opportunities related to the Determination of Need (DoN) funds that support the CHNAs? Would you recommend we share this information and encourage the CHNAs to participate?
These funding opportunities are separate from local Determination of Need (DoN) Funds. In January 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) completed a landmark revision of the Determination of Need regulation. The revised regulation authorized the creation of the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds.

The Funds will invest significant resources in Massachusetts communities to improve population health outcomes through innovative and sustainable approaches that bring together a variety of people and partners. Massachusetts-based non-profit 501(c)3 organizations, municipalities, or quasi-governmental entities (such as a Regional Planning Agency) are eligible to submit ideas for funding to the Massachusetts Community Health & Healthy Aging Funds.

What types of hospital infrastructure projects would trigger the dissemination of DoN funding?
Most of the types of health care projects that require Determination of Need review also require a community health initiative commitment. For more information on the types of projects that require Determination of Need review, see https://www.mass.gov/determination-of-need-don

Developing Your Application

What is capacity building?
Capacity building, or capacity enhancement, aims to build skills and knowledge, while leveraging one’s own expertise to build more effective initiatives and organizations.

Can applications address the current policies rolling out at the national level that impact local/regional communities?
While comments on specific types of proposed policies cannot be provided before the due dates, ideas or proposals that have the potential to impact local and regional communities and that meet the criteria listed in the IOI or RFPs will be considered.

Is there interest in changing the behaviors of our organizations that wittingly or unwittingly contribute to intentional inequity — that further demonstrate negative health outcomes?
Yes, applicants are encouraged to share ideas that impact policies and systems, including how their organizations evaluate internal policies and systems. 

Submitting Your Application

How do I submit an application?
A link to the application portal for each funding opportunity is available on the How to Apply page. Follow the portal link, create an account, and submit your application within the portal.

Application Attachment Guidelines
Please review this document for tips and guidelines for developing your application attachment. Specific guidance for presentation and video attachments are included. For narrative submissions, please follow the directions in the template provided for each funding opportunity on the How to Apply page.

How do I submit an attachment (narrative, presentation, or video)? There is a field in the application to include your attachment. Please review the instructions below (also available within the application) for attaching Part B.

If you are submitting a narrative attachment, please use this template and save your document as a PDF naming with [Funding Opportunity Name]_[Your Organization Name]_[IOI or Proposal] Example: Healthy Aging Fund_Health Resources in Action IOI.  Then, attach the application.

If you are submitting a video, please use the following instructions to ensure your video is private but can be viewed by the review team via a shared link. If you are using a different program, please ensure that you are able to share the video URL and it is viewable by our review team without needing an account for the program.

YouTube
To make a video unlisted when uploading:

  • Log in to YouTube.
  • In the upper right corner, click on the video icon with a plus sign > then click “upload video”.
  • Click “select files to upload” and choose your application video.
  • Along the right hand side of the “Basic Info” tab, there is a drop down list. Select “Unlisted”.
  • Copy the URL provided and enter it into the application.

To make a video unlisted after uploading:

  • Log in to your YouTube account and click on the profile icon in the top right corner.
  • Click “your channel”.
  • Select the video you’d like to edit.
  • Click the “Edit Video” button once you are on the video player page.
  • Under “Visibility” choose “Unlisted”

If you are submitting a presentation, please be sure to answer all the questions listed in the IOI. Then, save as a PDF naming with: [Funding Opportunity Name]_[Your Organization Name] [IOI or Proposal] Example: Healthy Aging Fund_Health Resources in Action IOI. Then, attach within the application.

Who do we contact if we have technical challenges/questions related to application submission?
Please contact Emily Breen, Grants and Program Coordinator at Health Resources in Action at ebreen@hria.org for assistance with the applicant portal.

Healthy Aging Funding Opportunity

What is the definition of a Gateway City?
Gateway Cities are midsize urban centers that anchor regional economies around the state. The Legislature defines 26 Gateway Cities in the Commonwealth, which are Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester. For more information, visit this link: https://massinc.org/our-work/policy-center/gateway-cities/about-the-gateway-cities/

What is the focus of the Healthy Aging Fund? Will only requests focused on housing and transportation be awarded?
The Healthy Aging Fund will provide preference to those approaches that focus on housing or transportation, but will welcome approaches that address any of the other domains as well.

Is the Healthy Aging Fund just focusing on policy, systems, and environmental change activities?
The Healthy Aging Fund places an emphasis on policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change approaches. An applicant may request support for costs that address planning, capital support, or staff/personnel in support of a PSE approach. A full detailing of the types of possible activities is included in the Inquiry of Ideas.

Can Tier 1 funding be for multi-year requests or is it only 12 months?
Tier 1 is for a 12-month period.

For Tier 1, is the requested amount for planning purposes for the first year only? Can an applicant request Tier 2 level funding in subsequent years?
If you are applying to Tier 1, the maximum amount of funding that you can apply for is $25,000 for a 12-month period.  If you are interested in applying for a multi-year period, your best bet would be to apply for Tier 2, which allows you any amount up to $100K per year for any time period up to five years.

How much money can be requested for each year for Tier 2? (Is the $100k the total amount or the amount that can be requested each year?)
You will be asked on a cover form to indicate how many years you are applying for, and how much $ for each year. Overall, this funding opportunity is available at any $ amount up to $100,000, and for any time duration up to five years. You can indicate the same $ amount for each year, or varying $ amounts per year.

How much money is available?
The total amount of funding currently available for both funds is approximately $13 million. Approximately $1 million is available for the Healthy Aging Fund.

Given the expense of transportation and housing, how can the fund support these kinds of projects?
While the Healthy Aging application closed on September 19, 2019, applicants were encouraged to review the Healthy Aging Inquiry of Ideas (IOI) for additional details of the two funding tiers and the types of ideas the Fund will support. 

Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Funding Opportunity

How is “community” defined? Is it possible to define a population in ways other than geography?
Community can be defined broadly, both geographically or population-based, among people with shared identity, affinity, or affiliation.

Does PSE approach need to be community-wide – or town-wide?
PSE approaches can vary in their scope. Strategies may focus on geographic or population-based communities at the local, regional, or statewide levels. The applicant can determine how broad their PSE approach will be based on need and capacity.

How is “equity” defined?
There are many ways to define equity. We have been using a definition from Human Impact Partners which defines health equity as everyone having a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. To achieve this, we must remove obstacles to health — such as poverty, discrimination, and deep power imbalances — and their consequences, including lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.

How will submitted ideas be evaluated?
Ideas will be reviewed and scored by individual members of a diverse Review Committee comprised of subject matter and lived experience experts. HRiA will facilitate a process in which Review Committee members will share and discuss their reviews. Ideas will be reviewed based on the criteria of equity, impact, collaboration, and feasibility. Each of these criteria are explained further in the IOI and RFP documents and capacity building webinars.

Could an aging project also apply to the general community fund?
It is possible that ideas related to healthy aging could apply to the Community Health Fund. For more information about what the Community Health Fund supports, please review the Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Inquiry of Ideas (IOI) and/or the Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) Processes Request for Proposals (RFP).

Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) Processes Funding Opportunity

Would the funds allocated for the CHIPs be allowed to use for a Community Health Assessment as the first step towards a CHIP?
Yes, the CHIP funding opportunity will support any steps in Community Health Improvement Processes. For more information, see https://mahealthfunds.org/community-health-improvement-planning-chip-processes/. However we will also know that there are many assessments happening or that have recently happened and we will want to understand why an additional assessment in a region/community is a necessary step in for the proposed CHIP process.

Can CHIP planning be incorporated into applications touching on the other two funding opportunities = healthy aging and CHI/PSE? how will that integration be viewed — favorably — if this is a systems approach?
CHIP planning processes are not prohibited from being included in the PSE or Healthy Aging funding opportunities, if they meet the requirements listed in the respective IOIs. Applicants should review the eligibility requirements for each funding opportunity to determine the best fit.